Minolta DiMAGE A1 Review
By Movable Type Admin
Features & Controls
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And the color LCD can be tilted down to -20° or upwards to 90° as needed.
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.
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
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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