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Minolta introduce the Minolta DiMAGE F200 camera
Dennis Hissink : August 6th 2003 - 00:26 CET
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MinoltaThe striking harmony of form and function that has characterised Minolta's F Series digital cameras is again reflected in the latest addition to the family, the DiMAGE F200. With its sophisticated automatic functions and image-processing technology, 4-megapixel CCD and 12-bit A/D conversion, the F200 takes the effort out of beautiful digital photography and puts the user in total control of image making. The F200's improved Subject Tracking AF follows a subject through 3-D space as a naturally as the human eye. In combination with the unique Area AF system, the camera will evaluate the objects in the extra-wide focus frames and automatically lock onto the subject.
If the subject moves, Subject Tracking AF will adjust the focus to ensure a sharp image. So no complicated procedures are required to lock the focus on off-centre subjects. When Subject Tracking AF is combined with Focus Area Selection, the camera will then follow the movements of the selected subject. In addition to Area AF and Subject Tracking AF systems, there is also a manual focus function with an automatically enlarged monitor image for better judgement of image sharpness.
The F200's improved Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection functions analyses shooting conditions and selects from five subject programs (Portrait, Sports Action, Landscape, Sunset, Night Portrait) and programmed AE to optimise the camera's exposure, white-balance and image-processing controls.
The F200 also has outstanding exposure controls, e.g. three metering modes (multi-segment, centre-weighted and spot), four exposure modes (program, aperture priority, shutter priority and manual), automatic camera sensitivity or one of four ISO-equivalent levels (100, 200, 400 or 800), auto white balance or four present white-balance settings, and a colour mode that switches between natural colour, vivid colour, black and white and sepia settings.

The F200's high-precision electro-optical system employs the technology from Minolta's top-of-the-range DiMAGE 7Hi to maximise image quality. The 4-megapixel CCD generates high-resolution images from which B4-size 150dpi or A5-size photo-quality prints can be produced. Minolta's image-processing technology, CxProcess, and 12-bit A/D conversion guarantee that the image from the CCD will faithfully reproduce the scene. The F200's Minolta GT lens is less than an inch long (24mm) when retracted yet with a focal range equivalent to a 38-114mm 35mm zoom lens, it can range from wide-angle landscape or interior shots to telephoto for intimate details. The 3X optical zoom employs three apheric elements to ensure sharp, high-contrast images at all focal lengths while the digital zoom seamlessly takes over from the maximum focal length of the optical zoom without interrupting the monitor image. The combined optical and digital zooms give this compact camera an amazing 12X zoom range - equivalent to a 456mm lens on a 35mm camera.

Though maintaining the outstanding harmony of form and function of the other F Series "slip-into-the-pocket cameras", the F200 looks slightly different with distinctive rubberised grips for even safer handling and a completely redesigned control layout with a separate zoom lever behind the shutter-release button for easy operation of the 3X optical zoom and a five-key controller array for setting camera functions next to the LCD monitor. The new Auto Rotate function conveniently does away with the need to keep turning the camera sideways when playing back images by ensuring that vertical shots are oriented horizontally for viewing purposes.

The F200's image-capturing quality and convenience are not just limited to still images. New movie recording features have expanded its digital video capabilities. Two image sizes can be selected, the length of Extended Recording (XR) movie clips is only limited by the memory card capacity, and the new Direct Video function allows the F200 to be connected directly to a VHS or DVD recording deck.
Two copy functions allow in-camera duplication of image files. An improved e-mail copy function resizes an image to one of two formats for attachment to an e-mail message or posting on the Internet while the standard copy function makes a direct copy of a file onto the same or a different memory card.
Despite all its sophisticated functionality, the F200 is only 11cm wide, 5.3cm high and 3.2cm deep (with the lens retracted) and weighs a mere 185g. As an unobtrusive but powerful image-making companion, it will easily slip into a pockets or bag.
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