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Minolta's DiMAGE S404 digital camera. Copyright © 2002, The Imaging Resource. Minolta announces DiMAGE S404! (UPDATED)
(Tuesday, January 8, 2002 - 22:05 EST)

New digicam updates existing S304 model to 4 megapixels...

Minolta has today officially announced its new DiMAGE S404 digital camera, an update to the existing S304 model with a 1/1.8" 4.13 megapixel CCD image sensor. The new camera shares a near-identical body and the same 4x optical zoom lens as its lower-resolution sibling. Other features of the DiMAGE S404 include wide and spot AF modes (with the ability to select an AF point to use), a 1.8" 122,000 pixel LCD display, ISO ratings from 64 to 400, built-in five-mode flash, and CompactFlash Type-I storage. The camera offers a good degree of control over images for enthusiasts, including 270 segment multi and spot metering, aperture priority and full manual modes, exposure, contrast, saturation, and sharpening compensation, and a histogram feature in playback mode to confirm correct exposure. Full specifications for the camera are in our database, whilst highlights follow:

Specification Highlights - full specifications here
Minolta DiMAGE S404
Minolta's DiMAGE S404 digital camera. Copyright © 2002, The Imaging Resource. Click for a bigger picture!
Model Number: DiMAGE S404
Camera Format: Compact
Image Capture
Image Sensor: 4.13 megapixel (actual)
Image Resolution: 2272x1704, 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480
Focal Length (effective): 35 - 140mm (4x optical zoom)
Digital Zoom: 2.2x
Auto Focus: Yes (Video AF type, wide and spot select)
Manual Focus: No
Normal Focus Range: 50 cm to Infinity; 20.4 in to Infinity
Macro Focus Range: 16 - 60 cm; 6.5 - 24.5 in
Aperture Range: f/3.0 (wide) / f/3.6 (tele) - ???
Optical Viewfinder: Yes (real-image zoom type)
LCD Viewfinder: Yes (1.8 inch, 122,000 pixel)
ISO Settings: Auto, 64, 100, 200, 400
White Balance Settings: Auto, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Custom
Manual White Balance: Yes
Shutter Speeds: 15 - 1/1000 second
Exp Adj Range: +/- 2.0EV in 1/3EV steps
Metering Modes: 270 segment multi, spot
Exposure Modes: Auto, Aperture Priority, Manual
Self Timer: 10 seconds
Internal Flash: Yes
Flash Modes: Auto, Auto w/ red-eye reduction, On, On w/ red-eye reduction, Off
Flash Range Description: Wide: 1.6 - 11.5 feet (0.5 - 3.5 m); Tele: 3 - 9.8 feet (0.9 - 3 m)
Ext Flash: No
Image Storage
Flash Memory: CompactFlash Type-I
Memory Included: 16MB
File Formats: JPEG, Mono WAVE, MotionJPEG (AVI)
More Information
Weight: 335 g; 11.7 oz
Weight With Batteries? No
Size: 114 x 65 x 59 mm; 4.5 x 2.5 x 2.3 in
Notes & Features: Complies with PRINT Image Matching, Epson's color management technology.

Lens has 11 elements in 9 groups (one AD glass element and two double-sided aspheric elements). Features 32MB SDRAM buffer memory. Body is aluminum.

Shutter speeds 4 - 15 seconds available in bulb mode only. Has exposure bracketing capability (0.3, 0.5 or 1.0EV increments). Has voice memo feature allowing 5 or 15 seconds audio with each image. Three user-selectable sharpening levels (soft, normal, hard). Exposure, contrast and saturation compensation functions available. Has histogram function in playback mode.

Claimed battery life of 90 minutes playback (alkaline) / 110 minutes playback (NiMH), or 40 frames (alkaline) / 150 frames (NiMH) with LCD on, 50% flash usage, no voice memo or instant playback.

Comes bundled with neck strap, lens cap, USB cable, video cable, 16MB CompactFlash card, AA alkaline batteries, DiMAGE software CD-ROM, ArcSoft PhotoImpression CD-ROM. Optional accessories include RC-3 infra-red remote control, AC-1L AC adapter, CS-DG304 camera case, EBP-100 external battery pack.
More Photos
Minolta's DiMAGE S404 digital camera. Copyright © 2002, The Imaging Resource. Click for a bigger picture!

From Minolta, we also have the following 'backgrounder' document on the DiMAGE S404:


Minolta's Top-of-the-Line Compact Digital Camera: The DiMAGE S404

The new Minolta DiMAGE S404 will meet amateur photographers' needs for a digital camera that provides high-quality image processing, a dynamic zooming range, advanced autofocus and autoexposure performance and fast, easy operation.

