Minolta has today announced its new DiMAGE F100 digital camera, a 4 megapixel model which features an innovative focusing system the company says "[brings] people into focus". Definitely the stand-out feature of the camera, the focusing system can recognize the shape of a person and track it as it moves around the frame - allowing for easy focusing for people photos. Where most cameras employing contrast detection detect focus using one or several horizontal and vertical lines on the image, the F100 uses a focus detection area fully one quarter the size of the image (50% of the height and width). Also, the AF system is linked to the camera's multi-segment metering system to allow for the exposure to be biased to be correct for the person who's the subject of the photo.
Other features of the DiMAGE F100 include a 3x optical zoom lens, built-in flash, Secure Digital storage, USB connectivity, ISO ratings from 100 to 800, shutter speeds from 1/1000 to 15 seconds, voice memo and movie modes, and an array of manual capabilities. A 'backgrounder' document from Minolta along with detailed specifications follows...
Minolta's New 4.0-Megapixel Digital Camera:
The DiMAGE F100
The new Minolta DiMAGE F100 incorporates for the first time in a digital camera two new groundbreaking technologies - Area AF with Subject Tracking AF and Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection. Targeted for release in late spring 2002, the new Minolta DiMAGE F100 features a 3x optical zoom lens as well as an eye-catching design and performance features that produce high quality photographic images for the most discriminating photographer.
High-Precision Electro-Optical System
Employing the technology from Minolta's top-of-the-line DiMAGE 7, the F100's high-precision electro-optical system is designed to maximize image quality. The system starts with a 4.13 megapixel 1/1.8-type interline complementary-color CCD with 3.95 million effective pixels for fine high-resolution images. The pixel resolution of the CCD will produce 11" x 15" 150dpi prints on an inkjet printer.
World's first responsive autofocus system*
Minolta's new autofocus (AF) system makes bringing people into focus to catch the perfect moment easy. This sophisticated system locates the subject in three-dimensional space within the extra-wide focus frames so there aren't complicated procedures to lock the focus on the subject.
Subjects no longer have to be placed in the center of the picture in order to properly focus using the Area AF. Employing technology developed for the top-of-the-line Minolta Maxxum 9 and Maxxum 7 35mm SLR cameras, Area AF evaluates the objects in the focus frames and locks the focus on the subject. The active AF sensor is displayed to confirm the point of focus. The extra-wide focus frames cover approximately 50% of the horizontal and vertical field of view. Simply point the camera at the scene and the autofocus system does the rest.
The new Minolta DiMAGE F100 is the first digital camera in the world to feature Subject Tracking AF. This AF system complements the Area AF by being able to follow a subject moving through the extra-wide AF area in three dimensions. Once the Area AF system locates the subject, Subject Tracking AF will follow that person no matter the direction of motion: to the left or right, toward or away from the camera. Catching the action has never been this simple.
Information about the subject location from the Area AF and Subject Tracking AF systems is monitored by a built-in computer to calculate perfect exposures. The multi-segment metering system uses subject-position information and 256 metering segments to calculate the exposure based on the subject and background luminance. There is no need to worry that subject details will be lost in the deep shadows of noon or washed out in front of dark backgrounds. The aperture and shutter speed are controlled for optimum exposures, and the flash is activated automatically in backlit or low-light situations. This highly accurate system ensures the photograph will be perfectly exposed for the subject time after time.
* Among digital cameras with a built-in lens
Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection
For the first time in a digital camera, Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection analyzes the shooting conditions and selects the best Digital Subject Program or programmed auto exposure (AE) to match that condition. This frees the photographer from having to set the camera controls each time the shooting situation changes. With five subject programs available: portrait, sports action, landscape, sunset and night portrait, the DiMAGE F100 automatically responds to each new situation to ensure the best possible results.
