Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 Review
By Movable Type Admin
The DiMAGE X60 is the successor to last year's popular X50 and features 5-megapixels of resolution, a 3x optical zoom lens and a big 2.5-inch LCD. This ultra-compact point-n-shoot can handle the everyday lifestyle of the most active user thanks to its durable metal design. It offers fully automatic exposure control, with some manual adjustments for ISO, white balance, exposure compensation, metering, etc. There's also a Digital Subject Program (DSP) mode that will automatically select either Auto or the best pre-programmed scene mode that the camera "thinks" will fit the current shooting conditions, or you can manually select from one of the seven different scene modes (portrait, sports, super macro, landscape, night portrait, text or beach&surf.)
The ergonomics are good. Although it is very small, I found it was easy to hold (even with large hands), and I had no problems with one-handed shooting. Controls are well positioned and the menu system is easy to navigate. The large 2.5-inch LCD covers almost the entire back side of the camera. We found it worked great outdoors in bright sun light, and when shooting in low-ambient lighting it "gains up" well to help brighten your subject. The sliding lens cover seems to be well built and sturdy and I didn't experience any problems with accidentally turning the camera off, which we've seen on other similarly designed models.
Shooting performance was impressive. From power up to first image captured measured 2 seconds. Shutter lag was 1/10 of a second when pre-focused and 6/10 of a second including auto-focus. The shot to shot delay averaged 1.8 seconds without the flash and just 2.2 seconds with the flash. The X60 offers two continuous modes to choose from (Continuous advance and Multi Frame.) Using Continuous advance, I was able to capture 4 images in about 2 seconds. Multi Frame captures 9 images in about 5.2 seconds and then saves them as a single 5-megapixel image. When using either mode the LCD blanks out momentarily inbetween each frame, making it very difficult to follow a moving subject; this is when an optical viewfinder would come in handy. Our tests were done using a SanDisk Extreme III 1.0GB SD card, Auto mode, preview off, flash off, with all other settings at default (unless otherwise noted.) Times may vary depending on lighting conditions, camera settings, media, etc.
The X60 features a very small NP-700 3.7v 660 mAh proprietary Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Minolta claims that you can capture up to 150 shots with a fully charged pack (based on CIPA Standards.) During our use we were able to capture about 80 shots and complete our other tests before it displayed a battery exhausted warning. As with most cameras that use a proprietary battery pack, we recommend you purchase a second battery and keep it charged just in case.
The overall image quality was average for a 5-megapixel consumer camera. Outdoors it produced good results, with the majority of our sample images being relatively sharp and showing good color balance. The exposure system did well under most conditions, however it did have some problems with subjects that were illuminated by bright sunlight. You can see what I mean by looking at the Army canon shot on our samples page. We noticed average amounts of noise in both high and low contrast areas, but virtually no signs of chromatic aberration (purple fringing.) Indoors, its flash has a range of about 8 feet when using ISO Auto. I found it was adequate for most interior shooting. The X60 did very well at macro photography. You can focus on a subject at about 4 inches (0.1m) from the lens or get as close as 2 inches (0.05m) with its Super Macro mode. It also controls the flash well by "throttling down" to ensure you don't overexpose the subject. This would be handy when shooting product shots of items for inclusion at online auctions.
The X60 can also record video at QVGA resolution (320x240) at either 15 or 30 frames per second with sound. Because sound is recorded, you may use the optical zoom before recording but not during. There's a variety of options when using Movie mode, it allows you to adjust white balance, exposure compensation and color modes. I was pleased with our movie samples, they were sharp and showed very little compression artifacts.
Bottom line - the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X60 is a worthy competitor in the 5-megapixel ultra-compact and durable class. It should make a good choice for anyone who wants a simple point-n-shoot, with good image quality, speedy performance and can be carried in any size pocket or purse. Its Large/Fine images have plenty of resolution to create high-quality 8x10-inch or larger prints. With a street price of around $300 it offers a good value.
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