Minolta DiMAGE X20 Review

Steve's Digicams

First Look posted 8/8/03
Full review posted 10/29/03

Click on the DiMAGE X20 to take a QuickTime VR tour

The DiMAGE X20 is the world's smallest and lightest 2-megapixel digital camera with a 3x optical zoom (as of July 2003.) This tiny new fun and easy to use digital camera incorporates numerous creative features such as slide show playback, self-portrait mode, multi-frame drive mode, Image Pasting, movie mode, noise reduction function and web communications capability. The new Minolta DiMAGE X20 combines responsive performance and a user-friendly design with the incredible non-extending zoom lens and fast startup time inherited from Minolta's DiMAGE X series of digital cameras. A user simply turns the camera on, and in one second the camera is ready to take pictures.

Unique to the Minolta DiMAGE X20 is a self-portrait mode. While holding the camera at arm's length, the use of the specially curved mirror on the front of the DiMAGE X20 allows users to correctly compose a picture of themselves and a friend without having to hand the camera off to a stranger.

Minolta's new multi-frame drive mode, captures nine sequential frames of a single event in one picture like the reaction of a friend as they walk in on a surprise party. The nine images are laid out in a 3 x 3 grid in a single frame. The portrait mode controls exposure, flash, and image processing to emphasize the subject's natural skin tone. And for something a little different, images can be captured in one of five monochrome modes; the traditional grays of black and white, the warmth and ageless quality of sepia, or red, green, and blue tones to add fun or feeling.

Image Pasting allows one image to be placed within another for a creative touch. After choosing the background image, a user simply selects the frame shape and size and positions it over the chosen background image. The live image is displayed inside the selected frame. After composing the subject in the frame the user presses the shutter button to embed and save the image.

The DiMAGE X20 will do more than just take photographs. XR (Extended Recording) movie processing allows digital video with audio to be captured and played back. The length of the XR movie is only limited by the memory card capacity and image size. Two image sizes can be selected: 160 x 120 pixels and 320 x 240 pixels.

For the more serious photographer, the DiMAGE X20 features a 3 x 3 graphic menu that provides easy and quick access to the camera's controls. Camera settings are changed with a simple five-way controller on the back of the camera.

The camera's high-performance five-point autofocus system makes taking beautiful, sharp images simple. Place the subject anywhere within the extra-wide focus frames and the camera will do the rest. The camera uses visual and audio signals to confirm focus. Close-up pictures can be made with the DiMAGE X20. The lens focuses down to 3.9 inches at all focal lengths without the need of a separate function. This covers an area of about 1.6 x 1.2 inches.

The DiMAGE X20 can be used as a remote camera for video conferencing. Use the supplied USB cable to connect the camera to a computer with a Windows operating system and a compatible application such as Microsoft Windows Messenger. The camera can be mounted on a table-top tripod for hands-free operation.

DiMAGE X20 Major Features:

  • Incredibly compact and lightweight camera
  • Unique "folded" 3x 37-111mm optical zoom lens
  • Macro close-up focusing as close as 3.9 inches
  • 2-megapixel imager for images up to 1600 x 1200 pixels
  • Motion video 320 x 240 with audio at 15fps, unlimited length
  • 15-second audio notes can be attached to images
  • 1.5-inch TFT color LCD monitor/viewfinder
  • Self-portrait mirror on the front
  • Color toning: B&W, sepia, red, blue or green filters
  • 9-shot multi-frame capture mode at 3fps
  • Unique image pasting function for picture-in-a-picture montages
  • Date and time stamping on the image
  • Minolta's CxProcess image processing provides clear and natural images
  • 12-bit A/D conversion provides a finer tonal gradation
  • Built in flash with Auto, Red-eye reduction, Night portrait and Fill modes
  • Audio/Video output, NTSC or PAL selectable
  • Removable flash memory cards (SD or MMC type)
  • Epson PRINT Image Matching II compliant
  • Powered by two standard AA type batteries
  • USB 1.1 Mass Storage Compliant device

Physical Views

Minolta DiMAGE X20

Minolta DiMAGE X20

Minolta DiMAGE X20Minolta DiMAGE X20

Minolta DiMAGE X20

Minolta DiMAGE X20

Minolta DiMAGE X20

The DiMAGE X20 almost hiding behind a credit card.

