CES 2002: 9 PM EST: Minolta has today announced an updated version of the DiMAGE S304. The S404 has a 4 megapixel CCD, 4x optical zoom lens and shifted ISO sensitivity range (ISO 64, 100, 200, 400). We've had a prototype S404 for two days now, however as Minolta don't want us to post samples from this camera we won't be reviewing this model until a production unit is available.

Pre-production DiMAGE S404 beside Canon's G2

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 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.

Click here for full specifications