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Minolta Dimage S404

Dimage technology and optics in a compact, stylish four megapixel design

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 1/30/2002

4-megapixel CCD delivers uninterpolated images up to 2,270 x 1,704 pixels
High-resolution Minolta GT lens with 4x optical zoom (35-140mm equivalent focus range)
CxProcess image processing and Large Scale Integration image processing chip
12-bit Analog / Digital conversion for more than 4,000 levels per channel (Red, Green, Blue)


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Manufacturer Overview
Minolta Corporation is a traditional camera manufacturer of long experience, making a slow but calculated entry into the digital marketplace. Like its popular line of 35mm SLRs, the Maxxum Series, Minolta's Dimage Digital Cameras are developing a reputation for innovative technology in light metering, exposure control, and compact autofocus lens design. In 1996, Minolta introduced the Dimage V, the first digital camera with a detachable lens that enabled users to preview pictures with the camera body in one hand, while holding the lens at a distance in the other. Eventually Minolta developed the EX1500, a modular digital camera used as the framework for an amazingly effective 3D capture system, developed in partnership with the software firm MetaCreations (renamed Viewpoint Corporation in Fall 2000). In addition to conventional and digital cameras, Minolta manufactures high-quality light meters, spectrophotometers, colorimeters, and an award-winning line of film scanners, including the Dimage Scan Elite, Scan Dual II, and Scan Multi II.

Spring 2001 marked the introduction of three new Dimage digicam models -- each representing a separate price point to appeal to different segments of the digital market. The Dimage 7, reviewed elsewhere on the site, is designed to appeal to serious photographers who want high resolution (5.24 megapixels), a long-range wide-angle-to-telephoto zoom lens (equivalent to 28-200mm), and a sophisticated user interface with extensive creative controls. The Dimage 5 is the midrange model, with the same sophisticated controls, but a smaller 3.34-megapixel CCD and shorter 35-250mm equivalent lens. Finally, the compact, autofocus Dimage S304, targeted for the amateur market, shared the same microprocessor and most of the same technology, but with a 3.34-megapixel lens and 4x zoom lens equivalent to a 35-140mm on a 35mm camera. Now, Minolta has updated the S304 design by adding a four megapixel CCD, calling this latest model the S404.

High Points

  • 4-megapixel CCD delivering image resolutions as high as 2,270 x 1,704 pixels.
  • 4x, 7.15-28.6mm lens, equivalent to a 35-140mm lens on a 35mm camera.
  • Maximum aperture of f/3.0 at full wide-angle and f/3.6 at full telephoto.
  • Automatic and manual focus control, adjustable focus area.
  • 2.2x digital enlargement.
  • Real-image optical viewfinder and 1.8-inch color LCD monitor.
  • Auto and Manual exposure control.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/1,000 to 4 seconds, with maximum 15-second Bulb setting.
  • Program AE, Aperture Priority, and Manual exposure modes.
  • Built-in flash with five operating modes.
  • Adjustable White Balance with six settings, including a Custom setting.
  • Multi-Segment and Spot metering modes.
  • Sensitivity equivalents of 64, 100, 200, and 400 ISO.
  • Auto-Exposure Bracketing, Continuous Shooting, Voice Memo, Self-Timer, and Movie modes.
  • Special "Scene" exposure modes (Macro, Portrait, Landscape, Night, Text, and Text with Macro).
  • Optional remote control.
  • Image color, sharpness, saturation, and contrast adjustments.
  • Histogram display for checking exposure.
  • JPEG and uncompressed TIFF file formats.
  • Images saved to CompactFlash Type I memory cards.
  • Power from four AA NiMH or alkaline batteries, or optional AC adapter.
  • NTSC video cable for viewing images on a television (PAL for European models).
  • USB cable for quick connection to a computer, and software CD with drivers and ArcSoft PhotoImpression (PC or Mac).
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compatibility for printing images.

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