Konica Minolta’s DiMAGE X1; Shirt Pocket-Sized 8-Megapixel Digicam Page 2

For Better Or Worse
Like most previous, X-series models--except the X60--the X1 has a small On-Off button located next to the shutter release that more often than not causes some people to accidentally turn the camera off instead of making a picture. Adding a sliding cover like the X60's would detract from the camera's style but replacing that button with another notch on the four-position mode switch (isn't Off a mode?) seems like a better, cleaner solution. Maybe next time.

The DiMAGE X1's Anti-Shake feature produces sharp images even under low light and can compensate up to three stops. This photo of Mary was made using just the light from a table lamp. Exposure was 1/4 sec at f/3.5 at ISO 160. Like most pocket digicams with physically small chips the noise is more noticeable under these kinds of ISO speeds and lighting situations but the results were better than expected. Camera was set in Tungsten light mode and no color corrections were made to this image file.

Most digicams have a plastic cover over the LCD screen. Since the X1's 2.5" screen is so large, Konica Minolta decided to cover the entire back of the camera with a thin plastic sheet. Cool idea, but it's soft and if you put it in your pocket, like it asks of you, don't keep anything else there. I managed to scratch the cover with a key ring that just had two small keys on it. Konica Minolta provides a soft case in the kit, so be sure to use it if you don't want to scratch the camera's back.

You'll be glad that the camera has Anti-Shake capability since you may not be able to use it on your tripod. I don't know if there is a standard for how long a tripod bolt should be but of the two tripods I tried with the X1 one of them (Tiltall) was too long. The Manfrotto quick release attached to the X1 with no problems. If tripod-mounted shooting is important to you make sure your favorite tripod works with the X1.

All X-series cameras let you focus close with no external aids. The DiMAGE X1 will get as close as 5" in Standard mode and just a little over 2" in Super Macro mode. At these distances slow shutter speeds (1/50 sec here) are possible because the X1's Anti-Shake technology allows you to get up close and personal with your favorite flower.

The Right Stuff: A Suggestion For Konica Minolta
When flown by Chuck Yeager in 1947 the Bell X-1 was the first piloted plane to fly faster than the speed of sound. That Bell X-1 was painted orange; the DiMAGE X1 digicam is gunmetal gray. Konica Minolta's website
(http://konicaminolta.com/ products/consumer/digital_camera/dimage/dimage-x1/) shows three different colored models, including silver, gray, and red. I asked to test a red one, but was told, "The red is not available in the US." Evidently greenbacks won't purchase a red camera but pink euros will. The color of this digicam's body won't affect the quality of images this wonderfully clever camera produces, but since Konica Minolta won't offer the other colors to us, how about an orange model just for the US. Let's call it "The Right Stuff" edition.

Like most in camera Sepia modes, the DiMAGE X1's is a bit too yellow for my tastes, but you can always desaturate it in Photoshop for a more subtle effect. This image was captured at 1/100 sec at f/3.5 at ISO 50.

Like I said, nothing's perfect but the X1 delivers the best digital point-and-shoot experience currently available. When my friends who ask that perennial "what digital camera should I buy" question, I'll tell 'em to get a Konica Minolta DiMAGE X1.

The street price for the X1 is $399.95. For more information, contact Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc., 725 Darlington Ave., Mahwah, NJ 07430; (800) 285-6422, (201) 574-4000; http://konicaminolta.us.