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Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2

Konica Minolta updates their top-end electronic SLR with a higher resolution sensor, much-improved electronic viewfinder, a faster 3D autofocusing system, and high-speed USB 2.0 connectivity, among other improvements.

(Next): Executive Overview>>

Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 07/13/2004

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8.0-megapixel CCD delivers uninterpolated images as large as 3,264 x 2,448 pixels.
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Sharp 7x optical zoom lens covers a 28-200mm equivalent focus range.
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TFT LCD viewfinder offers extremely high resolution - or trades some resolution for an equally impressive refresh rate.
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Enhancements over the DiMAGE A1 include a higher resolution sensor, much-improved electronic viewfinder, a new 3D autofocusing system, and high-speed USB 2.0 connectivity.

 

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Manufacturer Overview

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The Konica Minolta DiMAGE A2 is the latest in a family of DiMAGE electronic SLR-style models that stretches back to the original DiMAGE 7, the first five-megapixel prosumer camera, introduced over three years ago (early 2001). As you'll read below, the new DiMAGE A2 carries on the proud tradition of the line, with a host of innovations and improvements over the previous DiMAGE A1 flagship model.

In 2001, Minolta shook up the high end of the prosumer market, by beating everyone else to the punch with the first five-megapixel prosumer digital camera. And it wasn't just "any" five-megapixel model either, but the DiMAGE 7, an electronic SLR design with a remarkably high quality 7x optical zoom lens, a host of advanced image-control functions, and an all-new electronic viewfinder using ferroelectric LCD technology for impressive low light performance. Alongside the DiMAGE 7, Minolta offered the lower resolution (3 megapixel) DiMAGE 5, which was similar in most functions except those related to the differing sensor choice.

In 2002, Minolta upped the ante again first with the DiMAGE 7i, which added numerous features, and offered dramatically improved focusing speed and shutter response. They also announced the DiMAGE 7Hi, which added an external flash sync socket, higher-speed continuous shooting for full-resolution files, and an extra-fine JPEG image-quality setting. The DiMAGE 7 was an impressive camera when it was introduced, and Minolta's improvements implemented in the 7i version were well-considered, intelligent, and bountiful. With the 7Hi, they brought the camera fully into the photo studio, with the external flash sync connector, in addition to increasing continuous-mode speed, and offering an extra-fine JPEG mode as an alternative to TIFF or RAW files. Finally, the DiMAGE 7Hi offered several options for color space, including both normal and "vivid" sRGB options, and Adobe RGB.

In 2003 , Minolta updated the line once again with the DiMAGE A1, which added 14-bit A/D conversion, a tilting LCD monitor, blazingly fast 1/16,000 second maximum shutter speed, tracking autofocus, and a grip sensor that actually sensed when you had the camera in-hand, to save power in the continuous autofocus mode. In late 2003, Minolta Co. Ltd. merged with Konica Corp., creating the new Konica Minolta brand name, under which subsequent models will be sold.

Now, Konica Minolta improves on an already great camera model with the DiMAGE A2, which boasts the same 7x lens, tilting LCD, and grip sensor, exposure control, and tracking AF as its predecessor. In addition to all of the great features from the A1 model, there are quite a few important updates. The DiMAGE A2 offers a higher-resolution eight megapixel sensor yielding images up to 3,264 x 2,448 pixels. There's also a new electronic viewfinder which can either provide a whopping 640 x 480 pixels of resolution, or trade half of that resolution off for an impressive 60 frames per second refresh rate at 640 x 240 pixels. Autofocusing on the A2 also gets another update, with a faster 3D autofocusing algorithm that offer dramatically improved focusing speeds and better focus tracking. Given the larger maximum image size, an update to high-speed USB 2.0 connectivity is another welcome addition. Other changes include an improved 544 x 408 pixel movie mode at 30 frames per second up to the memory card's capacity, a new 3:2 aspect ratio setting that gives 35mm film proportions, and a new depth-of-field preview function. All in all, the A2 amounts to a pretty robust update on an already great camera. Read on for more details.

 

