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Minolta's DiMAGE X20 digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Minolta announces new X-series digicam
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(Wednesday, July 16, 2003 - 22:00 EDT)

Minolta Corp. will tomorrow announce a new digital camera joining its lineup of ultra-compact models that use a prism to "fold" the lens path, allowing the entire lens to be contained inside the camera body.

Minolta was the first to use this unusual lens design (which has subsequently been mimicked in a Sanyo camera announced in Japan) - and it allows the camera body to be kept remarkably small and slender. Minolta's press release states that the DiMAGE X20 is "the world’s smallest and lightest 2-megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom". The dimensions of 86 x 67 x 23.5mm are about halfway in between the DiMAGE Xt and the slightly smaller DiMAGE X / Xi models. The X-series design has proven ideal for a camera that can be slipped into a pocket - ensuring it will always be with you when you need it for an unexpected photo.

Resolution of the DiMAGE X20 is 2.1 megapixels, which yields an image size of up to 1600 x 1200 pixels. The 3x optical zoom lens has focal lengths equivalent to 37 - 111mm on a 35mm camera. Other features of the X20 include a 1.6" LCD display and optical viewfinder, built-in flash, NTSC / PAL switchable video output, movie and audio clip modes, and for the first time in an X-series camera, power from 2 AA batteries.

The DiMAGE X20 has some interesting innovations on it - most noticeably a curved mirror on the front which allows users to see themselves to frame a self-portrait at arm's length. A multi-frame drive mode similar to that seen on some other digital cameras makes a first appearance on the X-series, capturing nine sequential frames of an event in a single image. An "Image Pasting" mode lets one image be overlaid on another for creativity, the live preview of the second image being shown displayed inside a frame of the selected type and size whilst it is captured.

The Minolta DiMAGE X20 will be available this fall. Pricing has not yet been announced. Full specifications and a product photo courtesy of Minolta follow:

Minolta DiMAGE X20
Minolta's DiMAGE X20 digital camera. Courtesy of Minolta, with modifications by Michael R. Tomkins. Click for a bigger picture!

Number of effective pixels

2.0 million

CCD

1/3.2-type interline primary-color CCD
Total pixels: 2.1 million

Camera sensitivity

Auto (between ISO 64 –200 equivalent), ISO 64,100, 200, 400 equivalents

Focal length

4.8 – 14.4mm (35mm equivalent: 37 – 111mm)

Lens construction

10 elements in 9 groups (includes two double-sided aspheric elements)

Maximum aperture

f/2.8 – f/3.7

Minimum focus distance

3.9 inches (0.10m) from front of camera

Maximum magnification

0.111x (1:9.01)

Equivalent to 0.857x (1: 1.17) in 35mm format

Area covered at maximum magnification

1.57 x 1.18 inches (40 x 30mm)

Monitor LCD

1.6 inch (4.0cm) digital-interface TFT color monitor with anti-reflection coating

Total pixels: 84,960

Automatic monitor amplification

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)

Metering

Multi-segment

Multi-segment metering

256 segments

Exposure control

Programmed AE

Exposure compensation

±2 EV in 1/3 increments

Flash range

Wide: 0.3 – 11.8 ft. (0.1 – 3.6 m) (approximately)

Telephoto: 0.3– 8.9 ft. (0.1 – 2.7 m) (approximately)

(Camera sensitivity: auto)

Flash modes

Autoflash, Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill-flash, Flash cancel, Night portrait

Continuous advance

Available

Self-timer

Approximately 10 seconds

Self-portrait

Subject program used with the mirror on the front of the camera.

Multi frame

To capture 9 sequential images at 3 frames per second displayed in a 3x3 grid in a single frame

Image pasting

Embeds an image within another image

Movie recording

Recording time dependent on memory card capacity and image size.

Frame rate: 15 frames per second

Monaural audio only.

Audio

Voice memo: Maximum 15 seconds

Audio caption: Maximum 15 seconds

Monaural audio only

White balance control

Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent)

Toning

Neutral black and white, Sepia, Red tone, Blue tone, Green tone

Portrait mode

Optimizes camera settings to enhance skin tones.

