Minolta DiMAGE X Review
As you can clearly see the DiMAGE X is a super-slim camera. In its design Minolta has gone for the 'flat surfaces' look with no styling or bumps to spoil the virtually flat appearance of each side of this box. This also means that the DiMAGE X has no hand grip or other ergonomic features (style here it would appear is more important). The entire body is clad in lightweight metal alloy with a coated brushed aluminium finish on the front.
The lens is automatically covered by a sliding metal door which takes an impressive one second to open or close. The DiMAGE X also manages to steal the crown of the lightest digital camera away from Kyocera's S3. Weighing in at 155 g (5.5 oz) fully loaded (SD card, battery) the X is 40 g (1.4 oz) lighter than the S3.
Here beside Canon's (already quite small) IXUS 300 you can see how much thinner the DiMAGE X really is, and also appreciate the fact that although the camera is slim it's still 'hand sized', big enough to hold.
Despite the lack of hand grip or finger sculpting (except for three raised bumps on the rear edge) the camera is fairly easy to hold and shoot in one hand thanks to its extreme light weight. The only trouble with the X's design comes about when you use your left hand to steady the camera. The position of the lens, located at the top right corner of the camera means it's relatively easy to accidentally block a portion of it. You have to remember to only grip the bottom of the camera.
LCD Monitor / Viewfinder
Despite its small size the X's 1.5" LCD is fairly bright and sharp with good colour, my only concern was that there was not a protective plastic window over the LCD (as there are on most other 'pocketable' digital cameras). This could mean that the LCD itself could be damaged if hit directly. There is also no anti-reflective coating on the X's LCD screen. The viewfinder is simple enough, the standard compact digital camera 'optical tunnel' it's really a poor substitute for using the LCD to frame you subject.
Battery & Storage Compartment
Running along the left edge (from the front) of the X you'll find the battery and storage compartment door, a fairly good construction in itself with a metal sliding hinge. Inside are the battery and SD/MMC slots. As you can see in the first image below the X's Lithium-Ion battery is very small and thin (slightly smaller than the one used in Pentax's Optio 330/430). It provides 3.7V at 750mAh (2.8 Wh) which also makes it one of the least powerful Lithium-Ion rechargeable we've seen. The battery charges out of the camera in the supplied charger module, personally I'd like to see more use made of docking stations for such small cameras, this would remove the requirement to constantly have to open, remove the battery, charge it, and then reinsert it.
Directly below the battery slot you'll find the SD/MMC slot. The camera can use either SD or the cheaper MMC cards which are readily available in 64 MB capacities with 128 MB in limited quantities. (Note the performance difference between SD and MMC cards in our 'Timings & Sizes' section).
On the left side (from the front) of the camera you'll find a DC-IN connector (unusual for an ultra-compact) for use with the optional AC adapter and on the right the multifunction USB & A/V out connector which can provide USB connectivity to your computer or an audio & video signal for your TV/VCR depending on which of the supplied cables is attached. The DiMAGE X uses the 'USB Mass Storage Device' drivers which are now standard in many modern operating systems.
On the front of the camera beside the viewfinder window you'll find the cameras flash unit and flash photocell (the small dot). The X's flash has a rated range of 0.25 - 2.9 m (0.8 - 9.5 ft) at wide angle and 0.25 - 2.3 m (0.8 - 7.5 ft) at telephoto, although these ranges are quoted at ISO 200 (the camera automatically switches to ISO 200 for all flash shots).
In The Box / Accessories
Supplied in the box are:
- Minolta DiMAGE X digital camera
- Hand Strap (HS-DG100)
- 8 MB SD (Secure Digital) Card
- Lithium-Ion battery (NP-200)
- Battery Charger (BC-200)
- USB cable (UBS-500)
- A/V cable (AVC-200)
- DiMAGE Viewer Utility
Minolta optional accessories:
- AC Adapter (AC-4)
- Lithium-Ion battery (NP-200)
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