Minolta DiMAGE A1 Review
The DiMAGE A1's automatic white balance performance was pretty much perfect in natural light but suffered from the all to familiar yellow cast under incandescent and fluorescent light. While the natural light presets were accurate enough the incandescent and fluorescent presets weren't near enough to our test lamps (although obviously with the A1 you can fine tune each preset). Manual preset white balance was as expected perfect.
|Outdoors, Auto||Outdoors, Cloudy, Sunny/Shade||Outdoors, Manual|
|Incandescent, Auto||Incandescent, Incandescent||Incandescent, Manual|
|Fluorescent, Auto||Fluorescent, Fluorescent||Fluorescent, Manual|
White Balance Fine Tuning
With the advent of the DiMAGE A1 Minolta has chosen to improve white balance flexibility by adding the ability to fine tune each of the preset white balance settings. Simply turn the rear dial while holding the function button (in the WB position) and you can tune the selected preset from -3 to +3. The example below was shot in incandescent light and shows that the +3 setting is more accurate.
|Incandescent -3||Incandescent +0||Incandescent +3|
The DiMAGE A1 has two macro positions on its lens, one at wide angle and one (with a little zoom adjustment) at telephoto. Both proved to have the same minimum focus distance and so (in my opinion) the wide angle macro option is fairly pointless, it doesn't provide you with any close-up frame coverage and simply introduces a lot of distortion (Minolta should just do away with it). Instead the telephoto macro option provides respectable close up shots with high magnification and no distortion (other than a little corner softness at a wide open aperture). The macro tests below are using our new macro focus test chart and measurement system; each line on the grid is 10 mm, taken at shortest subject distance in each macro mode.
|Wide angle - 293 mm x
220 mm coverage
9 px/mm (221 px/in)
Corner softness: Low
|Telephoto - 49 mm x 37
51 px/mm (1301 px/in)
Corner softness: Average
The DiMAGE A1 performed well in our flash tests, both shots below were taken in Program AE (P) mode with Auto ISO selected. As you can see the camera wasn't fooled by the light background in our skin tone test and also delivered natural skin tones with no color cast. Overall a good performance, Kudos Minolta.
|Skin tone - Natural color, no blue cast, good exposure (Auto ISO; ISO 200)||Color patches - Good color balance, no color cast, good exposure (Auto ISO; ISO 200)|
The DiMAGE A1 has manually selectable dark frame noise reduction for long exposures. As you can see from the samples below it needs it. With noise reduction turned off long exposures are covered in 'hot pixel' noise speckles, even with the noise reduction enabled not all noise is removed and there is quite a bit of 'black pitting'. Not a fantastic performance considering the target market.
|Manual exposure: ISO 100, 30 sec, F11, Noise reduction: Off|
|Manual exposure: ISO 100, 30 sec, F11, Noise reduction: On|
Barrel and Pincushion Distortion
As expected (the lens is the same) the DiMAGE A1 produced exactly the same amount of lens distortion as the DiMAGE 7 series. At full wide angle you can expect 1.3% barrel distortion and at telephoto you can expect 0.8% pincushion distortion (hardly noticeable).
|Barrel Distortion, 1.3% @ wide angle||Pincushion Distortion, 0.8% @ telephoto|
Vignetting / Lens Shading
Our vignetting / lens shading test is very simple, a shot of a blank wall from two meters away, vignetting will always be most visible at wide angle and maximum aperture and will start to disappear at smaller apertures and/or further zoom. While the DiMAGE A1 did exhibit some very slight lens shading at both wide angle and telephoto it's really not enough to be visible in every day shots and is actually a good performance considering the zoom range.
|Very slight lens shading visible at wide angle, F2.8||Very slight lens shading visible at telephoto, F3.5|
Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)
We observed very little purple fringing in every day shots taken with the DiMAGE A1. As noted above the same lens as the DiMAGE 7 series with the same characteristics. We found it very hard to even find a single example of purple fringing from our samples.
|[To do - will add today]|
|Hard to find fringing in every day shots, F2.8||Our standard chromatic aberration test shot|
Overall Image Quality / Specific Issues
Comparing the DiMAGE A1's images to the DiMAGE 7Hi (the camera it supersedes) it's clear that Minolta's engineers have spent some time tweaking the image processing algorithms. Specifically noise is lower, especially in shadow areas at ISO 100 (one niggle we had with the 7Hi). The DiMAGE A1 delivers images which are not overly contrasty, not oversaturated and have neutral sharpening. Minolta appear to be aiming for a 'film like' unprocessed appearance to their images.
That's not to say everything is rosy, on fine detail we did observe some (slight) Bayer interpolation artifacts and other odd artifacts as noted below.
Image Processing artifacts
After shooting our resolution chart target with the DiMAGE A1 we did note some odd image processing artifacts. These all appear to be tied to the camera's built-in Bayer interpolation, noise reduction, sharpening and image processing algorithms. I say this because most of these effects disappear if you shoot RAW and convert the image using DiMAGE Viewer. The only artifact occasionally visible in every day shots was moiré at resolution limits.
|Less resolution than most other five megapixel prosumer digital cameras||Moiré visible at resolution limits *|
|Beat dots between mid-frequency slanted lines **||Noise reduction induced errors between mid-frequency horizontal lines **|
|Brown Crown by Nilesh Trivedi|
from brown challenge
|D72_4852_DxO Smug by richpics|
from Aviation Legends: X-Planes
|Everyone look at the camera by cjf2|
from Looking down the lens.
|Ancient Bristlecone Pine by ed rader|
from My Best Picture of the Week
Sony's new 12-24mm F2.8 GM is the widest fast aperture zoom for full frame. Based on our tests it's a worthy recipient of Sony's 'GM' moniker.
