Back in January 2003 Konica and Minolta announced that they would merge and form the single company 'Konica Minolta'. Just over a year since that announcement, at PMA 2004 the new Konica Minolta announce four new cameras which carry the new Konica Minolta branding and logo. The DiMAGE A2 is a follow-on to the DiMAGE A1. Essentially this camera is identical to the A1 apart from its sensor, the DiMAGE A1 had a 5 megapixel 2/3" type CCD, the new DiMAGE A2 has an 8 megapixel 2/3" type CCD.
That said the DiMAGE A2 brings a lot more to the table than some of the other eight megapixel digital cameras, most notably it's Anti Shake technology which is uniquely implemented by applying stabilization to the CCD instead of a lens element, two actuators compensating for horizontal and vertical movement of the camera (see below). The A2 also has a wide angle zoom lens and that lovely mechanically linked zoom mechanism which makes for quick and accurate zoom with a more 'SLR like' feel.
|Click for a larger image||Click for a movie of the Anti-Shake system in action (exaggerated motion) - 2.1 MB|
As noted above the DiMAGE A2 implements an image stabilization system by placing the CCD sensor on a movable platform supported by two actuators (horizontal and vertical). The system works by analyzing input from motion detectors in the camera body and producing an inverse movement in the CCD. The system can be disabled (easily by pressing a very prominent button on the rear of the camera) and can also detect a panning movement and only compensate for movement on the opposite axis. Minolta claim that their system enables shutter speeds of 8 times longer (3 stops) than you would be able to manage without it.