Saturday, May 06, 2006

reviewed: Konica Minolta Dimage XG

Camera tossing specific product review.
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Konika Minolta Dimage XG by mappamundi
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A compact mini-slab of a camera with a very solid look & feel to it. Fits easily into a pocket & the palm of a hand & seems just the right weight for tossing & catching. There's a reaassuring weightiness to it every time it lands safely back in my hands. The lens & zoom mechanism are built into the body with a automatic sliding recessed lens cover so other than control buttons & program select knob there are no protuberances, a big plus when applying spin. The hinged cover to the battery/card compartment requires a good solid press with the thumb before it flips open & when clicked shut it stays that way with no play or looseness. Of course I can't vouch for how crash-proof it might be but it has resisted minor bumps & I imagine that the small 4cm LCD & recessed lens must be an advantage in that it minimises the externals prone to breakage.

The lens is positioned in the extreme top right corner of the body, which seems to make for some interesting spin results. Fast flat spins give "atomic orbital" shapes with regularity and slow spins give some pleasing lazy loops. Blurred circles are also relatively easy to achieve.

The disadvantage with this camera, as with most pocket compacts, is that it gives no manual control over shutter speed/aperture. This can be worked around by judicious metering/focus on the available light sources before executing the toss but you can only really get a feel for how long the resulting exposure will be as the camera does not report the exposure settings before capture. The safest bet if the exposures prove to be too long is to cover the lens with the hand on catch, quite easy to do given the shape of the camera. The longest available shutter speed is 4 sec & there is a 10 second self timer, with viewable countdown. Other settings such as ISO, whitebalance, exposure comp are customisable. Digging into the menu & switching off the reset function makes it possible to permanently switch off the flash rather than needing to remember to switch off manually before every exposure, an annoyance on many compacts.

On the whole a great camera to get into tossing with. Can carry it everywhere & it take pretty passable regular photos too.
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