Minolta DiMAGE A1 Review
The DiMAGE A1 builds on the wide range of adjustments which was a trademark of the DiMAGE 7 line of digital cameras. Just like the 7 series the DiMAGE A1 provides adjustment for Color Mode, Filter, Color saturation, Contrast and Sharpness. However it provides a wider latitude of adjustment for Filter, Color saturation and Contrast, all of which can be adjusted in the range of -5 to +5. This makes the image output from the DiMAGE A1 the most customizable of any digital camera (including digital SLR's). For this alone Minolta and the A1 get extra Kudos points!
- Color mode: Vivid sRGB, Natural sRGB, Adobe RGB (and Embedded), B&W, Solarized
- Filter: -5 (cooler; blue) to +5 (warmer; red)
- Color saturation: -5 (less) to +5 (more)
- Contrast: -5 (less) to +5 (more)
- Sharpness: Hard, Normal, Soft
Note that in addition to the adjustments listed above you can also fine tune each of the white balance presets individually from -3 (cooler; blue) to +3 (warmer; red).
Continuing from the benchmark set by the DiMAGE 7Hi the DiMAGE A1 provides selectable color space from the camera menu, as such it remains one of the only prosumer level digital cameras to provide selectable color space. The color mode menu allows you to select the output color space as well as a variety of color effects in the sRGB space. Adobe RGB is available in two different options with out without embedded ICC color profile, the later of which will be automatically recognized as Adobe RGB by ICC aware applications such as Adobe Photoshop. Embedded Adobe RGB files are saved with the .JPE extension instead of .JPG (for some reason).
Remember to view the Adobe RGB images correctly you must load them into a color space aware application such as Adobe Photoshop and ensure the Adobe RGB color space is assigned.
Below are three sample images taken in each of the default parameter sets, below each sample is that image's CIE u'v' Color Distribution chart; larger gray triangle approximately represents the range of color which the human eye can resolve, the inner triangle the available gamut in each color space (sRGB or Adobe RGB).
|Vivid sRGB||Natural sRGB (default)||Adobe RGB (or Embedded)|
The Filter option allows you to change the warmth of the final image, it could be likened to adjusting the white balance in slight steps and could be useful for tine tuning the preset white balance settings to match artificial light. As I commented in my 7Hi review would have preferred this option to literally control white balance and be implemented as 'white balance fine tuning'. Note, with Color Mode (above) set to Black & White the Filter option provides different coloured B&W images.
|Filter: -2||Filter: 0||Filter: +2|
|Filter: -5||Filter: +5|
This option controls the saturation of color in the image with a range of -5 (less) to +5 (more).
|Color: -2||Color: 0||Color: +2|
|Color: -5||Color: +5|
This option sets the amount of contrast in the final image, it adjusts the 'S-curve' which is applied to all images in the final output stage. A setting of low contrast will leave images looking more flat but will be less likely to clip highlights.
|Contrast: -2||Contrast: 0||Contrast: +2|
|Contrast: -5||Contrast: +5|
The DiMAGE A1 allows you to control the internal sharpening of the image by a degree of one plus and minus it's "normal" sharpness. It's odd that Minolta provide eleven steps of adjustment for all other image parameters but only three for sharpness.