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Review roundup: 20+ recent reviews from around the web
(Monday, April 14, 2003 - 15:47 EDT)

As usual, our friends at the other main digital imaging sites around the web are busy with countless reviews.

A few of the recent reviews that you may be interested in are as follows:

  • Digital Camera Resource Page

    Olympus Stylus 300 Digital - "If you want a small and stylish point-and-shoot camera, the Olympus Stylus 300 is worth a look. Photo quality is generally very good, though its marred a bit by occasional noise and jaggies. The Stylus is a pure point-and-shoot camera -- there are no manual controls. That means that it's super easy to use, but folks who want more advanced controls will probably want to look elsewhere. Other quibbles include a poor movie mode, battery door that pops open easily, and the lack of a full, printed manual."

    Canon PowerShot A70 - "In case you didn't notice, I really liked the PowerShot A70. In fact, I've been interested in it since the time I was first told about it, a few weeks before its introduction. The A70 isn't just a low-cost camera, it's a full-featured camera too. It has full manual controls, including shutter speed and aperture, focus, and white balance. Performance and image quality are both very good, as are the playback and movie modes. It also supports add-on lenses and an underwater case. It's not perfect though. Images were occasionally soft, and purple fringing showed up more than I was expecting. Redeye seemed to be a problem. With the exception of the software, the A70's bundle isn't great. If you are looking for a quality camera that also happens to be inexpensive, the PowerShot A70 should be high on your list."

    Kyocera FineCam S5 - "The Kyocera Finecam S5 is a decent camera, but definitely not the best in its class. It offers a good amount of features, including a few (limited) manual controls. It has a small, easy to carry metal body. And it has good movie and playback modes. Where the S5 finds itself lagging behind the competition is in terms of photo quality. Images are very noisy -- to the point where it noticeably degrades image quality. For small prints and e-mailing downsized photos, it's fine, but for larger prints you can do better with another camera. Check out the models listed below for some starting points. Other annoyances include the always popped-up flash, and slow write speeds to the SD card."

    Canon PowerShot S400 - "The S400 is a worthy upgrade to Canon's Digital ELPH line, offering 4 Megapixel resolution, great photo quality, robust performance, and quite a few manual controls. THe body design is excellent -- one of the nicest-looking cameras I've seen. The movie mode is good (3 minute limits), but not as good as the PowerShot A70. The playback mode is top-notch as well. One thing I wish the S400 had more of was either scene modes or more shutter speed control. But I guess you can't have everything. All in all, the S400 is a great camera and it gets a strong recommendation from me."

    Nikon Coolpix 3100 - "The Nikon Coolpix 3100 is a decent enough camera, but certainly not the best in class. It's a point-and-shoot camera with only one manual control (white balance). The scene modes are a nice touch, though I think that some of the overlays on the LCD are a little over-the-top. The performance and photo quality are good, though in low light both suffer. The performance goes downhill due to the lack of an AF-assist lamp, while the photo quality gets quite noisy due to the 3100's auto ISO system. Still, the 3100 is worth a look -- try it and the competition before you make any decisions."

    Olympus D-560 Zoom - "The Olympus D-560Z does what it's intended to do: take good photos with point-and-shoot ease-of-use (that's a lot of hyphens). That makes it a fairly average camera in the low cost 3 Megapixel arena (being the the Canon PowerShot A70, Nikon Coolpix 3100, and Sony DSC-P72). Photo quality is competitive, as is the performance. The movie mode is probably the worst of the bunch. I would've really liked to see some longer shutter speeds, control over ISO sensitivity, and manual white balance. An AF illuminator wouldn't hurt either. But for folks who just want a point-and-shoot camera without a lot of bells and whistles, the D-560 Zoom is certainly worth a look."

    Canon EOS 10D - "The Canon EOS-10D is the best deal out there for a digital SLR camera. It's hard to believe, but the 10D sells for $500 less than the Olympus E-10 I bought just a few years ago. It's a heck of a lot more capable, too. The 10D offers all the benefits of a D-SLR, namely interchangeable lenses, support for external flashes, full manual controls, and robust performance. Image quality is excellent, though I find it to be too soft at the default settings (I've mentioned two ways around that [in the review])."

