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Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200

A superb 7mp camera. Get one while you can
(by Conrad H. Blickenstorfer)

The Konica Minolta DiMAGE A200 represents the high-end in the Class of 2005 7-megapixel and higher group. It stands out both in size and weight as well as in features, power, performance, and image quality. It is also the only camera in that exceeded the 7 megapixel range in a roundup we conducted. With the A200 you get a full 8.0 megapixel from a 2/3-inch interlaced primary color CCD. We included the A200 because Konica Minolta doesn't have a 7 megapixel camera but its 5 megapixel Z5 is so good that we really wanted to have a camera from this highly regarded maker, and also because despite its power and features, the A20 is surprisingly affordable and fits into this price category.

What you get with the A200 is any budget-minded photography enthusiast's dream. 8-megapixel. A massive 7X optical zoom. A LCD that folds out and twists so that you can easily hold the camera overhead, shoot from the hip, or take the ever-popular self-portraits. The A200 is also full of features and technology. One example is Konica Minoltaās Anti-Shake system that detects movement and shifts the CCD accordingly. The result is sharper zoom and low-light pictures. That comes in handy when you tackle difficult shooting conditions without tripod (needless to say, the A200 has a metal tripod mount). Advanced photographers will appreciate that. They will also appreciate the fact that the 7X zoom lens is manually operated, just like in a SLR camera. And itās even clearly marked in 35 millimeter equivalent terms, from 28 to 200. Like other Konica Minolta offerings, the A200 is a "Single Lens View" camera, meaning that it addition to the LCD it has an electronic instead of an optical viewfinder. Advantages are that you see what the camera sees, plus you have access to all the same menu functions onscreen, and there is even an excellent diopter adjustment.

Disadvantages are that even at a rather good 235k resolution, the picture looks a bit course. The LCD also has good resolution, though it is too small for our taste -- only 1.8 inches diagonal. However, it uses transflective screen technology so it remains perfectly visible outdoors. Konica Minolta also spoils A200 users with plenty of other features. It's the only camera in this lineup that can take full SVGA 800x600 movies. That slows the frame rate to 15 fps as opposed to the 30 fps you get with the lower res modes, but it is still a big plus. There is an innovative "Flex Digital Multiplier" that lets you enlarge any part of a screen image to see if youāre really in focus. For those who like the RAW format but not the extra processing required for every shot, you can save in RAW and JPEG at the same time. And if the powerful (manual) pop-up flash isnāt strong enough, there is a flash shoe that can accommodate Maxxum/Program flashes and also an adapter for standard external flashes. The A200 has complete manual control, but you can also pick from a number of scenes, color modes, digital effects and bracketing. You even get a remote control usable for both shooting and playback. On the software side you get the DiMAGE Image Viewer for Mac and PC, and also Ulead VideoStudio 8 SE (PC only).

A camera with this much power and functionality cannot be small, and the A200 isn't. It weighs over a pound, and with its big lens and full-size body it won't fit into any pocket. This is a camera that you take with you when you want to shoot some serious pictures. Operating the A200 isnāt entirely simple. While Konica Minolta has done an excellent job making things as self-explanatory as possible, and while ergonomics, for the most part, are quite good, prepare to spend some time learning the operation of this camera and everything it has to offer. All in all, features galore in a large, powerful package with uniformly excellent picture quality.

We like:

  • Tons of features, giant zoom
  • Excellent quality, both camera and images
  • Powerful professional-style features
Not so much:
  • Big and heavy
  • Small LCD
  • Mediocre battery life and macro mode
Specifications KM DiMAGE A200
Status 06/2005
Camera Type Standard (Single Lens View)
Size 4.5 x 3.1 x 4.5
Weight (oz.) 17.8 w/o battery
Effective Pixels 8.0 mp
CCD Type 2/3-type
Max pixel size 3264 x 2448
File formats RAW, JPEG, TIFF, MOV
Compression Extrafine, fine, standard
Movie recording (best) 15min @ 15fps
Max movie pixels 800 x 600
Voice recording 15 sec sound clips
Lens 16 elements, 13 groups
Focal length 7.2-50mm (28-200mm)
Zoom (optical/digital) 7X/4X
Aperture f/2.8 - f/3.5
Focus modes AF, AF lock, manual
Focus minimum/macro 10 inches, 1.6 feet
Shutter speed 1/4000 to 30 sec
Sensitivity (ISO) auto/50/100/200/400/800
Autofocus system Video AF
Metering Wide, 11-spot, spot, flex
White-balance modes auto, 7 presets, custom
Shooting modes auto/P/A/S/M/movie
Exposure compensation +/-2EV in 0.3 or 0.5 steps
Viewfinder Type Electronic (235k)
LCD size 1.8" LCD (134k)
LCD type transflective
LCD construction vari-angle
Flash type built-in + shoe
Flash range up to 25 feet
Flash modes 5
Camera internal memory none
Storage Medium CF Card (SD optional)
Battery type Li-Ion NP-800 (7.4V, 800mAh)
CIPA Battery life (LCD/off) 260 images
Street Price $499
Contact www.konicaminolta.com

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