Chris and Jordan took the new Sony 12-24mm F2.8 GM to Calgary's eclectic Ingelwood neighborhood. From record stores to spice shops, find out what got their attention when it was time to go wide.
The six prize-winning photographs and four honorable mentions were narrowed down from more than 6,000 entries captured across North America.
Though Thunderbolt 4 remains at 40Gb/s, its minimum requirements include dual 4K monitor support, faster external drive speeds and more.
You can now use compatible Fujifilm cameras with video conferencing software on macOS hardware without the need of a dedicated capture card.
The Epson V600 remains one of the most popular flatbed film scanners on the market. Revisit our review of this affordable and (mostly) easy-to-use option and see how its output compares to local lab scans.
Canon's mirrorless EOS R5 comes with a ton of features and capability stemming from its design inside and out. Come along with us on a guided tour of Canon's new high-end, high-megapixel camera and check it out for yourself.
Announced alongside the EOS R5, the R6 offers a lot of the same technology but in a more affordable, slightly more enthusiast-focused model. Take a closer look.
Alongside the EOS R5 and R6, Canon has announced a brace of lenses, all in the short to long telephoto range. Filling out the 'long' end are one L-series zoom, and two innovative primes.
Alongside a trio of telephoto lenses, Canon also announced a new 85mm this week. The RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM is a compact, affordable alternative to the pro-oriented 85mm F1.2L.
The EOS R5 has been a long time coming – we knew it had 8K and we knew it had an AF joystick. But now that's it's here, what is it really like to use? Find out in our initial review based on hands-on time with the camera.
The R6 doesn't promise quite such headline-grabbing specs as its big brother, but it still packs a punch, whether you shoot stills, video or both.
Think you've read everything there is to know about the new Canon cameras? Chris and Jordan share eight important things you may have missed from today's Canon EOS R5 and R6 announcements.
We've been shooting around with the new Canon EOS R6. Initial impressions of image quality are positive, and out-of-camera JPEGs appear similar to that of the gold award-winning Canon EOS-1D X III. Have a look for yourself.
Canon has officially released the long-awaited EOS R5, the company's top-end full-frame mirrorless camera. Featuring a new 45MP CMOS sensor, Dual Pixel AF II system, 8K video capture and 20 fps bursts, this is the RF-mount camera we've been waiting for.
Although the Canon EOS R6 doesn't have the 45MP sensor and 8K video capture of the higher-end R5, it's still an incredibly capable camera with specs that outshine similarly priced peers.
The Canon RF 100-500mm F4.5-7.1L IS USM is the company's first super-zoom lens for RF-mount. Despite a relatively slow aperture range, it's very versatile, offering five stops of stabilization, weather-sealing and compatibility with Canon's new teleconverters.
Canon's RF 85mm F2 Macro IS STM is an inexpensive telephoto prime lens with a minimum focus distance of just 0.35m (14") and a 0.5x magnification. When attached to the new R5 and R6, it offers a whopping eight stops of shake reduction.
Canon has announced a pair of super-telephoto fixed-aperture primes. The 600mm and 800mm use diffractive optics to keep their size and weight down. They'll also be compatible with new 1.4x and 2x RF teleconverters.
Canon has announced a new small-footprint inkjet photo printer, the imageProGraf Pro-300. it will produce prints up to 13 x 19" and it goes on sale later this month for $900. A new textured photo paper will also arrive in July.
The new compression standard is set to reduce video file sizes by half to save space and speed-up transmission, paving the way for more portable 8K footage.
Sony recently confirmed plans to launch a successor to the video-centric a7S II. We don't even know the name of the camera, but Jordan already has a feature wish list for the new 'a7S III' – and it doesn't include 8K.
The Profot B10 is the first studio flash system that can be used when shooting with an iPhone camera.
The Pixii camera is an interesting little rangefinder camera that features a 12MP APS-C sensor and lacks a rear LCD display, opting instead to pair with your mobile device, which can be used to view and transfer images.
Sirui is launching an Indiegogo campaign for a wide-angle answer to its existing 50mm F1.8 anamorphic lens. The 35mm APS-C lens will come in a Micro Four Thirds mount with adapters for other systems.
Sony has added a 12-24mm F2.8 to its top-shelf 'G Master' series of lenses. It's the widest constant F2.8 zoom currently offered for full-frame, with a hefty price tag to match: it will sell for $3000 when it ships in mid-August.
Take a look at the view from Sony's new ultra-wide F2.8 zoom – we paired it with the a7R IV for some initial shooting.
Canon's EOS-1D X Mark III is one of the best DSLRs ever made. With fast burst speeds, great video quality and impressive autofocus, the 1D X III is equal parts cinema rig and sports shooter. Find out how it fares against steep competition in our full review.
Nikon Rumors is reporting that Nikon will announce successors to its Z6 and Z7 camera systems by the end of the calendar year.
Canon says the event, set to take place at 14:00 CEST in two days on July 9, will be its 'biggest product launch yet.'