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Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera (prototype). Copyright (c) 2003, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved. Minolta preparing DiMAGE X-series update (full specs) (UPDATED)
By Michael R. Tomkins, The Imaging Resource
(Saturday, March 1, 2003 - 18:47 EST)

At today's "PMA Sneak Peek", a press event offering a chance to meet with companies before the show opens to see the latest products, we were fortunate not only to be given a look at an upcoming product from Minolta, but to be able to photograph it alongside the existing DiMAGE Xi design.

The new DiMAGE Xt will feature a prism-folded optical path the same as its predecessors (allowing the 3x optical zoom lens to be placed vertically inside the camera, and keeping down camera size, startup time and battery usage). It will apparently also retain the previous camera's 3 megapixel imager. Where it will differ is in the body design, which is somewhat smaller and lighter, and features an updated look. A new grip on the right-hand side of the camera's front will make it easier to hold, whilst the controls have also been revamped (switching from a linear slider to a rotary dial for the camera mode selection, and changing the shape and feel of the remaining buttons. The menu system seems also to be getting an overhaul...

Front and back pictures of the DiMAGE Xt prototype follow:

Minolta DiMAGE Xi
Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera (prototype). Copyright (c) 2003, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved.
Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera (prototype). Copyright (c) 2003, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved.
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Also, we are proud to be able to bring you photographs of the new DiMAGE Xt design alongside the current DiMAGE Xi, for direct comparison:

DiMAGE Xi / DiMAGE Xt comparison
Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera (prototype) alongside the existing DiMAGE Xi model. Copyright (c) 2003, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved.
Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera (prototype) alongside the existing DiMAGE Xi model. Copyright (c) 2003, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved.
Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera (prototype) alongside the existing DiMAGE Xi model. Copyright (c) 2003, Michael R. Tomkins. All rights reserved.
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UPDATED 2003-03-01 20:35ET: The official press release for the Minolta DiMAGE Xt complete with in-depth specifications has been added to this news item.

Original Source Press Release:

The new 3.2 megapixel DiMAGE Xt

Osaka, Japan, March 2nd, 2003: Minolta is pleased to introduce the new DiMAGE Xt. Like the very popular DiMAGE Xi, the DiMAGE Xt is a 3.2 megapixel camera, but with more versatile features and packaged in an even smaller body. The camera has a 3x optical zoom and a 4x digital zoom giving a combined zoom range of 12x.

The DiMAGE Xt lets you do what you want, without feeling like a burden. The new design eliminates more than 5% from the size and nearly 8% from the weight of the DiMAGE Xi. At 85.5 x 67 x 20mm and 120 g, the DiMAGE Xt can be slipped into a pocket or bag as easily as a wallet. The exclusive folded optical zoom system allowed Minolta to recreate the world's thinnest* compact, planar digital camera with a 3x optical zoom. This revolutionary non-extending lens is responsible for maintaining the camera's 20mm thin profile either while recording or when stored.

The sleek, sophisticated design is the perfect accent to any lifestyle. The DiMAGE Xt's understated elegance blends in to all situations, formal or casual, and the aluminum exterior gives the camera timeless appeal. Because of the non-extending lens and compact profile, it is easy to capture intimate pictures of family and friends without intruding on the spontaneity of the moment.

The DiMAGE Xt is a fast, responsive camera. It is ready to use approximately 1.2 seconds after turning it on. This is the fastest start-up time of any digital camera with an optical zoom.* The fluid playback performance only causes a slight 0.2 second delay between frames regardless of file size.

The DiMAGE Xt starts with the essential elements and features for beautiful images. The camera is built around a high-precision electro-optical system designed to maximize image quality. The system uses a 3.3 megapixel 1/2.7-type interline primary-color CCD with 3.2 million effective pixels for fine high-resolution images. This will produce 10 x 14 inch (B4-size) 150dpi prints or double-L size photo-quality prints.

Minolta's image-processing technology, CxProcess, guaranties the image from the CCD will faithfully reproduce the scene. CxProcess controls image sharpness, color, and contrast while minimizing noise to produce vivid, natural pictures; the warmth of the human complexion or the rich subtleties of green foliage will be rendered as clearly as they were perceived.

Dark noise, an ever-present problem in electronic systems, manifests itself by giving a grainy or sandy appearance to images taken with long exposures. DiMAGE Xt combats this with a selectable noise-reduction function, which automatically activates for exposures of one second or longer.

The metering and autofocus systems can be selected to suit the situation. Multi-segment metering and five-point AF make taking beautiful, sharp images simple; place the subject anywhere within the extra-wide focus frames and the camera will do the rest. Spot metering and spot AF allows you to meter or focus on a specific subject. This is useful to preserve the dynamic lighting of a scene or to single out a specific subject from a group.
The 3x optical zoom, equivalent to a 37 - 111mm lens on a 35mm camera, is assisted by a 4x digital zoom giving a seamless zoom range of 12x. The lens focuses down to 15cm at all focal lengths for close-up photographs without having to use a separate function.

