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Minolta's DiMAGE S414 digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture! Minolta updates the Dimage S404
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(Monday, February 10, 2003 - 16:44 EST)

Minolta Corp. has today announced a successor to the DiMAGE S304 and S404 digital cameras, in the form of the new DiMAGE S414.

The new model is very closely based on the S404, sharing the identical lens, imager, body - in fact at first glance the specifications seem essentially identical. We're currently examining the specifications to try and determine what the differences are, and this article will be updated as soon as we have that information.

Pricing and availability for the Minolta DiMAGE S404 have not yet been announced. Minolta have provided us with a "backgrounder" document describing the DiMAGE S414, and full specifications, as below:


MINOLTA’S 4 MEGAPIXEL DiMAGE S414

The new Minolta DiMAGE S414 meets amateur photographers’ needs for a digital camera that provides high-quality image processing, a dynamic zooming range, advanced autofocus and autoexposure performance and fast, easy operation.

Main Features:

High Resolution CCD
The DiMAGE S414’s high-precision electro-optical system is built around a 4.1 megapixel 1/1.8-type interline primary-color CCD with 4.0 million effective pixels for fine high-resolution images. This pixel resolution will produce B4 size 150dpi prints or A5 size photo-quality prints.

High Performance all-glass 4x zoom Minolta GT LENS
The Minolta DiMAGE S414 features a Minolta GT LENS, a high performance lens class for digital cameras. It is a high-resolution, all-glass apochromat lens featuring both an AD (anomalous dispersion) element and two double-sided aspheric elements to ensure clear, sharp, and detailed images with minimum chromatic aberration at all focal lengths.

CxProcessTM: Minolta’s Image Processing Technology
The DiMAGE S414 features Minolta’s proprietary CxProcess, a new image processing technology that provides clear and natural images. In image processing, too much emphasis on natural color produces flat color pictures. Overemphasizing the color range creates an unnatural color scheme. CxProcess balances both extremes by controlling sharpness, color reproduction, tonal gradation and noise to produce pleasing photographs.

12-bit A/D Conversion
The digital camera 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, with 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.

High 4x Optical Zoom Ratio
The new DiMAGE S414 has a high power 4x optical zoom lens – a range equivalent to a 35mm-140mm zoom lens on a 35mm camera – that has the flexibility to capture pictures ranging from wide-angle landscapes to intimate portraits.

The One-Touch 2.2x digital zoom gives the Minolta DiMAGE S414 a zoom ratio of up to a 308mm focal length on a 35mm camera. The macro setting on the camera produces sharp close-up images of subjects as near 3.9 inches from the lens.

Highly Responsive Operation
A higher pixel count generally means slower operation. However, the DiMAGE S414’s high speed LSI with a 32-bit RISC CPU and the 32 MB SDRAM buffer memory ensures responsive and effortless operation.

The DiMAGE S414 is fast. The image capturing interval time of 0.8 second and brisk continuous advance speed of 1.3 frames per second with up to 7 frames (with full-size - 2272x1704 pixels – images in the fine image-quality mode) can transform a passing moment into a priceless memory. With a playback loading time of 0.2 second, images are previewed quickly.

High Performance Autofocus and Autoexposure
Using a wide focus area, the cross-hair main autofocus control accurately and quickly determines subject distance, regardless of the horizontal or vertical subject contrast. Focus Area Selection is a flexible tool that singles out a specific subject in the image area by selecting from five spot focus areas. With Minolta’s Focus Area Selection, photographers can move the focusing point to single out a specific subject from a number of objects at varying distances. The S414 can also be manually focused for users that wish to take creative control.

The controls over exposure are amazing. The DiMAGE S414 has multi-segment and spot metering. Multi-segment metering uses 270 segments to determine exposure. Three exposure modes are available: program, aperture priority, and manual. 15-second bulb exposures can be made in manual exposure. Camera sensitivity can be set to auto or to one of four ISO equivalent levels: 64, 100, 200, or 400. And to ensure the best exposure possible, an automatic three-frame bracket can be made with 0.3, 0.5, of 1.0 EV steps.

Easy-to-Use Control Layout
The camera’s controls are positioned and designed with a four-way controller and easy-to-read menu for ease of use. The mode dial allows the user to switch instantly between fully automatic recording and multi-function recording for more creative control. A shutter sound effect indicates the shutter has been released.

Sophisticated Design
The DiMAGE S414’s compact design features a lightweight aluminum body, and is designed to feel comfortable in the hands, making it the perfect choice for people on the go.

Diverse Functions
The sharpness, contrast, and filter digital effects controls are image-processing tools built into the DiMAGE S414. These functions allow image data to be maximized at the scene. Sharpness accentuates or softens details. Contrast controls the difference between brightness levels; increasing the contrast makes the highlights brighter and the shadows darker. And the new Filter effects make a color image warmer or cooler.

