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Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Minolta USA announces DiMAGE Xt digicam
By
(Monday, May 12, 2003 - 15:28 EDT)

Minolta USA has today announced the upcoming DiMAGE Xt digital camera, a model which was first shown at the "Sneak Peek" press event accompanying the Photo Marketing Association show in Florida last March.

For a direct visual comparison with the existing DiMAGE Xi model, read our old item - but in brief, the new model is somewhat smaller and lighter than its predecessor, and features an updated look. A new grip has been added to the right-hand side of the camera's front to make it easier to hold, and the controls have also been revamped (switching from a linear slider to a rotary dial for the camera mode selection, and changing the shape and feel of the remaining buttons. The camera will be available in the USA this month; pricing has not been announced, but our affiliate Pricegrabber.com is listing prices in the region of $400 already.

A backgrounder document on Minolta's new announcement follows, along with detailed specifications on the camera. Also, if you have Minolta's unique DiMAGE Messenger software, we have four files courtesy of Minolta showing the DiMAGE Xt from different angles annotated with captions showing the different parts of the camera. If you don't have DiMAGE Messenger, you can download a free 14-day trial here, which will allow you to caption your own images during the trial period, and will also allow you to view DiMAGE Messenger images for as long as you like. As for the Messenger files themselves, click here for a front view of the camera, here for a rear view, here for a side view, and finally here for a bottom view...


THE NEW MINOLTA DiMAGE Xt 3.2 MEGAPIXEL DIGITAL CAMERA

The new Minolta DiMAGE Xt is designed to capture high-quality images quickly and conveniently with the world’s thinnest* digital camera body.

Main Features:

Compact Body and Design
The compact design of the Minolta DiMAGE Xt makes it easy to carry in a pocket without the usual bulk of traditional camera designs. With dimensions of 3.4 (W) x 2.6 (H) x 0.8 (D) inches and weighing only 4.2 ounces, the DiMAGE Xt is thinner than any other digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens. The simple and refined design, with a sleek metal exterior, also makes the DiMAGE Xt unobtrusive, so images of even everyday moments can be captured effortlessly.

Revolutionary, Folded 3x Optical Zoom Lens
Minolta’s legendary expertise in optical lens design has led to the creation of a unique compact folded 3x optical zoom lens with a depth of only 0.8 inches. By using a high quality prism that folds the optical path, the optical zoom lens is positioned vertically within the body. In addition, this efficient optical design requires only a small zooming motor, allowing for quiet zooming. With the 3x (5.7 – 17.1mm) optical zoom equivalent to a 37mm – 111mm on a 35mm camera, this versatile zoom range can be used to take pictures of sweeping landscapes as well as intimate portraits and close-ups. The lens focuses down to 5.9 inches at all focal lengths for close-up photographs without having to use a separate function. In addition, the DiMAGE Xt also has a 4x digital zoom, making for up to a 12x seamless zooming capability.

Effortless Operation
The responsive DiMAGE Xt also boasts the world’s fastest start-up time of approximately 1.1 seconds**. The camera is ready to shoot important moments as soon as it is switched on. The quick start-up speed is achieved by a newly developed, powerful RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) CPU and the non-extending lens. The fluid playback performance only causes a slight 0.2-second delay between frames regardless of file size.

High Quality Images
The DiMAGE Xt starts with the essential elements and features for beautiful images. The camera is built around a high-precision electro-optical system designed to maximize image quality. The system uses a 3.3 megapixel 1/2.7-type interline primary-color CCD with 3.2 million effective pixels for fine high-resolution images. This will produce 10 x 14 inch 150dpi prints or double-L size photo-quality prints.

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 Xt combats this with a selectable noise-reduction function, which automatically activates for exposures of one second or longer.

The DiMAGE Xt also features Minolta’s proprietary CxProcessTM, a new image processing technology that provides clear and natural images. CxProcess balances both extremes by controlling sharpness, color reproduction, tonal gradation and noise to optimize result.

Autofocus and Metering Control
The metering and autofocus systems can be selected to suit the situation. Multi-segment metering and five-point AF make taking beautiful, sharp images simple; place the subject anywhere within the extra-wide focus frames and the camera will do the rest. Spot metering and spot AF allows a user to meter or focus on a specific subject. This is useful to preserve the dynamic lighting of a scene or to single out a specific subject from a group.

The camera’s extended shutter-speed range gives the user more control over exposure in difficult lighting conditions. The camera can control the exposure from 4 seconds for scenes at night to 1/1000th of a second for brilliant sunlit landscapes.

Movie and Audio Functions
Extended Recording (XR) movie processing allows the Minolta DiMAGE Xt to capture digital video with audio. The length of the XR movie is only limited by the memory card capacity and image size. Two image sizes can be selected: 160 x 120 pixels and 320 x 240 pixels.

Thoughts and comments can be recorded with or without a still image. The audio recording mode can record continuously for 180 minutes. 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.

Video Conferencing Capability
The DiMAGE Xt can be used as a remote camera for video conferencing. Simply use the supplied USB cable to connect the camera to a computer with a Windows operating system and a compatible application such as Microsoft Windows Messenger. The camera can be mounted on a tripod or placed in the charger stand for hands-free operation.

