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Minolta updates the DiMAGE F100 to 5 megapixels!
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(Friday, January 10, 2003 - 13:56 EST)

Minolta Corp. yesterday showed an update to its DiMAGE F100 digital camera at the "Digital Experience" press event preceding this year's Consumer Electronics Show.

The DiMAGE F300 features a similar design to the F100, but with a 5 megapixel CCD imager. Minolta has provided us with the following backgrounder document detailing the new camera. Full specifications also follow...


MINOLTA’S NEW 5.0 MEGAPIXEL DIGITAL CAMERA: THE DiMAGE F300

The new Minolta DiMAGE F300 provides high-quality, high-resolution images and features advanced automatic functions, and fast, effortless operation. Following the sleek design of the Minolta DiMAGE F100, the DiMAGE F300 is one of the world’s lightest and smallest 5.0 megapixel digital cameras with a built-in zoom lens.

Main Features:

High-Precision Electro-Optical System
Employing technology from the top-of-the-line Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi digital camera, the F300’s high-precision electro-optical system is designed to maximize image quality. The system is built around a 5.3 megapixel 1/1.8-type interline primary-color CCD with 5.0 million effective pixels for fine high-resolution images. This pixel resolution will produce 13” x 17” 150dpi prints or 6.5” x 8.5” photo-quality prints; this creates a print size larger than both A3 and A5 respectively.

Minolta’s responsive autofocus system
Minolta’s new autofocus (AF) system featured in the DiMAGE F300 and DiMAGE F100 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. The user simply points the camera at the scene and the autofocus system does the rest.

The Minolta DiMAGE F100 was 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.

In addition to the sophisticated Area AF and Subject Tracking AF system, the DiMAGE F300 can be manually focused. During manual focus, the monitor image is automatically enlarged so image sharpness can be easily judged.

Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection
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 F300 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

Built-in 3x Zoom Minolta GT Lens
The DiMAGE F300’s Minolta GT lens is a marvel of optical design. The sophisticated eight-element, seven-group design is only 24mm long, less than an inch, when retracted. With a focal range of 7.8mm to 23.4mm, it is equivalent to a 38mm - 114mm 35mm zoom lens. It can range from wide angle for landscapes and interiors to telephoto for intimate portraits and details of distant landmarks. The 3x optical zoom employs three aspheric elements to ensure sharp, contrasty images at all focal lengths.

4x Digital Zoom
DiMAGE F300’s digital zoom seamlessly takes over from the maximum focal length of the optical zoom without interrupting the monitor image. The digital zoom can extend the optical zoom’s performance by four times in 0.1x increments giving the F300 an equivalent of a 456mm lens on a 35mm camera. The combined optical and digital zooms give this compact camera an amazing 12x zoom range.

CxProcessTM: Minolta’s Image Processing Technology
The DiMAGE F300 features Minolta’s proprietary CxProcess, Minolta’s image processing technology that provides vivid and natural images.

CxProcess controls sharpness by balancing resolution with acutance. This allows fine detail to be 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
Smooth gradations and fine details bring a photograph to life. The 12bit A/D conversion 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.

Noise reduction
Noise, an ever-present problem in electronic systems, manifests itself by giving a grainy or sandy appearance to the image. The DiMAGE F300 combats noise by employing a large signal-to-noise ratio to minimize its effect even with higher CCD gain as well as allowing photographers to select noise reduction to control image quality. The new selectable feature compensates for dark noise caused by exposures of one second or longer.

Low light enhancements
Unlike the extreme sensitivity of the human eye, photographic systems have always been limited by low light levels. Two new features to Minolta’s F series cameras improve operation and expand versatility.

In low light, displaying a bright monitor image for composing and evaluation is a challenge because of exposure limitations of the monitor frame rate. Automatic monitor amplification adjusts monitor gain so a color image is visible under less than ideal lighting conditions.

Also suffering from exposure limitations, digital video is difficult to record under low light. The DiMAGE F300’s improved Night Movie mode can make color recordings under these conditions. When light levels fall below a certain point, the camera automatically activates this mode.

Sleek, Slim Design
The elegantly designed outer shell of the new DiMAGE F300 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 F300 is not only one of the lightest 5.0-megapixel digital cameras 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.

