Minolta's Dimage X raises the stakes in the world of itty-bitty digital cameras. By incorporating a clever internal zoom lens, developing a slim new rechargeable battery, and using diminutive SD memory cards, Minolta has created a pocket-sized picture taker that's just 0.8 inches thick and has an overall volume 10 percent smaller than Canon's S110 Digital Elph.
The camera's most unusual feature is its internal zoom lens. While most digital cameras are built like their film counterparts--with a telescoping zoom lens protruding from the front--the lens assembly in the Dimage X is arranged vertically inside the camera, with the sensor at the very bottom, like a periscope in a submarine. This layout allows for a slim camera with a full 3x optical zoom. In addition, startup times are faster, since you don't have to wait for the lens to extend before shooting.
Designed primarily as a point-and-shoot, the Dimage X nevertheless has several features to satisfy more advanced users, including an uncompressed TIFF storage mode and slow-sync flash. A movie-mode feature records up to 35 seconds of video with sound.
Images are stored on stamp-size SD or MMC memory cards. Though relatively uncommon in digital cameras, this type of card is a popular choice for MP3 players, PDAs, and numerous other handheld devices, ensuring continued support for the format in the future.
Images can be transferred to your Mac or PC via USB, and the included audio-visual cable lets you view images and film clips on your home TV. A proprietary lithium-ion battery provides power--battery and charger are included.
MD) AA) DIMAGE X DIGITAL CAMERA