Macworld SF 2002 Product Watch: The iPod Of Digital Cameras!

Don Engstrom

DiMAGE X From Minolta 1-10-02
Minolta introduced a brand new digital camera this week that should be a hit with iPod users and espionage types alike. At 3.3" x 2.8" x .8" the DiMAGE X is amazingly compact and would easily fit in your shirt or jacket pocket. The DiMAGE X is also ultra light weighing in at 4.8 oz without battery or media. In fact, Minolta claims that this is the smallest and lightest digital camera in its class, a claim we tend to believe.

By way of contrast, Canon's S100 Digital Elph camera measures 3.4" x 2.2 x 1.1" weighs 6.7 oz without battery or media, and sports a 2x optical zoom. The Elph does edge out the DiMAGE X in terms of effective pixels, 2.02 to DiMAGE X's 1.96.

Minolta managed to fit a 3x optical zoom (6X digital) into the camera by designing the lens to zoom vertically within the camera. At 2 megapixels, the DiMAGE X is not targeted to the pro market, but for everyday use it is fine. We looked at a few sample printouts on Epson Photo paper that looked pretty sharp. We were also very impressed with the intuitive on screen navigation system for adjusting the camera's settings. Like the iPod's navigation system, only a few minutes of use are needed for mastery. Below we highlight some of the camera's specs. The DiMAGE X is compatible with OS 8.6-9.2.1 as well as OS X 10.1.

Effective Pixels 1.96 million
Dimensions 3.3" x 2.8" x .8"
Weight

4.8 oz.

Memory 8MB SD (Secure Digital) memory card.
Shutter Speed 1/1000 to 2 seconds
Focal Length 5.5mm to 17.1mm (equivalent to 37mm to 111mm in 35mm film)
Screen 1.5" LCD
Interface USB 1.1
Power Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
Amenities 35 second movie recording @ 15FPS (mono audio), 90 seconds audio recording, 15 seconds of audio caption attached to photos, 1.8 second startup time, NTSC & PAL video out.

Company: Minolta
Product: DiMAGE X
MSRP: $399
Available : February 2002