Continuous advance modes
Catching the perfect moment has never been easier. Two continuous advance modes let you take multiple images of an event so the photographer can be sure to get the right image. UHS (Ultra High Speed) continuous advance drive mode can capture eleven 1280x960 size images in approximately one second. Standard continuous advance gives the choice of capturing 1.2 frames a second at any image size.

Functions and imaging controls to capture beautiful pictures
The automatic functions of the Minolta DiMAGE F300 make picture taking easy while the camera’s manual functions give photographers complete creative control. The DiMAGE F300 has three metering modes: multi-segment, center-weighted, and spot. Multi-segment metering uses 256 segments to determine exposure. Four exposure modes are available: program, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual. 15-second bulb exposures can be made in manual exposure, and to limit the effect of camera shake, the shutter can be opened and closed with the optional remote control RC-3. Both ambient and flash exposures can be compensated independently by ±2 EV in 1/3 EV increments. Camera sensitivity can be set to auto or to one of four ISO equivalent levels: 64, 100, 200, or 400. And to ensure the correct exposure, an automatic three-frame bracket can be made.

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.

White Balance Control
White balance controls how the camera interprets the color of the ambient lighting. Auto white balance compensates for changes in lighting automatically. Four preset white-balance settings - daylight, cloudy, tungsten, and fluorescent - can be selected for specific light sources. And for critical control over color, a custom setting allows the camera to be calibrated to the lighting conditions at the scene.

Flexibility in saving the image
Two copy functions allow image files to be duplicated in camera. 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 or posted on the Internet. The standard copy function makes a direct copy of a file onto the same or another memory card.

Audio and video options
The DiMAGE F300 is not limited to recording still images, and new movie recording features expand its digital video capabilities. Two image sizes can be selected: 160 x 120 pixels and 320 x 240 pixels. The new XR (Extended Recording) movie processing permits a 20-minute 160 x 120 movie clip or a 3-minute 320 x 240 clip to be recorded. Night Movies give the option to record under low light conditions. All the camera’s white balance controls are available for movie recording.

Thoughts and comments can be recorded with or without a still image. The audio recording mode records up to 180 minutes of audio. 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.

Intuitive Controls
Camera controls and dials are laid out for clear, intuitive operation. All shooting controls are placed around the grip area. Audio signals are used to confirm camera settings. In addition, a personalized shutter effect can be recorded using the camera’s built-in microphone.

A large built-in memory gives the DiMAGE F300 its responsiveness. The 32MB buffer memory allows large numbers of images to be captured smoothly in the continuous-advance drive modes as well as fluid playback operation. In playback mode, still images are loaded in approximately 0.2 seconds regardless of resolution and file type, and movie clips can be rewound and fast forwarded quickly.

The DiMAGE F300 comes bundled with a 32MB SD (Secure Digital) memory card, four Ni-MH batteries, an Ni-MH battery charger, sports case and ArcSoft Funhouse software. The DiMAGE F300 will be available to consumers in February 2003.

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 F300
Number of effective pixels 5.0 million
CCD
1/1.8-type interline primary-color CCD
Total pixels: 5.3 million
A/D conversion 12 bit
Camera sensitivity Auto and 64, 100, 200, and 400 ISO equivalents
Focal length 7.8 – 23.4mm (35mm equivalent: 38 – 114mm)
Lens construction 8 elements in 7 groups (includes three elements with four aspheric surfaces)
Maximum aperture f/2.8 – f/4.7
Minimum focus distance 1.6ft (0.5m) from CCD
Macro focus range 5.7 – 21.5 in. (14.5 – 54.5cm) 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 1.25 x 1.65 in. (31.7 x 42mm)
Viewfinder type Optical real-image zoom viewfinder
Monitor LCD
1.5 inch (3.8cm) low-temperature polysilicon TFT color with anti-reflection coating
Total number of pixels: 110,000
Automatic monitor amplification
Shutter CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter
Shutter speed range
4 - 1/1000 second in programmed-AE and aperture-priority modes
15 - 1/1000 second in shutter-priority and manual exposure modes
Bulb (maximum 15 seconds)
Autofocus system Video AF
Autofocus areas
Wide focus area (Area AF)
Spot focus areas with Focus Area Selection
Focus modes Subject Tracking AF, Single-shot AF, Full-time AF, Manual focus
Focus lock
With single-shot AF and Focus Area Selection
By pressing shutter-release button partway down
Subject lock
With Subject Tracking AF
By pressing shutter-release button partway down
Metering Multi-segment, Center-weighted, Spot
Multi-segment metering 256 segments
Exposure modes Programmed AE, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual
Digital Subject Programs
Automatic selection: Portrait, Sports action, Landscape, Sunset, Night portrait
Manual selection: Portrait, Sports action, Landscape, Sunset, Night portrait, Macro
Exposure compensation ±2 EV in 1/3 increments
AE lock By pressing shutter-release button partway down
Flash range
Wide: Approximately 1.6 – 11.2 ft. (0.5 – 3.4m)
Telephoto: Approximately 1.6– 6.6 ft. (0.5 – 2m)
(Camera sensitivity: auto)
Flash modes
Autoflash, Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill flash, Flash cancel
With aperture priority, shutter priority, or manual exposure, fill flash, fill flash with red-eye reduction, flash cancel only.
Flash compensation ± 2 EV in 1/3 increments
Continuous advance
UHS (Ultra High Speed) continuous advance: Approximately Eleven 1280 x 960 frames in one second

