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Minolta DiMAGE F200 Camera Review

Minolta DiMAGE F200

The Model F200 is an "arithmetic mean" of Minolta's DiMAGE F line. A capacious buffer and other electronic components (like in F300) together with a smaller matrix (like in F100) allow the camera shoot as many video as the memory card can house and batteries can handle. 

The design is softer due to new decorating elements. The management conception has changed a little. Now the multiselector doesn't control the focal length; instead, there is an additional cylindrical column with a lever. 

Beside unlimited clips, F200 supports the new Direct Video function which allows the camera to be connected directly to a VHS or DVD recording deck. However, earlier it was also possible to shoot video onto an external device via TV-out.


Effective pixels
3.95 Mp
CCD matrix, ADC
1/1.8", 4.13 Mp, 12 bit
100, 200, 400 and 800 ISO
Minolta GT 7.8 - 23.4mm (38 - 114 in equivalent for 35mm film), f/2.8 - f/4.7, 8 elements in 7 groups, 3 aspherical elements
14.5 - 54.5 cm in Macro, from 0.5 m in the Normal mode
Frame Size (min)
31.7 x 42 mm
38 mm TFT 110000 
15 - 1/1000 s
AF area
Wide Focus Area (Area AF), Spot Focus Area with focus area selection
Focus modes
Subject tracking AF, Single shot AF, Full-time AF,
Manual focus, Subject tracking focus with initial area selection
Exposure metering
multi-segment (256), center-weighted, spot
Exposure modes and programs
Program Auto exposure, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual Setting. Portrait, Sport, Landscape, Sunset, Night Portrait, Macro
Flash modes
Auto, RedEye Reduction, Fill Flash, Off
Flash range
W 0.5 - 3.4 m, T 0.5 - 2 m 
File formats
JPEG, TIFF max 2272 x 1704, Motion JPEG (MOV) 15 fps 320x240 or 160x120, DPOF, DPOF
USB 1.1, NTSC, PAL video 
Power supply
1 CR-V3 Li battery or 2 Ni-MH AA rechargeable batteries
111x52.3x32.0 mm, 185g without batteries and memory card 

The specs are very similar to F100 except the unlimited video, center-weighted metering and a bit more powerful flash. But the design differs noticeably. Since F100 and 300 have the same shape, below you can see fragments of F300 and F200.

Minolta DiMAGE
Front view. The newer model has a cylindrical jut instead of the spherical one, and the self-timer LED is shifted to the base.
Minolta DiMAGE
Back view. Unlike of the multiselector of F100/300 which also controls the zoom, F200 has a separate lever. The multiselector now controls exposure correction without a necessity to enable it with a button, which (on the left of F200 zoom lever on top) switches between the drive modes (single, series, bracketing). 
Minolta DiMAGE F200
The same good old lens - Minolta GT 7.8 - 23.4mm 

Minolta DiMAGE F200 Minolta DiMAGE F200
Softer straps and outline of the information display.

Minolta DiMAGE F200
The same battery compartment and memory card slot.

Minolta DiMAGE F200
Finally, the same stylish design of the aluminum case.




Auto shooting mode. The camera selects a program and subject in focus itself. It will also follow its movement until you shoot it.
Color modes.



The original focus area can be set manually.
Video menu.



Settings available in the auto mode.
Multiframe view.



The manual mode allows changing exposure, white balance and focusing. 
Histogram and shooting parameters for a shot. 



ISO 100-800
Playback mode menu. You can rotate images and add an audio comment.



Auto exposure and manual modes.
Slideshow settings.



White balance: auto, manual or can be chosen from presets for standard conditions.
A shot taken can be printed out, copied to another card, copied in reduced size for WWW and e-mail.



Focusing with area selection by pressing the release button, tracking AF and manual.
System settings.



Focusing by pressing the release button and full-time focusing.
System settings.



Exposure metering modes.
Noise reduction mode can be enabled.



Flash exposure correction.
... it will take some time to eliminate noise for shots taken at the exposure longer than 1 sec



Sharpness, contrast and saturation have three levels each.
Camera works as a dictaphone.

Image quality


Here is the full 1.3MB shot 

This is how the zoom works. Above the focal length is minimal (7.8mm), below is the maximum (23.4mm).
Fragment of the second shot 1:1. Chromatic abberations are hardly noticeable on the frame's edge (red edging). 
Fragment: 1:1.
Resolution chart. Shot center. F=12.5 mm, f/d = 8 
Resolution chart. Shot edge (upper left). F=12.5 mm, f/d = 8. The geometrical distortions are moderate, the chromatic ones are insignificant

Noise reduction
Fragments 1:1


ISO 100, 4 s, f/d=8


ISO 100, 4 s, f/d=8, noise reduction


ISO 800, 1.5 s, f/d=8


ISO 800, 1,5 s, f/d=8, noise reduction

Twice increased (in HTML) fragments of the resolution chart for long exposure and with noise reduction.



ISO 100, 2 s, f/d=8, noise reduction disabled
ISO 100, 2 s, f/d=8, noise reduction enabled

The noise reduction mode makes images less grainy and sandy and, unfortunately, less sharp (at the file size of 100%). As you can see, the camera shoots excellently at long exposures and high sensitivity even without the noise reduction.

The petty changes in the design of DiMAGE F200 in comparison with DiMAGE F100 and utilization of a smaller matrix of 4Mp instead of 5Mp in DiMAGE F300 shouldn't perplex you. There are not  many digital cameras out there with unlimited video coupled with sound, and the focal length which can be changed during shooting. 

Sergei Sherbakov (sherbakovs@ixbt.com)



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