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Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200

Konica Minolta trims a little and adds a little relative to their top-end A2 model, delivering a strong contender in the 8-megapixel derby.

<<Reference: Datasheet :(Previous) | (Next): A200 Imatest Results>>

A200 Sample Images

Review First Posted: 12/22/2004

Digital Cameras - Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200 Test Images

 

I've begun including links in our reviews to a Thumbnail index page for the test shots. The data on this page 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 thumbnail index so only those interested in the information need wade through it!

 

"Sunlit" Portrait:
(This is my new "Outdoor" Portrait test - read more about it here.)

High resolution and strong detail, with pretty accurate color (but saturation is low at the default setting).

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 Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200 did an excellent job with the exposure, but left the color slightly flat overall.

The shot at right was taken with a +0.7 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is about average or just below average for this shot. I also shot with the A200's contrast adjustment set to its lowest position. Thanks to the broad range of adjustment offered by its contrast control, the A200 did an excellent job of holding onto highlight detail here, and shadow detail is excellent as well. (The tonal response here is among the very best I've seen for this shot, including many professional SLR models.)H

I chose the A200's Auto white balance setting as the most accurate color balance, as the Daylight setting resulted in a slight yellow cast and the Manual setting had a red tint. Overall color is good, though low in saturation, most likely because I had the contrast control set so low. The camera's Saturation adjustment (see below) however, does a good job of increasing or decreasing color saturation in very small steps, so that you get pleasing results with only a slight tweak. Marti's skin tones look about right, though the blue flowers in the bouquet a bit more purplish than they are in real life. (Many digicams have trouble with this blue, and the A200 falls victim somewhat here as well.) The strong reds, greens, and yellows also look very hue-accurate, though dark. Resolution is very high, and detail is excellent, with little or no loss of subtle detail to the camera's anti-noise processing. Shadow detail is good, and image noise is low. Overall, an excellent job with a very difficult subject.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files A2OUTAP0.HTM through A2OUTAP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

Contrast Series:
The Konica Minolta A200's contrast adjustment covers a very wide range of control, in very fine steps. The series below shows the full range of adjustment, but I skipped several steps, in the interest of keeping the number of shots to a reasonable limit. The control does affect color saturation a bit more than I'd like, but it's easy enough to compensate for this with the equally fine-grained saturation control. (See below.) Fine-grained contrast and color adjustments of this sort have been a hallmark of Minolta's (now Konica Minolta's) high-end digital cameras for years now.

Contrast Series
-5
-3
-1
Normal
+1
+3
+5


Saturation Series:
Just like its contrast adjustment, the A200's saturation adjustment offers a very wide range of adjustment, in very fine steps. This lets you configure the camera to precisely match your preferences and shooting requirements.
Saturation Series
-5
-3
-1
Normal
+1
+3
+5



 

Closer Portrait:

Excellent resolution and detail, with good color and saturation.

Overall exposure looks good here, with good contrast and midtones. The shot at right was taken with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which results in slightly bright highlights, but still good detail throughout the tonal scale. Saturation also looks a little higher in this close-up shot, with slightly more pleasing overall color. The A200's 7x zoom lens prevents geometric distortion in Marti's features, and picks up lots of sharp details. Resolution and detail are much stronger in this close-up shot, with excellent definition in Marti's face and hair.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.0 EV, see files A2OUTFACAP0.HTM through A2OUTFACAP3.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

Indoor Portrait, Flash:
Normal Flash
+0.3 EV
Slow-Sync Flash
+1.0 EV

Slight underexposure with the flash in the normal setting, but a small EV boost produces good results. Good color with the normal flash mode, a strong warm cast with the Slow-Sync setting.