Minolta DiMAGE X20

Thin is "in" - the DiMAGE X20 and Pentax Optio S.

Minolta DiMAGE X20

The DiMAGE X20 and the 3.2-Megapixel 10X zoom DiMAGE Z1.

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Features & Controls

DiMAGE X20 Specifications

No. of effective pixels Approx. 2.0 million
CCD 1/3.2-type interline primary-color CCD with a total of approx. 2.1-million pixels
Lens 4.8 - 14.4mm (35mm equivalent: 37 - 111mm), f/ 2.8 - f/ 3.7; 10 elements in 9 groups (includes 2 double-sided aspheric elements)
Recording media SD / MultiMediaCard (8MB supplied)
File format JPEG, Motion JPEG (MOV): WAVE, DCF 1.0, DPOF, and Exif 2.2 compliant
No. of recorded pixels Still: 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480
Movie: 320 x 240, 160 x 120
Storage capacity*
(using 8 MB card)
(1600 x 1200) Economy: approx. 22, Standard: approx. 12, Fine: approx. 6,
Movie: (320 x 240) 19 seconds, (160 x 120) 74 seconds
* Numbers above are approx., and may vary depending on the subject and the media used.
Autofocus system Video AF, Focus lock available
Autofocus areas Wide focus area (5 point AF)
Focusing range 10cm / 3.9 in. to infinity (from the front of the camera)
Exposure control Programed AE, AE lock available
Exposure compensation +/-2 EV in 1/3EV increments
Metering Multi-segment (256 segments)
Camera sensitivity Auto (between ISO 64-200 equivalent), ISO 64, 100, 200, 400 equivalents
Shutter speeds Automatic: 4 - 1/1000 seconds
Continuous advance Approx. 1.5 frames per second
Self-timer Single, Self-timer, Continuous, Multi frame (9 pics @ 3fps), Self-portrait
Self-timer Approx. 10 second delay
Movie recording 320x240 or 160x120 with audio, recording time depends on memory card capacity.
Audio recording Up to 15 second sound memos can be attached to still images
Digital zoom 4X (Max.) in 0.1X increments
White-balance control Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Cloudy)
Flash mode Autoflash, Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill-flash, Flash cancel, Night portrait (with red-eye reduction)
Color toning B&W, sepia, red, green or blue filter
LCD monitor 1.5" (4.0cm) digital interface TFT color monitor with anti-reflection coating
Printing output control Exif Print, PRINT Image Matching II
PC interface USB*, Video output NTSC / PAL (selectable)
* The data will be transferred at full-speed (12 Mb/s) when connected to USB 2.0 compatible computers.
Time/date stamping Yes, selectable YYYY/MM/DD or MM/DD/hr:min
Batteries Two AA batteries (alkaline, Ni-MH, lithium)
Battery performance*
* Minolta measurements
Continuous playback time: approx. 260 minutes (when using alkaline batteries)
Number of recordings: approx. 110 frames
Operating time (approx.) Start-up time: 1.0 seconds, Shutter-release time-lag: 0.1 second,
Playback interval: approx. 0.2 second
External power source 3V DC (with specified AC)
Additional functions Self portrait, Multi frame, Image pasting, Direct print, E-mail copy, Date imprinting, Remote camera
Dimensions (WxHxD) 86 x 67 x 23.5mm / 3-3/8 x 2-5/8 x 15/16 inches
Weight Approx. 115g / 4-1/16 ounces (without batteries and recording media)
Standard accessories Two AA alkaline batteries, Neck Strap NS-DG 500, AV Cable (AVC-200),USB Cable (USB-500), SD Memory Card (8MB), DiMAGE Viewer CD-ROM
Optional accessories AC adapter (North America, Taiwan: AC-6L, Other areas: AC-6LE)
Operating systems Compatible computers (When used as a mass storage device)

IBM PC/AT compatible computers with Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Home Edition, Windows Me, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 98*, or Windows 98 Second Edition* and with a USB port as standard interface.

Apple Macintosh computers with preinstalled Mac OS 9.0 - 9.2.2, Mac OS X v10.1.3 - v10.1.5 and v10.2.1 - 10.2.6

(Users with Windows 98 and Windows 98 Second Edition operating systems must install dedicated driver software included in the DiMAGE X20 package.)

Specifications as represented by the manufacturer

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Features & Controls

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