Minolta DiMAGE G500 Review
Features & Controls
The focusing system works from 0.5m to infinity in wide angle and from 0.8m to infinity
in telephoto. Macro coverage is 6cm (2.4 in.) to infinity in wide angle and 0.5m (1.6
ft.) to infinity in telephoto. The distance can also be manually set at 4m, 2m or 1m.
The real image optical zoom viewfinder is small with a very narrow viewing angle. It
shows approximately 85% of the captured image. There is no diopter adjustment. The
two LEDs indicate camera, focus and flash status.
The builtin flash is auto-adjusting with modes for Auto flash, Red-eye Reduction Auto,
Fill Flash, Slow Sync and Flash Off. The working range: Approx. 0.5 - 3.5m (Wide);
approx. 0.5 - 2m (Telephoto). It has a 5 second recycle delay with a fully charged
One of the DiMAGE G500's most unique features is the series of blue LED lamps across the
front. When you first turn the camera on they flash momentarily. They also light up
when you have the shutter half-pressed and serve as a visual cue to your subject
that the picture is about to be taken. When using the selftimer these lamps light
up and then cycle as the timer runs down.
The controls are minimal but effective. Across the top is the PLAY mode button, the DISPLAY button (push once to clear LCD overlay information and a second time to turn off the color LCD) and the TRASHCAN button to delete the currently displayed image. On the right are the WIDE and TELE buttons which operate the zoom in Record mode and serve as the magnified image controls when the camera is in Playback mode. Below them is the builtin speaker.
On the bottom is the MENU / SET
button, it calls up the menu and accepts selections. The 4-way controller lets you
navigate menu screens and options, select images for playback and in Record the "right"
side selects the Flash mode and the "left" side selects Macro, Infinity and Selftimer
The DiMAGE G500 has two card slots, one each for SD (or MMC) cards up to 512MB and Sony Memory Sticks up to 128MB. You can also use a 256MB Memory Stick Select card which is really a double-128MB, it has a switch to select one of two 128MB memory banks. It is not compatible with the newer Memory Stick Pro cards. Minolta supplies a 16MB SD card.
Minolta USA has posted a new G500 compatibility chart that lists the tested memory cards. There have been numerous reports of problems with larger (over 128MB) SD cards causing camera problems. At this time Minolta only "approves" of Panasonic 256/512MB and Toshiba 256MB SD cards. The original SanDisk 256MB (red and blue label) SD cards have caused error messages on the LCD.
Both card slots can be occupied simultaneously. The camera also has 2MB of internal memory which can be used if no cards are installed. The image size is locked to 640 x 480 when using internal memory.
The only I/O connector is a USB 1.1 connection for data downloads to the computer.
There is no DC IN or Video Out port on the DiMAGE G500.
Like most "mini" digicams, the DiMAGE G500 is powered by a proprietary lithium-ion rechargeable battery pack. The ultra-slim NP-500 (or Konica DR-LB4) is a 3.7v 820mAh pack with enough power for 100 pictures with LCD on or 200 pictures with the LCD off (normal humidity and temperature, flash intensity 50%, shot every 30 sec. zoomed one direction once.) And 90 minutes of continuous playback time.
The NP-500 is the -only- battery that can be used in this camera so be sure to buy a spare and keep it with you -- or else your picture taking is over when the battery runs out! The included BC-500 120-240V AC charger will replenish the battery in approx. 2.5 hours.
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