Though just slightly dark, the A200's built-in flash illuminated the subject well with a +0.3 EV exposure compensation adjustment, less than this shot normally requires. (The default exposure was fairly dark, and I felt that the shot taken with a +0.7 EV adjustment was too bright on Marti's face and in the highlights.) The color balance looks pretty good, as does Marti's skin tone. The blue flowers, however, are rather dark and purplish. The camera's Slow-Sync flash setting produced a more even exposure, with more balanced lighting from the longer shutter speed, but at the cost of a strong orange cast from the background incandescent lighting. I chose an exposure compensation adjustment of +1.0 EV for the slow-sync shot.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV in the normal flash mode, see files A2INFP0.HTM through A2INFP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

To view the same exposure series in the Slow-Sync flash mode, see files A2INFSP0.HTM through A2INFSP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.



 

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

Good color with the Manual white balance, acceptable with the Incandescent setting, but the Auto setting has a lot of trouble.

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, and the A200's Auto white balance setting had a great deal of trouble. The A200's Incandescent setting almost got it, but produced a slight warm cast (that some users might actually prefer). The Manual setting did the best job overall, though color is slightly pale in comparison. Marti's skin tone looks pretty good, if a little flat, but the blue flowers are dark and purple (a common occurrence under the difficult light source). Though saturation appears slightly low, overall color is actually pretty good. The main shot was taken with a +1.0 EV exposure compensation adjustment, which is about average here.

To view the entire exposure series from zero to +1.3 EV, see files A2INMP0.HTM through A2INMP4.HTM on the thumbnail index page.

ISO Series:
Noise is low at ISO 50, and remains in check at ISOs 100 and 200, and loss of subtle detail to the anti-noise processing is relatively minor. At ISO 400, the loss of detail increases significantly, as does the noise itself, and at ISO 800, the image is both much noisier and much softer. The color balance also shifts somewhat at ISO 800, the noise in the blue channel contributing to a slightly bluish cast. Nonetheless, ISO 800 images would probably be entirely usable for 4x6 prints, possibly 5x7s.

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800



 

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

Good color (slight color casts), with excellent resolution and detail.

While all three of the A200's white balance settings tested produced nearly accurate results, each had just a slight color cast. The Auto setting was a hint red, and the Daylight setting a hint warm. I chose the Manual setting as the most accurate overall, based on the white value of the house trim, though it too is ever-so-slightly cool. Resolution is very high, and detail is excellent in the tree limbs, front shrubbery, and house front, with great definition. Details are reasonably sharp throughout the frame as well. (The camera's eight-megapixel CCD is actually capable of picking up more detail than the poster has in it, never mind that the target was created from a 4x5-inch negative shot with a tack-sharp lens.)



 

Far-Field Test

Excellent detail and resolution, better than average sharpness in the corners. High contrast limits the dynamic range, however.

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 A200 does an excellent job with it. The leaf patterns and tree bark in the front shrubbery and in the tree limbs above the roof show a lot of fine detail, as do the tiny Christmas lights hanging from the edge of the roof. Details are well-defined, and in-camera sharpening performs well. (Overall resolution is very similar to that of the more expensive A2 model, no surprise, given that they use the same lens. Some competing 8-megapixel digital cameras edge the A2 and A200 slightly in terms of sharpness and fineness of detail, but the Konica Minolta models largely make up for this with better than average sharpness in the corners of the frame.) The camera does lose essentially all detail in the glaring highlights of the white paint around the bay window though, and even its lowest contrast setting does little to help. Detail is only moderate in the shadow area above the front door as well, further evidence that high contrast limits the dynamic range. The table below shows a standard resolution and quality series, followed by ISO, sharpness, contrast, saturation, filter, and color effects series.

Resolution Series:

Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
3,264 x 2,448
A2FAR3264F
A2FAR3264N
A2FAR3264E
2,560 x 1,920
A2FAR2560
-
2,080 x 1,560
A2FAR2080
-
1,600 x 1,200
A2FAR1600
-
640 x 480
A2FAR0640
-


ISO Series:
As above, noise levels and the tradeoff between subtle subject detail and image noise are quite good up to ISO 200. Starting at ISO 400 though, noise increases and a great deal of subject detail in areas of subtle contrast is traded away.

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800


Sharpness Series:
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200's in-camera sharpening works well, the default producing only slight halos around contrasting edges, although the finest details do appear slightly coarser than the best I've seen form some 8-megapixel competitors. (This may be the lens or anti-alias filter's influence though, rather than the sharpening algorithms.) The low setting almost completely removes the effects of the in-camera sharpening filters, but there's still a slight halo to be found here and there. Generally good performance though.

