I headed out to Best Buy, but this time with my Compact Flash Card (Type I) with the intention of sticking it in a couple of the 8 megapixel digicams and being able to get some idea of what I call "blackout lag." Blackout lag is the time it takes to get back to live action on the LCD after you've taken a shot.
In other words, you turn off the automatic review - and then put the camera into various size modes, and see how much of the action you are going to miss while the camera is doing it's writing of the info to the card or the buffer or wherever.
First I gave the Pro 1 a try. Man, I thought there must be something wrong with it and began fooling around with the settings. The blackout must have lasted about 2 seconds. Maybe more. I wasn't even shooting in raw mode. So I futzed around with all the settings but it still seemed to take forever for the "live" image to reappear after the shot was taken. Maybe there was some setting I didn't know about.
I then did the same with the Nikon Coolpix 8 mp and experienced the same blackout. The swivel on the Nikon LCD was pretty flimsy. Anyway they didn't have the Minolta A2 so I couldn't try it with that but I did pick up one other camera - I think it was by Fuji - and got the same blackout time.
Weird. They were all about twice as slow as my dinky little A75.
I went to some of the digital review sites and compared blackout times between the Powershot Pro 1 and my camera and they seemed to be about the same - but then I noticed that the Powershot Pro 1 review was based on a highspeed 1 gig Flash Card. Does that mean that my A75 would be twice as fast with a better CF card?
While I was there, customers were routinely being told that a 4 or 5 megapixel camera would make much better 8 x 10 prints. There was even a display that the salesperson could point out showing this really pixilated picture - supposedly the results of a 3 megapixel camera. I told several of them that 3 megapixels was absolutely enough to make a good 8 x 10 print, even if you did a touch of cropping, but no one believed me and the sales people insisted that they should spend the extra $100 for the 4 megapixels.
Best Buy is a wonderful oasis of ignorance. The customers just want something that they can point and shoot and not have to read the manual or anything like that; and the salespeople know just a tiny bit more than the customers.
I began answering questions for some of the customers, steering them in one direction or another and one of the salespeople asked me if I wanted a job (and she was only half-kidding). Two people bought cameras based on my recommendations (no commission).
Well, I came back to the house and did some more testing with the A75 and the blackout time was much shorter than with any of the cameras I had fooled around with. I don't get that.
In fact - if that is the real blackout time for those digicams - then they are currently useless to me. I'm going to need to try them with a fast card. But I'm also going to have to try my A75 with a fast card.