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Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 Digital Camera

Camera QuickLook
Review Date 10/04/2005
User Level
Novice - Amateur
Product Uses
Family / Travel
Digicam Design
Point and Shoot
Picture Quality
High, 5.0-megapixel CCD
Print Sizes
Good prints to 11x17 inches or 8x10 with heavy cropping
Availability
May 2005
Suggested Retail Price
(At introduction)
$349.99

 

Introduction

Review Links
Overview
Design
Operation
Specifications
Recommended Accessories
Conclusion
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 continues a long line of subcompact "X-series" digital cameras from that company. Minolta really turned heads almost three years ago, when they first introduced the diminutive DiMAGE X, a two megapixel digital camera in the form of a square block of metal, just barely over three-quarters of an inch thick. The DiMAGE X's clever "folded" optical system not only enabled the super-thin design, but made for rapid startup times, since there was no need to wait for the lens assembly to telescope out when the camera was turned on.

This year, the latest model continuing the heritage of the "X" line is the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60. While still closely related to its predecessor the DiMAGE X50, the X60 does away with the optical viewfinder, reducing the camera's size and weight, at the expense of a little versatility. It also replaces the X50's essentially useless bundled SD card with 15MB of built-in memory - much more useful since it is always in the camera in addition to your own flash card. Although there have been a lot of hardware changes made, the Konica Minolta X60 will feel very familiar to owners of earlier X-series models. With each generation, Konica Minolta's "X" series has continued to improve, and the images from the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 offer high resolution, and good color as well. Read on for all the details, but if you're looking for a super-portable, easy to use, and stylish camera, the DiMAGE X60 deserves a close look.

 

Camera Overview

With its prism-folded lens design, Konica Minolta's DiMAGE X60, like the DiMAGE X50, Xg, Xt, Xi and X before it, has a tiny, extraordinarily thin all-metal body. As with the the X50, the DiMAGE X60's lens is horizontally mounted near the center of the camera's body - providing better separation between the front of the lens opening and your fingertips when in use than previous X-series cameras that placed the lens vertically at the very left-hand edge of the camera (as viewed from the rear). The new model is slightly smaller overall than the X50, measuring just 3.3 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches (83.5 x 56.0 x 22.0 millimeters). The Konica Minolta X60 is a tenth of an ounce lighter than the X50, though, weighing a light 4.9 ounces (139 grams) with the battery and SD memory card. With this extremely compact design, there's no excuse for leaving it behind, as the camera can tag along in even the smallest shirt pocket, or be quickly tucked into an evening bag or pants pocket. The unique "folded" optical design means that there's no wait for a lens to telescope out of the body when the camera is powered up, resulting in very fast startup and shutdown times. (It also keeps moving parts to a minimum, and protects the lens inside the camera's body - reducing both power consumption, and the risk of accidental damage). The sleek design includes a built-in sliding lens barrier which doubles as a power switch, eliminating any concern over misplacing a lens cap. The all-metal case is rugged and solid-feeling, and should withstand the wear and tear of daily use better than most cameras. The 3.0x zoom lens is just a little more powerful than the X50's 2.8x optical zoom, and combined with the fully automatic exposure control makes the camera suitable for most common shooting conditions. The 5.0-megapixel CCD produces high resolution images for printing, as well as lower resolution images better suited for email.

The DiMAGE X60 has a 3.0x, 6.3-18.9mm lens, the equivalent of a 38-114mm lens on a 35mm camera. That's a little less wide and a little more tele than the X50. The autofocus covers a range from 4 inches (10 cm) to infinity. A Super Macro scene mode reduces this to a minimum of just 2 inches (5 cm). Depending on the lens zoom position, the maximum aperture ranges from f/3.3 to f/4.0 (that's a little less light let in at wide, but more let in at telephoto than the X50 offered with its f/2.8 to f/5.0 lens). In addition to the optical zoom, the Konica Minolta X60 offers a 4.0x digital zoom, in increments of 0.1x. (Although I always remind readers that digital zoom decreases the overall image quality because it simply enlarges the central pixels of the CCD's image.) The DiMAGE X60 offers a large 2.5-inch LCD display on which to compose images - rather larger than the 2.0-inch display on the X50 model, and it's looking about 98% accurate. At 115,000 pixels, resolution is the same as the X50's smaller LCD - meaning that the display on the X60 looks rather more coarse than the previous model. Unlike the X50, there is no optical viewfinder on the X60 - most likely because there's simply not room to fit one without increasing the size of the camera significantly. For the record, the optical viewfinder in past X-series cameras was very tight, and not very useful, with the LCD reporting a far more accurate view. In playback mode, images can be enlarged up to 6x, as an aid to checking critical focus and framing.

Exposure is automatically controlled at all times, with only a few exposure options available. The sliding lens barrier on the front of the camera powers the camera on, and a Mode switch lets you select between fully automatic, scene, and movie / sound modes. The Scene Mode function, which customizes exposures for common photographic situations, offers a choice of Automatic Selection, Portrait, Sports Action, Landscape, Sunset, Night Portrait, Text, Super Macro, and Auto settings. Thanks to the all-internal lens design, there's no need to wait for the lens to extend before you can shoot, so startup times are quite short - in my tests, the camera took about 1.6 seconds to capture the first picture after power-up, though the Konica Minolta still claims a 0.5 second startup time. Most exposure options are controlled through the LCD's on-screen menu system, which offers very straightforward navigation. You can control flash mode, lens zoom, wide / spot autofocus, drive mode, and your choice of either exposure compensation, white balance, ISO sensitivity or color mode externally, via buttons and controls on the camera's rear panel. Shutter speeds range from 1/1,000 to four seconds, though the chosen value is not reported to the user. The right and left arrow keys on the camera's back panel control either the Exposure Compensation, white balance, ISO sensitivity, or color mode, or are disabled in Record mode (depending on a menu setting). Exposure Compensation ranges from -2 to +2 exposure equivalents (EV) in one-third step increments. Sensitivity is adjustable to values of 50, 100, 200, or 400, with an Auto setting as well, that varies the ISO between 50 and 160, depending on the current light level. White Balance is adjustable through the settings menu, with options for Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Incandescent, and Fluorescent light sources. The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60's built-in flash operates in Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Forced, Suppressed, or Slow Sync modes (the latter being available only when using the Night Portrait scene mode).

