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Minolta Dimage F300

A compact, stylish camera with a full five-megapixel sensor and clever autofocus system.

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F300 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 05/22/2003

Digital Cameras - Minolta Dimage F300 Test Images

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumber-generated index page for the test shots. The Thumber data includes a host of information on the images, including shutter speed, ISO setting, compression setting, etc. Rather than clutter the page below with *all* that detail, we're posting the Thumber index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

Outdoor Portrait:

Excellent resolution and good color, though contrast is high.

The extreme tonal range of this image makes it a tough shot for many digicams, which is precisely why I set it up this way, and why I shoot it with no fill flash or reflector to open the shadows. The object is to hold both highlight and shadow detail without producing a "flat" picture with muddy colors, and the F300 did well with the color but had a little trouble with the high-contrast lighting.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which was about as far as I could push it without totally losing highlight detail, even though the midtones still came out rather dark. Increasing the exposure to +0.7 EV brightened the midtones quite a bit, but lost too much highlight detail, and made the image too bright overall. The Daylight white balance resulted in the most accurate color balance here, as the Auto setting was a hint cool and the Manual setting was slightly warm.

Skin tones are good, just slightly pinkish, and the blue flowers in the bouquet are slightly dark as well, although their color is pretty good. (This is a very difficult blue for many digicams to get right, and the F300 does produce slight purplish tints in them.) The strong red flowers are just on the verge of oversaturating, but still have good detail in the brighter highlights. Resolution is excellent, with a high level of detail visible throughout the frame, even in the shadows. Details are also quite sharp, and image noise the shadows is low with a tight grain pattern. Apart from the slightly high contrast, an excellent job overall.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files F30OUTDP0.HTM through F30OUTDP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Closer Portrait:

Excellent resolution and detail, with good definition.

Results are similar to the wider shot above, and the F300's 3x zoom lens does a good job preventing distortion of Marti's features. Detail is outstanding, with crisp, sharp details in Marti's face and hair. Even the tiny links of the chain of Marti's necklace are perfectly clear and distinct. The shot at right was taken at the default exposure setting, which resulted in high contrast again, but pretty good shadow detail. Noise is again quite low. An excellent job, with excellent sharpness for such a compact camera.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +0.3 EV, see files F30FACDP0.HTM through F30FACDP1.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
+0.7 EV

Good intensity and coverage with the built-in flash, good color as well.

The F300's built-in flash illuminates the subject well, though it requires a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment to get a bright exposure. Overall color looks very good, although the household incandescent lighting results in a light orange cast on the background wall. The orange cast spills onto Marti's features, but skin tones still look pretty good. Color in the flower bouquet also looks good, though the strong reds are on the verge of oversaturating.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files F30INFP0.HTM through F30INFP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, No Flash:
Auto White Balance
Incandescent White Balance
Manual White Balance

Excellent color with the Auto white balance option, but good results with Manual as well. Exposure is also good.

This shot is always a very tough test of a camera's white balance capability, given the strong, yellowish color cast of the household incandescent bulbs used for the lighting. The F300's Auto white balance produced the best color here, leaving just a slight warm cast that was reminiscent of the original room lighting, without being overpowering. The Manual option also produced good results, though with a slight greenish cast that appeared less natural. The Incandescent setting resulted in a strong yellow cast, however. Marti's skin tone is pretty good here, although with a slight orange tint in places, but the blue flowers came out quite dark and purplish. (A common occurrence, given the light source.) The shot at right has a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is about par for the course on this shot.



 

House Shot:
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Excellent resolution and detail, with very good color.

The F300's Manual white balance setting produced great results here, with the most accurate white value on the house trim, and very nice overall color. The Auto setting resulted in a reddish cast, and the Daylight setting resulted in a yellow cast. Resolution is very high, with excellent detail in the tree limbs above the roof, as well as in the shrubbery in front of the house. (In fact, the F300 is really starting to stretch the limits of this poster as a test target. Even though the poster was made from a 500MB scan of a 4x5 negative shot with a tack-sharp lens, the F300 extracts nearly all of the detail that's to be found here.) Details are sharp throughout the frame, with only a hint of corner softness in the left corners.



 

Far-Field Test

Excellent resolution and detail, with good color and a good dynamic range.

This image is shot at infinity to test far-field lens performance. NOTE that this image cannot be directly compared to the other "house" shot, which is a poster, shot in the studio. The rendering of detail in the poster will be very different than in this shot, and color values (and even the presence or absence of leaves on the trees!) will vary in this subject as the seasons progress. In general though, you can evaluate detail in the bricks, shingles and window detail, and in the tree branches against the sky. Compression artifacts are most likely to show in the trim along the edge of the roof, in the bricks, or in the relatively "flat" areas in the windows.

