Minolta DiMAGE A1 Review
Minolta DiMAGE Viewer 2.20
DiMAGE Viewer is the supplied image browsing / conversion application. It allows you to browse, view and organize images from the camera. It provides a wide range of image adjustment to TIFF and JPEG images which can innovatively be stored as 'Image Correction Jobs' rather than modifying the original image. DiMAGE Viewer is also the only method for RAW coversion currently available for DiMAGE A1 owners (Adobe Photoshop CS will open A1 images but doesn't yet handle them properly).
Upon loading DiMAGE Viewer it defaults to a thumbnail display similar to that shown below, just like Windows Explorer you can select a folder on the left and see thumbnails on the right. Two other file views are available, icons and details, these are virtually identical to Expolorer and they won't provide you with any more information about the images.
There are several methods for moving and copying images including toolbar icons, drag and drop as well as cut and paste. You can select multiple images and carry out batch processes such as renaming, rotation, resize, flip and image correction (from saved correction jobs).
Select an image and press CTRL+I (or File -> Show Image Information) to display a floating window with file and image detail including exposure information (taken from the EXIF headers), this includes data which may not be understood by other EXIF viewers such as Contrast, Saturation, Sharpness etc.
Single Image view / Adjustment
Double click on an image or select the image and click on the single image view icon on the toolbar and the window changes to the view seen below. The left pane shows snapshots which can be taken after making adjustments, you can roll-back to an adjustment setting by just clicking on it. In the center is the image preview which can be full image view or magnified, on the right side are RGB histograms and an image information window (with the same information as above).
DiMAGE Viewer provides a fairly wide range of image adjustments including sharpness, tone, brightness, levels, color saturation and variations. Once adjustments have been made you can save a copy of the image or even better you can store the adjustments and use them again without altering the original image, saved 'image correction jobs' can even be applied in batch to several images.
|Sharpness||Tone, Curves and Histogram|
|Brightness, Contrast and Color Balance||Hue, Saturation, Lightness Correction|
RAW is simply pixel data as it comes directly off the CCD, no in-camera processing is performed. Typically this data is 8, 10 or 12 bits per pixel. The advantage being that file sizes are considerably smaller than an equivalent TIFF file. The image has not been processed or white balanced which means you can correct the image, and it's a better representation of the "digital negative" captured. The disadvantage is you can't open these image files with a normal photo package, in the case of Minolta RAW files (.MRW) you must use the Minolta DiMAGE Viewer.
Minolta appear to have addressed the RAW file size issues which affected the DiMAGE 7 series, most RAW files from the DiMAGE A1 are around 7.3 MB in size, which is approximately what we would expect for losslessly compressed 2560 x 1920 x 14 bits.
Double-click on a RAW (.MRW) imagee in the DiMAGE Viewer browser window and you will see the options dialog shown below before the image is opened in the Single image view.
The 'Open Minolta RAW File' dialog provides a good range of image parameter adjustments including the full range of filter, color saturation, contrast and sharpness adjustment, a wide range of white balance options (including Kelvin color temperature) as well as exposure compensation (something I commented was missing from DiMAGE Viewer 2.1). These set of adjustments can be saved as a 'RAW Job' which can be loaded for single images or used for batch conversion of RAW images from the thumbnail browse window.
- Color Mode:
Full color, B&W
- White Balance:
Camera, Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, White Fluorescent Lamp, Cool White Fluorescent Lamp, Daylight Fluorescent Lamp, 3-Band White Fluorescent Lamp, 3-Band Warm White Fluorescent Lamp, 3-Band Cool White Fluorescent Lamp, 3-Band Daylight Fluorescent Lamp, Flash, Shade, Manual Setting, Kelvin Color temperature (2500 K - 10000 K, CC Index -60 to +60)
-5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0 , +1, +2, +3, +4, +5
-5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0 , +1, +2, +3, +4, +5
-5, -4, -3, -2, -1, 0 , +1, +2, +3, +4, +5
Soft, Normal, Hard
- Exposure compensation:
-2.0 to +2.0 EV in 0.1 EV steps
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