Noise reduction

Auto

Digital zoom

Maximum 4x in 0.1x increments

Digital zoom can be disabled

E-mail Copy function

Creates a compressed 640x480 or 160x120 JPEG image for transmission.

Favorites

To collect compressed 640x480 JPEG images on the memory card.

Slide show

With automatic dissolve effects.

Rotate

To manually orient vertical images for viewing.

Date imprinting

Year/month/day (Format can be changed.)

Month/day/hour:minute

Imprinting can be disabled.

Key customization

The function activated by the left and right keys of the controller can be changed.

Image-quality modes

Fine, Standard, Economy

Number of recorded pixels (Still images)

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 an 8 MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card:
 
1600x1200
1280x960
640x480
Fine
6 frames
10 frames
31 frames
Standard
12 frames
18 frames
48 frames
Economy
22 frames
31 frames
68 frames
Movie: 19 seconds with 320x240 images; 1 minute 14seconds with 160x120 images

* 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, 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

Exif Print, PRINT Image Matching II

Recording media

SD (Secure Digital) Memory Cards, MultiMediaCards

Computer interface

Full-speed 12Mbps USB

Direct print

Epson USB DIRECT-PRINT

Remote camera

Live video feed without audio for web transmission

AV output

NTSC, PAL (selected on the camera)

Batteries

Two AA batteries: Alkaline, Ni-MH

Battery performance (Playback)

Approximate continuous playback time: 260 min. with alkaline batteries.

Battery performance (Recording)

Approximate number of recorded images: 110 frames. Based on the following test conditions: alkaline batteries, Full-size images (1600 x 1200), Standard image quality, No instant playback, No voice memo, Flash used with 50% of the frames.

External power source

3V DC with specified AC adapter (sold separately)

Dimensions (WxHxD)

3.39 x 2.64 x 0.93 inches  (86 x 67 x 23.5mm)

Weight

Approximately 4.1 oz. (115 g) without battery or recording media

Operating temperature

32-104°F (0-40ºC)

Standard accessories

Neck Strap NS-DG500, AV Cable AVC-200, USB Cable USB-500, 8MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card, Two AA Alkaline batteries, DiMAGE Viewer

Optional accessories

Metal Chain Neck Strap NS-DG100, AC Adapter

.

System Requirements

Compatible computers when the camera is used as mass storage device:
IBM PC/AT compatible computers with Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, 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 9.0 – 9.2.2, Mac OS X v10.1.3 – 10.1.5, and v10.2.1 – 10.2.6 and with a USB port as standard interface.
* Users with Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition operating systems must install dedicated driver software included in the DiMAGE X20 package.

Minimum system requirements for the remote camera function:

Computers IBM PC/AT compatible computers with a USB port as standard interface
CPU Pentium II 300MHz or later processor (*1)
Operating systems Windows XP Home, Professional, Me, 2000 Professional, or 98 Second Edition
RAM 128 MB of RAM. 256 MB with Windows XP. (*1)
Hard-disk space 200 MB of free hard-disk space
Monitor 800 x 600 monitor capable of displaying 16-bit color quality.
Tested applications Microsoft NetMeeting, Windows Messenger (*2)
Other CD-ROM drive

*1 The CPU and RAM must satisfy the requirements of the operating system.
*2 The application software must be guaranteed by the manufacturer to work with the operating system.

  • 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.

Specifications, accessories and system requirements are subject to change without notice.

DiMAGE and Minolta are trademarks or registered trademarks of Minolta Co., Ltd.
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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Original Source Press Release:

MINOLTA INTRODUCES THE NEW DiMAGE X20 DIGITAL CAMERA

World's smallest and lightest 2 megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom lens* makes creative digital photography fun and easy

Ramsey, NJ (July 17, 2003) - Minolta Corporation introduces the world's smallest and lightest 2-megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom* - the DiMAGE X20. This tiny new fun and easy to use digital camera incorporates numerous creative features such as slide show playback, self-portrait mode, multi-frame drive mode, Image Pasting, movie mode, noise reduction function and web communications capability. The new Minolta DiMAGE X20 combines responsive performance and a user-friendly design with the incredible non-extending zoom lens and fast startup time inherited from Minolta's DiMAGE X series of digital cameras. A user simply turns the camera on, and in one second the camera is ready to take pictures.

