Minolta DiMAGE A1 Review
By Movable Type Admin
Features & Controls (cont.)
The A1's main functions are controlled by the Mode Dial located on the top of the handgrip. It has positions for Manual, Shutter priority, Aperture priority, Program AE, AUTOmatic, Memory Recall, Portrait, Sports, Beach/Sea and Night Portrait. Inbetween the shutter release and the Mode Dial is the front Control Dial.
There is a large monochrome
data LCD that shows all major settings at a glance. This display is illuminated for five
seconds whenever a control button or the shutter release is pressed.
On the back edge is the "i+" button, this controls the amount of data
that is overlayed on the live image displayed on either the EVF or the color LCD. In
playback it also toggles the thumbnail Index mode. The button next to it is used to
magnify the image during playback. Below the Mode Dial is the rear Control Dial and
the AE-Lock button.
On the back is Record-Playback-Movie lever, in the center is the Power button. Below
that is the Exposure Compensation button, press and hold and rotate the Command Dial to
set the desired value. Next is the EVF/LCD control switch. The EVF position selects the
EVF as the primary display, the "A" position will automatically select the EVF if it is
up against your eye otherwise the color LCD is selected. The 4-way selector lets you
navigate menus and select images during playback, the button in the center accepts
menu selections. The "QV" button lets you quickly view the last image captured, press it
a second time to delete the image. The MENU button calls up and dismisses the menus.
The green "hand" button turns enables the Anti-Shake system.
On the side is the Function Dial, you turn the knob to the option you wish to change and then push and hold the center button while rotating the Control Dial located next to the shutter release. The option settings are displayed on the top data LCD as you rotate the Control Dial.
CUST - User-configurable position (Image size, quality, flash mode, flash control, sharpness, color mode)
METERING - Select desired metering mode (matrix, center-weighted or spot)
DRIVE - Change drive mode (Single, Standard Continuous, High Speed Continuous (3fps), Interval, Self-timer, AE Bracketing)
WB - White balance (Daylight, Tungsten, Shade, Cloudy, Flash and Fluorescent with fine adjustments in seven levels) 3 Custom settings)
ISO - Sensitivity (Auto [100-200], 100, 200, 400, 800 ISO equivalent)
New are grip sensor contacts brought over from Minolta's 35mm SLR film cameras like the Maxxum 7. Full-time AF continually focuses when
the grip sensor is activated to reduce focusing time as well as to continually display a
sharp image on the monitors.
On the back of the camera are the connectors for the optional AC power adapter and
the optional RC-1000S/L wired remote control that permits tripping the shutter
from up to 16.4 feet away.
The Audio-Video Out port lets you connect the A1 to a TV set for image and movie
playback. The audio is monoraul and the video is user-selectable for NTSC or PAL format.
This is also where you plug in the USB cable to transfer data to your computer.
The DiMAGE A1 is equipped with a CompactFlash Type II card slot and is compatible with both CF and CF2 cards and Microdrives. The camera ships with a way too small 16MB CF card.
Good news - the A1 is FAT-32 compatible so it can use CF cards and Microdrives with
greater than 2GB capacity. Those 5-megapixel images
can rapidly consume a lot of storage space -- a large, Super Fine TIFF image will take
up 14.2 MegaBytes!
The camera is powered by a NP-400 7.4v 1500mAh rechargeable Li-ion battery. Minolta supplies the small BC-400 rapid charger, it replenishes a fully depleted battery in about 80 minutes.
Approximate number of recorded images: 330 frames with NP-400 battery, EVF on, External
LCD monitor off, Full-size images (2560 x 1920), Fine image quality, No instant playback,
No voice memo, Flash used with 50% of the frames. Approximate continuous playback time:
300 minutes with NP-400 battery, External LCD monitor on, EVF off.
If you need more power just attach the optional BP-400 battery grip. Kudos to Minolta for
designing it so that the battery door does not have to be removed before attaching the
battery grip. You can attach or remove the grip in 30 seconds or less.
You can put one or two or the NP-400 battery packs in the BP-400 or you can use six AA
type NiMH or lithium batteries with the included AA battery holder.
The BP-400 also gives you a vertical shutter release and portrait grip. The grip makes the camera more stable and can offset the additional mass of an external flash by lowering the center of gravity.
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