Minolta DiMAGE A1 Review

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Features & Controls

Minolta DiMAGE A1

Perhaps the most impressive and noticeable feature of the DiMAGE A1 is the big 7x Minolta GT zoom lens. It's comprised of 16 elements in 13 groups, including two AD glass elements and two aspheric surfaces. The 7.2mm - 50.8mm (28mm - 200mm in 35mm format), f/2.8-f/3.5 APO lens is now stabilized with an Anti Shake system.

It has an autofocus range of 1.6 feet to infinity in normal mode. It can be set for wide angle macro with a range of 1.0 - 2.0 feet or telephoto macro which has a range of 0.8 - 2.0 feet.

Minolta DiMAGE A1

Featuring continuous AF, the 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.

The wide-area AF system with Flex Focus Point which changes the extra-wide focus to a cross-hair spot focus point that can be moved to anywhere desired within the image frame. The Auto Focus mode control is on the side and has positions for Single-AF, Continuous-AF and Manual Focus. The Macro focus switch is on the lens barrel.

Minolta DiMAGE A1 Minolta DiMAGE A1

Just like a 35mm SLR, the zoom lens is controlled manually by turning a rubberized ring on the barrel. This gives the user total control over the focal length selected and also saves precious battery power.

Filters and add-on lenses can be attached with the 49mm threads provided on the end of the lens. The included "petal" lens shade attaches via a bayonet type mount.

Minolta DiMAGE A1

Focus can adjusted manually via a ring near the base of the lens for those times when the photographer wishes to be in complete control. The A1's DMF (direct manual focusing) feature lets you manually adjust the focus without leaving auto focus mode. The screen can be magnified 2X or 8X to aid in critical focusing.

Minolta DiMAGE A1

The Digital Hyper Viewfinder provides a true through-the-lens view of exactly what the lens is seeing. It gives you a clear view even under bright light using a 0.44-inch color LCD with a resolution equivalent to 235,000 pixels. It has a diopter adjustment (- 5 ~ +2 m-1) and a large rubber eyecup that works well even when wearing eyeglasses. Both the EVF and LCD offer the user a 100% field of view coverage.

Minolta DiMAGE A1

The variable position viewfinder can be tilted upwards to a maximum of 90 degrees. In low-light situations the EVF amplifies the video signal so you can properly frame the shot. The display goes black & white but the image is captured in full color.

Minolta DiMAGE A1

Whatever you see on the color 1.8" LCD can also be viewed on the EVF by simply flipping the display control switch. The Auto-EVF setting will automatically switch the signal from the LCD to the EVF when you put it up to your eye. To save power the EVF only comes on when your eye is up to the viewfinder.

Minolta DiMAGE A1

And the color LCD can be tilted down to -20° or upwards to 90° as needed.

Minolta DiMAGE A1

The builtin pop-up flash offers Fill-flash, Red-eye reduction and Rear flash sync, it recycles in approximately 5 seconds. The DiMAGE A1 features ADI (Advanced Distance Integration) flash exposure or you can select the Pre-flash TTL mode. The flash range in Wideangle is approximately 1.6 - 12.5 feet (0.5-3.8m), in Telephoto it's approximately 1.6 - 9.8 feet (0.5-3m) with camera sensitivity set to auto.

Minolta DiMAGE A1

Using the dedicated hot shoe flash connector you can attach the Minolta Maxxum Program Flash 5600 HS, 3600 HS (shown above) or the new and economical 2500(D) which offer versatile functions such as auto power zoom, wireless/remote off-camera flash, and test flash. The Macro Twin Flash 2400 provides flexible lighting for nature macro photography while the Macro Ring Flash 1200 offers shadowless lighting, ideal for medical and scientific use.

Compatibility with external flash units

Program / Maxxum
Flash 2500 (D)
Program / Maxxum
Flash 3600HS (D)
Program / Maxxum
Flash 5600HS (D)
Macro Twin
Flash 2400

Macro Ring
Flash 1200
Program Reset Yes Yes Yes Yes
ADI Flash Metering Yes Yes Yes N/A
Auto Power Zoom N/A Yes
(Set to an angle wider than focal length converted in 35mm format)
(Set to an angle wider than focal length converted in 35mm format)
Ratio Flash (Auto) No No No N/A
High-speed Sync No Yes
(up to 1/16000 seconds)
Macro Twin: No
Macro Ring: Yes
(up to 1/8000 seconds)
Wireless High-speed Sync No
Synchronization with all shutter speeds.
(However, flash operation remains normal when set to high-speed sync.)
Slow-shutter Sync Yes Yes Yes Yes
Wireless Controller Flash N/A N/A No N/A
Wireless / Remote Flash No Yes Yes No
Modeling Flash N/A N/A Yes Yes
Multiple Flash N/A N/A Yes N/A
Manual Flash Control N/A N/A Yes Yes
AF Illuminator No No No N/A
Flash Indicator Yes Yes Yes Yes

Minolta DiMAGE A1

Last but not least, the DiMAGE A1 also has a standard PC flash sync port for connecting to any type of external flash equipment including studio strobes.

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