Main Features:

High Resolution CCD
The new DiMAGE S404 is equipped with a high-quality 1/1.8 inch-type CCD with 4.0 million effective pixels (total of 4.1 million) for high-resolution images. At this resolution, prints of approximately 11 x 14 inches at 150 dpi can be produced.

High Performance all-glass 4x zoom Minolta GT LENS
The Minolta DiMAGE S404 features a Minolta GT LENS, a high performance lens class for digital cameras. It is a high-resolution, all-glass apochromat lens featuring both an AD (anomalous dispersion) element and two double-sided aspheric elements to ensure clear, sharp, and detailed images with minimum chromatic aberration at all focal lengths.

CxProcessTM: Minolta's Image Processing Technology
The DiMAGE S404 features Minolta's proprietary CxProcess, a new image processing technology that provides clear and natural images. In image processing, too much emphasis on natural color produces flat color pictures. Overemphasizing the color range creates an unnatural color scheme. CxProcess balances both extremes by controlling sharpness, color reproduction, tonal gradation and noise to produce pleasing photographs.

12-bit A/D Conversion
The digital camera has a 12-bit A/D conversion that can provide a fine tonal gradation with deep shadows, brilliant highlights and millions of colors, up to 4,096 levels in each RGB channel, with more than 68 billion colors. Minolta's 12-bit A/D conversion provides exquisite details in portraiture: smooth complexion, rich shadows and luminous highlights, as opposed to the standard 10-bit A/D conversion with its limited 1,024 levels per RGB channel.

High 4x Optical Zoom Ratio
The new DiMAGE S404 has a high power 4x optical zoom lens - a range equivalent to a 35mm-140mm zoom lens on a 35mm camera - that has the flexibility to capture pictures ranging from wide-angle landscapes to intimate portraits.

The One-Touch 2.2x digital zoom gives the Minolta DiMAGE S404 a zoom ratio of up to a 308mm focal length on a 35mm camera. The macro setting on the camera produces sharp close-up images of subjects as near 3.9 inches from the lens.

Highly Responsive Operation
A higher pixel count generally means slower operation. However, the DiMAGE S404's high speed LSI with a 32-bit RISC CPU and the 32 MB SDRAM buffer memory ensures responsive and effortless operation.

The DiMAGE S404 is fast. The image capturing interval time of 0.8 second and brisk continuous advance speed of 1.3 frames per second with up to 7 frames (with full-size - 2272x1704 pixels - images in the fine image-quality mode) can transform a passing moment into a priceless memory. With a playback loading time of 0.2 second, images are previewed quickly.

High Performance Autofocus and Autoexposure
Using a wide focus area, the cross-hair main autofocus control accurately and quickly determines subject distance, regardless of the horizontal or vertical subject contrast. Focus Area Selection is a flexible tool that singles out a specific subject in the image area by selecting from five spot focus areas. With Minolta's Focus Area Selection, photographers can move the focusing point to single out a specific subject from a number of objects at varying distances.

Users have the option of full-time autofocus, which continually adjusts the focus to keep the subject on the monitor sharp and reduce autofocusing time.

The multi-segment metering technology in the camera uses both light values and color information to accurately calculate the exposure. The DiMAGE S404 uses 270 segments for natural and well-exposed images. Spot-metering is also available for precise exposure control.

Easy-to-Use Control Layout
The camera's controls are positioned and designed with a four-way controller and easy-to-read menu for ease of use. The mode dial allows the user to switch instantly between fully automatic recording and multi-function recording for more creative control. A shutter sound effect indicates the shutter has been released.

Sophisticated Design
The DiMAGE S404's compact design features a lightweight aluminum body, and is designed to feel comfortable in the hands, making it the perfect choice for people on the go.

Diverse Functions
To give photographers the control they want, the Minolta DiMAGE S404 offers a variety of settings and functions. They include:
  • A new histogram display to show the luminance distribution of a recorded image
  • A new macro and text digital subject program to shoot small letters and business cards
  • A selection of exposure modes, including programmed autoexposure (AE), aperture priority and manual mode. Bulb exposure is also available.
  • High performance built-in flash
  • Digital effects control to control contrast and color saturation
  • Exposure compensation and bracketing
  • Automatic, preset (daylight, cloudy, tungsten and fluorescent) and custom white balance controls
  • Manual focus
  • Continuous advance
  • Movie recording with audio (up to 60 seconds)
  • Voice memo (up to 5 or 15 seconds) with still images
  • Built-in self-timer for self-portraits
  • Remote control (optional)
DiMAGE Image Viewer Utility Software
The DiMAGE Image Viewer Utility Software allows users to manipulate images using a simple graphics interface. It enables corrections to color, contrast, sharpness and more. The effect of the image controls can be displayed as a ring-around in the variation palette. Correction settings can be saved and applied to different images. The color matching is compatible with most image processing software for accurate reproduction. The software also shows image information such as date, size, file name, focal length in 35mm equivalent, white balance and exposure settings.