Digital Subject Programs optimize exposure and image-processing controls for specific shooting conditions and subjects. Six subject programs are available:
- Portrait: optimized to reproduce warm, soft skin tones and a slight defocusing of the background
- Sports action: to make clear, sharp images of fast moving subjects
- Landscape: optimized to take sharp images of expansive scenes
- Sunset: optimized to reproduce rich, warm sunsets
- Night portrait: for deep, subtle night scenes. When used with the built-in flash, the subject and background exposures are balanced
- Macro: to optimize depth of field for close-up pictures. This mode is selected manually
Sleek, Slim Design
The elegantly designed outer shell of the new DiMAGE F100 is constructed of aluminum and stainless steel. The camera's slim profile and compact body can easily slip into a pocket or small bag. The DiMAGE F100 is not only one of the lightest 4.0-megapixel digital camera with a built-in optical zoom in the world, it is also one of the smallest. With the lens retracted, the camera is 4.4 (W) x 2.1 (H) x 1.3 (D) in. The camera's grip follows the elegant design of the body without adding unnecessary bulk to the camera.
CxProcess™: Minolta's Image Processing Technology
The DiMAGE F100 features Minolta's proprietary CxProcess, a new image processing technology that provides vivid and natural images.
CXProcess controls sharpness by balancing resolution with acutance. This allows fine detail to preserved while adding depth to the image. Color is critically controlled to prevent objects from appearing over-saturated in the image while remaining vibrant; the warmth of the human complexion or the rich subtleties of green foliage will be rendered as clearly as they were perceived. Contrast is regulated to bring out a luminous quality to mid-tones and highlights, and to strengthen and enrich shadows.
12-bit A/D conversion
The secret to photography is in the details. Smooth gradations and fine details bring a photograph to life. The 12-bit A/D conversion featured in the DiMAGE F100 preserves all the subtleties of the original scene. With billions of colors and 4,096 levels in each color channel, images possess almost lifelike color and detail. This is especially evident in portraiture: smooth complexion, fine hair detail, and vivid eye color.
3x Zoom Minolta GT LENS
The DiMAGE F100's Minolta GT lens is an optical jewel. The sophisticated eight-element design is less than an inch long when retracted. With a focal range of 7.8mm to 23.4mm, it is equivalent to a 38mm to 114mm 35mm zoom lens. This camera's zoom lens ranges from wide angle for landscape and interior photography to telephoto for intimate portraits and distant subjects. The 3x optical zoom lens employs three aspheric elements to ensure sharp images at all focal lengths.
2.5x Digital Zoom
The Minolta DiMAGE F100's 2.5x digital zoom seamlessly takes over from the maximum focal length of the optical zoom without interrupting the monitor image. The camera's digital zoom capability can extend the optical zoom lens's performance by two and a half times in 0.25x increments giving the DiMAGE F100 an equivalent of a 285mm lens on a 35mm camera.
Functions and imaging controls to capture beautiful pictures
The automatic functions of the Minolta DiMAGE F100 make picture taking easy while the camera's manual functions give photographers complete creative control. The camera's creative exposure control choices include program, aperture-priority, shutter-priority, and manual exposure modes, multi-segment and spot metering, automatic bracketing, automatic and manual control over camera sensitivity from ISO 100 to 800, and exposure compensation. The white-balance function has four preset settings for common light sources and a custom setting for calibrating the camera to specific lighting conditions. Electronic magnification enlarges the live image for critical control of manual focusing. A histogram display allows critical evaluation of exposure and contrast.
Advanced technology for a responsive camera
The interior operation of the DiMAGE F100 is as impressive as the exterior design. A high-speed RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) processor manages the camera's quick response. Simultaneous processing within the computer system increases the efficiency of data-processing. The capturing interval is less than a second for recording images.
Digital effects control
Digital Effects Control is an image-processing center built into the camera. It is located on the camera's function menu viewable on the built-in LCD panel. The color, contrast, and saturation can be adjusted before the image is captured.
The color mode switches between Natural Color, Vivid Color, and Black and White images. Natural Color preserves the actual colors of the scene and Vivid Color accentuates them. Contrast controls the difference between brightness levels; increasing the contrast makes the highlights brighter and the shadows darker. Color saturation changes the vividness of the colors.