Color Mode
The camera’s color mode switches between color, black and white, and sepia. Color preserves the actual colors of the scene. Black and white creates a neutral monochrome image whereas the new sepia mode gives the classic appearance of toning in old photographs.

Convenient Controls
The DiMAGE Xt’s controls have been redesigned for enhanced ease of use. A mode dial makes selecting the camera’s recording, playback, and setup modes simple. A new Quick View button allows images on the memory card to be accessed from the recording modes after they have been captured. The controller incorporates the Enter button to make setting functions and navigating the menus straightforward. And the recording function operated by the left/right controller keys can be customized to control exposure compensation, white balance, the drive mode, camera sensitivity, or the color mode to tailor camera operation to individual needs.

Audio signals can be 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 sound effect for both the AF signal and shutter release can be recorded using the camera’s built-in microphone.

E-Mail Easy
The DiMAGE Xt is the perfect camera for transmitting digital image files via e-mail. Users can plug the camera’s USB cable into a computer and simply drag and drop images onto a computer. The E-mail Copy function allows a recorded 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.

Rechargeable Battery
The DiMAGE Xt’s charger stand can recharge the battery while it is still in the camera. It can also charge a single spare battery by itself. The charger doubles as a camera stand for when the DiMAGE Xt is used for self-portraits, as a remote camera, or when connected to a computer.

DiMAGE Viewer Software
Also bundled with this new camera is Minolta’s DiMAGE Viewer software developed to support the latest generation of Minolta digital cameras. The Viewer allows still and movie images taken with the DiMAGE Xt to be processed and edited on a computer.

Editing single and multiple images is as simple as using a mouse. Images or folders can be copied or moved to any location in the computer. Multiple files can be renamed with a serial number. Exif information recorded when an image was captured, date, shutter speed, focal length, etc., can be displayed and the information to be displayed can be edited. The Viewer is not limited to images captured with Minolta digital cameras, but it can edit and process numerable common image-file formats.

A wide range of image-processing controls gives everyone, regardless of ability or experience, the tools to enhance or manipulate images. Color, brightness, contrast, saturation, and sharpness can be adjusted using palettes with sliders and input boxes. For advanced image processing, images can be adjusted using tone curves and histograms.

* as of February 15, 2003
** Fastest start up time of any digital camera with an optical zoom lens.

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Minolta DiMAGE Xt
Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Number of effective pixels 3.2 million
CCD
1/2.7-type interline primary-color CCD
Total pixels: 3.3 million
Camera sensitivity Auto (between ISO 50 – 160 equivalent), ISO 50,100, 200, 400 equivalents
Focal length 5.7 – 17.1mm (35mm equivalent: 37 – 111mm)
Lens construction 9 elements in 8 groups (includes 3 aspheric elements)
Maximum aperture f/2.8 – f/3.6
Minimum focus distance 5.9 in. / 0.15m from front of camera
Maximum magnification
0.1x (1:10)
Equivalent to 0.58x (1:1.72) in 35mm format
Area covered at maximum magnification 2.17 x 1.63 in. / 55.2 x 41.4mm
Viewfinder type Optical real-image zoom viewfinder
Monitor LCD
1.5 inch (3.8cm) low-temperature polysilicon TFT color monitor with anti-reflection coating
Total number of pixels: 110,000
Shutter CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter
Shutter speed range 4 - 1/1000 second
Autofocus system Video AF
Autofocus areas
Wide focus area (five-point AF)
Spot focus area
Metering Multi-segment, Spot
Multi-segment metering 256 segments
Exposure control Programmed AE
Exposure compensation ±2 EV in 1/3 stop increments
Flash range
Wide: Approximately 0.5 – 10.5 ft. / 0.15 – 3.2m
Telephoto: Approximately 0.5 – 8.2 ft. / 0.15 – 2.5m
(Camera sensitivity: auto)
Flash modes Autoflash, Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill-flash, Flashcancel, Night portrait
Continuous advance Available
Self-timer Approximately 10 seconds
Movie recording
Recording time dependent on memory card capacity.
Frame rate: 15 frames per second
Monaural audio only.
Audio
Audio recording: Maximum 180 minutes *
*128MB MB memory card is required.
Voice memo: Maximum 15 seconds
Audio caption: Maximum 15 seconds
Monaural audio only
White balance control Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent)
Color modes Color, Black and white, Sepia
Noise reduction User selectable
Zoom capability
3x optical zoom; Maximum 4x digital zoom in 0.1x increments
Digital zoom can be disabled.
E-mail Copy function Creates a compressed 640 x 480 or 160 x 120 JPEG image for transmission.
Date imprinting
Year/month/day (Format can be changed.)
Month/day/hour:minute
Imprinting can be disabled.
Image-quality modes TIFF, Fine, Standard, Economy
Number of recorded pixels (Still images) 2048 x 1536, 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:
  2048 x 1536 1600 x 1200 1280 x 960 640 x 480
TIFF 1 frame 2 frames 3 frames 14 frames
Fine 9 frames 14 frames 22 frames 69 frames
Standard 17 frames 27 frames 39 frames 100 frames
Economy 32 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
File formats
JPEG, TIFF, Motion JPEG (MOV), WAVE
DCF 1.0-compliant
DPOF-compliant (Supported by printing functions in version 1.1)
Exif 2.2
Folder name formats Standard, Date
Printing output control PRINT Image Matching II, Exif Print
Recording media SD (Secure Digital) Memory Cards, MultiMedia Cards
Computer interface USB 1.1
Direct print Epson USB DIRECT-PRINT
Remote camera Live images without audio viewed with a computer
AV output NTSC, PAL (selected on the camera)
Battery One NP-200 lithium-ion battery
Battery performance (Playback)
Approximate continuous playback time: 120 minutes
Based on Minolta’s standard test method with NP-200 lithium-ion battery
Battery performance (Recording)
Approximate number of recorded images: 130 frames.
Based on Minolta’s standard test method: NP-200 lithium-ion battery, LCD monitor on, Full-size images (2048x1536), Standard image quality, No instant playback, No voice memo, Flash used with 50% of the frames.
External power source 4.7V DC with specified AC adapter (sold separately)
Dimensions (WxHxD)
3.37 x 2.64 x 0.79 in.
85.5 x 67 x 20mm
Weight Approximately 4.2 oz. / 120 g without battery or recording media
Operating temperature 32-104°F / 0-40ºC
Standard accessories Hand Strap HS-DG100, AV Cable AVC-200, USB Cable USB500, 16MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card, Lithium-ion BatteryNP-200, Lithium-ion Battery Charger BC-300, DiMAGE ViewerCD-ROM
Optional accessories Metal Chain Neck Strap NS-DG100, AC Adapter AC-4, Deluxe Case, Casual Case, Marine Case MC-DG200
More Photos
Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
Minolta's DiMAGE Xt digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!
.

