Minolta reveils DiMAGE A1 digital camera

Building upon the success of Minolta Corporation’s highly acclaimed DiMAGE 7 series of digital cameras, Minolta introduces the new 5 megapixel SLR- type DiMAGE A1 digital camera. The DiMAGE A1 wasdesigned with today’s creative digital photographer in mind.

Featuring the world’s fastest AF speed among 5-megapixel SLR-type digital cameras*, a fast built-in f/2.8 – 3.5 7x optical zoom lens, a top shutter speed of 1/16,000 of a second, dual-focal macro system, extra-fine image-quality option, Minolta’s new CxProcess II and 3-D Predictive Focus Control, Subject Tracking AF, Anti-shake function, and compatibility with portable and studio flash systems, the Minolta DiMAGE A1 exploits the power of digital imaging by providing the tools photographers need to express their creativity and solve visual problems. In addition, Minolta has also introduced new remote imaging software for use with the DiMAGE A1, the new DiMAGE Capture software, for enhanced creative capabilities.

“The new DiMAGE A1 digital camera represents the next generation in quality and performance from Minolta,” said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Minolta Corporation’s Consumer Products Group. “The DiMAGE A1 is built for creative digital photographers who demand the highest quality images and versatility in a compact, easy-to-use camera.”

The new DiMAGE A1 is built around a high-precision electro-optical system designed to maximize image quality. The system starts with a 5.3 megapixel 2/3-type progressive primary-color CCD with 5.0 million effective pixels for fine high-resolution images. The DiMAGE A1 uses 14-bit A/D conversion to record the richness and infinite subtleties of light.

The Minolta DiMAGE A1’s fast f2.8 – f3.5 7x optical zoom lens is an advanced apochromatic (APO) lens employing anomalous dispersion (AD) glass to minimize chromatic aberration at all focal lengths and produce sharp, contrasty images. With a focal range of 7.2mm to 50.8mm, it is equivalent to a 28mm to 200mm 35mm zoom lens. The DiMAGE A1 zoom has a dual-focal macro system that allows the lens to be set at the wide-angle or telephoto position to take advantage of different focal lengths.

For photographers who demand high-quality images, new image-quality and image-size settings have been added to the Minolta DiMAGE A1. The extra-fine image-quality option produces a high-quality JPEG file with little compression or loss of detail. And the new 2080 x 1560 image size gives photographers the ability to switch between 5 megapixel, 3 megapixel, and 2 megapixel images smoothly.

Featuring continuous AF, the Minolta DiMAGE A1 uses Minolta’s new 3-D Predictive Focus Control to track the subject from when the shutter-release button is pressed all the way down until the exposure is made ensuring optimum focus. Subject Tracking AF uses the 3-D Predictive Focus Control system to lock on to and track a subject as it moves through the frame. And, Minolta’s Flex Focus Point adds unlimited versatility to the DiMAGE A1’s AF system. Flex Focus Point is a single crosshair sensor that can be placed anywhere within the field of view. With the camera on a tripod, photographers simply use the four-way key of the controller to position the Flex Focus Point on the subject; the AF system will use that point for each exposure.

The DiMAGE A1 incorporates Direct Manual Focus (DMF). After the AF system has focused and locked on the subject, the focus can be fine-tuned manually. The camera’s new Flex Digital Magnifier (FDM) can enlarge a section of the live image by two or eight times so sharpness can be judged in manual focus or when using DMF.

This is Minolta’s first digital camera to employ CxProcess II, Minolta’s new image-processing technology. CxProcess II controls the essential image qualities of color, contrast, and sharpness while minimizing noise.

The camera’s new Anti-shake function minimizes the effect of camera shake, a slight blurring of the image when the camera is handheld, to provide the sharpest image possible. The continuous-advance drive modes make it possible to record action as it unfolds. Three JPEG or five 5-megapixel RAW images can be captured at a rate of 2 frames per second. And, at the heart of the DiMAGE A1 is a new high-speed image-processing LSI for increased performance. Power consumption has also been greatly reduced.

* World’s fastest AF speed among 5-megapixel SLR-type digital cameras with a non-interchangeable 5x or greater optical zoom lens (as of July 1st, 2003).

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