Minolta DiMAGE S304 Review
ISO (Sensitivity) Adjustment
ISO equivalence on a digital camera is the ability to increase the sensitivity of the CCD to allow for faster shutter speeds and/or better performance in low light. The way this works in a digital camera is by "turning up the volume" on the CCD's signal amplifiers, nothing is without its price however and doing so also amplifies any noise that may be present and often affects colour saturation.
The DiMAGE S304 has four selectable ISO sensitivities of 100, 200, 400 and 800 as well Auto mode which varies sensitivity between ISO 100 and 200 automatically depending on available light. Test images shot under both good and low light.
|Good Light (11 EV)||Low Light (3 EV)|
|ISO 100, 1/30 s, F4.8||ISO 100, 1.4 s, F4.8|
|ISO 200, 1/60 s, F4.8||ISO 200, 1 s, F4.8|
|ISO 400, 1/125 s, F4.8||ISO 400, 1/3 s, F4.8|
|ISO 800, 1/362 s, F4.8||ISO 800, 1/8 s, F4.8|
Although there is some noise visible at ISO 100 it's no worse than we've seen of most 3 megapixel digital cameras, an indeed its better than some. Above this ISO 200 and 400 are both usable, on the understanding that there will be some noise. ISO 800 could be useful when you need high shutter speeds and will be reducing the resulting image in size.
Clearly the S304's automatic white balance is tuned to natural light, which is logical as this is where the majority of shots will be taken. The pre-programmed settings worked fairly well, especially for incandescent light. The manual preset option produced consistent and accurate white balance.
Images re-saved to sRGB colour space [info]
|Outdoors, Auto||Outdoors, Cloudy (or Daylight)||Outdoors, Manual|
|Incandescent, Auto||Incandescent, Incandescent||Incandescent, Manual|
|Fluorescent, Auto||Fluorescent, Fluorescent||Fluorescent, Manual|
First word indicates the light in whcih the shot was taken, the second indicates the selected white balance mode.
The S304 only has two apertures: F3.0/F6.7 at wide angle and F3.6/F8.0 at telephoto. The example below was shot in aperture priority mode combined with macro focus (focal length locked at approximately 75 mm; 2x). As you can see there is more depth of field with the aperture set to its closed position (F6.0) but that it doesn't afford you as much control as on other 'prosumer' digital cameras.
Images re-saved to sRGB colour space [info]
|F3.5, 1/60 sec||F6.0, 1/15 sec|
The S304's macro mode would probably be better described as 'close up', it does allow closer subject distance than normal focus but doesn't get in close enough to give you a 'macro' frame coverage. Switching to Macro mode fixes the focal length at approximately 75 mm (2x), the minimum focus distance is 16 cm (6.3 in) from the lens. This gives a horizontal frame coverage of 7.5 cm (3 in).
Images re-saved to sRGB colour space [info]
Low Light Focus
In a new addition to our reviews we'll now be measuring the minimum amount of light under which the camera can still focus. The focus target is our lens distortion test chart (shown here on the right), camera is positioned exactly 2 m (6.6 ft) away.
Light levels are gradually dropped until the camera can no longer focus. This is carried out at both wide angle and telephoto zoom positions (as more light reaches the focusing systems with a larger aperture).
This test target is the optimum type of subject for most "contrast detect" AF systems (as it has a vertical line at its center), you should consider the results below the best you could expect to achieve.
|Lens position||Aperture||Lowest light focus|
|Wide angle (35 mm)||F3.0||1.5 EV (7.1 Lux / 0.7 foot-candle)|
|Telephoto (140 mm)||F3.6||2.3 EV (12.3 Lux / 1.1 foot-candle)|
Light intensity (Lux) = 2.5 x 2^EV (@ ISO 100), 10.76391 Lux = 1 foot-candle (fc)
Despite the S304's F3.0 maximum aperture it still manages to catch the focus down to 1.5 EV, in low light the camera increases the CCD's sensitivity to maintain the LCD image, eventually turning it black and white when things get really dark. At the telephoto end the maximum aperture is approximatey three quarters of a stop smaller and so it's no surprise that we need roughly that much more light to focus. Remember these values are the best you could expect given a high contrast subject.
