Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200 Review
Although it's an entirely new body, the A200 bears more strong family resemblance to the A2, A1 and the previous generation models they were based on (the DiMAGE 5 and 7). A closer look, however, reveals some pretty significant changes. For one thing the new model is smaller and lighter (thanks to its all-plastic body), and the overall design has been given a less aggressive, curvier treatment, whilst remaining firmly in the 'SLR-like' camp. The external controls have been simplified and the LCD screen now swings out through 90 degrees and pivots through a full 270 degrees, and can be stowed screen-side in when you're not using it. The top plate LCD panel has disappeared entirely, with the main mode dial sliding over to next to the flash. Most of the controls on the right side of the camera (looking from the front) have also disappeared, their functions now grouped together in a Canon-like FUNC menu or, in the case of drive mode and white balance, getting their own buttons. The electronic viewfinder (EVF) is less obtrusive than the A1/A2 finder - mainly because it doesn't tilt upwards any more. The lens unit appears to be identical.
In your hand
The DiMAGE A200 has a fairly deep and comfortable hand grip which has a nice soft rubber coating. It's perfectly designed for single-handed operation (I actually think it's a tiny improvement on the superb ergonomics of the A2) and feels incredibly safe and stable in your hand (it may be lighter than the A2, but this is no featherweight!). Around the back of the camera is a small molded 'hook' which is placed perfectly for your thumb. The battery and grip are perfectly balanced. This is a nice camera to use.
Side by side
Here for comparison are the DiMAGE A200 flanked by the considerably bulkier Panasonic DMC-FZ20 and the marginally smaller Fujifilm FinePix 5100. The A200, like the A2 before it, sits towards the lower end of the current crop of 8MP cameras in size terms (only the Nikon Coolpix 8700 and Canon PowerShot Pro 1 being smaller), and only the Nikon 8700 is lighter.
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