In addition to the basic exposure options, the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 also offers a few extra shooting modes, controlled through the settings menu. In Movie exposure mode, the camera captures 320 x 240-pixel resolution moving images with sound, with duration limited only by the size of the memory card. Movie frame rate can be selected from a choice of either 15 or 30 frames per second. (The included 15MB built-in memory should hold approximately 20 seconds worth of movies at the highest frame rate, or 38 seconds at the lower frame rate, larger cards will store proportionately more.) A Self-Timer mode provides a 10-second delay between the time the Shutter button is pressed and when the camera actually takes the picture, allowing you to get into your own shots. For shooting fast action subjects, the DiMAGE X60's Continuous Shooting mode captures a rapid series of images when you hold down the Shutter button, much like a motor drive on a traditional 35mm camera. Provided that there's enough space remaining on the memory card, the camera can capture up to four large/fine images before having to pause to write the image data to the memory card. Details like image size and shutter speed can affect the shooting interval, but it averages approximately 1.6 frames per second. A Multi-Frame mode captures nine low-res images at a rate of 1.5 frames per second, which are then combined as a single image in a three by three grid. Finally, Audio Recording mode lets you record sound clips as long as 180 minutes (without an image), although the maximum recording time may also be limited by the amount of available memory card space. (The 15MB built-in memory can hold about 30 minutes of audio.) The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 also features a Voice Memo option, for recording short sound clips (up to 15 seconds in length) to accompany recorded images.

The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 stores its images on an SD memory card (or the slightly less expensive MMC cards), or in its 15MB of built-in memory. There's also a provision to copy images from the built-in memory to a Secure Digital card or vice versa - or even to copy images between Secure Digital cards via the built-in memory. Connection to a host computer for image download is via USB. The DiMAGE X60 is a "storage-class" device, which means that it doesn't require any separate driver software for Windows 2000 and XP, or for Mac OS 8.6 and later. (Download speed is also good, I clocked it at 751 KBytes/second on my Sony VAIO computer, running Windows XP. - That's faster than USB v1.1 can support, so the X60 must in fact have a USB v2.0 interface.) The camera utilizes an NP-700 rechargeable lithium-ion battery for power, one of which is included with the camera, along with the necessary battery charger. Unlike the Konica Minolta X50, which allowed you to turn the LCD display off in favor of the optical viewfinder, the DiMAGE X60 offers only an LCD display. Fortunately, Konica Minolta seems to have improved battery life, as a fully-charged battery is good for about 78 minutes of continuous operation, 20 more than the X50 managed with the same battery. Still, my standard recommendation of picking up an additional battery pack and keeping it freshly charged applies for the X60. The optional AC adapter may also be useful for preserving battery power when using the camera as a webcam, for reviewing and downloading images, or when viewing images and movies on a television, via the supplied A/V cable.

Basic Features

  • 5.0-megapixel CCD.
  • 2.5-inch color TFT LCD monitor.
  • Glass, 3.0x, 6.3-18.9mm lens, equivalent to a 38-114mm lens on a 35mm camera.
  • 4.0x digital zoom.
  • Automatic exposure control.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to four seconds.
  • Maximum aperture f/3.3 to f/4.0, depending on lens zoom position.
  • Built-in flash.
  • SD/MMC memory card storage, plus 15MB built-in memory.
  • Images saved as JPEG files.
  • Power supplied by one NP-700 rechargeable lithium-ion battery or optional AC adapter.
  • DiMAGE Master Lite, Kodak EasyShare software and USB drivers included for both Windows and Mac platforms.

Special Features

  • Movie mode with sound.
  • Continuous Shooting mode.
  • 10-second Self-Timer for delayed shutter release.
  • Voice Memo mode for recording captions.
  • White balance (color) adjustment with five modes.
  • Scene mode with nine presets.
  • Adjustable ISO.
  • Both multi-segment and spot metering.
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility.
  • PictBridge compatibility.
  • USB cable for connection to a computer (driver software included, can function as a webcam).


Recommendation
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 is very small and compact. Its full automatic exposure control provides true point-and-shoot operation, although the user does have a few options for lightening or darkening the image, or adjusting the color balance. The 5.0-megapixel CCD delivers good quality images, with enough resolution to make good-looking prints as large as 11x17, or 8x10 with heavy cropping, and a low resolution option for email purposes. A 1.5 frames per second burst mode should help keep up with children, pets, or other subjects that just won't stay still. The DiMAGE X60's tiny size and rugged case design make it a natural for "anywhere/anytime" photography. With its point-and-shoot appeal and ease of use, the Konica Minolta X60 is perfect for novice users who simply want to take good pictures without getting too involved in the technicalities. Even sophisticated users will appreciate its exceptional portability and good picture-taking capabilities, making it a good "second camera" for enthusiasts too - although they may be the most likely to miss the presence of an optical viewfinder. All in all, a very appealing little camera, with good build quality and surprisingly good image quality for a subcompact model.