"The DiMAGE X20 is a high quality little camera with a big appetite for action," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "This digital camera fits easily into your pocket - and fits easily into your life. Small, speedy and stylish, you will want to have this camera with you at all times."

Creative Control
Unique to the Minolta DiMAGE X20 is a self-portrait mode. While holding the camera at arm's length, the use of the specially curved mirror on the front of the DiMAGE X20 allows users to correctly compose a picture of themselves and a friend without having to hand the camera off to a stranger.

Minolta's new multi-frame drive mode, captures nine sequential frames of a single event in one picture like the reaction of a friend as they walk in on a surprise party. The nine images are laid out in a 3 x 3 grid in a single frame.

The portrait mode controls exposure, flash, and image processing to emphasize the subject's natural skin tone. And for something a little different, images can be captured in one of five monochrome modes; the traditional grays of black and white, the warmth and ageless quality of sepia, or red, green, and blue tones to add fun or feeling.

Image Pasting allows one image to be placed within another for a creative touch. After choosing the background image, a user simply selects the frame shape and size and positions it over the chosen background image. The live image is displayed inside the selected frame. After composing the subject in the frame the user presses the shutter button to embed and save the image.

But the Minolta DiMAGE X20 will do more than just take photographs. XR (Extended Recording) movie processing allows digital video with audio to be captured and played back. 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.

For the more serious photographer, the DiMAGE X20 features a 3 x 3 graphic menu that provides easy and quick access to the camera's controls. Camera settings are changed with a simple five-way controller on the back of the camera.

The DiMAGE X20 makes face-to-face conversations possible with friends or family that have moved away when it is used as a remote camera for web communication. Using the supplied USB cable a photographer can connect the camera to a computer with a Microsoft Windows operating system and a compatible application such as Microsoft Net Meeting.

Camera Features
The DiMAGE X20 is built around a high-precision electro-optical system designed to maximize image quality. The system uses a 2.1 megapixel 1/3.2-type interline primary-color CCD with 2.0 million effective pixels for fine images. This pixel resolution can produce letter size 150dpi prints or postcard size photo-quality prints.

The DiMAGE X20 uses Minolta's unobtrusive non-extending zoom lens. This revolutionary design uses internal folded optics, which does not change the slim profile of the camera even while recording. The 3x optical zoom, equivalent to a 37 - 111mm lens on a 35mm camera, is assisted by a 4x digital zoom giving a seamless zoom range of 12x.

Dark noise, a persistent problem in digital photography, manifests itself by giving a grainy or sandy appearance to images taken with long exposures. The DiMAGE X20 combats this with a noise-reduction function that automatically activates for exposures of one second or longer.

The camera's high-performance five-point autofocus system makes taking beautiful, sharp images simple. Place the subject anywhere within the extra-wide focus frames and the camera will do the rest. The camera uses visual and audio signals to confirm focus.

Close-up pictures can be made with the DiMAGE X20. The lens focuses down to 3.9 inches at all focal lengths without the need of a separate function. This covers an area of about 1.6 x 1.2 inches.

One of the most popular features of digital photography is being able to see pictures immediately. The DiMAGE X20 makes viewing digital pictures easier than ever. With the press of a single button, users can access their recorded images. VGA (640 x 480) jpeg files of the user's images can be collected in one folder so they can be shared by using either the camera as an electronic photo album or by sending them via e-mail. Images can also be played back like a slide show complete with dissolves, wipes, and fades either on the camera's LCD panel or on a TV or computer screen. Vertical images can also be rotated for horizontal viewing from within the camera - an added benefit for slide show viewing.

* As of June 15th, 2003.

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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