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Rear of camera controls

On the rear (right) of the camera are several more controls, most of which are positioned to be within reach of your thumb when gripping the camera with your right hand.

Main mode switch

Position Description
Power

Press this button once to turn the camera on. You must hold the button for a second or more to power off.

Still image record mode

Puts the camera into still image record mode, the exposure mode is selected using the mode dial on the top of the camera.

Play mode

Enters play mode, displays the last image taken or the last image on the CF card. An alternative to this is simply to press the QV button which is essentially the same thing except that you can return to record mode by a simple half-press of the shutter release. Personally I think Minolta could have done away with a dedicated Play mode position and promote the QV button to play mode, that way the camera would be truly shooting priority (like a D-SLR).

Movie record mode

Puts the camera into movie record mode. The A1 has two movie modes, one for normal light levels and a black and white high gain mode for use in low light. You can allow the camera to select the correct mode automatically or switch it manually. Movies are recorded at 320 x 240 resolution (although apparently only 316 x 240 pixels are used), 24 frames per second with audio. The A1 can record continuously for up to 15 minutes.

Display mode switch

Position Description
EVF

Electronic Viewfinder display

In this position all live view / review / menu displays are shown on the EVF instead of the main LCD.

 A 

Automatic display (Eyepiece proximity sensor)

In the Automatic position the camera will by default display the live view on the rear LCD, when you bring your eye up to the EVF it will automatically switch (thanks to the eyepiece sensor) to the EVF. Via the Setup menu you can configure the eyepiece sensor to operate in as a 'power up' for the EVF, in this mode no display is shown by default on the rear LCD or EVF, instead the EVF will only power-up when you raise your eye to it.

LCD display

In this position all live view / review / menu displays are shown on the main rear LCD.

Buttons

Button Description
AEL Auto Exposure Lock

Triggers the camera's automatic exposure system and then locks it. Depending on the setting of a menu option this button be set to:
AE hold - Exposure metered and locked for as long as the button is held
AE toggle - Exposure metered and locked when the button is pressed and released on the next press
Spot AE hold - Exposure spot metered and locked for as long as the button is held
Spot AE toggle - Exposure spot metered and locked when the button is pressed and released on the next press
Exposure compensation / Flash compensation

This button doubles for exposure and flash compensation. Hold the button and roll the front dial to change exposure compensation or the rear dial to change flash power compensation. Both of these can be set to values from -2.0 EV to +2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps. If flash control is set to manual you can select from 1/16, 1/8, 1/4, 1/2 or 1/1 flash power. Kudos to Minolta for a bit of straightforward logical thinking.

4-way controller (arrows)

Play mode: Press left / right to browse forwards and backwards through images taken, press up for histogram display.

Menus: Navigate through menus.

4-way controller (confirm / OK button)

Record mode: Press and hold for more than one second to switch from wide-focus mode to spot focus, in spot focus mode the controller can be used to move a small cross-hair (+) around the screen (a 124 x 87 grid) to indicate where you would like to measure autofocus.

Menus: Select menu option.

Quick View / Delete

Record mode: Enters a shooting priority play mode', displays the last image taken, you can scroll between images by pressing the 4-way controller left and right, you can also display a histogram by pushing the 4-way controller up. Pressing the button again with an image displayed gives you the option to delete it. You can also magnify images in QV mode.

Play mode: Delete current image, requires confirmation (you can program the default response to this prompt as Yes or No).
MENU

Menu

Pressing this button enters or leaves the mode menu in record or play modes.

Anti-shake

Press to enable or disable the camera's anti-shake system. The A1's anti-shake (image stabilization) system works by moving the CCD in the opposite direction to movement detected by the camera. When anti-shake is enabled this button glows green. An anti-shake icon on the LCD monitor indicates different things depending on its color; white means anti-shake is recommended, blue means anti-shake is enabled and active and yellow means anti-shake is enabled but that the combination of slow shutter speed and zoom is too great for it to be effective. For more information see the introduction to this review.

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