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Konica Minolta Dimage X60 - Digital Camera Review
Review Date: 16/06/05
Rating: Worth Considering

Buy Now from Amazon: £229


Introduction: The Konica Minolta Dimage X60, is available for around £229 - and is an ultra compact, stylish 5 megapixel digital camera, with an internal 3x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 38-114mm on a 35mm camera), and a large 2.5" TFT screen. The camera is enclosed in a silver, red or blue metal body. It records unlimited 320 x 240 / 30fps videos with sound. The camera's size is: 83.5 x 56 x 22 mm. (without protruding parts), and weighs 115g (without the battery and memory card)

Konica Minolta have this to say about the camera:

"Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc. introduces the latest incarnation of its popular X-series digital cameras – the new DiMAGE X60. This slim, stylish and fast 5 megapixel digital camera features a large 2.5-inch LCD monitor, fastest-in-class*1 startup time, 3x optical and 4x digital zoom capability, automatic Macro and Super Macro capability, Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection, and 15MB internal memory."

You can find more information on their website.

The Camera: It's very compact and slim and made out of stylish silver metal.
(Photos of the camera taken with a Panasonic Lumix FZ3)


Front - Camera off.


Front - Camera on, cover open, microphon, led, flash.


Back - the 2.5" TFT screen, status led, zoom, play, display, menu, 4-way controller, middle button.


Top - speaker, mode, shutter.


Bottom, under the camera there is a plastic tripod mount, and the battery compartment.


Left Side (from back).


Memory compartment, DC in, AV out, strap hole.

Size Comparison: Compared to the Casio Exilim EX-S100.


Size comparison.


Size comparison next to the Casio Exilim EX-S100.

Specifications / Features:

  • 3x optical zoom
  • 5 megapixel CCD sensor
  • 2.5'' digital TFT colour LCD
  • 4x digital zoom
  • Ultra fast startup (0.5 seconds)
  • Unlimited movie mode (320x240 30fps)
  • 5cm Macro mode

Box Contents:

  • Digital Camera
  • Hand Strap
  • USB Cable
  • AV Cable
  • Lithium-Ion battery
  • Battery charger
  • Digital Camera Software CD-Rom

Average-poor box contents - a large memory card and a small case would have been nice - there seems to be no printed manual with the camera which is very poor - there doesn't even seem to be a basic starter guide!

Battery usage: The battery life is rated as 150 shots. This is quite decent considering the small size of the battery, which is rated at 660 mAh. Battery life seemed good.

Menu Options / Modes: The camera mode is selected using the top switch - this switches between photo mode, scene mode, and video/audio mode.

Photo mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown on the right below:

Photo mode Photo Menu (magenta)

Screen / LCD display in photo mode: (shown on the left) The screen is an average resolution (115k), but updates smoothly - the colours appear fairly accurate. There is no live histogram available but the screen is clear and the text and menus are easy to read. Optical Viewfinder: There is no optical viewfinder.

Photo menu options are: Image size, quality, white balance (no custom), left/right key function, sensitivity (iso), metering mode, exposure compensation, auto reset, colour mode (colour, black and white, sepia), voice memo, date imprint, digital zoom, instant playback.

Scene mode Setup menu (blue)

Scene options are: Auto (it automatically selects the most suitable scene mode), portrait, action, landscape, sunset/beach, super macro (this makes the lens zoom in), night portrait, text, and off. In scene mode the menu options are quite drastically disabled.

Setup menu options: (shown on the right, above) LCD brightness, format, language, file memory, folder name, audio signals, focus signal, shutter fx, volume, power save, reset default, date/time set, video output, transfer mode (date storage, remote camera, pictbridge).

Video mode options are: recording mode (choose between video recording or audio recording), frame rate (30 or 15fps), movie mode (standard or night), white balance, exposure compensation, colour mode (colour, black and white or sepia).

Playback (Review) mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown on the right, below:

Playback mode Playback Menu (green)

Playback mode: Scrolling through the photos is very quick. The zoom is quick up to 6x

Playback menu options: Delete, audio caption, lock, image pasting, copy (allows you to copy from the internal memory to a memory card and vice versa), slide show, crop frame, frame capture, edit movie, DPOF set, date print, index print, email copy.

Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures, and the following number of images will fit on the 15mb memory provided with the camera:

Size / Quality: Number of Photos Stored
  Fine Standard Economy
5mp (2560x1920) 6 11 22
3mp (2048x1536) 9 17 33

2mp (1600x1200)

14 28 48
VGA (640x480) 71 103 155
Video 320x240 30fps 22 seconds

You can fit a small number of images on the 15mb internal memory - a larger memory card is definitely recommended, unless you want to use the lower image sizes / higher compression options in order to fit more pictures in memory. There is a good choice of image sizes, and there is a good choice regarding image compression.

A larger memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at a bare minimum a 128mb or 256mb memory card, and preferably a 512mb memory card, or larger, especially considering the relatively low prices - the larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in, as you don't always know when you will next be at a computer. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Konica Minolta Dimage X60:

128mb SD memory card - £9.99 from Amazon.co.uk.
256mb SD memory card - £15.99 from Amazon.co.uk.
512mb SD memory card - £25.99 from Amazon.co.uk.
1gb (1000mb) SD memory card - £49.99 from Amazon.co.uk.