Finally, we have specifications for the Marine Case which Minolta is offering as an option for the DiMAGE Xt digital camera:

Minolta DiMAGE Xt Marine Case
Maximum depth (underwater) 98.4 ft. / 30m
Weight 8.5 oz. / 240 g (Case only)
Dimensions (WxHxD)
4.94 (W) x 3.7 (H) x 1.99 (D) in.
125.5 (W) x 94 (H) x 50.5 (D) mm
(excluding protrusions)
Standard accessories
Hand strap
O-ring grease
Desiccant
Optional accessories O-ring Set
 

Original Source Press Release:

MINOLTA INTRODUCES THE WORLD'S THINNEST*, COMPACT, 3.2 MEGAPIXEL DiMAGE Xt DIGITAL CAMERA

Stylish new DiMAGE Xt based on the award-winning Minolta DiMAGE Xi

Ramsey, NJ (May 12, 2003) - Minolta Corporation introduces today the new extremely thin and compact DiMAGE Xt, 3.2 megapixel digital camera. Similar to the stylish and award-winning Minolta DiMAGE Xi, the DiMAGE Xt features the world's fastest start-up time of any digital camera with an optical zoom lens, Minolta's image-processing technology, CxProcess, a 3x optical zoom lens, 4x digital zoom and an even smaller and thinner camera body than the DiMAGE Xi. And adding to this camera's versatility, Minolta also announces a waterproof Marine Case for use with the DiMAGE Xt.

"Building upon the success of Minolta's DiMAGE X and DiMAGE Xi, the new stylish and very compact Minolta DiMAGE Xt further enhances Minolta's line of compact yet powerful digital cameras," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "This camera combines an inviting take-anywhere design with popular features that today's consumers are seeking."

The contoured new vertically oriented design of the DiMAGE Xt eliminates more than 5% from the size, nearly 8% from the weight and offers nearly a half-second reduction in start-up time compared to its predecessor DiMAGE Xi. At 3.4 x 2.6 x 0.8 in. and 4.2 oz., the DiMAGE Xt can be slipped into a pocket or bag as easily as a wallet. The exclusive folded optical zoom system allowed Minolta to recreate the world's thinnest*, compact, planar digital camera with a 3x optical zoom.

The DiMAGE Xt's controls have been redesigned for comfort and enhanced ease of use. The main power switch has been repositioned to avoid turning the camera on or off accidentally The addition of a mode dial makes selecting the camera's recording, playback, and setup modes simple. A new Quick View button allows images on the memory card to be accessed from the recording modes after they have been captured. The controller incorporates the enter button to make setting functions and navigating the menu options easy.

The Minolta DiMAGE Xt can also be used as a remote camera for video conferencing. The DiMAGE Xt supports Epson USB DIRECT-PRINT. This allows images to be printed directly from the camera to a compatible printer using the supplied USB cable.

The accessory waterproof Minolta Marine Case designed specifically for the DiMAGE Xt allows the camera to be taken to extreme locations. From 100 feet underwater to the tops of the most rugged peaks, this case protects the camera from the elements. Taking advantage of the DiMAGE Xt's slim profile, this case is easy to store in a buoyancy vest or daypack.

The DiMAGE Xt digital camera will be available this month.

* As of February 15, 2003

For more detailed information on features and specifications of the Minolta DiMAGE Xt, 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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