    Minolta DiMAGE F300 - "The Minolta DiMAGE F300 is another one of those cameras that I like, but at the same time don't think is the best of the pack (I'd give that award to the Canon PowerShot S50). The F300 offers full manual controls, sharp, well-exposed images, an above average movie mode, and a unique tracking autofocus system. I really like having t an LCD info display as well. Negatives include higher-than-average noise in images, a very slow moving lens, shutter lag, and the lack of an AF illuminator. The bundle could be better, too. Don't write off the F300 -- it's definitely worth your consideration if you're in the market for a small 5 Megapixel camera."

  • Digital Eye

    Three galleries of photos from the Canon EOS 10D.

  • Digital Outback Photo

    Phase One "Capture One DSLR Limited Edition - "We highly recommend Capture One DSLR Limited to all Canon D30/D60/10D and Nikon D100 users. We regret that we cannot use this version for our many old Nikon D1 files. The users of the Canon D30 are more lucky. All Canon D30/D60/10D and Nikon D100 users will get the same quality as from the high end Canon 1Ds except of course the resolution."

  • Digital Photography Review

    Canon EOS 10D - "I have no concerns in stating that as things stand (at the time of writing this review) the EOS-10D is the absolute best in class, with the best image quality, lowest high sensitivity noise, superb build quality and excellent price (not to mention the huge choice of lenses)."

    Phase One "Capture One DSLR Limited Edition" - "It's fair to say that Capture One DSLR Limited Edition delivers the best combination of workflow management and high quality RAW conversion. Final image output is sharper, has a better tonal balance, more detail and less artifacts than the standard manufacturer's RAW conversion application. Real time adjustment of exposure, white balance, sharpening, levels and curves is superb."

  • Steve's Digicams

    Canon PowerShot S400 - "For anyone who wants or needs a very portable and extremely durable camera it's hard to beat the Canon Digital ELPHs. Canon was the first to make these small but fully functional digicams and continues to make the best even better. On vacation the S400 makes an excellent "tourist" camera, toss it in your luggage without worrying about it getting damaged. If your vacation is at the seaside or in the tropics you might want to consider purchasing the underwater case that's rated for 130 feet depths. And in day to day use the S400 fits easily into the smallest pocket which means it's always ready to capture that special moment."

    Canon PowerShot A70 - "The bottom line, this is an excellent camera for those who just want to take good pictures without much fuss -- but it's also for those that want more than just a fully automatic point-n-shoot. Beginners can just turn it on, frame the shot, press the button and capture the shot. When you feel the urge just turn the Mode Dial and take as much control of the image capturing process as you want. Not bad at all for a compact, durable and fairly high performance camera capable of making photo-quality 8 x 10 inch prints (or larger) at this price point. If your budget is lower or you don't have a need for 8 x 10 inch sized prints then look at the 2-megapixel Powershot A60 for about a hundred dollars less. The only difference between these two cameras is the image resolution and the price."

    Sony CyberShot DSC-P72 - "The DSC-P72 is a good choice for anyone wanting a "pocketable" camera that delivers high quality images. The sharp and bright 3x optical zoom, the 2048 x 1536 image size and the VGA-size movies are great features -- at a $330 price point (as of 03/2003) it won't dig too deep in the pocketbook either. I feel the Sony CyberShot DSC-P72 will make a great camera for new or experienced users, just be sure to purchase a larger Memory Stick and another set of NiMH batteries."

    Kyocera FineCam S5 - "If compact is what you want, five megapixel cameras don't come any smaller than the S5, at least not at the time of this review. The SD / MMC cards have dropped in price very near to that of CompactFlash cards and are available up to 512MB and soon, even higher capacities. The Finecam S5 may be just what you're looking for if what you want is a super-compact and durable camera. Just remember to factor in the cost of a larger memory card and a second battery, you'll be needing them sooner or later."

