Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 Review
The top of the line "X" series camera from Konica Minolta (as of 08/2004), the DiMAGE X50 features 5-megapixels of resolution combined with a 3x optical zoom lens, all stuffed inside an ultra-compact design. Its durable metal body ensures it will survive users day-to-day life, and with its compact size, you can carry it in almost any size pocket or purse. This is a point-n-shoot camera that offers the simplicity of automatic exposure control, with some creative pre-programmed scene modes. It also allows you to manually select ISO, white balance presets, exposure compensation, metering, etc.
Ergonomics are good. Although small, I found it quite easy to hold (even with large hands), and one handed shooting is a breeze. Controls are well positioned and the menu system is easy to navigate. Its large 2.0-inch LCD works great outdoors in bright sun light, and also "gains up" when using it in low-ambient lighting. The sliding lens cover seems to be well built and sturdy and I did not have any problems with accidentally turning the camera off, which we have seen on some manufactures models.
Shooting performance was impressive. From power up to first image captured measured a fast 1.8 seconds. Shutter lag was almost none existent when pre- focused and 6/10 of a second including auto-focus. The shot-to-shot delay averaged 1.5 seconds without the flash and 6.5 seconds with the flash. The X50 offers three continuous modes to choose from (Continuous advance, UHS Continuous advance, Multi Frame.) Using Continuous advance, I was able to capture 4 images in about 4 seconds. UHS captured 11 images in less than a second. When using UHS, the image size drops to 1280x960. Multi Frame captures 9 images in about 4.5 seconds and then saves them as a single 2560x1920 image. Our tests were done using a SanDisk Ultra II 256MB 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 X50 features a very small 3.7v 660 mAh proprietary Lithium-ion rechargeable battery. Minolta claims a battery life of 150 shots and 170 minutes of continuous playback. During our testing we were able to capture about 100 shots and complete or other tests before it displayed a battery exhausted warning. As always we recommend you purchase a second battery and keep it charged just in case.
The overall image quality was average for a camera in this class. Outdoors it produced good results, the majority of our images showed true color and were well exposed. When shooting indoors, the flash is adequate for most interior shooting, and its 37mm wide angle focal length is sufficient for most group portraits. I did notice an average amount of noise in high/low contrast areas, but this is a common trait with most compact cameras that feature a very small imager with high resolution. When shooting macro photos using the flash, it "throttles down" well to ensure you don't over-expose your subject. This is very helpful when shooting product shots for inclusion at online auctions.
Bottom line - the DiMAGE X50 will make a good choice for anyone who wants an easy to use, durable, and ultra-compact camera. Its 5-megapixel images have plenty of resolution to create high-quality 8x10-inch or larger prints. If you're one who wants a simple point-n-shoot, with good image quality, and has the ability to be slid easily into your pants pocket or purse, then this might be the one for you.
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