The extended shutter-speed range gives the camera more control over exposure in difficult lighting conditions. The camera can control the exposure from 4 seconds for scenes at night to 1/1000th of a second for brilliant sunlit landscapes.

The color mode switches between color, black and white, and Sepia. Color preserves the actual colors of the scene. Black and white creates a neutral monochrome image whereas the new Sepia mode gives the classic appearance of toning in old photographs.

The DiMAGE Xt is not simply a still camera. New features and increased performance make it a flexible recording tool.

XR (Extended Recording) movie processing allows digital video with audio to be captured. The length of the XR movie is only limited by the memory card capacity and image size. Two image sizes can be selected: 160 x 120 pixels and 320 x 240 pixels.

Thoughts and comments can be recorded with or without a still image. The audio recording mode can record continuously for 180 minutes. Voice memo allows up to 15 seconds of audio to be attached to an image when it is captured. The audio-caption function can attach an audio track to any recorded still-image. The audio tracks can be played back in the camera.

The DiMAGE Xt can be used as a remote camera for video conferencing. Simply use the supplied USB cable to connect the camera to a computer with a Windows operating system and a compatible application such as Microsoft Windows Messenger. The camera can be mounted on a tripod or placed in the charger stand for hand-free operation.

The DiMAGE Xt is designed for the internet age. The E-mail Copy function allows a recorded still image to be copied and resized to 640 x 480 or 160 x 120 pixels so that it may be attached to an e-mail message or posted on the Internet. To transfer the data, simply plug in the USB cable, and drag and drop the images into a computer.

Audio signals are used to make positive confirmation of button settings. A shutter sound effect accompanies the release of the shutter. As well as the electronic and mechanical shutter sounds, a personalized sound effect for both the AF signal and shutter release can be recorded using the camera's built-in microphone.

The camera controls have been redesigned for ease of use. A mode dial makes selecting the camera's recording, playback, and setup modes simple. A new Quick View button allows images on the memory card to be accessed from the recording modes after they have been captured. The controller incorporates the enter button to make setting functions and navigating the menus straightforward. And the recording function operated by the left/right controller keys can be customized to control exposure compensation, white balance, the drive mode, camera sensitivity, or the color mode to tailor camera operation to individual needs.

The DiMAGE Xt's charger stand can recharge the battery while it is still in the camera. It can also charge a single spare battery by itself. The charger doubles as a camera stand for when the DiMAGE Xt is used for self-portraits, a remote camera, or when connected to a computer.

The DiMAGE Xt is supported by USB DIRECT-PRINT by Seiko Epson. This allows images to be printed directly from the camera to a compatible printer using the supplied USB cable.

The waterproof Marine Case MC-DG200 will be released for the DiMAGE Xt allowing it to be taken to extreme locations. From 30m underwater to the tops of the most rugged peaks, this case will protect the camera from the elements. Taking advantage of the DiMAGE Xt's slim profile, this case is easy to store in a buoyancy vest or daypack.

The new DiMAGE Xt provides high-quality 3.2 megapixel images and versatile features packaged in a stylish, compact body. A camera designed for every lifestyle, everywhere.

* as of February 1st, 2003




Technical Specifications

Number of effective pixels: 3.2 million
CCD: 1/2.7-type interline primary-color CCD
Total pixels: 3.3 million
Camera sensitivity: Auto (between ISO 50 –160 equivalent), ISO 50,100, 200, 400 equivalents
Focal length: 5.7 – 17.1mm (35mm equivalent: 37 – 111mm)
Lens construction: 9 elements in 8 groups (includes 3 aspheric elements)
Maximum aperture: f/2.8 – f/3.6
Minimum focus distance: 0.15m from front of camera
Maximum magnification: 0.1x (1:10)
Equivalent to 0.58x (1: 1.72) in 35mm format
Area covered at maximum magnification: 55.2 x 41.4mm
Viewfinder type: Optical real-image zoom viewfinder
Monitor LCD: 3.8cm low-temperature polysilicon TFT color monitor with anti-reflection coating
Shutter: CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter
Shutter speed range: 4 - 1/1000 s
Autofocus system: Video AF
Autofocus areas: Wide focus area (five-point AF)
Spot focus area
Metering: Multi-segment, Spot
Multi-segment metering: 256 segments
Exposure control: Programmed AE
Exposure compensation: ±2 Ev in 1/3 increments
Flash range: Wide: 0.15 – 3.2m (approx.)
Telephoto: 0.15 – 2.5m (approx.)
(Camera sensitivity: auto)
Flash modes: Autoflash, Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill-flash, Flash cancel, Night portrait
Continuous advance: Available
Self-timer: 10 s (approx.)
Movie recording: Recording time dependent on memory card capacity.
Frame rate: 15fps
Monaural audio only.
Audio: Audio recording: 180 min. (max.) *
*128MB MB memory card is required.
Voice memo: 15s (max)
Audio caption: 15s (max.)
Monaural audio only
White balance control: Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent)
Color modes: Color, Black and white, Sepia
Noise reduction: User selectable
Digital zoom: 4x (max.) in 0.1x increments
Digital zoom can be disabled.
E-mail Copy function: Creates a compressed 640x480 or 160x120 JPEG image for transmission.
Date imprinting: Year/month/day (Format can be changed.)
Month/day/hour:minute
Imprinting can be disabled.
Image-quality modes: TIFF, Fine, Standard, Economy
Number of recorded pixels (Still images): 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480
Number of recorded pixels (Movie clips): 320 x 240, 160 x 120
Storage capacity:

