Camera choice: Minolta/Pentax/Canon


Active Member
I am looking to upgrade from a Kodak 2MP camera. I don't want to be looking at my family snaps in 20 years and regret the lack of quality so I'm happy to shell out what it takes to get higher grade - and hopefully futureproof - images. If I am honest I could make do with a point and shoot camera although over time I would like to take better pictures and to do this I realise I am going to need a more complex camera.

I have looked at the Pentax Optio 555 for about £330 which doesn't seem to take a lot of work to use. However for the same money (if I get one from the US) the Minolta Dimage A1 seems an awful lot of camera for the money. My fear with the Minolta is that it might be a bit fiddly when I am trying to take a snap of my daughter doing something clever in the back yard.

I'd like it to be the sort of camera I can point and shoot when I want, but can also grow with and maybe take a better composed shot if I want to. What I really need is the experience of someone who has used one.

Can anyone shed any light on any aspect of my decision? Would be appreciated. I also looked at the Canon Powershot G5, how do you folks think these 3 cameras stack up against each other?


Active Member
The Canon Powershot is an excellent camera but the Minotla A1 is better and that is the one I would go for out of the three you mentioned. To be honest the Pentax would be the last one I would choose out of the three.

The Minolta may be more of a camera than you need now but you WILL learn how to use it and you WONT be dissapointed at the results you will get. Until you are totally comfortable with the camera you can of course just use it in one of the auto modes.


Active Member
I have recently upgraded from a Canon G3 (model down from G5) to a Konica Minolta A2 (model up from A1), I think they are both excellent cameras but also very different.

Straight out of the camera the G3's pictures are much nicer, and print well without a lot photoshop intervention. The G3 also seems to have less noise, and smoother tones. It's got a lot of features in a relatively small body, the swiveling LCD screen is very good and the built in ND filter is a handy addition. The auto white balance is also more superior than that of the A2, which is just plain awful when taking shots indoors, though the ease of manual white balance on the A2 does make this less of an issue as it could be.

The main appeal of the A2 for me is the built in manual zoom 28mm-200mm lens. I really appreciate the true wide-angle of the A2, you can get the same wide-angle view from the G3 by adding an accessory lens, which worked well for me, but it was a lot less spontaneous than having a zoom which covered the range I needed. The A1/A2 might look a bit more fiddly with it's masses of buttons, but once you get to grips with it, it is, in fact, much quicker and more intuitive to use than a camera with fewer buttons that you have to keep accessing the menus to make alterations to settings.

If the A1 is the same as the A2, be aware that the auto mode is not as automatic as that on the G3, you not only have to raise the flash yourself, but you get no indication on whether you should be using the flash at all in low light, though you do get a camera shake warning if the shutter speed is too low to hand hold. not a big deal as it's basically common sense, just something to be aware off.

Autofocus on the A2 is better than the G3, but both would struggle to keep up with children running around, thats not to say you could not get a decent shot, it would just be much harder, than if you had a DSLR, for example.

I can't comment on the Optio 555 as I have no experience with that type of small snappy camera, but i have seen results from my friends similar cameras and have usually been surprised at how nice some of the pictures turn out, so it might be an good option if portability and ease of use is concerned.

I think the most important thing for you to do, is go to a shop that has the cameras that you are interested in, and play with them before making a judgment.

I think the G5 and A1 are both very good options, and only you can decide which is more suited to your needs. This is a massive generalization, but I would say the G5 is a great option if you want ease of use, and are not interested in spending a lot of time post processing, it has a good range of modes and so will be equally useful if your interest in photography develops. The A1 is larger and heavier, stunningly feature rich, and if its anything like the A2, seems capable of great results with a bit of work . The 28-200mm zoom, for me, is where the real appeal lies, but the G5 can be used with a couple of converters to get to that range as well.

Good luck with whatever camera you choose to buy.


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