The DiMAGE A1 is the successor to the 'DiMAGE 7' series of digital cameras. Minolta has chosen not to use the '7' name on this camera because they believe it to be such a leap forward in functionality and features. The A1 utilizes the same size CCD and 7x optical zoom lens as the DiMAGE 7(Hi/i) however it is now powered by a dedicated Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery, has a tilting LCD monitor, a grip sensor and most importantly image stabilization (called 'Anti Shake') thanks to a CCD which can move on x and y axis. This innovative approach to image stabilization means that you can use a normal lens system and put all the complexity of shake compensation within the camera body (how effective it is we will only be able to report in a full review).
Minolta DiMAGE A1 vs. DiMAGE 7Hi (differences only)
|Minolta DiMAGE A1||Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi|
|List price||US: $1,199||US: $1,299|
|CCD||2/3" type 5.2 megapixel progressive||2/3" type 5.2 megapixel interlaced|
|Image sizes||2560 x 1920
2080 x 1560
1600 x 1200
640 x 480
|2560 x 1920
1600 x 1200
640 x 480
|A/D converter||14 bit||12 bit|
|Anti-shake||CCD stabilized (can be disabled)||None|
|AF Areas||11 points in Wide area focus mode||3 points in Wide area focus mode|
|Manual focus||2x or 8x magnify||4x magnify|
|Flex Focus Points||124 x 87||15 x 19|
|Noise reduction||Dark frame subtraction for long exposures (can be disabled)||Dark fram subtraction for Bulb exposures|
|Control dials||Two (function can be customized)||One|
|Grip sensor||Triggers AF in full-time AF mode||None|
|Pa/Ps shift||Front dial shifts on aperture
Rear dial shifts on shutter speed
(function of dials can be customized)
|Aperture / Shutter speed combined|
|Apertures||Wide: F2.8 - F11 (13 steps)
Tele: F3.5 - F11 (11 steps)
| Wide: F2.8 - F8 (7 steps)
Tele: F3.5 - F9.5 (7 steps)
|Shutter speeds||30 - 1/16000 sec (58 steps)||15 - 1/2000 sec (31 steps)
(30 sec bulb, 1/4000 sec auto)
|Spot metering||Center or with Flex Focus point||Follows Flex Focus point|
|Bracket steps||0.3, 0.5 EV||0.3, 0.5, 1.0 EV|
|AEL Button||Can be set to AE lock/hold or Spot AE lock/hold||Always Spot meters|
|Full auto mode||Yes||No|
|Exposure mode||On mode dial||Via function dial|
|Record/play||Dedicated switch||On mode dial|
|Power button||On record/play switch||On mode dial|
|Scene modes||On mode dial||Dedicated button|
|Pro-Auto (reset)||No (although now has Auto mode)||Yes|
|Image Params||Filter +/- 5
Contrast +/- 5
Saturation +/- 5
|Filter +/- 3
Contrast +/- 3
Saturation +/- 3
Manual preset 1-3
|One button WB||Yes||No|
|WB Fine Tuning||Daylight, Tungsten, Shade, Cloudy, Flash, Fluorescent can all be fine tuned in 7 steps||No|
|Continuous||High: 2.8 fps, max 3 JPEG frames
Normal: 2 fps, max 3 JPEG frames *
* max 5 frames in RAW mode
|High: 3 fps, max 9 frames
Normal: 2 fps, max 9 frames
UHS: 7 fps @ 1280 x 960
|Movie Clips||320 x 240, 24 fps, max 15 mins||320 x 240, 15 fps, max 60 sec|
|Time-lapse||2 - 240 frames, 30 - 60 mins||2 - 99 frames, 1 - 60 mins|
|Self-timer||2 or 10 sec||10 sec|
|Viewfinder||0 to 90° tilting position
0.44" TFT LCD
|0 to 90° tilting position
4.8 mm Ferroelectric LCD
71,000 24-bit colour pixels
|LCD monitor||-20 to 90° Tilting 1.8"
|Fixed 1.8" TFT LCD
|Playback magnify||2.0 - 8.0x, scrollable||2.0x, 2.5x, 4.0x, scrollable|
|Exif data note||Yes||No|
|Power||NP-400 Lithium-Ion rechargeable
1500 mAh 7.4V
|4 x AA batteries
1850 mAh NiMH included
|Dimensions||117 x 85 x 114 mm (4.6 x 3.4 x 4.5 in)||117 x 91 x 123 mm (4.6 x 3.6 x 4.8 in)|
|Weight (inc batt)||643 g (1.4 lb)||639 g (1.4 lb)|
|Click for a larger image||Click for a movie of the Anti-Shake system in action (exaggerated motion) - 2.1 MB|
The DiMAGE A1 is (as far as I know) the only digital camera to implement image stabilization (Minolta call it 'Anti-Shake') by mounting the CCD sensor on a movable platform controlled by two actuators (x and y axis). The system works by analyzing input from motion detectors in the camera body and producing an inverse movement in the CCD. The system can be disabled (easily by pressing a very prominent button on the rear of the camera) and can also detect a panning movement and only compensate for movement on the opposite axis. Minolta claim that their system enables shutter speeds of 8 times longer (3 stops) than you would be able to manage without it.
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