The group that provides Canon users with programs to expand the feature set of their cameras has begun cracking the new EOS R mirrorless firmware.
The Pixel 3 represents another step forward in computational photography for Google's smartphone. We're just getting started with our testing – for now take a look at some sample images, including 'computational Raw' files available for download.
Lens Rentals Founder, Roger Cicala, has given the Canon EOS R one of his signature camera teardowns.
Nikon says firmware version 1.03 "Fixes an issue that in rare circumstances would delay the shutter release or the start of the autofocus operation."
The Kickstarter campaign for Yashica’s digiFilm Y35 camera has produced a wave of complaints about delays in shipping product as well as cameras that don’t work.
Pixelmator today released Pixelmator Pro 1.2 Quicksilver, a major update to its image editing app for Mac.
Although Raw performance of the EOS R is very similar to the 5D Mark IV, Canon's done some tweaking on the JPEGs - take a look at our studio scene to see for yourself.
If you've backed one of the company's crowdfunding projects, the reward will not arrive and you won't get your money back either as Meyer Optik Görlitz's parent company, Net SE, is completely dead.
The importance of APS-C, a future a7S model in development and why customers want two card slots – read our full interview with Sony's Kenji Tanaka.
Google's Super Res Zoom technology uses pixel-shifting methods to achieve zoom results comparable to some optical solutions. Google has published an in-depth explanation on its AI blog.
CyberLink has release the latest version of its photo editing and design program PhotoDirector.
Toy manufacturer Tomy has launched a no-battery-required smartphone printer that is remarkably like the one Holga has been promoting via a Kickstarter campaign but which is already available for $40/£39.
A handful of Sony users have noticed a particular model of SanDisk SD cards is showing errors when used with Sony a7 III camera.
The Fujifilm X-T3's 4K video more than lives up to its impressive specification, making it one of the most capable video cameras we've ever tested.
VSCO has made it easier to find the right presets for your photos with a few interface changes to its smartphone app.
TinyMOS is back with NANO1, an all-new astrophotography camera that's one-third the size of the TINY1 it announced three years ago.
Huawei's latest flagship device comes with the widest range of focal lengths of all current smartphones.
After shaking up the Lightroom ecosystem with Lightroom CC last year, Adobe has released version 2.0 of the cloud-centric photo organizer and editor. We look at new features like People View, how far Lightroom CC has come in its first year, and where Lightroom is headed.
Today, at Adobe MAX 2018, Adobe previewed Photoshop CC on iPad, a full-featured, desktop-class version of Photoshop for iOS.
The weather and has most definitely taken a turn toward fall here, and our shooting opportunities have followed suit. We brought the Canon RF 35mm F1.8 along to a harvest festival of sorts and a few of our usual haunts.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf has signed House Bill 1346 into effect, which imposes a fine upwards of $300 to drone operators who invade the privacy or harm the physical wellbeing of citizens.
Sigma is a company in flux, but CEO Kazuto Yamaki is undaunted by the upcoming prospect of developing lenses for eight lens mounts. The challenge will be keeping the company's identity along the way.
If you've been meaning to convert all of your old photos, video, and audio to digital formats, but simply lack the time or willpower to get through it all, a new service from Kodak will help you get the job done.
Almost all new cameras include impressive video features, but for the best results you'll often need an off-camera recorder. Chris and Jordan take a look at the brand new Ninja V from Atomos, and explain why it might just be one of the most useful tools you can add to your camera.
Collect allows you to transform 360-degree into a more easily digestible format by transforming it into directed traditional videos.
Sick of using your plain ol' keyboard to edit your photos in Lightroom and Photoshop? TourBox is hoping to expedite your post-production workflow using a clever combination of dials, buttons, and knobs.
Bag and accessory manufacturer Hex has launched two bags as part of its latest collection: the Clamshell Backpack and DSLR Sling.
Crank out instant photos with Holga Digital's new analog printer, currently being funded on Kickstarter.
We got some hands-on time with Leica's new S3 medium format camera, which boasts a new higher-res sensor as well as other improvements.