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Hard


Contrast Series:
Here again, a good range of contrast adjustment, with very fine steps. Even the lowest contrast setting couldn't entirely preserve detail in the very strong highlights of this shot though.

Contrast Series
-5
-3
-1
Normal
+1
+3
+5


Saturation Series:
As before, a good range of color saturation adjustment, with nice, fine steps.
Saturation Series
-5
-3
-1
Normal
+1
+3
+5


Digital Filter Series:
This would actually be most useful when dealing with strongly colored light sources. (Incandescent, high-pressure sodium at night, etc.) You have a +/- 5 step adjustment, the "+" direction adding a red tint, the "-" direction a blue one. The steps are fairly fine, and cover a pretty broad range. The series below shows one-step shifts about the default position, as well as the limits of the control's range.

Digital Filter Series
-5
-1
Normal
+1
+5


Color Series:
A couple of potentially useful settings here. "Portrait" gives a softer, less-contrasty handling of flesh tones, while "Vivid" boosts color saturation a bit, more or less mimicking the look of more-saturated color slide film. (The A200's native color balance is more subdued, more accurate than that of most other consumer/prosumer digital cameras, and thus a little duller looking.)

Color Series
Black & White
Natural Color
Portrait
Vivid Color



 

Lens Zoom Range

An excellent 7x zoom range.

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 (7x, in this case), and at full telephoto with the digital zoom enabled. The A200's lens is equivalent to a 28-200mm zoom on a 35mm camera. That corresponds to a pretty wide angle and a pretty substantial telephoto. Following are the results at each zoom setting.

Wide Angle
7x Telephoto
Digital Telephoto



 

Musicians Poster
Auto White Balance
Daylight White Balance
Manual White Balance

Slightly cool color, but still pretty good results. High resolution and strong detail.

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. Both the A200's Auto and Daylight settings produced slightly warm color balances (the Auto setting the warmer of the two, responding to the blue background), while the Manual setting produced a cooler, slightly magenta cast. I actually preferred the Manual setting here, as the overall color looked closest to the target. Though skin tones are just a little on the magenta side here, the warmer images were much too yellow or red for my taste. The magenta cast creates slight purplish tints in the blue background and robe, but overall color is still fairly good. Resolution is very high, and detail is strong in the models' accessories and instruments, as well as in the embroidery on the blue robe. (The original data file for this poster was only 20MB though, so cameras like the A200 are definitely capable of showing more detail than the poster has in it.)



 

Macro Shot
Standard Macro Shot
Macro with Flash

A very small macro area with great detail. Flash performs surprisingly well up close too.

The A200 performed very well in the macro category, capturing a minimum area of only 1.99 x 1.49 inches (50 x 38 millimeters). Resolution is very high, and a lot of fine detail is visible in the dollar bill, coins, and brooch, though details are softer on the coins and brooch due to the close shooting range. Details soften toward the corners of the frame, but are fairly sharp on the dollar bill. (Many digicams produce images with soft corners when shooting in their Macro modes.) The A200's flash throttles down quite well for the macro area, providing great coverage (if just slightly bright). - One thing that helps with the lighting on close-in macro shots like this with the A200 is that its macro mode works at a range of wide-angle focal lengths, but also at maximum telephoto. The telephoto option gives you a lot more room to work with between the lens and your subject.



 

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

Good overall exposure and color, despite a very slight magenta cast with the Manual white balance setting. Color is more accurate than most, although that makes it less vivid than that of many competing cameras. (The "Vivid" option pumps it back up for those who want that, though.)

Though a bit cool and magenta, the A200's Manual white balance setting again won out here, as it produced the best overall color. The Auto setting was reddish, and the Daylight setting had a yellow cast (though both color casts were slight). Exposure looks about right, and the A200 distinguishes the subtle tonal variations of the Q60 target very well.