Standard continuous advance:

  • Approximately 1.5 frames per second without shutter sound effect
  • Approximately 1.2 frames per second with shutter sound effect
*Actual speed may vary depending upon the subject and camera settings
* UHS and standard continuous advance cannot be used with super fine images
Exposure bracketing 1.0, 0.5, 0.3 EV increments
Self-timer Approximately 10 seconds
Remote control IR Remote Control RC-3 (sold separately)
Movie
20 minutes maximum with 160 x 120 images
3 minutes maximum with 320 x 240 images
Frame rate: 15 frames per second
Fast forward and rewind control.
Monaural audio with playback volume control.
Night movie (automatic selection or disabled)
* The writing speed of the memory card in use may prevent an entire movie clip from being recorded.
Audio
Audio recording: 180 minutes maximum *
*128MB memory card is required
Voice memo: 15seconds maximum with still image
Audio caption: 15 seconds maximum with still image
Monaural audio with playback volume control
Fast forward and rewind control with audio recording
White balance control Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Cloudy), Custom
Digital Effects Control Contrast compensation, Color saturation compensation, Sharpness, Color modes
Contrast compensation Three levels (Low, Normal, High)
Color saturation compensation Three levels (Low, Normal, High)
Sharpness settings Three levels (Soft, Normal, Hard)
Color modes Natural Color, Vivid Color, Black and white
Noise reduction User selectable
Digital zoom 4x (maximum) in 0.1x increments
Copy function To 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)
2560 x 1920, 2048 x 1536, 1600 x 1200, 640 x 480
1280 x 960 only in UHS continuous-advance mode
Number of recorded pixels (Movie clips) 320 x 240, 160 x 120
Storage capacity
Approximate storage capacity of a 32MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card
 
2560x1920
2048x1536
1600x1200
640x480
Super fine
2 frames
3 frames
5 frames
31 frames
Fine
12 frames
18 frames
30 frames
145 frames
Standard
23 frames
36 frames
57 frames
210 frames
Economy
46 frames
67 frames
99 frames
315 frames
Movie 1 minute 29 seconds with 320x240 images, 5 minutes 56 seconds with 160x120 images
Audio recording 1 hour 4 minutes 40 seconds
* Still images are recorded without voice memo or audio caption
** Actual number of images may vary depending upon the subject and memory card used
File formats
JPEG, TIFF, Motion JPEG (MOV), WAVE
DCF 1.0-compliant
DPOF-compliant (Supported by printing functions in version 1.1)
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 USB DIRECT-PRINT
AV output NTSC, PAL (selected on the camera)
Batteries One CR-V3 lithium battery or two AA Ni-MH batteries
Battery performance (Playback)
Approximate continuous playback time: 270 minutes
Based on Minolta’s standard test method with a CR-V3 lithium battery.
Battery performance (Recording)
Approximate number of recorded images: 260 frames
Based on Minolta’s standard test method: CR-V3 lithium battery, LCD monitor on, Full-size images (2560X1920), Standard image quality, No instant playback,No voice memo, No full-time AF, No Subject Tracking AF, Flash used with 50% of the frames.
External power source 3V DC with specified AC adapter (sold separately)
Dimensions
4.37(W) x 2.07(H) x 1.28(D) in.
111.0(W) x 52.5(H) x 32.5(D) mm
Weight Approximately 6.5 oz. (185 g) without batteries or recording media
Operating temperature 32-104°F (0-40ºC)
Standard accessories Hand Strap HS-DG100, AV Cable AVC-200, USB Cable USB-500, 32MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card, CR-V3 lithium battery, four Ni-MH batteries, Ni-MH battery charger, sports case, DiMAGE Viewer CD-ROM, ArcSoft Funhouse CD-ROM
Optional accessories AC Adapter AC-6, IR Remote Control RC-3, Metal Chain Neck Strap NS-DG100
System Requirements
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 pre-installed Mac OS 8.6** – 9.2.2, Mac OS X v10.1.3 – 10.1.5, and v10.2.1 and with a USB port as standard interface.

