PMA 2001: Today we got another exclusive hands-on, this time with Minolta's recently announced digital cameras the Dimage 5, Dimage 7 and Dimage S304. These three new cameras mark an important revival of Minolta's digital camera range which has been relatively stagnant for the last eighteen months.

Dimage 5 and Dimage 7

These two digital SLR's enter the market chasing Olympus's E-10. Both cameras are identical except for their CCD resolution (and thus output image size) and focal length (a function of the dimensions of the sensor). First impressions are good, obviously the two cameras which we got to handle were prototypes and weren't finished off as you'd expect the final product, they're very light, considerably lighter than the E-10, though I must admit I prefer the E-10's solid metal case. Both cameras feature an electronic TTL viewfinder which can be tilted up to 90 degrees, they also both feature a mechanical zoom mechanism which makes for much faster access to the full range focal lengths made available by Minolta's unique 7x zoom lens.

Overall these cameras reminded me more of Fujifilm's 4900Z than the E-10, it will be interesting to see the image quality available from the 5.42 megapixel version (the Dimage 7), we hope to be able to review this camera as soon as 'near production' units are available.

Features / Specifications

  Minolta Dimage 7 Minolta Dimage 5
Imager 2/3" 5.42 megapixel CCD 1/1.8" 3.34 megapixel CCD
Max resolution 2600 x 1900 2000 x 1600
Storage Compact Flash Type II (Microdrive compatible)
Lens 28 - 200mm equiv. F2.8 - F3.5 35 - 250mm equiv. F2.8 - F3.5
Viewfinder Electronic type, tilting up to 90 degrees

Dimage S304

The S304 is Minolta's answer to the 3 megapixel compact digital camera market, it enters with a bonus, the 4x optical zoom lens provides a little more reach than you'll find on most other 3 megapixel digitals, otherwise the camera is fairly similar to other offerings with a full complement of manual features, flexible settings and control.