Flexibility in saving the image
Two copy functions allow image files to be duplicated in camera onto the same or another memory card. The standard copy function makes a direct copy of a file including any audio tracks that have been attached to it. The E-mail Copy function allows a still image to be copied and resized to a VGA format so that it may be attached to an e-mail message.
Audio and video options
Thoughts and comments can be recorded, along with a still image or by themselves. Voice memo allows an audio track of up to 15 seconds 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 recording mode allows extended audio tracks without an image to be made. The audio tracks can be played back in the camera. To catch all the action, 35-second QVGA (320 x 240) movie clips with audio can be recorded.
The DiMAGE F100's controls and dials are laid out for clear, intuitive operation. All shooting controls are placed around the grip area. The camera can be controlled with the thumb and index finger while allowing a firm grip on the body. Button size varies with the frequency of function used. Located above the grip, the sculpted main dial turns the camera on and gives direct access to the recording, playback, movie, audio recording, and setup modes. Placed on the back of the camera, the controller is a straightforward five-way rocker switch used to control many of the camera's advanced features and menus.
Audio signals are used to confirm button settings. A shutter sound effect accompanies the release of the shutter. The mechanical shutter sound effect was taken from a classic camera of a simpler age, the vintage Minolta CLE 35mm rangefinder camera. The audio signals can be disabled.
The DiMAGE F100 will be available to consumers for an estimated street price of $699.
Specifications are subject to change without notice.
Please see the www.minoltausa.com Web site for the most updated specifications.
# # #
Minolta DiMAGE F100
|Number of effective pixels ||3.95 million |
|CCD ||1/1.8 inch-type interline CCD with a total of 4.13 million pixels and a complementary color filter |
|A/D conversion ||12 bit |
|Sensitivity ||Auto, Equivalent to ISO 100, 200, 400, 800 |
|Focal length ||7.8 - 23.4mm (equivalent to 38mm - 114mm in 35mm format) |
|Lens construction ||8 elements in 7 groups (including three elements with four aspheric surfaces) |
|Maximum aperture ||f/2.8 - f/4.7 |
|Focusing range ||1.6 feet (0.5m) from the CCD to infinity |
|Macro focus range ||7.9 - 23.6 in (20 - 60 cm) from CCD |
5.7 - 21.5 in (14.5 - 54.5 cm) from front of lens
|Maximum magnification ||0.17x (1:5.88) Equivalent to 0.74x (1:1.35) in 35mm format |
|Area covered at maximum magnification ||0.74 x 0.56 in (18.7 x 14.1mm) |
|Viewfinder ||Optical real-image zoom viewfinder |
|Monitor LCD ||1.5 inch (38mm) low-temperature polysilicon TFT color with total 110,000 pixels |
|Shutter ||CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter |
|Shutter speed ||4 seconds - 1/1000 second. Bulb (maximum 15 seconds) |
|Autofocus ||Video AF system |
|Autofocus areas ||Wide focus area (Area AF), Spot focus areas with Focus Area Selection |
|Focus modes ||Autofocus: Subject Tracking AF, Single-shot AF. Full-time AF is available in the autofocus mode. |
|Focus lock ||In single-shot AF and Focus Area Selection, by pressing the shutter release button partway down. |
|Subject lock ||In Subject Tracking AF, by pressing the shutter-release button partway down |
|Metering ||256 multi-segments and spot |
|Exposure modes ||Programmed AE, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual modes |
|Digital subject programs ||Automatic: Portrait, sports action, landscape, sunset, night portrait |
Manual: Portrait, sports action, landscape, sunset, night portrait, macro
|Exposure compensation ||+/- 2 EV (in 1/3 EV increments) |
|AE lock ||In single-shot AF, manual focus and Focus Area Selection, by pressing the shutter-release partway down |
|Flash range || |
Wide: approximately 1.6 - 9.5 feet (0.5- 2.9m)
Telephoto: approximately 1.6 -5.6 feet (0.5-1.7m)
(Camera sensitivity: auto)
|Flash mode ||In programmed AE mode: Autoflash, Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill-flash, flash cancel |
In aperture priority, shutter priority, manual exposure modes: Fill flash, Fill flash with red-eye reduction, Flash cancel
|Continuous advance ||Available |
|Exposure bracketing ||1.0, 0.5, 0.3 EV increments |
|Self-timer ||Approximately 10-second delayed release |
|Remote Control ||IR Remote Control RC-3 (sold separately) |
|Movie recording ||35 seconds (maximum) at 15 fps with monaural audio |
|Audio ||Voice memo: 5 or 15 seconds audio with still image |
Audio Caption: 15s (max) with still image
Audio recording: 30 minutes (max.)