 

Design

Like the other DiMAGE X-series cameras before it, the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 has an extremely thin, tiny case. With a stylish rectangular body and few protrusions, the DiMAGE X60 is among the most portable cameras on the market. Measuring just 3.3 x 2.2 x 0.9 inches (83.5 x 56.0 x 22.0 millimeters), the DiMAGE X60 is somewhat smaller than its predecessor the X50, and fits just about anywhere - including the smallest of shirt pockets. Matching its diminutive size, the Konica Minolta X60 is also very light weight at just 4.9 ounces (139 grams) without the battery and SD memory card. The secret to the DiMAGE X60's compact design is its internally-mounted lens, which stretches horizontally in the center of the camera rather than protruding from the camera's front. An internal prism reflects light from the subject sideways into the lens itself, like a periscope. As well as providing protection for the lens mechanism, the internal lens mounting means that there's no wait for the lens barrel to extend when you power up the camera - making startup times quick. (Although at about 1.6 seconds from power on to the first shot captured, not quite as quick as the DiMAGE X50 was.) The design also offers protection for the lens, and reduces the number of moving parts - saving power and potentially offering better reliability, plus less risk of lens mechanism damage from the camera coming on while in a pocket or bag.

The front of the camera holds the lens window (normally covered by the sliding lens barrier when the camera is turned off), as well as the flash, four-holes for the microphone, and the self-timer lamp. The sliding lens barrier also functions as a power switch, bringing the camera quickly to life as it is opened (the Playback button, described later, can also power the camera on and off when the lens barrier is closed). A slight ridge at the edge of the lens barrier provides welcome purchase for your fingers when framing a photo.

The design of the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 is well suited for either a one- or two-handed grip. The fact that the lens is horizontally mounted near the center of the camera reduces the chance of covering the lens opening with your left finger accidentally, something that was a risk with earlier X-series cameras until the X50 model. As an added bonus, the location of the flash in the X60 is approximately where the optical viewfinder window was in the X50's design. This places it further from the edge of the camera, where it is less likely to be blocked with a finger. The only downside to the location is that it is still very close to the lens, which can lead to problems with red-eye.

On the right side of the camera (as viewed from the rear) are the USB / AV and power terminals, Secure Digital card slot, and a wrist strap attachment eyelet. A sliding door protects the USB / AV terminal, with a small plastic ridge on it to make it easier to open. The Secure Digital card slot is protected by a spring-loaded plastic door that slides backwards slightly before swinging open, and which features seven small bumps that help your finger gain grip.

The opposite side of the camera is featureless.

The Konica Minolta X60's top panel is sleek and smooth, with only a minor protrusion for the Mode switch and Shutter button. The Mode switch offers three settings - Still Image, Scene mode or Movie / Audio mode. To the left of the Mode switch is a small seven-hole grille for the camera's speaker.

The remaining camera controls are on the back panel, along with the 2.5-inch color LCD monitor. A single LED lamp above the top right corner of the LCD display reports the camera's status, such as when the battery is drained, when the flash is charged, when the Secure Digital card is being accessed, etc. To the right of the LCD are three buttons, which access the Playback mode (even if the sliding lens barrier is closed, if the button is held in), enable / disable the LCD's information overlay, and call up the Menu in any mode. The display button can also be used to call up the camera's LCD brightness adjustment screen by holding it in for a second or so. A rocker button at the top right corner of the camera's rear controls the optical and digital zoom, while a four-button controller with central OK button at the lower right corner navigates through the camera's menu system and selects options.

In record mode, the upper button of this group controls the Flash mode (Auto, Red-Eye Reduction, Fill, or Off), while the lower button controls the drive mode (Single-frame, Continuous, Multi, or Self-Timer). In regular still image mode, the left and right buttons can be configured to control your choice of either exposure compensation, white balance, ISO sensitivity or color mode, or can be disabled. In Scene mode, the left and right buttons select from among the available scene modes (Automatic Selection, Portrait, Sports Action, Landscape, Sunset, Night Portrait, Text, Super Macro, and Auto Recording). The central button, when held in for a second or so, switches between wide and spot focusing. In playback mode, the left and right buttons page through captured images, movies and sounds, while the upper button brings up the Delete menu, and the lower button rotates images counter-clockwise in 90-degree steps. The central button starts playback of movies or sound clips.

The bottom panel of the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 reveals only the plastic, threaded tripod mount - located off-center near the left hand side of the camera - as well as the battery compartment. The tripod mount is quite close to the front of the camera, so it may not provide the most ideal platform to keep the camera steady, but it is at least fairly close to the center-line of the lens, which will make it easier to shoot photos for a panorama.

The battery compartment door features a grid of nine small bumps that help your finger gain grip, and slides left towards the camera's side, before opening downwards on a spring-loaded hinge. Unfortunately it is located almost immediately next to the tripod mount, which means that if you need to change cards when using a tripod, you'll have to first remove the camera from the tripod. (The X60 is not a camera you're likely to use in a studio, however, so this is really only a minor quibble). Upon opening the card door, the battery drops out of the camera - making for quick and easy battery changes, but also making it easy to drop the battery on the floor if you're not careful, since there's no latch to hold it in place when the compartment door is open.

Camera Operation
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60's user interface is straightforward, as the camera employs automatic exposure at all times. While Scene mode, zoom setting, flash mode, drive mode, wide / spot autofocus and your choice of either exposure compensation, white balance, ISO sensitivity, or color mode can be adjusted via the top or rear-panel controls, all the other features and functions are controlled through the LCD menu system. In both capture and playback modes, the camera's menu system is divided into three pages, delineated by subject tabs at the top of the screen - almost identical to the earlier DiMAGE X50. To the right of the subject tabs, a "Setup" button takes you from the record or playback menus to the Setup menu. The Playback button lets you quickly switch to Playback mode, even if the sliding lens barrier is closed. Considering the camera's automatic exposure control and limited user options, most users should be able to become familiar with the camera's operation in 30 minutes to an hour.

Record Mode Display: In record mode, the LCD monitor displays the subject with a minor amount of overlaid information, indicating operating mode, flash, white balance, ISO setting, the current size/quality setting, metering area, focusing area, drive mode, exposure compensation, color mode, date imprinting, and the number of images that can be stored on the remaining memory card space at the current size/quality. Pressing the Display button beneath the LCD once removes the information overlay (except for the date imprinting indication, and critical battery warning), and pressing it a second time restores the default display. When you half-press the shutter button, a small dot appears in the lower right-hand corner of the LCD indicating whether the camera is focused (white dot) or not (red dot), and a "shaking camera" symbol appears above the focus dot if the shutter speed is slow enough that you'll need to be careful not to jiggle the camera during the exposure.