  • 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.
* Users with Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition must install dedicated driver software included in the DiMAGE F300 package
** Users with Mac OS 8.6 must download and install free driver software from the Apple Computer web site
System requirements are based on the latest information available at the time of printing and are subject to change without notice.
More Photos
.
* 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.
Specifications are subject to change without notice.



Original Source Press Release:

MINOLTA INTRODUCES THE STYLISH NEW 5 MEGAPIXEL DiMAGE F300 DIGITAL CAMERA

New digital camera is one of the world’s lightest and smallest 5
megapixel digital cameras with a built-in zoom lens


Las Vegas, NV (January 8, 2003) – Minolta Corporation announces a new
addition to the DiMAGE digital camera line - the Minolta DiMAGE F300. Featuring
increased resolution and zoom range, a new noise reduction option and Minolta’s
award-winning Subject Tracking Autofocus (AF) and Minolta’s Area AF, this
new digital camera produces high-quality images and incorporates advanced automatic
functions, and fast, easy operation. Following the sleek contoured design of
the DiMAGE F100, the DiMAGE F300 is one of the world’s lightest and smallest
5.0 megapixel digital cameras with a built-in zoom lens.


“Today’s consumers are looking for easy to use high quality digital
cameras like that allows them to capture their precious moments,” said
Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing for Minolta Corporation's Consumer
Products Group. “The new DiMAGE F300 not only lets them do that but it’s
a stylish addition to their everyday lifestyle.”


The DiMAGE F300 features a 5.3 megapixel 1/1.8-type interline primary-color
CCD with 5.0 million effective pixels for fine high-resolution images. The DiMAGE
F300 incorporates a built-in 3x optical zoom Minolta GT LENS for color accuracy.
Three aspheric lens elements ensure sharp images at all focal lengths that.
And a 4x digital zoom capability, provides compact lens design with a wide image
capture range. With a focal range of 7.8mm to 23.4mm, it is equivalent to a
38mm to 114mm 35mm zoom lens.


This stylish camera features a slim aluminum body exterior and stainless steel
accents around the lens barrel with an easy-to hold, elegant grip and ergonomic
control layout. A versatile camera, the DiMAGE F300 features the functions and
controls essential for great image making. The DiMAGE F300 allows complete control
over exposure, color, contrast, saturation, white balance, camera sensitivity
and focus. It can also record movies and audio.


The image formed on the camera’s CCD sensor is enhanced by Minolta’s
exclusive CxProcess image processing technology to optimize sharpness, color
reproduction, tonal gradation and noise to create clear and natural looking
images. The DiMAGE F300’s wide dynamic range is provided by 12-bit A/D
(analog to digital) conversion to ensure natural color and accurate tonal reproduction.


The new Minolta DiMAGE F300 combats noise which can give a grainy look to digital
images by employing a large signal-to-noise ratio to minimize its effect even
with higher CCD gain as well as allowing photographers to select noise reduction
to control image quality. The new selectable feature compensates for dark noise
caused by exposures of one second or longer.


Advanced technology makes focusing on the DiMAGE F300 simple and effective.
The DiMAGE F300 follows in the footsteps of Minolta’s DiMAGE F100 - the
first compact digital camera in the world to be equipped with Subject Tracking
AF and to also feature Minolta’s Area AF. These technologies 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 the photographer wants to. 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 images; the active AF sensor
is displayed in the focus frames and will follow the subject movement.


The DiMAGE F300 also features 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.


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.


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