Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200


      In summary

      Although it has the same sensor, lens and ‘Anti-Shake’ image stabilisation as the DiMAGE A2, Konica Minolta’s new DiMAGE A200 is smaller and lighter, and its price is substantially less. Its build is also different, with a full vari-angle monitor replacing the A2’s hinged LCD, a fixed, diopter-adjustable EVF with no eye sensor and a redesigned pop-up flash. . . [more]

      Full review


      Although it has the same sensor, lens and ‘Anti-Shake’ image stabilisation as the DiMAGE A2, Konica Minolta’s new DiMAGE A200 is smaller and lighter, and its price is substantially less. Its build is also different, with a full vari-angle monitor replacing the A2’s hinged LCD, a fixed, diopter-adjustable EVF with no eye sensor and a redesigned pop-up flash.

      Internally there have also been changes. The A200 is equipped with the latest CxProcess III image processor and its top movie resolution has been increased to 800 x 600 pixels, although the frame rate at this setting is 15fps, whereas VGA mode offers 30fps. A new ‘Portrait’ setting has been added to the sRGB colour space options and a new interpolated digital zoom mode extends the zoom range from 2x to 4x. The base sensitivity has been reduced from ISO 64 to ISO 50, while the top shutter speed has also come down from 1/4000 second to 1/3200 second. The metering system now uses 256 segments instead of 300, a trivial change from a practical viewpoint.

      Other changes are more significant. TIFF capture has vanished but RAW and RAW+JPEG are available at all resolution settings, and three levels of JPEG compression are provided. Subject tracking AF has been eliminated in favour of 11-point selectable AF. The A200 has no PC flash sync terminal, which means you’re stuck with proprietary flash units if you want full auto flash metering. The burst memory buffer has been increased to hold five frames but the top burst speed has been cut from 2.7fps to 2.3fps. Apart from that, the A200 retains many of the best features of its bigger ‘brother’, including a manually adjustable zoom ring, a comprehensive control suite (including voice memo capability) and five user-programmable memories for storing camera settings.

      In the hands, the DiMAGE A200 proved an attractive camera to use, with its compact body, comfortable grip and well-designed control layout, which together put it well ahead of most competitors. Overall picture quality was well above average, although the default saturation level may be slightly low for some tastes. The A200’s white balance performance was particularly impressive, thanks (we expect) to the CxProcess III image processor. Only incandescent lighting presented problems for the auto setting and the pre-sets and custom measurement delivered natural-looking colours with all lighting types.

      The zoom lens captured images that were sharp edge-to-edge and free of apparent rectilinear distortion and aberrations. Flare was generally low in backlit shots.

      The image stabilisation system performed admirably – provided it was not pushed beyond its capabilities. However it made the lens slightly slower to focus at low light levels, especially at the tele end of its range. The EVF, like all others we’ve tested, was difficult to use for backlit shots.

      Like all other 8-megapixel cameras we’ve reviewed, the A200 produced visible noise at its highest ISO setting, which is not surprising when that’s ISO 800. Long exposures at ISO 400 were slightly less noise-affected. It took approximately three seconds for the A200 to power up and shut down and average shot-to-shot intervals were just under one second. We measured an average capture lag (AF plus shutter lag) of 1.1 seconds, which reduced to 0.2 seconds with pre-focusing. The high-speed burst mode recorded five shots at 0.45 second intervals, while the standard burst setting captured five shots at intervals of one second. The ultra-high-speed mode recorded 40 VGA frames at 0.1 second intervals. Overall video performance was above average, with outstanding picture quality at the highest resolution setting, despite its relatively slow frame rate.

      The supplied DiMAGE Viewer software was easy to install and very versatile, with facilities for sorting, renaming and organising image files, plus batch renaming and copying capabilities. Metadata display is also provided, along with extensive editing controls and printing support. RAW image files can be processed and converted to TIFF or JPEG format with this application and TIFF files can be saved in 48-bit or 24-bit format. The Movie Enhancer allows QuickTime movies to be edited and assembled and colour matching is provided for all popular colour spaces. ICC profiles are also supported.

      This is a beaut little camera for those who want both still and video capture. Its compact size will delight travellers and its rich feature suite contains enough controls and adjustments to please demanding photographers. [21]




      Image sensor: 8.8 x 6.6 mm interlaced primary-colour CCD with 8,300,000 photosites (8.0 megapixels effective)
      Lens: 7.2-50.8mm f2.8-3.5 stabilised zoom (28-200mm in 35mm format)
      Zoom ratio: 7x optical, up to 4x digital
      Lens multiplier factor: 3.8x
      Dimensions (wxhxd): 114 x 80 x 115mm
      Weight: 505g (without battery and card)
      Image formats: Stills ““ RAW, JPEG (Exif 2.2);Movies ““ Motion JPEG (800 x 600, VGA, QVGA sizes @ 15/30 fps)
      Shutter speed range: 30-1/3200 second plus Bulb
      Focus system/range: Video AF; range 50cm ““ infinity; macro to 25cm
      Exposure metering/control: Multi-segment, centre-weighted average, spot metering; P, A, S, M
      White balance: Auto, daylight, cloudy, fluorescent (x2), shade, tungsten, flash, custom set, custom recall (x2)
      Flash modes/range (ISO auto): Auto, fill-in, anti-red-eye, slow sync, off; range 3.8-8.0m
      ISO range: Auto, ISO 50, 100, 200, 400, 800
      Sequence shooting: 5 shots at 2.3fps
      Storage Media: CompactFlash I/II and Microdrive; no card supplied
      Viewfinder: 0.44-inch EVF with 235,000 pixels (100% FOV)
      LCD monitor: 1.8-inch vari-angle low-temperature polysilicon TFT LCD with 134,000 pixels
      Power supply: NP-800 rechargeable lithium-ion battery






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