    Kodak DCS Pro 14n - "If you're a studio portrait or product photographer, work in the ISO 80-100 range and lighting is not a problem -- the Pro 14n will probably suite you well. The lack of high-ISO support, a rather anemic and slow buffer and less than robust AF performance does not make this a camera for sports or action photography. If you need a camera that delivers "ready to use" JPEGs -- this isn't the one. As stated before, you need to capture Raw and then spend some time in Photo Desk and Photoshop. My personal opinion is that Kodak (and the buying public) would be better served by admitting that their choice of image sensor for the Pro 14n was not optimal. The limited ISO range, the lack of long shutter speeds and the apparent image noise is a product of the camera's image sensor and no amount of firmware tweaking is going to fix it. Increase the Pro 14n's price to cover the additional cost but please put one of your own Kodak Blue image sensors in this camera."

    Olympus Stylus 400 Digital - "The bottom line - we're impressed with this camera. It's built like a tank, albeit a small tank, it takes great pictures, it's stylish, it's compact and maybe the most important thing, it's reasonably priced. You need to add two things to complete the purchase, a second battery and a larger xD-Picture Card. Other than that Olympus has put together a very nice package that even includes a wireless shutter release. This camera is very much recommended for beginners and experienced users alike and will make an excellent travelling companion. If you don't need four megapixels then look at the three megapixel Stylus Digital 300 and save $100."

    Olympus Camedia D-560 Zoom - "I believe this is going to be a successful product for Olympus, it's reasonably priced ($299), loaded with features, produces excellent pictures with enough resolution for prints from 4x6" up to 8x10" and larger and small enough to slip into your pants pocket -- and it's very easy to operate."

    Canon PowerShot S50 - "The Powershot S50 is the perfect choice for photographers that want a high resolution camera that can be operated by anyone and yet has the advanced features to satisfy even the most discerning users. It offers the simplicity of point-n-shoot operation with all the same advanced exposure, focus and image control options as those found in Canon's full size cameras. If you've ever wished that you could carry a G3 in your pocket -- you can now. And the S50 has even higher image resolution, enough image resolution to make photo quality prints up to 13 x 19" size and beyond. This is a camera that you can grow into and enjoy using for years to come."

    Toshiba PDR-4300 - "I think the PDR-4300 will do well against other four megapixel cameras because of its aggressive pricing of $379 (as of April 2003) and good image quality. Size and weight considered, it's the kind of camera that you don't mind taking along on all-day outings. In automatic mode it's very easy to operate and qualifies as a "no brainer" point-n-shoot that anyone should be able to use. It physically resembles a compact 35mm film camera so those that are new to the digital world will immediately feel comfortable with it. For those users that like playing with knobs and dials, there's plenty of manual camera features to stimulate your creative side."

    Contax TVS Digital - "Taking the overall performance, image quality and price of the Contax TVS into consideration I can't really recommend it. Boutique item or no boutique item -- it's just too expensive given the competition is selling equal and better cameras for much less. Today's buyers for the most part don't know or care about the heritage of the camera maker. Those of us that are old enough to remember 8-track tapes probably do know of Contax, Leica, Zeiss and other famous photographic manufacturer's names. Unfortunately digicam buyers today are more familiar with names like Sony, Hitachi and Fujitsu. They buy for the features, image quality and price. And the price is usually the more important of those factors."

    Minolta DiMAGE S414 - "The DiMAGE S414 is an incredible deal (steal?) at just $399 (or less.) Most other 4-megapixel cameras are at least a hundred dollars more expensive. Few of the competing cameras offer a durable aluminum body and even less have 4x optical zooms. This is an excellent choice for the advanced user or the beginner who wants a camera they can grow into. It has plenty of image resolution to make photo-quality prints up to 13x19" size. They should sell as well as the S404 did last year so grab one now if you want one -- they could go very fast."

    Minolta DiMAGE F300 - "The Minolta Dimage F300 has a suggested retail price of $499. Most of the competing 5-megapixel cameras are at this price point or higher. This is a good choice for the beginner or advanced user that wants the ability to make photo-quality prints from 4x6" right up to 13x19" wall size prints and have it in a durable yet "pocketable" sized camera."

    Canon PowerShot A300 - "The bottom line is that this is an excellent camera for those that just want to take good pictures without fussing with any controls, or for those that want some creative control. Turn it on, point and shoot -- you're done, and confident of a good image. Not bad at all for just $199 (04/2003)!"
As always, you can find a roundup of our own recent reviews on our What's New page...

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