ALDI Medion MD-9700

Since ALDI announced late April 2002 that they would be selling a 4,1 Megapixel camera a lot of discussion went on in the newsgroups abouts it's qualities, or the lack of it. Of course it's possibilities are more limited than those of 4 MP camera's that cost two or three times as much but most people don't use these possibilities most of the time.

I did my own 'research' and decided to buy one. For the price of 389 euro I got the camera including a 2 Ampère mainsadapter, four 1800 mA GP Ni-MH batteries with charger, a 32MB CF-card and 2 CD's with TWAIN-driver and Adobe Photoshop 5 LE. Haven't regretted it since.

I wonder what all the people who say you can better buy a lower resolution camera for the same price base their opinions on. I very much doubt that the quality of images I get from the camera and the possibility to crop to a part of the image and still be able to make good prints can be reached with a 2 MP camera of a 'better known' manufacterer for the same price.

For the benefit of all the people who still consider buying this camera (or an equivalent sold under a different brandname) I have placed some information on this page. Saves me the trouble of posting it on Usenet over and over again.

First some links:

The camera is manufactured by the Taiwanese firm Skanhex.

You can find their site at: http://www.skanhex.com.tw/EINDEX.ASP

The direct link to their 4,1 Megapixel model is: http://www.skanhex.com.tw/410z.asp
(although on their new site the information is rather limited)

You can download a manual at: http://www.skanhex.com.tw/User%20Guides.asp

I have read some tests on the Internet and in a magazine about the Jenoptik equivalent (The Jenoptik site is at http://www.jenoptik-camera.com ).
Apparently there have been some problems reported with this Jenoptik camera and certain CF-cards (camera freezes and has to be reset by taking the batteries out). Some people report having given the advice by some hotline to use SanDisk or Hitachi cards and not larger than 128 MB.

(Update) - Early June 2002 I bought an extra 128 MB Toshiba XtraSpeed CF-card at:
http://www.memorycard.org (same as http://www.geheugenkaart.be) for 59 euro (Ex. VAT) and I also ordered a PQI 'Travel Flash' (P/N: FPT-D) multi-card reader (CF1+2/Microdrive/SM/MM/SD) for 29 euro (Ex. VAT). Pretty good price then and this Toshiba card gets very good reviews and works well.

Other useful links:

www.guenstiger.de
This is the Jenoptik model. You'll find some user reviews (in German) there.

Like many compact camera's it does not have thread on the objective so you cannot attach accessories. Soligor makes a lensadapter for 52 mm accessories that should solve this.

Soligor adapter: http://www.digitalkamera.de/Info/default.asp?MIN=1132

and http://www.soligor.de/produkt.phtml?no=1252&sprache=e&id=10532716442078436
(Hmmm... for some reason direct linking does not seem to work any more on the Soligor site. Look for article number 17930 - Accessory Adapter Ø52mm for ALDI Traveler SX330z).

I ordered one but they sent the one for the 2,3 megapixel model and that one does not fit (too narrow). I am still waiting for the right one... I'll let you know.

Update 6-7-2002 - Two days ago I could finally collect the adapter (almost two months after I ordered it). This time the right one (originally for the 3,3 megapixel model - art. nr. 17930) and this one dóes fit this camera. Paid 21,5 euro for it. I had hoped it would have been possible to leave it on permanently with a UV-filter as lensprotection but the adapter obscures the view through the viewfinder too much for that to be an acceptable option. And also for the interested. There is a hole in the adapter for mounting it on a tripod again (since the adapter is mounted to the camera using the original tripod-mounting hole).
I also bought a polarization filter. It's a circular type (Hoya) although I most likely don't need this type but the shops don't seem to stock the linear type anymore. Paid 29 euro for it.
Here are two photo's (reduced to 640x480) I took through the double-glazed sliding door of my mothers conservatory to test the filter. It gives an excellent illustration of the effect a polarization-filter can have. Both are taken with the filter on but with the first one the orientation of the filter is set for no/minimal effect and with the second one it is set for maximum effect. The effect was clearly visible on the LCD-display.

Without polarization effect.
(53 KB)

Lots of reflections of the garden.

With polarization effect.
(45 KB)

Clear view through the window.

