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Minolta's DiMAGE F200 digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture! Minolta Europe announces new 4mpix digicam (UPDATED)
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(Sunday, March 2, 2003 - 04:56 EST)

The good folks over at Dutch website LetsGoDigital.nl have posted news of a new digital camera announced in Europe by Minolta.

We're not currently aware of any US plans for the DiMAGE F200, which is apparently the successor to the existing DiMAGE F100 model. According to LetsGoDigital's item, which has three photos each of the new camera in both silver and blue body colors, the camera matches a 1/1.8" 4.1 Megapixel CCD, 3x optical zoom lens, improved subject-tracking autofocus, an auto-rotate function that detects the orientation of images and flags them appropriately, an improved Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection, XR movie function and more.

For full details on this European announcement, read LetsGoDigital's item, and when your done give their PMA coverage a browse as well to see their thoughts on all the latest announcements.

Minolta's Dimage F200 digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

UPDATED 2003-03-02 06:03ET: Added the official press release and full specifications. Moved item to the PMA Report.

Original Source Press Release:

The new 4.0 megapixel DiMAGE F200

Osaka, Japan, March 2nd, 2003: The DiMAGE F200 is a stylish 4.0 megapixel camera that can go anywhere you do. The sophisticated automatic functions make photography simple, and the 4.0 megapixel CCD, Minolta GT lens, CxProcess, and 12-bit A/D conversion ensures beautiful images. The new F200 is also packed with functions that allow total control over image making. But this unique digital camera is not limited to capturing still images; it can also make digital audio and video recordings. The DiMAGE F200 is a powerful, easy-to-use digital camera.

The DiMAGE F200 is striking, the perfect complement to any lifestyle. The compact body borrows the fine soft curves and intersecting planes of its predecessors, and adds distinctive rubberized grips and a new control layout. The rich aluminum exterior reflects the quality of the design. The camera is available in two colors: silver and indigo.

With the lens retracted, the DiMAGE F200 is 11cm wide, 5.3cm high, and 3.2cm deep and weighs only 185g. The camera is the most unobtrusive companion; just slip it into a pocket or small bag each time you go out.

Increased and expanded performance makes the DiMAGE F200 easy to use. Improvements to both hardware and software increase the response and versatility of the autofocus systems.

The DiMAGE F200's improved Subject Tracking AF follows a subject through three-dimensional space as naturally as seeing and can be used with Area AF or Focus Area Selection. When combined with Area-AF, simply press the shutter-release button partway down and the camera evaluates the objects in the extra-wide focus frames and automatically locks onto the subject. If the subject moves, Subject Tracking AF will adjust the focus to ensure a sharp image; the active AF sensor is displayed in the focus frames and will follow the subject movement. No complicated procedures to lock the focus on off-center subjects are necessary. Simply point the camera at the scene and the autofocus systems do the rest. When Subject Tracking AF is combined with Focus Area Selection, the photographer can select a specific subject and the camera will then follow the movement of that subject.

The new Auto Rotate function eliminates the need to keep turning the camera sideways when playing back images. Vertical shots will be correctly oriented when viewing images on the camera or a television monitor.

In the past, photographers always had to make time-consuming manual adjustments as the subject and shooting environment changed. The DiMAGE F200's improved Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection analyzes the shooting conditions and selects among five subject programs and programmed AE to optimize the camera's exposure, white-balance, and image-processing controls. The five subject programs cover common and specialized shooting conditions and can be selected manually:

  • 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: the flash and ambient exposures are balanced to reveal the night scene behind the subject.
Unlike the extreme sensitivity of the human eye, low light levels have always limited photographic systems. Displaying a bright monitor image for composing and evaluation in these conditions is a challenge because of the 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.

Digital video also suffers from the same exposure problems. The DiMAGE F200's improved Night Movie mode is able make color recordings under these same conditions.

Employing the technology from the top-of-the-line DiMAGE 7Hi, the F200's high-precision electro-optical system is designed to maximize image quality. The 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.

Minolta's image-processing technology, CxProcess, and 12-bit A/D conversion guaranties the image from the CCD will faithfully reproduce the scene. With billions of colors and 4,096 levels in each color channel, images possess almost lifelike color and detail. 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 in the mid-tones and highlights, and to strengthen and enrich the shadows.

The DiMAGE F200'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 to 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.

Dark noise, an ever-present problem in electronic systems, manifests itself by giving a grainy or sandy appearance to images taken with long exposures. DiMAGE F200 combats this with a selectable noise-reduction function, which automatically activates for exposures of one second or longer.

The DiMAGE F200 not only has sophisticated automatic technology to produce beautiful images effortlessly, but also it has been given an array of creative tools. Whether you want to capture the moment without having to worry about camera settings, or to control the image-making process to realize your inspiration, the DiMAGE F200 has what you need.

The controls over exposure are amazing. The DiMAGE F200 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. Camera sensitivity can be set to auto or to one of four ISO equivalent levels: 100, 200, 400, or 800.

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. All the camera's white balance controls are available for movie recording.

The color mode switches between Natural Color, Vivid Color, black and white, and Sepia. 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.

DiMAGE F200'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 F200 an equivalent a 456mm lens on a 35mm camera. The combined optical and digital zooms give this compact camera an amazing 12x zoom range.

As well as the sophisticate Area AF and Subject Tracking AF system, the camera can be manually focused. During manual focus, the monitor image is automatically enlarged so image sharpness can be judged.

