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Compact Flash Compartment

The S304's Compact Flash compartment is located in the side of the hand grip. It's opened by pressing down on a small lever, the large door then springs open (on a pretty good mechanism) to reveal the Type I compartment, A/V out connector and USB port. It's interesting that this also reveals the cameras metal substructure (which carries on into the CF slot itself). The CF eject mechanism is good and the card is pushed well out of the camera, thumb lip facing the back. I won't harp on about it but the strap eyelet can get trapped in the door when closing.


Connections

All of the S304's connectors are to be found on the right side of the camera (from the back), behind the CF compartment door are the A/V out (supplied cable ends in two RAC jacks) and USB connectors (cable supplied), below this (but exposed without opening the door) is the DC power-in connector.


Lens

Once more the lens used is labelled as a 'Minolta GT Lens', all glass and derived form their "G series" SLR lenses. This compact lens provides an impressive 4x optical zoom with a 35mm equiv. range of 35 mm to 140 mm. What's a little disappointing is the relative slowness of the lens, with a maximum aperture of F3.0 (at wide angle) to F3.6 (at full telephoto). However, that does make it faster at the telephoto end than Nikon's Coolpix 995 (F2.6 at wide angle, F5.1 at telephoto).


Base / Tripod Mount

I'd better get this off my chest before I go much further.. Has ANYONE seen a worst position for a tripod mount on ANY other camera? Sorry Minolta but there's simply no excuse for this... Shooting (or tryiing to) our resolution chart the camera was several degrees off on both axis because of the location of the tripod mount.. Ok, so it's metal, still no excuses.


Internal flash

The S304's flash is located in the top right (from the front) corner of the camera, just like the DiMAGE 5/7 it has a noticeable yellow filter glass. The manual states the flash range as (ISO 100) wide angle: 0.7m - 2.4m (2.3 ft. - 7.8 ft.), telephoto: 0.9m - 2.1m (3.0 ft. - 6.9 ft.).

Full details of flash range at different sensitivities can be seen in the table below.

Flash range at different sensitivities (from the DiMAGE S304 manual):

Sensitivity Flash range (wide angle) Flash range (telephoto)
AUTO 0.9m - 3.5m (3.0 ft. - 11.5 ft.) 0.9m - 3.0m (3.0 ft. - 9.8 ft.)
ISO 100 0.7m - 2.4m (2.3 ft. - 7.8 ft.) 0.9m - 2.1m (3.0 ft. - 6.9 ft.)
ISO 200 0.9m - 3.5m (3.0 ft. - 11.5 ft.) 0.9m - 3.0m (3.0 ft. - 9.8 ft.)
ISO 400 1.3m - 4.9m (3.7 ft. - 16 ft.) 1.1m - 4.3m (3.6 ft. - 14.1 ft.)
ISO 800 1.8m - 7.0m (5.9 ft. - 23 ft.) 1.6m - 6.0m (5.2 ft. - 19.6 ft.)


Supplied in the box

Supplied in the box are:

  • Minolta DiMAGE S304 digital camera
  • Lens cap
  • 16 MB CompactFlash card (Lexar branded)
  • 4 x AA Alkaline batteries
  • Neck Strap
  • Audio/Video Cable (ends in two RCA jacks)
  • USB Cable
  • Software CD-ROM (Minolta Image Viewer utility, ArcSoft PhotoImpression)
  • Manual
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