Monaural audio with playback volume control
|Color modes ||Natural color, Vivid color, Black and White |
|White balance ||Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent and Cloudy) and Custom |
|Sharpness settings ||Three levels (Soft, Normal, Hard) |
|Digital Effects Control ||Contrast compensation, Color Saturation compensation, Sharpness, Color modes |
|Digital zoom ||1.25x, 1.5x, 1.75x, 2x, 2.25x, 2.5x |
|Copy function ||Can copy single or multiple images to the same or another memory card |
|E-mail copy function ||Creates a compressed VGA JPEG image for transmission |
|Date imprinting ||Year/month/day (Format can be changed) |
Imprinting can be disabled
|Image-quality modes ||Super Fine, Fine, Standard, Economy |
|Number of recorded pixels(still images) ||2272x1704, 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480 |
|Number of recorded pixels (movie clips) ||320x240 |
|Storage capacity (16MB) ||Approximate storage capacity of a 16 MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card:Super Fine: 1 frame; Fine: 7 frames; Standard: 14 frames; Economy: 29 frames; Movie: 41 seconds (total seconds that can be stored); Audio recording: 30 minutes, 9 seconds |
Images recorded at 2272 x 1704 without voice memo or audio caption. Actual number of images may vary depending upon the subject and memory card used.
|File format ||JPEG, TIFF, Motion JPEG (MOV) with audio |
DCF 1.0-compliantDPOF-compliant (supported by printing functions in v. 1.1)
|Folder name formats ||Standard, Date |
|Printing output control ||PRINT Image Matching , Exif Print |
|Recording medium ||SD (Secure Digital) Memory Cards, MultiMediaCards |
|PC interface ||USB version 1.1 |
|Video output ||NTSC, PAL (can be selected by user) |
|Power ||One CR-V3 lithium battery or two AA Ni-MH batteries |
|Battery performance (playback) ||TBD |
|Battery performance (recording) ||TBD |
|External power source ||3V DC with specified AC adapter (sold separately) |
|Dimensions (WxHxD) ||4.33 x 2.06 x 1.26 inches (111 x 52.3 x 32 mm) |
|Weight ||6.5 oz (185 g) (without batteries and SD Memory card) |
|System Requirements ||IBM PC/AT compatible computer with Windows XP, Windows Me, Windows 2000, Windows 98* or Windows 98 SE* and with a USB port as standard interface |
Apple Macintosh with preinstalled Mac OS 8.6** - 9.2.2 or Mac OS X v. 10.1 - 10.1.3 and with a USB port as standard interface
* Users with Windows 98 and Windows 98 SE must install dedicated driver software included in the DiMAGE F100 package.
** Users with Mac OS 8.6 must download and install free driver from the Apple Computer website.
|Accessories ||Standard : Hand Strap HS-DG 100 ; AV Cable AVC-200 ; USB Cable USB-500 ; SD (Secure Digital) 16 MB Memory Card ; CR-V3 lithium battery, DiMAGE Software CD-ROM (including DiMAGE Viewer) |
Optional : AC Adapter AC-6, IR Remote Control RC-3