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Minolta DiMage A1

At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Konica Minolta DiMAGE A1 Bridge Camera

    TechHive Rating

Minolta DiMage A1
Photograph: Rick Rizner

The $900 DiMage A1 resembles an SLR-camera--it has a big, boxy shape and a large barrel lens. But it has some characteristics that really distinguish it from other advanced cameras. Like a camcorder, the DiMage A1's eye-level viewfinder can be flipped up, so you can adjust it to a comfortable viewing angle. The LCD also can be flipped up and pulled out slightly--a useful feature when taking shots close to the ground. A sensor perceives whether you've put your eye up to the electronic viewfinder, and automatically switches it on and the LCD off, and vice versa.

This advanced camera includes lots of creative controls, including several different flash modes, and the choice of two bracketing settings. Menu choices, however, are poorly organized--there are lots of options, but you have to search through layers of menus to find them.

Most cameras offer a few user-setting modes, but the DiMage A1 allows you to save five user settings so you can quickly access your favorite adjustments. A dedicated dial on the side of the camera lets you save settings easily. The DiMage A1 also has a dedicated button for calibrating white balance--a useful feature when automatic white-balance settings don't work.

Instead of using buttons on the top or back of the camera, you control the zoom lens via a ring on the barrel, just like on a film SLR--which makes adjustments both fast and easy. However, the zoom ring doesn't turn especially smoothly at its widest--and at most telephoto--settings.

The DiMage has a maximum shutter speed of 1/16,000 second; that's considerably faster than most other cameras on our chart. That boosted speed might be useful for taking exceedingly fast action shots, but you'll need a good amount of light or the flash to be able to use it.

As for image quality, the DiMage A1 was a little disappointing, despite its 5-megapixel CCD. Its exposure accuracy was good, but color accuracy and sharpness were below average compared with other advanced cameras. In our outdoor shot, for instance, we saw some speckling in the blue sky; and in our still-life shot, objects didn't look as sharp as they did on shots from other cameras we looked at this month.

The DiMage A1 has lots of creative controls that will appeal to an advanced user, but its image quality isn't as strong as that of other advanced cameras.

Kalpana Ettenson

This story, "Minolta DiMage A1" was originally published by PCWorld.

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At a Glance
  • Generic Company Place Holder Konica Minolta DiMAGE A1 Bridge Camera

    TechHive Rating
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