Unique to digital imaging, the DiMAGE S414’s real-time histogram shows the luminance distribution of the image before it is captured. Displayed with the live image, the histogram allows the subject brightness and contrast to be evaluated to optimize the camera’s exposure and contrast controls.

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, the custom setting allows the camera to be calibrated to the lighting conditions at the scene.

The camera’s color mode has five options: Natural Color, Vivid Color, black and white, Sepia, and solarization. Natural Color preserves the actual colors of the scene and Vivid Color accentuates them. Black and white creates a neutral monochrome image whereas the new Sepia mode gives the classic appearance of toning in old photographs. Solarization creates a partial reversal of tones and colors in the highlights for creative effects.

The DiMAGE S414 can continuously record still images at a rate of approximately 1.6 frames per second. A ten-second self-timer is available for self-portraits. The optional remote control RC-3 can used to record still images and movie clips from up to 16 feet away. The DiMAGE S414 is not limited to recording still images. Sixty seconds of digital video with audio can be captured. Voice memo allows up to 15 seconds of audio to be attached to an image when it is captured. The movie clips and audio tracks can be played back in the camera.

Creative Modes
In the past, photographers always had to make time-consuming manual adjustments as the subject and shooting environment changed. Digital Subject Programs allows the camera’s exposure, white-balance, and image-processing controls to be optimized for specific scenes and subjects at the press of a button. The six subject program modes are available:

  • Macro: for close-up photography.
  • Portrait: optimized to reproduce warm, soft skin tones and a slight defocusing of the background.
  • Landscape: optimized to take sharp images of expansive scenes.
  • Night portrait: the flash and ambient exposures are balanced to reveal the night scene behind the subject. This can also be used for night scenery.
  • Text: for crisp reproductions of black text or line art on a white background.
  • Text & Macro: to reproduce small text or line art.

Informative LCD Display
The LCD monitor displays active camera settings, exposure information, and warnings. This information can be turned off so that the entire image can be viewed. The DiMAGE S414 has two additional displays for critical composition: grid and scale. Usually found in large-format view cameras, the grid makes aligning the camera with vertical or horizontal elements within the image simple; confirming that the horizon or buildings are straight in landscape or architectural photography is easy. The scale can be used in close-up photography to judge the relative proportions of the subject.


Minolta DiMAGE S414
Number of effective pixels 4.0 million
CCD
1/1.8-type interline primary-color CCD
Total pixels: 4.1 million
A/D conversion 12-bit
Camera sensitivity Auto and 64, 100, 200, and 400 ISO equivalents
Focal length 7.15 – 28.6mm (35mm equivalent: 35 – 140mm)
Lens construction 11 elements in 9 groups (includes one AD glass element and two double-sided aspheric elements)
Maximum aperture f/3.0 – f/3.6
Minimum focus distance
Wide: 1.6 ft. / 0.5 m from CCD
Telephoto: 3 ft. / 0.9 m from CCD
Macro focus range
3.9 – 21.3 in. / 10 – 54 cm from front of lens
6.3 – 23.6 in. / 16 – 60 cm from CCD
Maximum magnification
0.1x (1:10)
Equivalent to 0.465x (1:2.15) in 35mm format
Area covered at maximum magnification 2.93 x 2.19 in. / 74.3 x 55.7mm
Filter diameter 35.5mm
Viewfinder type Optical real-image zoom viewfinder
Monitor LCD
1.8 inch (4.6 cm) TFT color
Total number of pixels: 122,000
Shutter CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter
Shutter speed range 4 - 1/1000 second, Bulb (maximum 15 seconds )
Autofocus system Video AF
Autofocus areas
Wide focus area
Spot focus areas with Focus Area Selection
Focus modes
Autofocus (Full-time AF is available in the autofocus mode),
Manual focus
Metering Multi-segment, Spot
Multi-segment metering 270 segments
Exposure modes Programmed AE, Aperture priority, Manual
Digital Subject Programs Macro, Portrait, Landscape, Night portrait, Text, Macro & text
Exposure compensation ±2 EV in 1/3 increments
Flash metering ADI
Flash range
Wide: Approximately 1.6 – 11.5 ft./0.5 – 3.5m
Telephoto: Approximately 3 – 9.8 ft /0.9 – 3.0m
(Camera sensitivity: auto)
Flash modes Autoflash, Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill-flash, Fill-flash with red-eye reduction, Flash cancel
Continous Advance Available
Exposure bracketing Three frame bracket in 1.0, 0.5, 0.3 EV increments
Self-timer Approximately 10 seconds
Remote control IR Remote Control RC-3 (sold separately)
Movie recording
Recording time: Maximum 60 seconds with monaural audio
Frame rate: 15 frames per second
Audio Voice memo: 5 seconds or 15 seconds monaural audio with still image
Color modes Natural Color, Vivid Color, Black and white, Sepia, Solarization
White balance control Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Cloudy), Custom
Digital effects controls Contrast compensation, Sharpness, Filter
Contrast compensation Three levels (High, Normal, Low)
Sharpness settings Three levels (Soft, Normal, Hard)
Filter Three levels (Cool, Normal, Warm)
Digital zoom 2.2 x
Date imprinting
Month/day/year(Format can be changed.)
Imprinting can be disabled
Image-quality modes TIFF, Fine, Standard, Economy
Number of recorded pixels (Still images) 2272 x 1704, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480
Number of recorded pixels (Movie clips) 320 x 240
Storage capacity
Approximate storage capacity of a 16 MB CompactFlash card:
  2272 x 1704 1600 x 1200 1280 x 960 640 x 480
Super Fine 1
frame
2
frames
3
frames
13
frames
Fine Mode 6
frames
12
frames
17
frames
34
frames
Standard 11
frames
19
frames
26
frames
42
frames
Economy 17
frames
27
frames
33
frames
48
frames
Movie† 51 seconds (320 x 240)
* Actual number of images may vary depending upon the subject and memory card used.
** Still images are recorded without voice memo.
† Total number of seconds that can be stored.
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 Type I CompactFlash card
Computer interface USB 1.1
AV output NTSC, PAL (selected on the camera)
Batteries
Four Ni-MH or AA alkaline batteries
Use of Ni-MH batteries is recommended.
Battery performance (Playback)
Approximate continuous playback time: 120 minutes
Based on Minolta’s standard test method with 1,850 mAh Ni-MH batteries.
Battery performance (Recording)
Approximate number of recorded images: 160 frames
Based on Minolta’s standard test method: 1,850 mAh Ni-MH batteries, LCD monitor on, Full-size images (2272x1704), Standard image quality, No instant playback, No voice memo, Flash used with 50% of the frames.
External power source 6V DC with specified AC adapter (sold separately)
Dimensions (W x H x D)
4.47 x 2.54 x 2.3 in.
113.5 x 64.5 x 58.5mm
Weight Approximately 11.8oz./335g without batteries or recording media
Operating temperature 32-104°F / 0-40ºC
Standard accessories Four AA Alkaline Batteries, Neck Strap NS-DG304, Lens Cap LF-236, AV Cable, AVC-100, USB Cable USB-600, CompactFlash Card, DiMAGE Viewer CD-ROM
Optional accessories Camera Case CS-DG304, IR Remote Control RC-3, External High Power Battery Pack Kit EBP-100, AC Adapter AC-1L
More Photos
.

