Technology

A High-Quality, Shirt-Pocket Camera


By Tracey Capen You'll be hard-pressed to find a smaller full-featured point-and-shoot than Minolta's new 2-megapixel Dimage X. This digital camera is slightly smaller than a deck of cards, and less than an inch deep--even when it's turned on and ready to shoot. That's a neat trick, considering that this silver rectangle hides a 3X optical zoom lens inside its case. Minolta's unusual design mounts the lens vertically inside the camera's body with a right-angle prism on top--visualize a tiny periscope. The unit's stylish brushed-metal case gives this eye-catching camera a solid, durable feel.

And the Dimage X offers more than simply convenient size. The images my shipping unit produced looked sharp and pleasing, both with and without flash. You can capture JPEG movies that last up to 35 seconds, add 15-second sound captions to your still shots, and even use the camera as a handy (albeit expensive) voice recorder. The Dimage X is easy to operate, too: You can change the flash settings and exposure values with its simple (but tiny) control buttons and manage nearly all the other settings through uncomplicated menus. Deleting unwanted shots does take a bit of time, however. And you'll have to settle for relatively short shooting sessions: The tiny, rechargeable lithium ion battery is rated by Minolta to last for about 2 hours. The included 8MB Secure Digital card can hold approximately six JPEG images at the camera's best image settings.

A true point-and-shoot camera, the Dimage X has far fewer controls than some of its slightly larger (and more expensive) competitors, such as Canon's Digital Elph and Kyocera's Finecam S3.

The Dimage is for people who put a premium on convenience and who don't want or need to use manual focus, aperture- or shutter-priority modes, or any other, more advanced exposure options. From the June 2002 issue of PC World magazine


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