Playback Mode Display: In playback mode, the default image display shows the most recently captured image, video, or sound file, with an information overlay showing (as applicable) the resolution and quality setting used, the date and time of capture, the file number, and the sequence number of the image among those currently stored in the memory card. Pressing the Display button once dismisses the information overlay, and pressing it a second time restores the informaton overlay. With an image displayed full-screen, pressing the zoom control in the "W" direction shows a set of six thumbnails, letting you browse images quickly. Pressing the zoom control in the "T" direction zooms in on the image up to a maximum magnification of 6x. At any magnification level, pressing the center button of the multi-controller reverts to a full view of the image, while the four arrow buttons let you scroll around the magnified image. The screenshot above right shows all the available display options in playback mode.

 

External Controls


Sliding Lens Barrier: Serving a dual purpose as the Konica Minolta X60's power control and as protection for the lens opening, the sliding lens barrier on the front of the camera turns it on in record mode when opened, and powers it off from any mode when closed.


Shutter Button: On the right-hand side of the camera's top panel, this button sets focus and exposure when pressed halfway, and fires the shutter when fully pressed.


Mode Switch: Just to the left of the Shutter button on the camera's top panel, this control sets the X60's record mode. Options include still capture, scene mode, and movie/audio capture.


Zoom Rocker
: Located at the top right of the Konica Minolta X60's rear panel, this control adjusts the optical and digital zoom in any record mode. In Playback mode, this control lets you zoom in on an image, as much as 6x. When an image is fully zoomed out, pressing this control to the "W" position switches the camera to a 2x3 display of thumbnail images for rapidly reviewing photos in the camera.


Playback Button: Directly below the Zoom rocker, this button switches the camera to playback mode when in record mode. If the lens barrier is closed, briefly holding this button in powers the camera on in playback mode. When in playback mode, pressing this button returns the camera to record mode if the lens barrier is open, or powers it off if the barrier is closed.


Display Button: Directly below the Playback button, this button controls the LCD display. In Record or Playback mode, pressing this button once disables the information overlay, and a second press recalls both the information overlay. Holding the button in for a second or so calls up the camera's LCD Brightness Adjustment screen.


Menu Button: Directly below the Display button, this button calls up the settings menu in both Record and Playback modes. A second press cancels the Menu display


Five-Button Controller: Located in the bottom right corner of the back panel, these five buttons serve multiple functions.

In Still Image record mode, the left and right buttons control your choice of either exposure compensation, white balance, ISO sensitivity or Color mode. In Scene mode, the left and right buttons select from the available scene modes. The top button controls the flash mode, and the bottom button controls the drive mode (Single-image, Continuous, Multi or Self-Timer). In any settings menu, these buttons navigate through menu options. In playback mode, the left and right buttons scroll forward or back through previously captured images, videos and sounds. The upper button brings up the Delete menu, while the lower button rotates images counter-clockwise in 90-degree steps. When in zoomed playback, these buttons move your view up, down, left or right in the enlarged playback image. When viewing a movie, the left and right buttons fast-forward or rewind the clip. When viewing a slideshow, the left and right buttons skip through the slideshow.

The central button on the Five-Button controller also serves multiple functions. In Record mode, briefly holding this button switches the camera between wide and spot AF modes. In playback mode, this button starts playback of sounds and movie clips. When viewing a slideshow, this button pauses or resumes the slideshow.

 

Camera Modes and Menus

Still-Image Record Mode: In normal or scene Record modes, the camera can capture still images. The Record menu is displayed by pressing the Menu button, and the following options are available:

  • Menu 1
    • Image Size: Adjusts the image resolution to 2,560 x 1,920; 2,048 x 1,536; 1,600 x 1,200; or 640 x 480 pixels.
    • Quality level: Sets the image compression level to Fine, Standard, or Economy (JPEG file format).
    • White Balance: Adjusts the overall color balance of the scene. Options include Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, and Fluorescent.
    • Key Func: This menu item lets you change the function controlled by the left/right keys on the camera's rear panel. Options include Exposure compensation, White balance, ISO sensitivity, Color mode, and Off (the default).


  • Menu 2
    • Sensitivity: Lets you set the camera's ISO sensitivity to Auto (the default), 50, 100, 200, or 400.
    • Metering Mode: Select between MultiSegment (the default) or Spot exposure metering.
    • Exp.Comp: Set the exposure compensation from -2 to +2 EV units in 0.3 EV steps.
    • Auto Reset: Resets certain camera settings to their default values whenever the camera is turned off. Values that are reset include the flash mode, drive mode, white balance, camera sensitivity, exposure compensation, metering mode, color mode, AF area and monitor display. Note that one setting, flash mode, will actually reset to one of two values depending on which was used last - either auto flash, or auto flash with red-eye reduction.


  • Menu 3
    • Color Mode: Sets the camera's color mode to color (the default), black and white, or sepia.
    • Voice Memo: Enables the recording of an audio track up to 15 seconds long after the capture of each image. (Default is off.)
    • Date Imprint: Enables the imprinting of the current date or date and time in small white characters outlined in black, in the lower right-hand corner of each image. Off by default, options include YYYY/MM/DD, or MM/DD/hr:min.
    • Digital Zoom: Enables or disables (the default) the digital zoom function, which functions in 0.1x increments up to a maximum of 4.0x.
    • Inst. Playback: Off by default, when turned on this causes the camera to display each image on the LCD for two seconds after it's captured.


  • Setup: Accesses the camera's setup menu.

