Digital Point & Shoot Equiv. of Contax T2, Minilux, Etc.?

Discussion in 'Mirrorless Digital Cameras' started by james_gavioli|1, May 29, 2005.

  1. After trying several digital cameras... notably, the Coolpix 900, 990, 4500, Fuji S7000, and
    now the Fuji E550, I'm still disappointed in the sharpness and image quality of these
    cameras when I compare the images to slides from a Contax T2 and Minilux that I've used
    in the past. I'm quite Photoshop literate, but I'm tired of the lengthy 'post processing'
    routine -- so I"m wodering if there's some consensus as to which point and shoot digital
    camera, or cameras, have outstanding reputations for sharpness? I'm tired of purple
    fringing too. I want somethings smallish, no DSLR. Not tiny, but something I can throw
    into my backpack, so it doesn't have to be pocket size either.

    Also, I like street photography, so I need a fast lens.

    Don't get me wrong -- Photoshop is great, but with me, time is an issue. The only filter I
    use is Polarizer, sometimes Moose. I can go up to $800. Anything that can touch my T2
    or Minilux for that price?
  2. No, the digital equivalent of the cameras you list does not exist yet. I mean, something with a fast and sharp prime lens, good performance at high ISO (400, 800).

    Ricoh are coming close, and so is Rollei, but no fixed primes. Olympus has announced a couple of small entry-level cameras, with fixed focal lenses, but they lack aperture priority.
  3. I've been very happy with my Olympus C5050 for the past couple of years. I have had a T2, and the zuiko compares favorably in color and sharpness. In fact, I dial down the in-camera sharpness setting as I don't like the images oversharp. Lens is a fast F1.8 zuiko. Build quality is excellent. Alex Majoli of Magnum uses it for street photography. I don't have any experience with the newer versions (now to C8080) but they should be good as well. Mike Johnston rates the C8080 very highly in this months SMP column as well.
  4. Here's one of my favorite street shots with the Olympus:
  5. Tks Paulo and Ray.

    I'll look at the Olympus C5050 and C8080. I like your sample image a lot Ray! But I think
    I've come to more or less the same conclusion as Paulo, that I just won't find a point and
    shoot digital camera that produces images as 'perfect' as my Minilux or Contax T2 with
    Provia. I know, there are a lot of ways to sharpen, etc., digital photos, but even so, I've
    never been able to duplicate the natural sharpness that a quality lens imparts on film. Even
    'soft' digital images, right out of the camera, still don't look like a 'soft' image on film,
    which I'd describe more as 'smooth'... and yes, I'd prefer a camera with interchageable, or
    fixed prime lens, and probably my biggest dislike is wasting time fiddling with the stupid
    'Menu'! The Epson RD-1 looks great, not P&S, and way too pricey though. I might just go
    back to film for a while, then maybe I can look at digital from a fresh perspective again.
  6. Fuji F10
  7. Gurpreet,

    I have a Fuji E550. Plastic body, but same sensor and lens as the F10. I'm dissatisfied with
    the image quality, very high in-camera compression and purple fringing. Resolution is
    high and images can look fantastic with some Photoshop work, but I don't have time for
    Photoshop, for the most part. I think my E550 is destined for ebay.
  8. Apparently, the F10 has a newer CCD than the E550, and is much better in low light , with
    much less noise. I think it's worth taking a serious look... especially since I already own
    two 512MB xD cards. I'll read the reviews and see if I can find a demo to try at some local
    camera stores.
  9. One other problem with digicams is the hoorible viewfinder, when there is one, that is. The viewfinder in a Minilux, or even the Ricoh GR1V, is great.

    The optical viewfinders in digicams are crap. Somehow, camera makers are convincing people that you can get away with crap viewfinders, or even worse, that you can frame with just the LCD on the back, and holdong the camera with one hand only.

    Once upon a time, one of the basic criteria to sell a camera was the quality of the optical viewfinder...
  10. Fuji F10 - nice camera!
  11. Film P&S cameras are streets & streets ahead of digital P&S cameras, most especially for one key reason: if you don't like the "sensor" in a film P&S, you just load a different emulsion next roll change. Want the equivalent of Canon 1Ds resolution & quality in your old Yashica T4? Stick in a roll of Velvia.

