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Minolta's 'X' logo. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Minolta's X finally unveiled!
By
(Tuesday, January 8, 2002 - 22:06 EST)

New digicam brings a whole new meaning to the term 'ultracompact'...

Minolta has today officially announced its new DiMAGE X digital camera, for which it has been running 'teasers' on its Japanese website for the last few weeks. At first glance, the camera's extremely thin ultracompact form factor belies the presence of an optical zoom lens, but the 'X' has a very interesting innovation. Where most cameras have their thickness dictated by the length of the lens optics, or alternatively rely on a lens that must telescope a long way out of the body before the camera is ready for use, Minolta have instead taken a different approach.

The Dimage X's unusual vertically mounted lens arrangement with prism to direct light into the lens. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins.The 'X' puts its lens vertically inside the camera chassis (as shown on the right), and places a prism at the end of the optical path to redirect light into the 'top' of the lens. This allows a much thinner camera body, keeps all lens components protected inside of the camera, and helps to reduce noise when zooming since a smaller motor can be used. Minolta bills 'X' as the smallest, thinnest and lightest digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens and built-in flash, and the size is certainly what will capture your attention initially... This is probably the first 3x optical zoom digicam we've seen that we can confidently say will fit in just about any pocket and literally go anywhere with you.

Other features of the DiMAGE X include a 2.11 megapixel CCD sensor, ISO ratings of 100 or 200 (automatically selected), 256 segment metering, Secure Digital or MultiMediaCard storage, and (so long as the LCD is switched off) extremely low power consumption that offers a battery life far in excess of what we've seen in other ultra-compact digicams. Full specifications for the camera are in our database, whilst highlights follow:

Specification Highlights - full specifications here
Minolta DiMAGE X
Minolta's DiMAGE X digital camera. Copyright © 2002, The Imaging Resource. Click for a bigger picture!
General
Model Number: DiMAGE X
Camera Format: Ultra-compact
Price: $399
Date Available: February 2001
Image Capture
Image Sensor: 2.11 megapixel (actual)
Image Resolution: 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480
Lens
Focal Length (effective): 37 - 111mm (3x optical zoom)
Digital Zoom: 1.25, 1.5, 1.75, 2x
Auto Focus: Yes (Video AF type)
Manual Focus: No
Normal Focus Range: 25 cm to Infinity; 10.2 in to Infinity
Macro Focus Range: N/A
Aperture Range: f/2.8 (wide) / f/3.6 (tele) - ???
Display
Optical Viewfinder: Yes (real-image zoom type)
LCD Viewfinder: Yes (1.5 inch, 110,000 pixel)
Exposure
ISO Settings: Auto (100, 200)
White Balance Settings: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent
Manual White Balance: No
Shutter Speeds: 2 - 1/1000 second
Exp Adj Range: +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV steps
Metering Modes: 256 segment multi metering
Exposure Modes: Auto
Self Timer: 10 seconds
Flash
Internal Flash: Yes
Flash Modes: Auto, Auto w/ red-eye reduction, On, Off, Night Portrait
Flash Range Description: Wide: 0.8 - 9.5 feet (0.25 - 2.9m); Tele: 0.8 - 7.5 feet (0.25 - 2.3m) @ ISO200
Ext Flash: No
Image Storage
Flash Memory: Secure Digital, MultiMediaCard
Memory Included: 8MB Secure Digital
File Formats: JPEG, Mono WAVE, MotionJPEG (MOV)
More Information
Weight: 135 g; 4.7 oz
Weight With Batteries? No
Size: 85 x 72 x 20 mm; 3.3 x 2.8 x 0.8 in
Notes & Features: Complies with PRINT Image Matching, Epson's color management technology.

Billed as the smallest, thinnest and lightest digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens and built-in flash (as of January 2002).

Lens is mounted vertically in the camera chassis using a prism to direct light into lens path; allows for extremely thin (20mm) depth whilst using a 3x optical zoom lens. Lens has 9 elements in 8 groups, including 3 aspheric elements. Camera body has stainless steel and aluminum finish.

Has audio recording (90 seconds per clip), audio caption (15 second per image), voice memo (15 seconds per clip) features.