Playback Mode: This mode allows you to review captured images on the memory card, erase them, protect them, set them up for printing, etc. Pressing the Menu button displays the following options:

  • Menu 1
    • Delete: Erases the current frame, the audio caption attached to the current frame (if applicable), all frames, or marked frames from the memory card.
    • Audio Caption: Allows you to record a short (15 seconds max.) sound clip to accompany a previously recorded image. If a clip is already recorded, prompts you for whether you wish to replace it with a new one.
    • Lock: Write-protects the current image, marked images, or all images, preventing them from being manipulated or erased (except via card formatting). An option also exists to Unlock all images. You can unlock single images by using the current image option, or toggle the status of multiple images from locked to unlocked or vice versa using the market images option.
    • Image Pasting: Allows you to superimpose images on each other. The currently-selected image acts as a background, and one of nine templates (vertical rectangle, square, horizontal rectangle, bear, circle, heart, speech bubble, oval and thought bubble) can then be selected and overlaid on the image. Three sizes can be chosen for any template, and the template can be positioned where you want it in the image. Finally, the camera superimposes a live viewfinder view in the template, and you can frame and capture another photo to fill the template with. The result is saved as a new image, and the process can be repeated on the resulting image.
    • Copy: Makes an exact copy of images, movies or audio files, either in the internal memory, or on a separate memory card. Options exist to copy either the current frame, or marked frames, and you are guided through the process by instructions on-screen.


  • Menu 2
    • Slide Show: When selected, this menu item triggers a slideshow of all images, sounds and movies on the camera.
    • Dissolve: When enabled, the camera randomly chooses a dissolve effect to use when switching images in a slideshow.
    • Crop frame: Allows you to crop a portion of the image, using the same controls as the digital zoom to select the area to be saved. When satisfied, you press the shutter button to save the resulting cropped image as a new file.
    • Frame Capture: Lets you cue backwards and forwards through a movie frame by frame with the left and right arrow keys, and save a specific frame as an image file. If the arrow keys are held down instead of tapped to cue frame by frame, the movie cues at normal playback speed for a couple of seconds, then switches to a high-speed cue. If desired, the movie audio can be attached to the image (if the movie is longer than fifteen seconds, then the fifteen seconds of audio immediately surrounding the captured frame will be saved).
    • Edit Movie: Allows you to remove a section from a movie, specifying a start and end-point for the section to be discarded. The resulting movie can be previewed, and then saved as a new file which can in turn be edited - allowing you to discard multiple sections from the same movie. When the movie is saved, you are prompted for whether the original movie file should be discarded or not.


  • Menu 3
    • DPOF Set: Sets images for printing on an output device supporting the Digital Print Order Format (DPOF) standard. Options are to mark the current frame, all frames, marked frames, or to cancel the print orders for all images.
    • Date Print: Either on or off, this selects whether the camera should print the date with all images in a DPOF order.
    • Index Print: Sets up a DPOF order for an index print showing all images on the memory card.
    • E-mail Copy: Makes a smaller copy of images for convenient emailing. The original images aren't changed, a smaller copy is made. Options are to make a copy of the current image only, or of all marked images.



Movie/Audio Mode: This mode allows you to record either movies (with sound) or audio-only files. Pressing the menu button displays the following options.

  • Menu 1
    • Recording Mode: Sets the camera to capture either movies or audio.
    • Frame Rate: Sets the frame-rate of captured movies to either 15 or 30 frames per second.
    • Movie Mode: Sets the camera's sensitivity when capturing movies. Standard maximizes movie quality, but gives lower sensitivity. Night Movie increases sensitivity, but with a potential decrease in movie quality.

  • Menu 2
    • White Balance: Adjusts the overall color balance of the scene. Options include Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, and Fluorescent.
    • Exp.Comp: Set the exposure compensation from -2 to +2 EV units in 0.3 EV steps.
    • Color Mode: Sets the camera's color mode to color (the default), black and white, or sepia.



Setup Menu: This mode lets you adjust various camera options and settings. Clicking on the Setup button in any other menu displays the following options:

  • Menu 1
    • LCD Brightness: Adjusts the brightness of the LCD display in eleven steps.
    • Format: Formats the SD card, erasing all files, including protected ones.
    • Language: Changes the menu language to English, Japanese, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Swedish, Russian, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, or Korean.
    • File # Memory: Specifies whether file numbering starts over with new folders, or continues regardless of folder or memory card.
    • Folder Name: You can have the camera name the folders it stores its images in on the memory card using either the camera's standard scheme, or by Date. (The latter being a handy way to keep track of photos you've shot over a period of time.)


  • Menu 2
    • Audio Signals: Select from two sets of audio signals that occur whenever a button is pressed, or disable them altogether.
    • Focus Signal: You can select your choice of two standard autofocus lock sounds, or disable this sound altogether.
    • Shutter FX: You can select your choice of two standard shutter sounds, or disable this sound altogether.
    • Volume: Sets the volume of the camera's audio signals and shutter FX sounds. Playback of recorded audio is not affected. Options are 1 (Low), 2, or 3 (High).
    • Power Save: Sets the camera to automatically shut off after 1, 3, 5, 10, or 30 minutes of inactivity.
  • Menu 3
    • Reset Default: Resets most settings to their default values.
    • Date/Time Set: Self explanatory - Sets the date and time.
    • Video Output: Selects whether the Video Out connector should comply with the NTSC (US) or PAL (European) standards.
    • Transfer Mode: Through its USB interface, the DiMAGE X60 can appear as either a data storage device or a remote camera. (The remote camera option allows the X60 to be used as a USB-connected webcam.). This option also allows you to set the camera to PictBridge mode, for printing images on PictBridge-compatible printers over the USB connection, without the need for a computer.

In the Box

The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 ships with the following items:

  • Hand strap.
  • USB and AV cables.
  • NP-700 lithium-ion battery pack.
  • Battery charger.
  • DiMAGE software CD (the user manual is on the CD).
  • Registration card.