This is my ultimate "resolution shot," given the infinite range of detail in a natural scene like this, and the F300 gives an outstanding performance. The tree limbs over the roof and fine foliage in front of the house show strong detail, especially in the leaf patterns and branch details. In-camera sharpening does a good job here, with crisp details throughout the frame, without obvious "halos" around objects. The top corners of the frame show a hint of softness, and just a tiny amount of chromatic aberration, but the distortion is slight and doesn't extend far into the frame. (Overall, a surprisingly sharp lens for such a compact digicam.) Although the strongest highlights are close to being blown out, detail is good in the bright white paint surrounding the bay window, a trouble spot for many digicams. The shadow area above the front door also shows good detail in the brick pattern, further evidence of the F300's good dynamic range. Overall color is very good, and exposure is about right. Click here for a sample image in the camera's uncompressed TIFF format. (Caution, 14MB download!) (Download to your hard drive, most browsers won't be able to process it.) The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, contrast, saturation, and color series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,560 x 1,920
F30FARLF
F30FARLN
F30FARLE
2,048 x 1,536
F30FARMF
   
1,600 x 1,200
F30FARSF
   
640 x 480
F30FARTF
   


ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 64
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400

 

Sharpness Series:

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Sharp

Contrast Series:
The F300's contrast adjustment works just as you'd expect it to, pulling in both the highlight and shadow ends of the tone curve somewhat, increasing the detail visible in both areas. (The contrast adjustments on many digicams tend to affect only one end or the other of the tonal scale, necessitating simultaneous exposure adjustments whenever they're employed.)

Contrast Series

Low

Normal

High

Saturation Series:
The F300's saturation adjustment works just as well as does its contrast control. The saturation adjustment covers a very useful range, boosting and cutting the saturation by a noticeable but not excessive amount.

Saturation Series

Low


Normal


High

Color Series:
The F300's color adjustment offers options for black and white photography, as well as a "vivid" setting that seems to boost saturation more than the "high" setting of the saturation control itself does.

Color Series
Black-and-White
Color
Vivid



 

Lens Zoom Range

A typical 3x zoom range, slightly biased toward the telephoto end.

I routinely shoot this series of images to show the field of view for each camera, with the lens at full wide angle, at maximum telephoto (3x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The F300's lens is equivalent to a 38-114mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a moderate wide angle to a pretty good telephoto, the overall range biased slightly toward the telephoto end relative to the 35-105mm range that is more typical of 3x zoom lenses on digicams. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
3x Telephoto
Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Surprisingly good color with the Auto white balance, great resolution and detail as well.

This shot is often a tough test for digicams, as the abundance of blue in the composition frequently tricks white balance systems into producing a warm color balance. The F300's Auto white balance setting actually responded quite well, and produced the best overall color. The Daylight setting resulted in a very warm image, and the Manual setting had a slight warm cast as well. Overall color is just a hint magenta, resulting in purplish tints in the blue background that aren't in the original image. The blue robe looks nearly right, although again purplish in the shadow areas. Resolution is very high, with great detail in the embroidery of the blue robe. (The original data file for this poster was only 20MB, so cameras like the F300 are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)



 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A very tiny macro area with great detail, and good flash operation up close.

The F300 performed exceptionally well in the macro category, capturing a tiny minimum area of only 2.01 x 1.51 inches (51 x 38 millimeters). Resolution is outstanding, with strong detail in the dollar bill and brooch. (the small flecks of dust are even visible.) Details are sharp on the brooch and coins, though the dollar bill and gray background are a touch soft. Color and exposure are both nearly accurate. The F300's flash throttled down nicely for the macro area as well. - Overall, the F300 would be an excellent choice for macro photography.



 

"Davebox" Test Target
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Good overall color and saturation, though red and blue additive primary color blocks are slightly oversaturated.

The F300's Manual white balance setting produced the most accurate white value in the mini-resolution target and large, white color block. Though just slightly greenish, overall color looked best with that setting. The Auto white balance resulted in a reddish color balance, and the Daylight setting produced a warm, yellow image. Exposure looks about right, and the F300 has no trouble distinguishing the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target. Colors are nearly accurate in the large color blocks, though slightly dark, but saturation looks very good. (That said, the large red and blue color blocks are a hint oversaturated.) The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows good detail, with low noise. Overall, an excellent performance.




 

Low-Light Tests

Excellent low-light performance, with good color and low noise.

The F300's optional full manual exposure control and maximum exposure time of 15 seconds gives the camera excellent low-light shooting capabilities. Even at ISO 64, the F300 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test. (The ISO 64 shot at that light level is actually just a little dim, but still quite usable.) Though slightly warm, color looks good, and noise is actually quite low. Even at ISO 400, image noise is only moderately high, with a tight grain pattern that isn't too obtrusive. The shots below were captured with the F300 in manual focus mode: The auto focus seemed to work quite well down to somewhere between 1/2 and 1/4 foot-candle. Even below that level though, the camera generally delivered sharply-focused images, even though it didn't seem to think that it had achieved a good focus lock (as indicated by the blinking focus indicator in the LCD). - With a little AF-assist illumination, this would be a superb low-light shooter. (Hint, hint, Minolta engineers...) The table below shows the best exposure I was able to obtain for each of a range of illumination levels. Images in this table (like all the sample photos on this site) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