Specifications are subject to change without notice.
Please see the www.minoltausa.com website for the most updated specifications.

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UPDATED 2002-01-08 21:20ET: Our friends at Steve's Digicams have posted their first-look review of the DiMAGE S404 - no conclusions or sample images as yet, but plenty of interesting insight into design and control...
Source: Minolta Co. Ltd.

Original Source Press Release:

Minolta Introduces New DiMAGE S404 Compact Digital Camera

4-Megapixel consumer digital camera offers high performance with fast, simple operation

Las Vegas, NV (January 8, 2002) - Minolta Corporation expands its digital camera line with the introduction of the new Minolta DiMAGE S404. With a design based on the highly-regarded DiMAGE S304, the stylish and easy to use DiMAGE S404 features a 4x optical zoom, built-in flash, video recording capability, USB interface and Compact Flash card compatibility. But unlike the DiMAGE S304, the Minolta DiMAGE S404 features enhanced resolution - 4.0 million pixels for clear sharp pictures and enlargements, and double the SDRAM buffer memory - 32MB for faster shooting. In addition, the DiMAGE S404 inherits some advantages from the award-winning Minolta DiMAGE 7 digital camera such as superior GT LENS technology, CxProcessTM imaging and a high speed LSI.

"The new DiMAGE S404, Minolta's top-of-the-line compact digital camera, combines high quality images and automatic features, allowing users to obtain the best photographic results with easy camera operation," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president, digital imaging products for Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "It's the ideal digital camera for a variety of applications and users -- personal or business, from novice to enthusiasts."

The DiMAGE S404 features a 1/1.8-inch type CCD with 4.0-megapixel effective resolution. The camera incorporates a 4x zoom, all glass, apochromatic Minolta GT LENS with anomalous dispersion (AD) glass for color accuracy and dual aspherical elements which, combined with a 2.2x digital zoom, provides a compact lens design with a wide image capture range. The optical zoom lens range is from 7.15mm to 28.6mm, equivalent to 35mm -140mm in 35mm, and with digital zoom, the range is equivalent to 35mm - 308mm in 35mm.

The image formed on the CCD is enhanced by Minolta's exclusive CxProcess image processing technology to optimize sharpness, color reproduction, tonal gradation and noise to create clear and natural images. The wide dynamic range is provided by 12-bit A/D (analog to digital) conversion to ensure natural color and tonal reproduction.

In addition, the high-speed LSI with 32-bit RISC (Reduced Instruction Set Computer) CPU and expanded SDRAM buffer memory allows the camera to be highly responsive with faster operation. The capturing interval time of 0.8 seconds and brisk continuous advance speed of 1.3 frames per second with up to 7 frames (full size images in fine image quality mode) can transform a passing moment into a priceless memory.

The DiMAGE S404 offers flexible and accurate autofocus, auto exposure and an optical zoom viewfinder. Its stylish aluminum body features an easy-to hold grip and simple control layout. A versatile camera, the DiMAGE S404 features fully automatic white balance and video recording with audio as well as ease of use features like Digital Subject Program Selection and creative functions such as histogram display of recorded images, exposure compensation and bracketing, custom white balance and digital effects control, that give the photographer control over the final image.

For more detailed information on features and specifications of the Minolta DiMAGE S404,
please refer to the enclosed backgrounder and specification sheets.

Minolta Corporation
Minolta Corporation, headquartered in Ramsey, New Jersey, is the largest subsidiary of Minolta Co. Ltd. of Osaka, Japan, a leading manufacturer of cameras, business equipment, radiometric instruments and planetariums. Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group (CPG) markets 35mm film and Advanced Photo System cameras, digital cameras, binoculars, accessory lenses, photographic light meters, 35mm and Advanced Photo System film scanners and other consumer products. Minolta is the exclusive distributor of Cokin filters.

The corporation's Business Products Group (BPG) markets digital and analog office equipment. Products include black-and-white copiers, digital black and white printer/copiers, plain-paper laser facsimile machines, digital color printer/copiers, micrographic systems, document management software, and related office equipment.

For more information, visit Minolta's Web site located at www.minoltausa.com or access Minolta's PHOTOFAX at 800-528-4767.

All brand names are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of their respective companies.

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