 

Recommended Accessories

Recommended Software: Rescue your images!
Just as important as an extra memory card is a tool to rescue your images when one of your cards fails at some point in the future. I get a lot of email from readers who've lost photos due to a corrupted memory card. Memory card corruption can happen with any card type and any camera manufacturer, nobody's immune. A surprising number of "lost" images can be recovered with an inexpensive, easy to use piece of software though. Given the amount of email I've gotten on the topic, I now include this paragraph in all my digicam reviews. The program you need is called PhotoRescue, by DataRescue SA. Read our review of it if you'd like, but download the program now, so you'll have it. It doesn't cost a penny until you need it, and even then it's only $29, with a money back guarantee. So download PhotoRescue for Windows or PhotoRescue for Mac while you're thinking of it. (While you're at it, download the PDF manual and quickstart guide as well.) Stash the file in a safe place and it'll be there when you need it. Trust me, needing this is not a matter of if, but when... PhotoRescue is about the best and easiest tool for recovering digital photos I've seen. (Disclosure: IR gets a small commission from sales of the product, but I'd highly recommend the program even if we didn't.) OK, now back to our regularly scheduled review...

 

Specifications

See the specifications sheet here.

 

Test Results

We ran the Konica Minolta X60 through our usual battery of tests, and have summarized our findings here. To see a complete listing of all our test shots and do your own analysis, go to the Thumbnails page.

Lens

Zoom
Though a typical 3x, the DiMAGE X60's lens is less vulnerable and saves power because it stays extended inside the camera

Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image
38mm
114mm
4.0x Digital Zoom

The Konica Minolta X60 zooms over the equivalent of a 38 - 114mm range, offering reasonable zoom in a small package. A 4.0x digital zoom adjustable in 0.1x increments is also available, but decreases the overall image quality because it simply enlarges the central pixels of the CCD's image. Sharpness is good, particularly given the constraints imposed by a prism-folded lens design.

Macro
The DiMAGE X60 offers a Super Macro scene mode that locks the lens zoom somewhere in the middle of its range.

Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image
Standard Macro Macro with Flash

The Konica Minolta X60's macro setting performed extremely well, capturing a tiny minimum area of 1.00 x 0.75 inches (25.3 x 19.0mm). While the original X50 had an even smaller area, the difference was negligible. The flash overexposes the scene significantly, but at least fairly evenly (so in a pinch a little tissue paper over the flash might give acceptable macro photos).

Distortion
Moderate barrel distortion and very high pincushion

Distortion is the tendency for the lens to bend straight lines outward (like a barrel--usually at wide angle) or inward (like a pincushion--usually at telephoto). The Konica Minolta X60's 0.9% barrel distortion at wide angle is a touch higher than average among the cameras I've tested. At the telephoto end, the X60's 0.7% pincushion is very high.

Barrel distortion at 38mm is 0.9%
Pincushion at 114mm is 0.7%

Chromatic aberration
Fairly bright, has a mild effect on images at edges

Top left corner Top right corner

Chromatic aberration is fairly bright, with different chroma error 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.)

Corner Sharpness
Slight softness at the corners, but overall fairly good

Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image
Somewhat soft lower left Softer on the lower right

Although the corners of some images were noticeably softer than the center, fewer of my shots from the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 showed this problem than I've come to expect from subcompact digicams.

Sensor

Exposure and White Balance

Indoors, incandescent lighting
Fairly strong warm cast with Auto white balance settings, better performance with Incandescent setting.

Auto White Balance +1.0EV Incandescent WB +1.0EV

Color balance indoors under incandescent was very warm in Auto mode, with the blue flowers appearing purple. Marti's white shirt tricked the camera's meter somewhat, requiring +0.3 EV of exposure compensation to get a good exposure. The warm cast is gone in Incandescent mode, which still requires that +1.0EV correction. Our test lighting for this shot is a mixture of 60 and 100 watt household incandescent bulbs. This is a pretty yellow light source, but a very common one in typical home settings here in the US.

Outdoors, daylight
Good color balance, muted colors. Tendency to underexpose shadow detail.

Auto White Balance, Auto Exposure Auto White Balance, Auto Exposure

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Resolution
High resolution, 1,200 lines of strong detail.

Our laboratory resolution chart revealed sharp, distinct line patterns down to about 1,200 lines per picture height, with extinction at around 1,650. (The camera did produce slight color artifacts at lower line frequencies though, visible in the full-sized res target shots.) Use these numbers to compare with other cameras of similar resolution, or use them to see just what higher resolution can mean in terms of potential detail. Beware that while you might be able to make out what looks like distinct lines at numbers higher than those we've mentioned here, the camera is just doing its best to continue interpreting the lines. If you zoom in and follow them from the wider portions, you'll see the lines converge and reappear several times, so the lines you see at 1,400 and higher are really only artifacts generated by the camera's imaging system.

Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image
Strong detail to 1,200 lines horizontal Strong detail to 1,200 lines vertical

See full set of test images with explanations
See thumbnails of all test and gallery images

Sharpness & Detail
Fairly sharp images, with some blurring of detail from noise suppression.

Pretty good definition of high-contrast elements. Subtle detail: Hair
Noise suppression tends to blur detail in areas of subtle contrast, as in the darker parts of Marti's hair here.

The DiMAGE X60's images are reasonably sharp, without only slight halos from sharpening / edge enhancement on the camera's part. (Edge enhancement creates the illusion of sharpness by enhancing colors and tones right at the edge of a rapid transition in color or tone.)

Noise-suppression systems in digital cameras tend to flatten-out detail in areas of subtle contrast. The effects can often be seen in shots of human hair, where the individual strands are lost and an almost "watercolor" look appears. The crop at far right shows this as a "splotchiness" in the fine detail, even though individual strands are quite visible against Marti's cheek in the uncropped image. (The level of detail loss shown here isn't all that obvious on prints 8x10 inches or smaller though.)

ISO & Noise Performance
Moderate noise at the normal sensitivity settings, very high noise that blurs detail at the higher settings.

Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image
ISO 50 ISO 100
Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image
ISO 200 ISO 400

The DiMAGE X60's lower ISO settings produced moderate noise, with only slightly blurred detail in the dark areas. As the ISO setting increases, so does the noise level and the amount of blurring that results, and its images at ISO 400 are quite noisy, and with a noticeably "splotchy" texture from the noise reduction. When printed, ISO 200 photos looked good at 8x10 inches; ISO 400 prints were good at 5x7 inches, and looked fine at 4x6.

Extremes: Sunlit and low light tests
High resolution with good overall detail, though images are very contrasty and there's a tendency to underexpose significantly to preserve strong highlights. Below average low-light performance.

Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image
Normal +0.7EV +1.0EV

Sunlight:
Because digital cameras are more like slide film than negative film (in that they tend to have a more limited tonal range), we test them in the harshest situations to see how they handle scenes with bright highlights and dark shadows, as well as what kind of sensitivity they have in low light. The shot above is designed to mimic the very harsh, contrasty effect of direct noonday sunlight, a very tough challenge for most digital cameras. (You can read details of this test here.)

The Konica Minolta X60 had serious trouble with the deliberately harsh lighting in the test above, producing an underexposed, contrasty shot that preseved the highlights at the expense of the shadows. The +0.7EV image shows better skin tones at the expense of only a little highlight detail. The +1.0EV image exposes the midtones resonably well, but loses a significant amount of highlight detail in Marti's shirt.. (In "real life," be sure to use fill flash in situations like the one shown above; it's better to shoot in the shade when possible.)

Low light:
Our low light testing revealed some limitations in the lens and sensor's ability to gather and process light - the DiMAGE X60 isn't the best choice for after-dark photography. Our one foot-candle test image was about correct, and equates to about as bright as average city street lighting at night. Any darker though, and the camera delivered underexposed images. Color balance was just a touch warm from the Auto white balance setting. The camera's autofocus system worked reasonably well, able to focus on the subject at just slightly below one half foot-candle. Do keep in mind that the very long shutter times associated with Night Landscape mode absolutely demand the use of a tripod or other camera support to get sharp photos. (A useful trick is to just prop the camera on a convenient surface, and use its self-timer to release the shutter. This avoids any jiggling from your finger pressing the shutter button, and can work quite well when you don't have a tripod handy.)

  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
ISO
50
Click to see X60LL0503.JPG
4 sec
f3.3
Click to see X60LL0504.JPG
4 sec
f3.3
Click to see X60LL0505.JPG
4 sec
f3.3
Click to see X60LL0506.JPG
4 sec
f3.3
Click to see X60LL0507.JPG
4 sec
f3.3

Color

Saturation & Hue Accuracy
Slightly oversaturated reds, more muted than most consumer digital cameras. Undersaturates blues, greens and yellows. Generally good hue accuracy

Most consumer digital cameras produce color that's more highly saturated (more intense) than found in the original subjects. This is simply because most people like their color a bit brighter than life. The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 follows this trend somewhat, yet still underemphasizes colors others choose to pump up. Reds and magentas are more saturated than we saw in the Z5, yet blues, yellows, and greens are less saturated. Where oversaturation is most problematic is on Caucasian skin tones, as it's very easy for these "memory colors" to be seen as too bright, too pink, too yellow, etc. The Konica Minolta X60 did tend to render skin tones a bit undersaturated and pink, but the color was probably within what most users would consider acceptable limits.

The other important part of color rendition is hue accuracy. Hue is "what color" the color is. On this score, the DiMAGE X60 does reasonably well, and the minor distortions it introduces are calculated to do things like avoid blues turning purple.

Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image Sony DSC-T33 digital camera image

The DiMAGE X60's colors are somewhat muted, tending toward a more neutral character, though less so than previous Konica Minolta models. Our random "Gallery" shots showed good if not enthusiastic color across a wide variety of subjects. (See our Konica Minolta X60 Photo Gallery for more shots taken with the camera.)

Viewfinder

Coverage
Very good accuracy from the LCD monitor (the only viewfinder on the DiMAGE X60)

38mm eq., LCD monitor 114mm eq., LCD monitor

The large 2.5 inch LCD on the X60 is great for framing or reviewing images, and it is nearly 100% accurate, displaying just a little less than what is recorded onto the camera's memory card.

Flash

Coverage and Range
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60's very small flash has a very small effect

38mm equivalent 114mm equivalent
Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 digital camera image Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 digital camera image
Normal Flash Normal Flash +0.3EV

Flash coverage at both wide angle and telephoto shows some vignetting, and its range is very limited.

Even at 8 feet, our closest test range, the flash did not illuminate the DaveBox adequately.

In my informal people shots, the DiMAGE X60 showed frequent red-eye.

8 ft 9 ft 10 ft 11 ft 12 ft 13 ft 14 ft
Click to see X60FL08.JPG
1/90 sec
f4.0
ISO 50
Click to see X60FL09.JPG
1/114 sec
f4.0
ISO 50
Click to see X60FL10.JPG
1/114 sec
f4.0
ISO 50
Click to see X60FL11.JPG
1/114 sec
f4.0
ISO 50
Click to see X60FL12.JPG
1/114 sec
f4.0
ISO 50
Click to see X60FL13.JPG
1/114 sec
f4.0
ISO 50
Click to see X60FL14.JPG
1/114 sec
f4.0
ISO 50

Output Quality

Print Quality
Good prints to 11x14 inches. ISO 400 shots look good as large as 5x7.

Testing hundreds of digital cameras, we've found that you can tell just so much about a camera's image quality by viewing its images on-screen. Ultimately, there's no substitute for printing a lot of images and examining them closely. For this reason, we now routinely print sample images from the cameras we test on our Canon i9900 studio printer, and on the Canon iP5000 here in the office. (See the Canon i9900 review for details on that model.)