Source: Minolta Corp.

Original Source Press Release:

Minolta Introduces The New DiMAGE S414 Compact Digital Camera

4-Megapixel consumer digital camera offers high performance with fast, simple operation

Ramsey, NJ (February 10, 2003) - Minolta Corporation announces the new easy-to-use DiMAGE S414 featuring a 4.1 megapixel CCD, a high-quality Minolta GT 4x optical zoom lens, Minolta's CxProcess, and additional versatile features. With a design based on the highly-regarded DiMAGE S404 and DiMAGE S304, the stylish new DiMAGE S414 also features a built-in flash, video recording capability, USB interface and Compact Flash card compatibility.

"The new DiMAGE S414 combines high quality images and automatic features, allowing users to obtain the best photographic results with easy camera operation," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of Marketing, Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "It's the ideal digital camera for a variety of applications and users -- personal or business, from novice to enthusiasts."

The Minolta DiMAGE S414's high-precision electro-optical system is built around a 4.1 megapixel 1/1.8-type interline primary-color CCD with 4.0 million effective pixels for fine high-resolution images. The DiMAGE S414's built-in Minolta GT lens is a versatile apochromatic 4x zoom with anomalous dispersion (AD) glass for color accuracy and dual aspherical elements which, combined with a 2.2x digital zoom, provides a compact lens design with a wide image capture range. The optical zoom lens range is from 7.15mm to 28.6mm, equivalent to 35mm -140mm in 35mm photography, and with digital zoom, the range is equivalent to 35mm - 308mm in 35mm.

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.

In addition, the high-speed LSI with 32-bit RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) CPU and expanded SDRAM buffer memory allows the camera to be highly responsive with faster operation. The capturing interval time of 0.8 seconds and brisk continuous advance speed of 1.3 frames per second with up to 7 frames (full size images in fine image quality mode) can transform a passing moment into a priceless memory.

The DiMAGE S414 offers flexible and accurate autofocus, auto exposure and an optical zoom viewfinder. Its stylish aluminum body features an easy-to hold grip and simple control layout. A versatile camera, the DiMAGE S414 features fully automatic white balance and video recording with audio as well as ease of use features like Digital Subject Program Selection and creative functions such as histogram display of recorded images, exposure compensation and bracketing, custom white balance and digital effects control, that give the photographer control over the final image.

For more detailed information on features and specifications of the Minolta DiMAGE S414, please refer to the enclosed 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.

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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