Approximate storage capacity of a 16MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card:

  2048 x 1536 1600 x 1200 1280 x 960 640 x 480
TIFF 1 frame 2 frames 3 frames 14 frames
Fine 9 frames 14 frames 22 frames 69 frames
Standard 17 frames 27 frames 39 frames 100 frames
Economy 32 frames 47 frames 69 frames 150 frames
Movie 41 seconds with 320x240 images
2 minutes 30 seconds with 160x120 images
Audio Recording 30 minutes 51 seconds

* Still images recorded without voice memo or audio caption
** Actual number of images may vary depending upon the subject and memory card.

File formats: JPEG, TIFF, Motion JPEG (MOV), WAVE
DCF 1.0-compliant
DPOF-compliant (Supported by printing functions in ver. 1.1)
Exif 2.2
Folder name formats: Standard, Date
Printing output control: PRINT Image Matching II, Exif Print
Recording media: SD (Secure Digital) Memory Cards, MultiMediaCards
Computer interface: USB 1.1
Direct print: Epson USB DIRECT-PRINT
Remote camera: Live images without audio viewed with a computer
AV output: PAL, NTSC (selected on the camera)
Battery: One NP-200 lithium-ion battery
Battery performance (Playback): Approximate continuous playback time: 120 min.
Based on Minolta’s standard test method with NP-200 lithium-ion battery
Battery performance (Recording): Approximate number of recorded images: 130 frames.
Based on Minolta’s standard test method: NP-200 lithium-ion battery, LCD monitor on, Full-size images (2048x1536), Standard image quality, No instant playback, No voice memo, Flash used with 50% of the frames.
External power source: 4.7V DC with specified AC adapter (sold separately)
Dimensions: 85.5(W) x 67(H) x 20(D) mm
Weight: 120 g (approx.) without battery or recording media
Operating temperature: 0-40ºC / 32-104°F
Standard accessories Hand Strap HS-DG100
AV Cable AVC-200
USB Cable USB-500
16MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card
Lithium-ion Battery NP-200
Lithium-ion Battery Charger BC-300
DiMAGE Viewer CD-ROM
Optional accessories: Metal Chain Neck Strap NS-DG100
AC Adapter AC-4 or AC-5
Camera Case & Strap CS-DG410*
Leather Case CS-DG420*
Marine Case MC-DG200*
*Availability varies with region.
Technical Specifications of Marine Case MC-DG200
Maximum depth (underwater): 30m
Weight: 240g (Case only)
Dimensions: 125.5 (W) x 94 (H) x 50.5 (D) mm
(excluding protrusions)
Standard accessories: Hand strap
O-ring grease
Desiccant
Optional accessories: O-ring set

Specifications and accessories are based on the information available at the time of printing and are subject to change without notice.

System Requirements

Compatible computers when the camera is used as mass storage devise:
IBM PC/AT compatible computers with Windows XP, Windows Me, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 98*, or Windows 98 Second Edition* and with a USB port as standard interface.

Apple Macintosh computers with preinstalled Mac OS 9.0 – 9.2.2, Mac OS X v10.1.3 – 10.1.5, and v10.2.1 – 10.2.3 and with a USB port as standard interface.
* Users with Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition operating systems must install dedicated driver software included in the DiMAGE Xt package.

Minimum system requirements for the remote camera function:

Computers IBM PC/AT compatible computers with a USB port as standard interface
CPU Pentium II 300MHz or later processor (*1)
Operating systems Windows XP, Me, 2000 Professional, or 98 Second Edition
RAM 128 MB of RAM. 256 MB with Windows XP. (*1)
Hard-disk space 200 MB of free hard-disk space
Monitor 800 x 600 monitor capable of displaying 16-bit color quality.
Tested applications Microsoft NetMeeting, Windows Messenger (*2)
Other CD-ROM drive

*1 The CPU and RAM must satisfy the requirements of the operating system.
*2 The application software must be guaranteed by the manufacturer to work with the operating system.

  • The computer and operating system must be guaranteed by their manufacturers to support USB interface.
  • Problems may be encountered depending on what other USB devices are being used in parallel with this product.
  • Only a built-in USB port is supported. Problems may be encountered when the camera is connected to a USB hub.
  • Normal operation may not be possible even when all the system requirements are met.

System requirements are based on the latest information available at the time of printing and are subject to change without notice.

Windows is either a registered trademark or a trademark of Microsoft Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. Macintosh is a trademark or registered trademark of Apple Computer Inc. Other corporate names and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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Top 3 photos this month win:

1 $300 Adorama Gift Certificate

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