    On the other hand, if you want to change the sensor of your little P&S digital camera, you either have to toss your camera away, or call Ray Fraser with his bag of solvents and scalpel. Essentially, you're stuck with whatever the manufacturer decided you should have, with all the economic & engineering compromises that were made along the way to production.
  12. The points about the viewfinder and the flexibility of simply changing film types are major
    pluses for film cameras! I didn't want to bash digi-cams -- they're simply different, and
    good for many situations, especially casual indoor flash photography. But yes, a nice
    viewfinder is one of the great joys in life. I can live without an LCD display, but I miss a
    nice viewfinder, and yes, nice to go from Velvia, Provia, to print film, Black&White, all in the
    same camera. There's only so much Photoshop can do, and it's never as good (IMHO) as
    the real thing. I'll look at the F10, see if it's that much better than my E550 -- which is OK,
    but even with the great reviews it received, my prints don't look as natural, balanced, or
    sharp as my film P&S cameras. I'll shoot both, and I still have a ton of film in my freezer, so
    maybe I have nothing to complain about.
  13. James,
    I had been intrigued by the F10 as well, but after poking around the DPReviews forums, it seems one of the reviewers confirmed that the sensor on the F10 is identical to the E550, but they have a next generation image processor that results in the better noise and resolution characteristics.

    I shoot the E550 exclusively in RAW. Were I more of a photoshop wizard, I could probably setup automatic actions that have a particular "Provia Look" (the defaults in ACR look pretty flat and dull). The F10 may be what you are looking for if the resolution of the E550 makes you happy, and the built in processing gives the look you want.
  14. Everyone is waiting for such a camera.

    In the meantime for me the Pentax *ist DS with the DA 40mm pancake lens is the best compromise between weight/size and quality. Not exactly pocketable but you can still easily take it with you wherever you go.
    And Pentax is working on an other pancake lens somewhere between 20 and 30 mm.
  15. This is what the combo looks like:
  16. Reinhard,

    I think you understand what I'm looking for exactly, your Pentax ist D with pancake lens is
    very close. Maybe too expensive for me now, but it has a real viewfinder, small SLR, with
    many great old fixed focal length lenses to use. I'll read up on it, maybe test one from one
    of the local camera shops. Vielen Dank!
  17. I am still mostly a film (slide) user. I also have a Canon Pro1 that takes very good shots. The prints come out superb, nothing to complain about. Many people are not happy with digital, simply because they have not (yet) developed the correct workflow. Before, one would finish one roll, take it to a good lab, and someone else would be in charge of getting good results. With digital, you are in control of your final results, but you have to know what you are doing.

    Even modern day DSLRs with 1.6 or 1.5 crop factors have low quality viewfinders. Sensors are small, mirrors are small, so the viewfinder suffers. Compact cameras should not suffer from this limitation, since they are not SLRs. It is possible to put a high quality viewfinder in those. What happens is the average consumer is more attracted to a big LCD than a good viewfinder. But what prevents having both?

    I'll keep waiting, I suppose.
  18. James - A Nikon Coolscan V fits within your budget. Why not keep the Contax T2 and Leica Minilux cameras and scan? And wait for the camera you want to come to market.

  19. Paulo has been expressing my lamentations more articulately than have I. Yes, tradeoffs,
    LCDs for real Viewfinders, etc. I've actually invested considerable time learning Photoshop
    and a 'digital workflow', and have taught others. I do enjoy it at times, but more and more,
    I can't find time for this extended processing. So my photos sit on my hard drive
    untouched. I was wondering out loud when I started this thread about what made me love
    the Minilux and Contax T2 so much, why I miss using them since 'going digital', and what I
    might look for to replace them.. actually, the Minilux is gone, victim of two shutter failures
    and my loss of confidence in it. The T2 is on loan to a relative who thinks it's the best
    camera that she's ever used (And I"m sure it is). Is compact digital P&S with a very solid
    metal body and nice big, bright viewfinder too much to ask for, for under $1000 with a
    decent size sensor... and razor sharp images right out of the camera?

    Well, the Pentax ist DS, and Reinhart mentioned, looks very promising.. the right size,
    takes some nice lenses which are widely avail... I'll look at it.

    In the meantime, Robert you're correct, I do have an Epson 1660 scanner, been looking at
    the 4870, so I think shooting film and scanning is the way to go for now. Again, many fine
    digi-cams out there, but maybe it's me, I just don't like .jpg comepression, purple
    frindging, RAW workflow, and trying to get Photoshop sharpening to look natural.

    I see I'm not the only one with these questions, and I appreciate the contributions -- some
    great ideas that I'll definitely follow up on. Thanks all!
  20. James,

    I bought a Panasonic DMC LC1 and am pleased. $999 on e*ay, a bit over your budget. Not small but it is very much like a film camera. The lens is excellent. Read the Leica Digilux 2 review on this site and look at the images Thorsten posted in a reply to the review.


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