Canon Powershot G3 , Minolta Dimage, Sony Cyber-shot DSC-F717


In the December 2002 issue of Macworld, we reviewed the latest consumer digital cameras – choosing Nikon’s 5700 at the top-end. This month, we take a look at three new top-end consumer digital cameras for enthusiasts who want manual controls, a long lens, and external flash support. At the top of the list is Canon’s 4-megapixel PowerShot G3, an updated version of the successful PowerShot G2 – with a longer 4x zoom lens, better image-processing performance, a built-in neutral-density filter (for reducing the shutter speed, or aperture, in extremely bright light), support for wireless flashes, and more. Nikon’s Coolpix 4300 (reviewed December 2002) comes close in image quality, and is significantly cheaper than the G3, but it’s really more of a point- and-shoot camera (though it does have some manual controls) for the casual enthusiast who wants high resolution in a small camera. If you want even more resolution and are willing to pay for it, look at Sony’s 5-megapixel Cyber-shot DSC-F717. For £799, you get an excellent Carl Zeiss 5x zoom lens, good manual controls, easy-to-use program settings, and one of the best autofocus systems I’ve ever seen. Two other 5-megapixel models, Minolta’s Dimage 7Hi and Nikon’s Coolpix 5700 (reviewed December 2002), produce high-quality images and are very good cameras – both have excellent, longer zoom lenses and more manual controls than the DSC-F717 – but Sony’s combination of value and quality is hard to beat. Each camera tested here had a larger LCD than the 5700.
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