Konica Minolta DiMAGE X1
Review Date: October 17th 2005
(out of 5 stars)
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X1 is an undeniably stylish, ultra-compact digital camera that is perfect for anyone looking for a point and shoot model that is easy to use. It's also well-built and cleverly designed, and the non-extending lens means that it's a quiet camera. The 8 megapixel images are great for making large prints, but unfortunately this has a rather important drawback. This is the fourth camera that I have reviewed recently that is badly affected by noisy images, and the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X1 is even worse than the others as it shows considerable noise even at ISO 100. Squeezing 8 megapixels onto such a small CCD sensor inevitably results in noisier images at lower ISO speeds.
On any other camera, this would condemn it to the bin (or at least a dusty shop shelf), as only being able to use ISO 50 severely limits when it can be used. Thankfully Konica Minolta have included an anti-shake feature which enables you to hand-hold the camera at slower shutter speeds than usual when using ISO 50. It's the equivalent of gaining 2-3 exposure stops, or extending the ISO range from 50 up to 200/400. Unfortunately this does come at a price in the form of reduced battery life - if you buy this camera, you should also purchase at least one spare battery.
The 2.5 inch LCD screen is both an attraction and a negative. It's great for showing off your photos to your friends, but the pixel count of 118,000 is small for an LCD of this size and results in grainy images. Konica Minolta have also had to omit an optical viewfinder to fit such a large screen in, which can cause problems on bright days when the LCD is difficult to view. Other more minor negatives include a fairly limited number of playback features, including the lack of a histogram, below-average focusing indoors and slow continuous shooting speed.
Ultimately the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X1 is compromised by the level of noise in its images. You will have to always use the combination of ISO 50 and the anti-shake system to obtain acceptable quality from this camera. What could have been a great low-light camera, with an effective ISO 50-200 range plus the anti-shake system working together, is instead a stylish but rather average point and shoot.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X1 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.