The A200's color handling has something for everyone. Its default color rendering is among the more accurate I've seen on the digital cameras I've tested, with excellent accuracy on the MacBeth(tm) target color swatches. Most swatches are essentially dead-on accurate, the camera deviating significantly only on the reds, which are rendered slightly oversaturated. The camera's very accurate color may not appeal to everyone though, as most digital cameras boost saturation somewhat relative to reality, because most consumers prefer brighter-looking color in their snapshots. Compared to such cameras, the A200's images will look a little dull. The big plus with the A200 though, is that it lets you tweak its color and tonal response to exactly match your needs and preferences. If you want to quickly approximate the behavior of more consumer-oriented digital cameras, just shoot in its "Vivid" color mode. Or, use the fine-grained color saturation adjustment to dial in just the amount of saturation you'd like.

The large color blocks all look pretty good, though the green is a little flat and the blue block slightly violet from the magenta tint. The shadow area of the charcoal briquettes shows good detail, with low noise.


Now, for the REAL technoids, Imatest!

I've recently begun using Norman Koren's excellent "Imatest" analysis program for quantitative, thoroughly objective analysis of digicam test images. For those interested, I've prepared a page summarizing what Imatest showed me about the Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200's images.



The results in the tests below mirror those seen above in other test shots. The test series are repeated here without further comment, for the benefit of our more quantitatively-oriented readers.



ISO Series:

ISO Series
ISO 50
ISO 100
ISO 200
ISO 400 ISO 800


Contrast Series:

Contrast Series
-5
-3
-1
Normal
+1
+3
+5


Saturation Series:
Saturation Series
-5
-3
-1
Normal
+1
+3
+5


Digital Filter Series:

Digital Filter Series
-5
-1
Normal
+1
+5


Color Series:

Color Series
Black & White
Natural Color
Portrait
Vivid Color



 

Low-Light Tests

Good low-light performance, with reasonably bright exposures at the darkest light level of this test, though warm color. High image noise at the higher sensitivity settings. Excellent autofocus capability and EVF usability at low light levels.

The A200 produced clear, bright, usable images down to the 1/8 foot-candle (1.3 lux) light level at the 100, 200, 400, and 800 ISO settings. I undershot the correct exposure at 1/16 foot-candle, but the camera is clearly capable of working at that light level. (I'll try to get back to this, reshoot the 1/16 fc images if I can.) At ISO 50, images were bright down to the 1/4 foot-candle (2.7 lux) light level, though the target is visible at the lowest light level of the test. Color balance was a little warm, sometimes reddish, with the Auto white balance setting, with increasing color casts as the light level decreased. Noise is fairly low in most shots, though it increases to a very high level at ISOs 400 and 800. The camera's Noise Reduction setting didn't seem to do much in the way of controlling or decreasing image noise, though images taken without Noise Reduction enabled do show more red pixels, and thus a stronger red cast. The A200's autofocus system worked down to the 1/16 foot-candle limit of our test, and its EVF remained usable at that light level as well. (Fairly unusual for an EVF, in my experience.) 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 sample photos) are untouched, exactly as they came from the camera.

(Note: If you'd like to use a light meter to check light levels for subjects you might be interested in shooting, a light level of one foot-candle corresponds to a normal exposure of two seconds at f/2.8 and ISO 100.)

  1 fc
11 lux
1/2 fc
5.5 lux
1/4 fc
2.7 lux
1/8 fc
1.3 lux
1/16 fc
0.67 lux
1/16fc
No NR
ISO
50
Click to see A2LL0503.JPG
4 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL0504.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL0505.JPG
20 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL0506.JPG
30 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL0507.JPG
30 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL0507XNR.JPG
30 sec
f2.8
ISO
100
Click to see A2LL1003.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL1004.JPG
5 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL1005.JPG
13 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL1006.JPG
20 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL1007.JPG
30 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL1007XNR.JPG
30 sec
f2.8
ISO
200
Click to see A2LL2003.JPG
1.3 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL2004.JPG
2.5 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL2005.JPG
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL2006.JPG
13 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL2007.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL2007XNR.JPG
15 sec
f2.8
ISO
400
Click to see A2LL4003.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL4004.JPG
1.3 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL4005.JPG
3.2 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL4006.JPG
6 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL4007.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL4007XNR.JPG
8 sec
f2.8
ISO
800
Click to see A2LL8003.JPG
1/2 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL8004.JPG
1/1 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL8005.JPG
2 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL8006.JPG
4 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL8007.JPG
4 sec
f2.8
Click to see A2LL8007XNR.JPG
4 sec
f2.8



 

Flash Range Test

A moderately powerful flash, a range of about 10 feet at medium telephoto focal lengths.