Claimed battery life of 120 minutes playback or 120 frames record mode with LCD on, 50% flash usage, no instant playback or voice memos.

Bundled with HS-DG100 Hand Strap, AVC-200 Video Cable, USB-500 USB cable, 8MB Secure Digital memory card, NP-200 Lithium Ion rechargeable battery, BC-200 Lithium Ion battery charger, DiMAGE Software CD-ROM. Optional accessories include AC-4 AC adapter.
More Photos
Minolta's DiMAGE X digital camera. Copyright © 2002, The Imaging Resource. Click for a bigger picture!
Minolta's DiMAGE X digital camera. Copyright © 2002, The Imaging Resource. Click for a bigger picture!
Minolta's DiMAGE X digital camera. Copyright © 2002, The Imaging Resource. Click for a bigger picture!
Minolta's DiMAGE X digital camera. Copyright © 2002, The Imaging Resource. Click for a bigger picture!
 


From Minolta, we also have the following 'backgrounder' document on the DiMAGE X:


Backgrounder

The Revolutionary DiMAGE X Digital Camera


Targeted for release in February 2002, the new Minolta DiMAGE X is designed to capture high-quality images quickly and conveniently with its small, thin and light stylish body.

Main Features:

Compact Body and Design
The compact design of the DiMAGE X makes it easy to carry in a pocket without the usual bulk of traditional camera designs. With dimensions of 3.3" (W) x 2.8" (H) x 0.8" (D) and weighing only 4.8 ounces, the DiMAGE X is smaller, lighter and thinner than any other digital camera.* The simple and refined design, with a dual-metal exterior, also makes the DiMAGE X unobtrusive, so images of even everyday moments can be captured effortlessly
*As of January 1, 2002

Revolutionary, Folded 3x Optical Zoom Lens
Minolta's legendary expertise in optical lens design has led to the creation of a unique compact folded 3x optical zoom lens with a depth of only 0.8 inches. By using a high quality prism that folds the optical path, the optical zoom lens is positioned vertically within the body. In addition, this efficient optical design requires only a small zooming motor, allowing for quiet zooming. With the 3x (5.7 - 17.1mm) optical zoom equivalent to a 37mm - 111mm on a 35mm camera, this versatile zoom range can be used to take pictures of sweeping landscapes as well as intimate portraits and close-ups. In addition, the DiMAGE X also has a 2x digital zoom, making for up to a 6x seamless zooming capability.

Effortless Operation
The responsive DiMAGE X boasts the fastest start-up time (approximately 1.8 seconds) in its class.* The camera is ready to shoot important moments as soon as it is switched on. The quick start-up speed is achieved by a newly developed, powerful RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer ) CPU and the non-extending lens.
* among optical-zoom digital cameras with autofocus and LCD monitor as of January 1, 2002

The revolutionary compact design maximizes the camera area for comfortable handling. Simple ergonomic controls are located around the LCD monitor to ensure smooth and simple operation.

High Quality Images
The 3x optical zoom brings out the best of the CCD with 2.0 million effective pixels. The lens is a bright f/2.8 to f/3.6 with three aspheric elements that are aligned with sub-micron order precision to ensure crisp and detailed images.

The Minolta DiMAGE X has a 12-bit A/D conversion that can provide a fine tonal gradation, with deep shadows, brilliant highlights and millions of colors, up to 4,096 levels in each RGB channel and more than 68 billion colors. Minolta's 12-bit A/D conversion provides exquisite details in portraiture: smooth complexion, rich shadows and luminous highlights, as opposed to the standard 10-bit A/D conversion with its limited 1,024 levels per RGB channel.

The DiMAGE X also features Minolta's proprietary CxProcessTM, a new image processing technology that provides clear and natural images. CxProcess balances both extremes by controlling sharpness, color reproduction, tonal gradation and noise to optimize results.

Movie and Audio Functions
The camera is a versatile multimedia tool with movie and audio functions. Users can record up to 35 seconds of digital video with audio. In addition, a 15-second audio recording can be attached to a still image, as well as up to 90 seconds of audio without an image.

Unique battery
The DiMAGE X uses a super-thin, proprietary lithium-ion battery (included) for power. Fully-rechargeable, the battery easily pops out and inserts into the recharger (included). In very little time, the battery is fully-charged and ready to be used again.

