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The following is an unedited press release, shown as received from the company represented. We've elected to present selected releases without editorial comment, as a way to provide our readers more information without further overtaxing our limited editorial resources. To avoid any possible confusion or conflict of interest, the Imaging Resource will always clearly distinguish between company-provided press releases and our own editorial views and content.

Minolta's DiMAGE Xi digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. PRESS RELEASE: Minolta Digital Camera and Autofocus Technology Win Praise

The new DiMAGE Xi digital camera and Minolta AREA-AF technology receive Popular Science Magazine's 2002 "Best of What's New" Awards

RAMSEY,N.J.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Nov. 8, 2002-- Minolta Corporation's new DiMAGE Xi 3.2 megapixel digital camera and Minolta AREA-AF technology as featured in the Minolta Freedom Zoom 160 Date and Freedom Zoom 140 Date 35mm point-and-shoot cameras have each received annual "Best of What's New" awards in the Photo category from Popular Science magazine. Popular Science editors reviewed thousands of new products and innovations for 2002 and chose just 100 winners in 10 categories for inclusion in the December "Best of What's New" issue. To win, a product or technology must represent a significant step forward in its category.

"Minolta is honored to receive these prestigious awards for the DiMAGE Xi and Minolta's AREA-AF autofocus technology," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "For 75 years, Minolta Corporation has been producing high-quality and award-winning imaging products and innovative technologies. These editorial awards acknowledge Minolta's heritage of producing excellent imaging products, both digital and film, that not only satisfy the needs of users, but also gain recognition among knowledgeable editors like those at Popular Science."

Minolta DiMAGE Xi

Building on the success of the highly popular and award winning Minolta DiMAGE X, the new DiMAGE Xi is equipped with a 3.3 megapixel CCD (3.2 million effective pixels) as well as a host of new functions and features.

The elegant new Minolta DiMAGE Xi features enhancements such as increased image quality, the world's fastest start-up time (1.2 seconds), and a seamless zoom range of 12x (combining both optical and digital zoom).

The new Minolta DiMAGE Xi is approximately 3/4 of an inch thick and shares the same revolutionary folded 3x optical zoom lens as the DiMAGE X. 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 Xi's 4x digital zoom, the camera has up to a 12x seamless zooming capability.

Besides increased resolution, the DiMAGE Xi has several other enhancements when compared to its sibling the DiMAGE X, including user-selectable ISO settings, optional date imprinting, spot autofocus (AF), an improved anti-reflection LCD and automatic e-mail file copy creation.

Minolta's New Wide AF - The Heart of the AREA-AF System

Normal autofocus systems locate the closest object within the central area in the field of view. AREA-AF automatically analyzes the objects within the wide focus framing area and prioritizes the point of focus on a human subject to reduce the probability of focusing on an extraneous object in the foreground or background. By analyzing a database of over 3,000 images and gathering statistical data on human dimensions, Minolta researchers and engineers have created a unique subject-detection system. This sophisticated new system employs shape, magnification, distance, and lighting information gathered by the camera systems to determine the subject in the scene. The camera's high-speed 32-bit RISC processor makes these complex calculations quickly and effectively.

The information from the multi-line AF sensor and subject detection system is used to calculate perfect exposures. The subject-weighted multi-segment metering system uses this information and up to 125 metering segments to calculate the exposure based on the subject and background lighting. This ensures that the subject will not be lost in the deep shadows of noon or washed out in front of dark backgrounds. The camera's aperture and shutter speed is controlled for optimum exposures, and the built-in flash is activated automatically in backlit or low-light situations. This highly accurate system ensures photographs will be perfectly exposed for every subject time after time.

Minolta Freedom Zoom 160 Date and Freedom Zoom 140 Date

The Minolta Freedom Zoom 160 Date and Freedom Zoom 140 Date 35mm cameras incorporate Minolta's new autofocusing system - AREA-AF. The AREA-AF system incorporates three autofocus modes: wide AF, spot AF, and target AF. Minolta's new wide AF uses a subject-recognition system to locate a subject within the camera's focus frame. This freedom from having to place a subject in the center of the field allows flexibility in composition. Spot AF can accurately single out the subject among a group of objects. Target AF is optimized to capture sharp images of moving subjects. Access to these modes is as simple as pressing a button.

This new system employs advanced Minolta technology designed to make taking pictures effortless and intuitive. For a properly focused and exposed photograph, a user simply looks through the camera's viewfinder. The viewfinder's eyepiece sensor automatically activates the camera's autofocusing system. The camera's large multi-line CCD sensor can automatically differentiate between people and other objects, and calculates the subject's distance, location, and luminance - automatically adjusting focus and exposure as the subject matter changes.

Groundbreaking technology is used in the AREA-AF system to give the Freedom Zoom 160 Date and Freedom Zoom 140 Date exceptional performance:

  • The world's largest AF area in a film camera(a)
  • The world's first film camera with subject detection
  • The world's first compact camera with matrix AF indication and automatic LED brightness control
  • Advanced subject-weighted multi-segment metering
  • Eye start, a 32-bit RISC processor, and a high-speed AF drive creating the world's fastest focusing compact camera in its class
(a) as of October 30, 2002

Previous Minolta "Best of What's New" Awards

This is not the first time Minolta products have been selected to receive a "Best of What's New" award. Previous winners were: Minolta Vectis 2000 (1999), Minolta Vectis Weathermatic (1998), Minolta Xtreem Vectis GX-4 (1997), Minolta Maxxum 9xi (1992), Minolta Maxxum 7xi (1992), Minolta Freedom Zoom 105I (1990), and Minolta Maxxum 7000I (1988).

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.

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.

(First posted on Friday, November 8, 2002 at 15:08 EST)

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