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Minolta's DiMAGE F100 digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Minolta announces innovative compact digicam!
(Wednesday, March 13, 2002 - 04:00 EST)

DiMAGE F100 identifies the subject person in your image and focuses / exposes accordingly...

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.

Main Features:

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.

Intuitive Controls
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.

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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.
Manual focus
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
More Photos

Source: Minolta Co. Ltd.

Original Source Press Release:

Minolta Introduces New 4.0-Megapixel Digital Camera: The DiMAGE F100

The DiMAGE F100 offers:

  • World's First Area Autofocus and Subject Tracking Autofocus
  • World's First Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection
  • Wide 7.5x zoom (3x optical/2.5 digital)
  • Superior Image Quality with the Minolta GT Lens, Minolta CxProcessTM and 12-bit A/D Conversion
Ramsey, NJ (March 13, 2002) - Minolta Corporation expands its digital camera line with the introduction of the new Minolta DiMAGE F100, the world's first digital camera with Area autofocus (Area AF) and Subject Tracking autofocus (AF) and automatic digital subject program selection.

"The DiMAGE F100 is the first digital camera to offer Area AF and Subject Tracking AF", said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing for Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "We call it 'Bringing people into focus' because it finds the people in the scene, locks on them, and follows them across the viewfinder. You'll get images so sharp that you'll never want to delete any of them."

The DiMAGE F100 features a 1/1.8-inch type CCD with 4-megapixel effective resolution. The camera incorporates a 3x optical zoom Minolta GT LENS for color accuracy and three aspherical elements that, combined with a 2.5x digital zoom, provides a compact lens design with a wide image capture range.

The image formed on the CCD is enhanced by Minolta's exclusive CxProcess image processing technology to optimize sharpness, color reproduction, tonal gradation and noise to create clear and natural images. The wide dynamic range is provided by 12-bit A/D (analog to digital) conversion to ensure natural color and tonal reproduction.

Advanced technology makes focusing on the DiMAGE F100 simple and effective. The DiMAGE F100 is the first compact digital camera in the world to be equipped with Subject Tracking AF and also features Minolta's Area AF. These work together to locate and follow the subject through three-dimensional space within the camera's extra-wide focusing area, making the autofocus system ready to take a picture when you are. Simply activate the Area AF system with the shutter-release button and the camera evaluates the objects in the extra-wide focus frames and pinpoints the subject. If the subject moves, Subject Tracking AF will adjust the focus to ensure sharp image; the active AF sensor is displayed in the focus frames and will follow the subject movement.

The DIMAGE F100 is also the first digital camera in the world with Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection. This advanced feature automatically selects one of five subject programs - portrait, sports action, landscape, sunset, or night portrait - to optimize the camera's exposure and image-processing controls based on the subject and scene. This frees the photographer from having to evaluate the conditions and make camera settings for each new situation.

Its stylish, slim aluminum body features an easy-to hold, elegant grip and ergonomic control layout. A versatile camera, the DiMAGE F100 features the functions and controls essential for great image making. The DiMAGE F100 allows complete control over exposure, color, contrast, saturation, white balance, camera sensitivity and focus. It can also record movies and audio.

For more detailed information on features and specifications of the Minolta DiMAGE F100, please refer to the backgrounder and specification sheets.

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 35mm 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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