Review posted for Minolta DiMAGE F300!|
(Tuesday, May 27, 2003 - 18:08 EDT)
Minolta has updated last year's innovative F100 with a five megapixel sensor, calling the new model the DiMAGE F300.
Like the F100 before it, the Minolta DiMAGE F300 is an excellent performer in almost every category, delivering excellent color with good white balance under a wide range of lighting. Its five megapixels of resolution combine with the excellent "GT" optics in its lens to deliver images that are sharp from corner to corner. The unusually sophisticated Autofocus (AF) modes for the most part worked well (if not infallibly), providing more consistent focusing with off-center subjects than you'd normally experience with the typical single-point digicam AF system. Exposure control is also very versatile, with controls that let you tweak color saturation, brightness, contrast, and sharpness.
I thought Minolta hit the size/comfort balance just about right: The F300 is small enough that it could be called "pocket sized," but is big enough that even hamfisted Westerners like myself can hold it and manipulate the controls easily. The very high eyepoint on the viewfinder is a boon to eyeglass wearers too.
No product is perfect though, and the F300's Achilles' heel is its shutter response: It's noticeably slower than most competing models, with about a 1.3 second shutter lag in full autofocus mode. (Its prefocused shutter performance is quite good though.)
If your primary interest is sports photography, look elsewhere, but if your applications don't require blazing shutter response, the F300 is one of the best compact five-megapixel models out there, delivering really excellent photos, at an attractive price point. Check it out!