The X60's print quality was generally quite good. Low-ISO images looked good when printed as large as 11 x 14 inches. At that size they were just slightly soft, but would be entirely acceptable at normal viewing distances for a print that size. As usual, the challenge comes at high ISO settings, where image noise increases significantly. The X60 did better than I expected in this regard. ISO 400 prints were noisy when printed at 8x10 inches, but probably acceptable to most people at 5x7. At 4x6 inches, noise was a non-issue. ISO 200 prints looked just fine at 8x10. Color in prints was bright and vibrant without looking at all overdone, and skin tones were clear and natural. Image quality often suffers in subcompact digital cameras, but the X60 does better than most.

Timing and Performance

Timing
Surprisingly responsive for a subcompact model, partly thanks to its prism-folded lens.

Startup/Shutdown:
Power On to first shot 1.6 seconds
Shutter response (Lag Time):
Full Autofocus Wide
0.95 second
Full Autofocus Tele
0.88 second
Prefocused
0.13 second
Cycle time (shot to shot):
Normal large/fine JPEG 2.33 seconds
Flash recycling 6 seconds
Continuous mode 0.65 second
1.55 frames/second
(4 large/fine frames)

Performance on the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 was good overall, but with some serious downsides. In some areas the X60 is clearly above average, but in others the number are closer to the norm. Thanks to its prism-folded lens (which doesn't need to be extended for use), startup time is better than average, at 1.6 seconds from power-on to the first shot being captured. Prefocused shutter lag was also impressive, at a reasonably swift 0.13 seconds. Full-autofocus shutter lag ranged from 0.88 - 0.95 seconds depending on the zoom setting though, about average for a consumer camera. The DiMAGE X60 was also about average for a consumer camera shot to shot, managing a shot every 2.33 seconds in single-shot mode, and capturing up to four large/fine images at a time in burst mode, at a rate of 1.55 frames/second. After the first four shots the X60 would repeatedly take a little under eight seconds to clear its buffer for the next shot, and then be right on track for another three shots at full speed again. Also on the X60 is a "Multi-Frame" feature, which captures nine images at up to 1.49 frames/second, and stores them in a single full-sized image.

See full Picky Details page.

Battery and Storage Capacity

Battery
About average battery life for such a small camera.

Operating Mode
Battery Life
Still-image capture mode
78 minutes
Image playback
backlight on
176 minutes

The DiMAGE X60 uses a custom rechargeable Li-ion battery for power. I tested its power consumption via an AC adapter, and the table above shows the results. With little space for a bulky battery, these cameras generally can't be compared to full-sized cameras. This is borne out by a worst-case run time of 78 minutes in record mode, and playback run time of 176 minutes. The Konica Minolta X60 is about average among the subcompact cameras I've tested. I recommend purchasing a second battery right along with the camera and keeping a charged spare on hand, especially since there's no option to turn the LCD off entirely, since the camera has no optical viewfinder. On the plus side, the X60's relatively long battery life will keep you from worrying about showing off your pictures.

Storage
The included 15MB card of built-in memory is cutting it very fine for a 5 megapixel camera.

Image Capacity with
15 MB Built-in Memory
Fine Standard Economy
2,560 x 1,920 Images 6 11 22
File Size 2.5MB 1.3MB 678K
2,048 x 1,536 Images 9 17 33
File Size 1.7MB 860K 463K
1,280 x 960 Images 14 28 48
File Size 1.0MB 546K 314K
640 x 480
Images 71 102 155
File Size 215K 149K 98K

The DiMAGE X60 stores its photos on either Secure Digital or MultiMediaCards, or in 15MB of built-in memory. I strongly recommend buying at least a 128MB card, preferably a 256MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings. There is one definite benefit of the X60's use of built-in memory rather than the pointless low-capacity flash cards included by most manufacturers, though. If the camera had come with a 16MB SD or MMC card, it would likely be left at home and never used after the first day. With almost the same amount of memory built into the camera, it is always with you for that occasion when you fill up your entire flash card and still want a handful more shots.

See full Picky Details page.

 

Pro: Con:
  • Slim form factor, literally shirt-pocket sized
  • Internal lens design means no external moving protrusions to damage
  • Excellent Macro mode
  • Fast prefocus shutter lag
  • Produces good prints at most ISOs
  • Big, beautiful LCD screen, entirely usable in full sun
  • Fast USB 2.0 computer connection
  • Scene modes are simple, straightforward, and few
  • Good battery life
  • Slow AF and shot-to-shot speed
  • Aggressive noise suppression reduces detail at high ISO
  • Poor low-light performance
  • Very weak flash (very common with subcompact cameras)
  • SD card door is a little flimsy
  • Battery has no retention latch, falls free when battery door is opened

 

Conclusion

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Continuing the trend of the entire Konica Minolta X-series cameras, the DiMAGE X60 is a very slim, small, and convenient digicam that offers just what most users want from this ultra-small category: good quality that they can take anywhere. Its very big 2.5 inch LCD is excellent indoors or out in bright daylight, so the optical viewfinder is not necessarily missed. The X60's ergonomics are pretty well thought out, as it's comfortable to shoot with one hand or two (though I recommend two when working the controls, as this camera is very small). The X60 is a little slow at autofocus, high ISO images are grainy, and its flash isn't all that powerful, but these are common compromises in cameras this small. Cameras like this are the only ones we recommend if you're actually going to put a camera in a pocket, because if they come on damage to the lens mechanism really isn't possible (the optics, of course, can always be damaged by keys, and compression damage from sitting on a camera prevent us from really recommending most cameras as truly pocketable). I'd like to see a higher resolution movie mode, as the X60 is limited to 320 x 240, but the X60's stills are good quality at good resolution. Like the rest of the X-series, it's a great camera to bring along everywhere. If you don't want to lug your bigger camera along, the X60 will deliver good quality images in a pinch. After all, the best camera is the one you have with you when you need it, and the X60's small, slim profile leaves you no excuse to be without it.

 

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