I have read the recent review of the A2 and have looked at images from the A1 and the A2. I understand that the Minoltas tend to have a quality out of the camera that is somewhat softer than other cameras without processing. I have also seen the results of images that have been sharpened with software. I understand why serious photographers would want to have a more neutral image out of camera and post-process with software. I am one of the photographers who would prefer a sharper image out of camera without so much processing. The A1 and A2, like most cameras have options to increase sharpening in-camera. Does anyone have sample images or experience with using the "hard" sharper setting in-camera? Is the result similar to what you get from other cameras or through post processing? Or is more sharpening required than can be achieved by using this setting? Are there other qualities with the Minoltas that require substantial processing to achieve more pleasing image quality? Can these also be adjusted in camera? For example, I know there are different true color, vivid color settings, etc. It seems that with the ability to save custom settings, some of these issues could be addressed by tweaking settings and saving preferences on the custom setting buttons. Are there qualities that couldn't be adjusted in this manner to have more pleasing photos right out of camera?
Also, I read about the "beat dot" pattern exhibited by the A1 and A2. From the review, it sounds as if this has been fixed on the A2 with a firmware upgrade on later production models. I saw the same quality exhibited on A1 photos (on the dpreview photographic tests I think). Is there a fix for this on the A1?
I am very interested in the ergonomics, features, AS, etc on the A1 and A2. I am a less advanced photographer than many of you, but want to grow. At this point, I don't want to be processing all of my photos through photoshop or other software. I really like what I have read about the A2, but from what I have seen, I think I would be happier with the lower noise of a 5mp model. I have also considered some cameras with sensors smaller than the 2/3. The Canon S1 IS, a more point and shoot model, only has 3mp of resolution, but also has a stabilized lens. I am sure for many of you, the comparisons of these seem like apples and oranges. In any case, if I can live for the lower resolution of a 3mp (which is probably a bit too low for me), how would the noise of a 3mp camera with a smaller sensor compare with the noise of an 8mp camera with a 2/3 sensor?
Thanks for any help,