Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50
Review Date: November 25th 2004
Ease of Use
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 is a tiny digital camera, measuring just 8.3cms wide by 6.2cms high and weighing 125g. Consequently it is an extremely portable camera that can be carried around with you wherever you go. Being so small, it also has the benefit of not drawing too much attention from other people, making it a great choice for more candid moments. Available in three different colours (silver, red and blue), the body is made of a hard-wearing plastic which has a shiny brushed aluminum kind of finish.
This camera is dominated externally by two features - the sliding lens cover on the front, and the large 2inch LCD screen on the back. The lens cover slides from right to left to reveal the non-protruding kind that doesn't extend or retract, and to turn the camera on. Sliding it back protects the lens and turns the camera off.
On the rear is the large LCD screen, which seems even bigger than it actually is because of the small size of the camera. The screen makes framing your images much easier than with smaller LCDs, with the added benefits of allowing a menu system that has an easy-to-read large typeface, and bringing your pictures alive when you play them back. Larger LCD screens seem to be something of a welcome growing trend at the moment. This is especially welcome on the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 as the optical viewfinder is quite small and a bit on the dim side.
The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 is very well-made, with nothing that feels as though it will fall off given enough wear and tear. The only thing that I wasn't overly fond of was the memory card cover, which has a fragile looking plastic hinge that I imagine would quite easily snap off. Also the tripod mount is only made of plastic and is not positioned in the middle of the camera.
Konica Minolta have done an excellent job in designing a camera that doesn't have too many buttons and switches to confuse the new photographer that this camera is aimed at. There are just 8 external controls in total, with all of them clearly labeled and understandable, and all of them very well designed. The shutter button is large and tactile, as are the zoom switch and the other controls on the rear of the camera. I had no issues at all with the handling of the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50, quite an achievement as I usually find something that I don't like! The simplicity of the camera and its general speed of use was a breath of fresh air, allowing me to frame and take the shot quickly and efficiently.
The menu system of the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 is as well designed as the exterior of the camera. It uses an intuitive tabbed interface with numbered pages and a Setup option at the top of the screen. There are only ever a maximum of 5 options per page, which are all shown onscreen at the same time, so no scrolling through an endless list trying to find that elusive option. As I've said above, the large LCD screen really makes a difference to using the menu system, as all the options are clearly displayed in a generously sized typeface. This tabbed system may be harder to implement on a more complex camera than the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50, but for this model it perfectly suits the new photographer.
So what is the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 like to actually operate and take a photo? Probably due to the camera having a non-protruding lens, the start-up time from turning the camera on to being ready to take a photo is very quick, taking around 1/2 second. Zooming the lens from the widest focal length to the longest is a bit slower, disappointing given that it only covers a range of 37mm to 105mm. Focusing is very quick and responsive in good light and also indoors and in low-light situations. Both the refresh rate and visibility of that 2" LCD screen are very good and it is visible even in bright sunlight. Images are stored quickly with the camera ready to take another image almost instantly.
|Camera / Scene / Movie/Audio Switch||Tripod Socket / Memory Card Slot|
Once you have captured a photo, the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 has a lot of options when it comes to playing, reviewing and managing your images, including some "quirky" ones that you may find less than useful. You can scroll through the images that you have taken, zoom in and out to a factor of x6, and play a slideshow with a dissolve effect. You can crop an image using the zoom control, rotate images, choose which images to Lock (to prevent them from being deleted), and delete an image. You can configure which images you want to print, selecting whether to print the date, how many copies you want to print and if you want to make an index print.
There is also a quirky option that allows you to paste a predefined shape, like a speech-bubble or rectangle, over a photo that you have taken, then take another photo which fills the shape, so that you have two photos in one. Probably not the most useful digicam option ever! Perhaps the main missing playback function is a histogram, either before taking a photo or after, which would make evaluating the exposure of a photo easier than by simply looking at it onscreen. This is a feature that is now found on many low-end digicams, so the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 loses out in this respect.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time with the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50. Being so quick and responsive, small and unobtrusive, as well as having that large LCD screen, made taking photos an easy and enjoyable experience - perfect for its target audience. The lens is a little slow to zoom from wideangle to telephoto, but I'm really just clutching at straws to find something that I didn't like! The Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 is a great little camera in terms of its ease-of-use.
PhotographyBLOG is a member of the DIWA organisation. Our test results for the Konica Minolta DiMAGE X50 have been submitted to DIWA for comparison with test results for different samples of the same camera model supplied by other DIWA member sites.