Highlights

  • True 8.0-megapixel CCD delivering resolutions as high as 3,264 x 2,448 pixels.
  • 12-Bit A/D conversion.
  • Digital Electronic viewfinder with 90-degree variable position, and 0.44 inch high-resolution internal TFT LCD display.
  • 1.8-inch TFT color LCD monitor that tilts upward 90 degrees, or downwards 20 degrees.
  • 7.2-50.8mm lens (equivalent to a 28-200mm lens on a 35mm camera) with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 to f/3.5, depending on the zoom setting.
  • 2x digital zoom.
  • Auto and Manual focus.
  • 3.3x viewfinder magnification option in Manual focus mode to assist focus determination.
  • Macro option at either telephoto or maximum wide angle zoom settings.
  • Auto, Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, and four Digital Subject Program shooting modes.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/4,000 to 30 seconds, with Bulb setting for manual control of long exposures (up to 30 seconds).
  • 300-segment Multi-Segment, Center-Weighted, and Spot metering options, with AE Lock function.
  • Adjustable ISO with five settings. (Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800)
  • Built-in, pop-up flash with three operating modes, a dual-mode flash metering system, and manually adjustable intensity.
  • External flash hot-shoe for Konica Minolta accessory flash units.
  • External PC-style flash sync terminal.
  • Built-in support for wireless TTL flash exposure with certain Konica Minolta flashes.
  • Standard, High-Speed Continuous, and Ultra-High-Speed Continuous Shooting, Interval, Movie, and Night Movie shooting modes.
  • Digital Effects Control for Exposure, Color Saturation, Contrast Compensation, and Hue (color filter) control, with Bracketing.
  • Adjustable White Balance with seven modes, including a manual setting.
  • Sharpness and Color control via menu options. Color modes include Natural (sRGB), Vivid Color (sRGB), Black & White, Adobe RGB, Adobe RGB with embedded color profile, and Solarization.
  • RAW, uncompressed TIFF, and JPEG file formats.
  • Images saved on CompactFlash Type I or II memory cards, Microdrive compatible.
  • "Storage-Class" USB 2.0 High-Speed interface.
  • USB 2.0 High-Speed cable and interface software for connecting to a computer and downloading images.
  • NTSC or PAL selectable video output signal, with cable included.
  • Power supplied by a single high-capacity lithium-ion battery pack or separate AC adapter (available as an accessory).
  • Optional vertical handgrip and wired remote control accessories.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) and PictBridge compliant.


Many of our readers will be familiar with the recent DiMAGE A1, so I put together the following major feature comparison between the DiMAGE A1 and the DiMAGE A2.

Feature DiMAGE A2 DiMAGE A1
Branding Konica Minolta Minolta
Sensor Type Interlaced RGBG CCD Progressive Scan RGBG CCD
Sensor Resolution (total pixels) 8.3 megapixel 5.3 megapixel
Sensor Resolution (effective) 8.0 megapixel 5.0 megapixel
Maximum Image Size 3,264 x 2,448 pixels 2,560 x 1,920 pixels
3:2 Image Size 3,264 x 2,176 pixels None
RAW + JPEG mode Yes No
A/D Conversion 12-bit 14-bit
Playback Zoom Up to 10.2x Up to 8.0x
Electronic Viewfinder Resolution
640 x 480 pixels x 3 colors
(Approx. 922,000 dots)
Approx. 320 x 240 pixels x 3 colors
Approx. 235,000 dots
Electronic Viewfinder Refresh Rate
640 x 480: 30 frames per second
640 x 240: 60 frames per second
Unknown, slower than DiMAGE A2
Electronic Viewfinder Diopter Control 3.5 ~ +1.5 m-1

5 ~ +2 m-1

Electronic Viewfinder Eye Relief 19.5 mm at -1 m-1 22 mm at -1 m-1
Connectivity
USB 2.0 High Speed
USB 1.1
ISO Sensitivity Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400, 800 Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800
Shutter Speed Range
30 - 1/4,000 second.
30 - 1/16,000 second.
Exposure Control Range (Program and Aperture Priority AE)
Wide: EV -1.7 ~ 20
Tele: EV -1.2 ~ 20.7
Wide: EV -1 ~ 20
Tele: EV -0.4 ~ 20.7
Exposure Control Range (Shutter Priority AE and Manual)
Wide: EV -2 ~ 19
Tele: EV -1.4 ~ 19
Wide: EV -2 ~ 21
Tele: EV -1.4 ~ 21
3D Predictive Autofocus System Speed Better Good
Movie Resolution
544 x 408 pixels
320 x 240 pixels
320 x 240 pixels
Movie Frame Rate 15 or 30 frames per second 24 frames per second
Depth of Field Preview Yes, Custom Function No
Standard Continuous Advance Mode Speed 1.8 frames per second
(Based on IR tests)
1.8 frames per second
(Based on IR tests)
High-Speed Continuous Advance Mode Speed 3.2 frames per second
(Based on IR tests)
2.9 frames per second
(Based on IR tests)
UHS Continuous Advance Mode Speed 7 frames per second (640 x 480 pixels) N/A
DPOF Date Printing Option Yes No
PictBridge compliant Yes No
DCF Compliant Yes, version 2.0 Yes, version 1.0
Exif Compliant Yes, version 2.21 Yes, version 2.2
Weight (with battery pack and memory card)
23.0 oz.
653 g
23.4 oz.
663 g
Included Memory None 16MB CF card
Included Lens Shade DLS-2 DLS-1
Other Gold detail around outside of lens zoom ring; silk-screening on left of camera reads "DiMAGE A2 SUPER FINE EVF"; badge on the front of the camera reads "AS ANTI-SHAKE 8.0M". Silver detail around front edge of lens zoom ring; silk-screening on left of camera reads "DiMAGE A1 5.0 MEGA PIXELS"; badge on the front of the camera reads "AS ANTI-SHAKE".

 


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