In my testing, the A200's flash illuminated the test target at 14 feet, though with low intensity. Flash power was bright from eight to about 10 feet, but decreased in intensity from that point on. 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 A2FL08.JPG
1/125 sec
f3.2
ISO 50
Click to see A2FL09.JPG
1/160 sec
f3.2
ISO 50
Click to see A2FL10.JPG
1/160 sec
f3.5
ISO 50
Click to see A2FL11.JPG
1/160 sec
f3.5
ISO 50
Click to see A2FL12.JPG
1/200 sec
f3.5
ISO 50
Click to see A2FL13.JPG
1/200 sec
f3.5
ISO 50
Click to see A2FL14.JPG
1/200 sec
f3.5
ISO 50



 

ISO-12233 (WG-18) Resolution Test

Very high resolution, 1,450 - 1,600 lines of "strong detail." High barrel distortion at wide angle, but low pincushion at telephoto. Low to moderate chromatic aberration, good sharpness in the corners of the frame.

The A200 performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart. Artifacts weren't present in the test patterns until resolutions as high as 1,400 lines per picture height horizontally, though some were present at about 800 lines vertically. I found "strong detail" out to about 1,600 lines horizontally, but artifacts and aliasing held the resolution to about 1,450 lines in the vertical direction. "Extinction" of the target patterns didn't occur until about 2,000 lines, but even there, a small distinction between the lines is noticeable.

Using its "MTF 50" numbers, which correlate best with visual sharpness, Imatest showed an average uncorrected resolution of 1231 LW/PH, and a resolution of 1763 LW/PH when normalized to a standard 1-pixel sharpening. These are very good results.

Geometric distortion on the A200 is fairly high at the wide-angle end, where I measured approximately 1.04 percent barrel distortion. The telephoto end fared quite a bit better, as I found only 0.03 percent pincushion distortion there. Chromatic aberration is very low at medium and long focal lengths, rising slightly at wide-angle. (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.) Sharpness in the corners is very good (much better than average) at wide and medium focal lengths, softening somewhat at the telephoto end of the lens's range. Overall, a high-quality lens, with better than average performance across the board.

Resolution Series, medium focal length
Wide Angle "Fine"
JPEG
"Normal"
JPEG
"Economy"
JPEG
3,264 x 2,448
A2RES3264F
A2RES3264N
A2RES3264E
2,560 x 1,920
A2RES2560
-
-
2,080 x 1,560
A2RES2080
-
-
1,600 x 1,200
A2RES1600
-
-
640 x 480
A2RES0640
-
-


 

Resolution Test, Zoom Series
3,264 x 2,448
(Fine,
Wide Angle)
A2RESW
3,264 x 2,448
(Fine,
Telephoto)
A2REST


Sharpness Series:

Sharpness Series
Soft
Normal
Hard



 

Viewfinder Accuracy/Flash Uniformity

Excellent accuracy from the EVF and LCD monitor.

The A200's "electronic" optical viewfinder (EVF) is very accurate, showing about 98 percent of the final image area at wide angle, and about 99 percent at telephoto. The LCD monitor also proved very accurate, since it's essentially the same view on a larger screen. Given that I like LCD monitors to be as close to 100 percent accuracy as possible, the A200's LCD monitor did very well here, as did its EVF. Flash distribution is a little uneven at wide angle, with some falloff at the corners and edges of the frame. At telephoto, flash distribution is more uniform.




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<<Reference: Datasheet | A200 Imatest Results>>

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