 

  1fc
11lux
1/2fc
5.5lux
1/4fc
2.7lux
1/8fc
1.3lux
1/16fc
0.67lx
ISO
64
Click to see F30LL0603.JPG

4 secs
F2.8
ISO: 64

Click to see F30LL0604.JPG

8 secs
F2.8
ISO: 64

Click to see F30LL0605.JPG

15 secs
F2.8
ISO: 64

Click to see F30LL0606.JPG

15 secs
F2.8
ISO: 64

Click to see F30LL0607.JPG

15 secs
F2.8
ISO: 64

ISO
100
Click to see F30LL1003.JPG

2 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see F30LL1004.JPG

4 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see F30LL1005.JPG

8 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see F30LL1006.JPG

15 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

Click to see F30LL1007.JPG

15 secs
F2.8
ISO: 100

ISO
200
Click to see F30LL2003.JPG

1 secs
F2.8
ISO: 200

Click to see F30LL2004.JPG

2 secs
F2.8
ISO: 200

Click to see F30LL2005.JPG

4 secs
F2.8
ISO: 200

Click to see F30LL2006.JPG

8 secs
F2.8
ISO: 200

Click to see F30LL2007.JPG

15 secs
F2.8
ISO: 200

ISO
400
Click to see F30LL4003.JPG

1/ 2 secs
F2.8
ISO: 400

Click to see F30LL4004.JPG

1.5 secs
F2.8
ISO: 400

Click to see F30LL4005.JPG

2 secs
F2.8
ISO: 400

Click to see F30LL4006.JPG

4 secs
F2.8
ISO: 400

Click to see F30LL4007.JPG

8 secs
F2.8
ISO: 400




 

Flash Range Test

Good intensity with only a slight decrease in power at 14 feet.

In my testing, the F300's flash illuminated the test target all the way out to 14 feet, although the intensity fell off after about 10 feet. As you can see from the ISO ratings below each image below, it's clear that the F300 "cheats" a little, in that it boosts its ISO to 200 for flash shots. (This approach is becoming very common, with many consumer digicams boosting ISO to 400 for flash exposures. The tradeoff is increased range at the expense of increased image noise. The F300's choice of ISO 200 strikes me as a reasonable compromise.) Below is the flash range series, with distances from eight to 14 feet from the target.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see F30FL08.JPG

1/ 90 secs
F4.7
ISO: 200

Click to see F30FL09.JPG

1/ 90 secs
F4.7
ISO: 200

Click to see F30FL10.JPG

1/ 90 secs
F4.7
ISO: 200

Click to see F30FL11.JPG

1/ 90 secs
F4.7
ISO: 200

Click to see F30FL12.JPG

1/ 90 secs
F4.7
ISO: 200

Click to see F30FL13.JPG

1/ 90 secs
F4.7
ISO: 200

Click to see F30FL14.JPG

1/ 90 secs
F4.7
ISO: 200



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Very high resolution, 1,300 lines of "strong detail." High barrel distortion, but practically no pincushion.

The F300 performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. It started showing artifacts in the test patterns at resolutions as low as 1,000 lines per picture height vertically, and around 800 lines horizontally. I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,300 lines vertically, and as high as 1,350 lines in the horizontal direction. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,600 lines.

Optical distortion on the F300 is higher than average at the wide-angle end, where I measured an approximate 1.1 percent barrel distortion. (The average among digicams I've tested seems to be about 0.8 percent barrel distortion, still too much, in my opinion.) The telephoto end fared much better, as I measured only one pixel of pincushion distortion. Chromatic aberration is quite low, showing almost no color on either side of the target lines. (This distortion is visible as a very slight colored fringe around the objects at the edges of the field of view on the resolution target.) The image is also very sharp all the way to the corners, with only very slight softening in the upper corners of the frame. - Apart from the higher than average barrel distortion, the F300's lens is one of the best I've seen on a digicam, all the more impressive given the F300's small size.

Resolution Series, Wide Angle
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
2,560 x 1,920
F30RESWLF
F30RESWLN
F30RESWLE
2,048 x 1,536
F30RESWMF
   
1,600 x 1,200
F30RESWSF
   
640 x 480
F30RESWTF
   

 

Resolution Test, Telephoto
2,560 x 1,920
(Fine, Tele)
F30RESTLF




 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

A nearly accurate LCD monitor, though the optical viewfinder is quite tight.

The F300's optical viewfinder is rather tight, showing approximately 80 percent frame accuracy at wide angle, and about 78 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor proved much more accurate, showing approximately 96 percent accuracy at wide angle, and about 99 percent at telephoto. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the F300's LCD monitor does a good job (particularly at the telephoto setting), but I really don't like seeing an optical viewfinder as tight as this one is. Flash distribution is surprisingly even at wide angle, with just a little falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform but quite dim.


Wide Angle, Optical

Telephoto, Optical

Wide Angle, LCD

Telephoto, LCD



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