Specifications are subject to change without notice.

Please see the www.minoltausa.com website for the most updated specifications.


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Source: Minolta Co. Ltd.

Original Source Press Release:

Minolta Introduces Revolutionary New DiMAGE X Digital Camera

Stylish 2-megapixel, 3x optical zoom and 2x digital zoom camera is the
smallest, lightest and thinnest digital camera in the world*1


Las Vegas, NV (January 8, 2002) - Minolta Corporation takes another revolutionary step in the evolution of the digital camera with the introduction of the DiMAGE X. With Minolta's exclusive optical system that places the 3x optical zoom lens inside the flat camera body without ever requiring the lens to extend externally, the camera is the thinnest, smallest and lightest 3x optical zoom digital camera with built-in flash on the market today.

"Building on the company's renowned strength in optics and expertise in miniaturization, Minolta's designers and engineers have developed a unique digital camera with a distinctive edge - one with capabilities that have never been seen before," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president, digital imaging products, Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "Smaller than a floppy disk and lighter than you can imagine, it can easily slip into a shirt pocket, small purse or jacket, and go anywhere. Its unique, sleek, compact design truly makes the DiMAGE X a fashion statement. But Minolta didn't just stop at trying to make the DiMAGE X a breakthrough camera only in size and style. We designed a camera that's easy to use and allows anyone to take great pictures, too."

The Minolta DiMAGE X is approximately of an inch thick. Making a camera this thin would be impossible with conventional zoom lens technology. However, the unique design of the 3x optical zoom lens allows it to move, or "zoom," vertically within the camera body. That means that when the lens moves from wide angle to telephoto, it always remains inside the camera body. The 3x optical zoom lens is equivalent to a 37mm - 111mm on a 35mm camera, and with the incorporation of the DiMAGE X's 2x digital zoom, the camera has up to a 6x seamless zooming capability.

The incredibly compact body of the DiMAGE X has a striking modern design with a rich stainless steel and aluminum finish. Inside the dual-metal exterior of this digital camera is a CCD with 2.0 million effective pixels and it's powered by a fast new RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) Central Processing Unit (CPU). This CPU enables the camera to have the world's fastest start-up time of 1.8 seconds*2.

Images captured with the high-quality lens of the DiMAGE X are enhanced by Minolta's CxProcess image processing technology, which helps control sharpness, color reproduction, tonal gradation and noise. This same technology is used in the top-of-the-line Minolta DiMAGE 7 SLR-type digital camera. The combination of the new high-powered RISC CPU and Minolta's image processing technology results in crisp and detailed images that satisfy the most discriminating photographer.

A versatile multimedia tool, users can also make movie clips and add audio to their still images with the DiMAGE X.

The DiMAGE X is powered by a responsive, proprietary, super-thin rechargeable lithium-ion battery. Ready to go when the user is ready to start shooting, this battery has the ability of taking shots for hours before recharging with the included charger.

An 8 MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card is included for image storage. About the size of a postage stamp, it is the smallest, high-capacity memory card currently on the market.

For more detailed information on features and specifications of the Minolta DiMAGE X, please refer to the DiMAGE X backgrounder and specifications sheet

*1 Among digital cameras with a 3x optical zoom as of January 1, 2002
*2 Among optical-zoom cameras with autofocus and LCD monitor as of January 1, 2002

Minolta Corporation

Minolta Corporation, headquartered in Ramsey, New Jersey, is the largest subsidiary of Minolta Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, a leading manufacturer of cameras, business equipment, radiometric instruments and planetariums. Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group (CPG) markets 35 mm film and Advanced Photo System cameras, digital cameras, binoculars, accessory lenses, photographic light meters, 35mm and Advanced Photo System film scanners and other consumer products. Minolta is the exclusive distributor of Cokin filters.

The corporation's Business Products Group (BPG) markets digital and analog office equipment. Products include black-and-white copiers, digital black and white printer/copiers, plain-paper laser facsimile machines, digital color printer/copiers, micrographic systems, document management software, and related office equipment

For more information, visit Minolta's Web site located at www.minoltausa.com or access Minolta's PHOTOFAX at 800-528-4767.

All brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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