Four 5-Megapixel Cameras In Review


  Minolta Dimage 7 Nikon Coolpix 5000 Olympus E-20P Sony DSC-F707
Price ~ $800 ~ $860 ~ $1550 ~ $830
Sensor 5 megapixels 5 megapixels 5 megapixels 5 megapixels
CCD size 2/3'' 2/3'' 2/3'' 2/3''
Weight 603 g 414 g 1170 g 667 g
Dimensions 117x91x113 mm 102x82x68 mm 128x103x161 mm 120x67x148 mm
Memory formats supported Compact Flash Type I/II Compact Flash Type I/II SmartMedia, Compact Flash Type I/II Memory Stick
Memory supplied 16 MB CF 32 MB CF 16 MB SM 64 MB MS
Viewfinder Electronic Optical Optical TTL Electronic
LCD 1.8'' 1.8'' 1.8'' 1.8''
Connections USB 1, A/V Output, DC In USB 1, A/V Output, DC In USB 1, A/V Output, DC In USB 1, A/V Output, DC In
Batteries 4 x AA Lithium-Ion 4 x AA InfoLithium 1200 mAh
CCD color filter RGB CYGB RGB RGB
Max. resolution 2560 x 1920 2560 x 1920 2560 x 1920 2560 x 1920
Sensitivity Auto, ISO 100 - 800 Auto, ISO 100-800 Auto, ISO 80 - 320 Auto, ISO 100 - 400
Zoom (equiv. 35mm) 28-200 mm (7x) 28-85 mm (3x) 35-140 mm (4x) 38-190 mm (5x)
Wide angle aperture f/2.8 - f/8 f/2.8 - f/8.0 f/2 - f/11 f/2 - f/8
Tele aperture f/3.5 - f/9.5 f/4.8 - f/7.6 f/2.4 - f/11 f/2.4 - f/8
Focus 25 cm - infinity 2 cm - infinity 20 cm - infinity 2 cm - infinity
Shutter speed 1/2000 - 30 sec. 1/4000 - 60 sec. 1/18 000 - 60 sec. 1/1000 - 30 sec.
Continuous 1.1 fps 1.5-30 fps 2.5 - 4.5 fps 2.8 fps
Movie mode 12 fps 60 sec. max. 15 fps max 60 sec. No 8 fps limited by memory space16 pfs 15 sec. max.

Minolta Dimage 7

It takes beautiful, perfectly defined photos, with true rendering of color. It takes them fast; its zoom is powerful, bright and distorts little. It also has a great advantage over the E-20, the other reflex-type camera in the test: the image in the viewfinder and on screen is exactly the one you get. This camera would be really excellent if it were not such a power-guzzler. To put it bluntly, it is dreadful. We don't think you could go away for even a weekend in comfort. Taking four sets of fully charged batteries would make no difference - the 1600 mAs run down in no time, and our set of 1750 mA batteries hardly lasted an hour.

Nikon Coolpix 5000

The compact in the test has a tiny body for producing big photos. This makes it a pretty good camera to take on your travels. The downside is that the buttons are too close together, some are poorly placed (zoom), and some options, like white balance, are only available via the menus. Its two major drawbacks are thus ergonomics and speed (or more accurately, the lack thereof). At six and a half seconds to boot and nearly three for a JPEG shot, the Coolpix 5000 takes twice as long as the Dimage 7. This factor is not often taken into account when buying, but does turn out to be fairly frustrating and could likely restrict further use of the camera.

Olympus E-20

Sold at a price of about $1550, this camera should have been ideal. It must be said that the E-10 had already set a good pace, and its successor had to do better. But the only real improvement we found is the new sensor - the photos have changed from 2240x1680 to 2560x1920 pixels. But why did Olympus keep the body and forget to improve something as vital as the focus? The E-20 focuses the same as the E-10, so changing the sensor results in a skewed focus. The area actually covered overflows the one on screen and in the viewfinder quite a lot, and rather unevenly. Still, apart from the price, this is the most satisfactory camera, although we would have liked more cache memory. Being able to take photos almost instantaneously is a great pleasure.

Sony DSC-F707

Definitely meant for the general (wealthy) public, the F707 is a good family camera. It is easy to use and its power usage is excellent. Performance-wise, it is fast (except for the autofocus, which is a bit slow) and, like the Dimage 7, the viewfinder image is exactly the one captured. The built-in lens really shows its worth when you look at the details in the photos. The images are clear, the resolution excellent and often better than that of its rivals. It is a shame, however, that Sony has chosen, yet again, to over-saturate its colors. They are too bright and need retouching before printout.

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