The DiMAGE F200 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 length of XR (Extended Recording) movie clips is only limited by the memory card capacity. The new Direct Video function allows the camera to be connected directly to a VHS or DVD recording deck; the only limit to recording is the length and speed of the tape or the capacity of the DVD. Direct Video uses both the NTSC and PAL format.

Two copy functions allow image files to be duplicated in camera. An improved E-mail Copy function allows a still image to be copied and resized to 640 x 480 or 160 x 120 pixels 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 signals are used to make positive confirmation of button settings. A shutter sound effect accompanies the release of the shutter. As well as the electronic and mechanical shutter sounds, a personalized shutter effect can be recorded using the camera's built-in microphone.

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.

The DiMAGE F200 control layout has been completely redesigned. A separate zoom lever is placed behind the shutter-release button for simple operation of the 3X optical zoom. The five-key controller array is located next to the LCD monitor and is used for setting camera functions. A rounded rubberized grip is on the front of the body, and a rubber pad is placed on the back for sure handling.

A large built-in memory gives the DiMAGE F200 its responsiveness. During playback, still images are loaded in less than 0.2 seconds regardless of resolution and file type, and movie clips can be rewound and fast forwarded quickly.

With sophisticated automatic functions, a 4.0 megapixel CCD, Minolta's CxProcess, and 12-bit A/D conversion, beautiful photography has never been so simple. Whether you want total control over image making, or the ability to make audio and digital video recordings, the F200 has the tools. The Minolta DiMAGE F200, a powerful, easy-to-use digital camera that can go anywhere you do.

Technical Specifications

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 100, 200, 400, and 800 ISO equivalents
Focal length: 7.8 – 23.4mm (35mm equivalent: 38 – 114mm)
Lens construction: 8 elements in 7 groups (including three elements)
Maximum aperture: f/2.8 – f/4.7
Minimum focus distance: 0.5m from CCD
Macro focus range: 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: 31.7 x 42mm
Viewfinder type: Optical real-image zoom viewfinder
Monitor LCD: 3.8cm (1.5 inch) 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 s in programmed-AE and aperture-priority modes.
15 - 1/1000 s in shutter-priority and manual exposure modes.
Bulb (max. 15 s)
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. Subject Tracking AF and single-shot AF can be used with Area AF or Focus Area Selection.
Focus lock: With single-shot AF
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: 0.5 – 3.4 m (approx.)
Telephoto: 0.5 – 2 m (approx.)
(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: Available
Exposure bracketing: Three frame bracket in 1.0, 0.5, 0.3 Ev increments
Self-timer: 10 s (approx.)
Remote control: IR Remote Control RC-3 (sold separately)
Movie: Recording time dependent on memory card capacity.
Frame rate: 15fps
Fast forward and rewind control.
Monaural audio with playback volume control.
Night movie (automatic selection or disabled)
Direct Video: Recording time limited by recording media.
Audio: Audio recording: 180 min. (max.) *
*128MB memory card is required.
Voice memo: 15s (max) with still image
Audio caption: 15s (max.) 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, Sepia
Noise reduction: User selectable
Digital zoom: 4x (max.) 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 640 x 480 or 160x120 JPEG image for transmission.
Date imprinting: Year/month/day (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, 160 x 120
Storage capacity:

Approximate storage capacity of a 16MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card:

  2272 x 1704 1600 x 1200 1280 x 960 640 x 480
TIFF 1 frame 2 frames 3 frames 14 frames
Fine 7 frames 14 frames 22 frames 69 frames
Standard 14 frames 27 frames 39 frames 100 frames
Economy 27 frames 47 frames 69 frames 150 frames
Movie 41 seconds with 320x240 images
2 minutes 30 seconds with 160x120 images
Audio Recording 30 minutes 51 seconds

* Still images 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 ver. 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: PAL, NTSC (selected on the camera)
Batteries: One CR-V3 lithium battery or two AA Ni-MH batteries
Battery performance (Playback):
Approximate continuous playback time: 270 min.
Based on Minolta’s standard test method with a CR-V3 lithium battery.
Approximate continuous playback time: 150 min.
Based on Minolta’s standard test method with 1,850 mAh Ni-MH batteries
Battery performance (Recording):
Approximate number of recorded images: 230 frames
Based on Minolta’s standard test method: CR-V3 lithium battery, LCD monitor on, Full-size images (2272X1704), Standard image quality, No instant playback, No voice memo, No full-time AF, No Subject Tracking AF, Flash used with 50% of the frames.
- Approximate number of recorded images: 140 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, 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: 111.0(W) x 52.5(H) x 32(D) mm
Weight: 185g (approx.) without batteries or recording media
Operating temperature: 0-40ºC / 32-104°F
Standard accessories: Hand Strap HS-DG100
AV Cable AVC-200
USB Cable USB-500
16MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card
CR-V3 lithium battery
DiMAGE Viewer
Optional accessories: Camera Case CS-DG200
AC Adapter AC-6
IR Remote Control RC-3
Metal Chain Neck Strap NS-DG100
Leather Neck Strap NS-DG200
*Availability varies with region

Specifications and accessories are based on the information available at the time of printing and are subject to change without notice.

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 preinstalled Mac OS 9.0 – 9.2.2, Mac OS X v10.1.3 – 10.1.5, v10.2.1, and v10.2.2 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 F200 package.

System requirements are based on the latest information available at the time of printing and are subject to change without notice.

* 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.

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