It is annoying that so many camera's don't have threaded objectives. If your camera also lacks this feature it might be worth looking for a solution like the adapter I bought for this camera. The owners of the Medion MD-9700 (or equivalent) can use the Soligor adapter I used. Now you know it works! Next I want to buy a slide-duplicator to digitize slides (and negatives). Possibly also the one from Soligor (Article number 47900 - Slide Duplicator for Digital Cameras 10 dptrs 52 mm.). I'll let you know... (end update).


My 'research':

I have downloaded testpictures from the German site http://www.digitalkamera.de made with the Jenoptik JD4100z3, the Canon Powershot G2, the Olympus C40 zoom, the Casio QV-4000 and the Nikon Coolpix 5000 which last one is a 5 Mp camera. I have opened all the photo's in Paint Shop Pro. Zoomed to 2:1 and have compared these images (use tile funtion for 4 pictures) full screen on my 19 inch monitor (1280x1024) and I must say that the photo made with the Jenoptik camera doesn't look bad at all. It is on several points as good or better than most of the others. Look for yourselves...
In which of these photo's can you see the dark reddish background behind the testcard?
It's price/performance ratio does not look too bad to me.

Go to:
http://www.digitalkamera.de
At the top click "News und Infos"
On the left side click on "Testbilder" (testphoto's)
Again on the left under "Bitte wahlen sie" (Please select) choose the
camera-brand and then the camera-type. Success.
(The three asterisks signify that the image is the original file from the camera).


And now my own experiences.

Someone else who bought this camera too wrote about his experiences on Usenet. He covers most of it although he hasn't fully read the manual yet.
Look here: (in Google's archive)

Here are some photo's I took. In order for you to evaluate their technical quality they have only been reduced in filesize (to about 25-50% of the original filesize by increasing the JPEG-compression) to keep downloadtimes within acceptable limits. Otherwise they are as they came from the camera.
Click on the images to open the full size images. Save them (rightclick) and open them using your favorite image-viewing/editing software and zoom in and out at your leisure to view the details.

Testphoto 1 - 445 KB
(O
riginal filesize 1,8 MB)

 

I took this one the day after I bought the camera. I had to spend considerable time that day on correcting some computerproblem so it was already in the early evening that I walked out of my house to look for some opportunities to test the camera. This is one I took.
Interesting experiment: Upsample image 400% (Resize-PSP) and save. Compare side by side with original image heavily zoomed on seeds in center. That's what interpolation can do for you. I have made a photo of a different subject that illustrates this principle even better. Look at the filesize though. Don't go overboard and try 800% unless you have a LOT of memory in your computer.

2272x1704, compression highest quality, manual focus, no zoom, tripod, flash, time of day: 18:15, overcast.

 

Testphoto 2 - 399 KB
(Original filesize 756 KB)




Here is one I took at a pond a few weeks later. Couldn't get close to the subject so I used maximum optical zoom (x3) and digital zoom (x2) which is the sort of 'worst case scenario' for this camera. You get all the loss of quality from the maximum optical zoom and the effective 1/4 resolution of the original pixelsize from the x2 digital zoom. You can see the effect of the digital zoom when you zoom in far enough so you can see the blocks of four pixels.
Interesting experiment: Downsample image to 50% and then upsample again 200% (Resize-PSP). Save and compare images heavily zoomed side by side. Nice eh?

2272x1704, compression standard quality, can't remember manual or autofocus, handheld, no flash (EXIF info: 1/60 sec. exposure), time of day: 15:15, fairly bright.

 

Testphoto 3 - 423 KB
(Original filesize 832 KB)

 

This one I took to test a few things. Autofocus (taken through a window), combination near/far, low light, detail (the bricks). And that vague reflection in the window? Yup... it's me...

2272x1704, compression standard quality, autofocus, no zoom, handheld (leaned against wall - EXIF info: 1/8 sec. exposure), no flash, time of day: 21:15, overcast.


To all of you who are looking for a higher resolution camera with a high price/performance ratio I can only give the advice to use your own judgement in making the decision whether this camera is right for you or not.

Like I said... I very much doubt that the quality of images I get from the camera and the possibility to crop to a part of the image and still be able to make good prints can be reached with a 2 MP camera of a 'better known' manufacterer for the same price.

Hope this was useful...


© 2002 BHM

 
May-July 2002