Speed: The camera is very quick to switch on and take photos - the camera is quite quick to focus and quite good at focusing indoors (not as good as the Casio S100 but better than the Fuji F440). The screen updates are quick and smooth (in good light). The playback mode is quick. Playback mode allows you to zoom as close as 6x, this is quick. The camera shutter response seemed quicker than normal when pre-focused. Shot to shot time is quick, but is slightly slower when using the flash.

Ease of use: The camera is easy to use. The controls on the back of the camera are very easy to use. The camera is very compact - but easy to hold and use, although be careful not to drop the camera! The menus are very responsive, very easy to use, and the options are big enough and easy enough to see clearly - I especially like the colour coded menus. The modes are easy to access, quick and simple - there's a fully automatic mode as well as various scene modes for simple point and shoot operation.

Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seems to be the right amount of buttons. The buttons feel okay, the shutter release is quite decent. The buttons are labelled fairly well - although some may find them a little bit small. I thought the camera felt good ergonomically, and was the correct weight - it seemed a decent weight and felt well built.

Image Quality: Here are some sample photos/video(s) taken in various settings, such as Inside, Noise, Outside, Zoom, Macro, Movie to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the new gallery!

Inside:

Heather and Flower Group photo

Inside: The camera has good colour, with fairly low saturation. It coped fairly well with the group photo. The camera did a good job at focusing the majority of the time. Red-eye was a problem with the 'Heather and Flower' photo. Images had some noise, however when left on automatic, the ISO maximum is 160, so noise should be quite low.

Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. Noise is most noticeable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels, and manual ISO settings (ISO50, 100, 200, and 400) - below you'll find the noise test image, plus actual pixel crops from the image taken at different ISO settings.


Noise test photo - flash on

ISO50 - Actual Pixels ISO100 - Actual Pixels
ISO200 - Actual Pixels ISO400 - Actual Pixels

Noise levels appear low at ISO50 and ISO100. At ISO200 noise becomes more noticable and at ISO400 noise seems quite high, but acceptable in these test photos.

Outside:

Shops Wedding photo

Outside, the camera had good but muted colour, with good contrast and low saturation. There was quite good detail / although images were soft. Noise seemed fairly low. I didn't notice jpeg artefacts in the images.

Zoom: This camera has a 3x optical zoom lens and a built in 4x digital zoom - in the case of this camera the digital zoom basically takes a smaller area of the photo and enlarges it using software blurring the image so that it is not pixellated. Generally it's best to avoid using digital zoom as it degrades the quality of the image and, often, better results can be obtained by using a photo package such as Adobe Photoshop. I've included examples below to show what the zoom is capable of.

Wide-angle 3x Optical zoom 3x Optical zoom + 4x digital zoom

Lens noise and zoom: The lens noise is about average, not overly loud, but not especially quiet. The lens is fairly quick at going from wide to telephoto if you hold the zoom down, but if you change the zoom in steps, then it's quite slow as it refocuses each time - there are at 16 steps between wide and telephoto - this gives you very good control of how you frame your subject.

Other Image Quality issues: Purple fringing seemed very low. There was some vignetting (darkened corners), and image softness, most noticable in the corners.

Macro: To use this camera in macro mode, you switch to macro mode in the scene mode - this zooms in slightly and allows you to be 5cm away from the subject - in normal mode, the camera allows you to be around 10cm away from the subject. You can use the flash in macro mode.

Macro cat Actual Pixels (100%)

The macro mode is very good - the camera does a good job of toning down the flash (as can be seen in the noise test above), colours and detail are quite good.

Movie: 320x240 - 30fps with sound - you can't use the optical zoom whilst recording, but you can use the digital zoom whilst recording. You can use the optical and digital zoom prior to recording. The movie is recorded as an MOV file. Length is only limited by the memory card size. The quality of the movie(s) is good although the size is quite average.

Conclusion

Image Quality: Image quality is fairly average: The images have quite nuetral colour with low saturation and contrast - some people may prefer this but unfortunately the camera offers no controls to customise this - so you will need to make sure you're happy with the camera's colour reproduction before buying. Images are quite soft, have fairly low detail and also suffer with vignetting, and red-eye problems. Purple fringing was low. The camera did a good job focusing. There is a good range of image sizes and a good choice of compression options. The macro mode is very good. Auto white balance and metering seemed to be good. The movie mode is good.

Everything else (the camera as a whole): The camera is very compact and stylish being designed well with a tough metal body - despite the ultra small size the camera feels comfortable in my hands. The camera is very easy to use, the menu system is easy to use and there is a good layout of buttons and controls. There is a limited choice of features and options and the camera is best used as a point and shoot camera. The camera speed is very good, with a very fast switch on time, good focusing time, and a very good shutter response. The camera has good battery life despite it's small size.

Alternative ultra compact digital cameras:

Casio Exilim EX-S500 (5mp version of the S100),
Casio Exilim EX-S100 (3mp, Highly Recommended)

Canon Digital IXUS 30 / 40 / 50 (3, 4 and 5 megapixel),
Canon Digital IXUS i / i5
(4 or 5 megapixel with no zoom),
Pentax Optio S5n
(5mp),
Konica Minolta Dimage X50 (5mp, 2" screen)
Sony Cybershot DSC-T7
(Ultra slim 5 megapixel),
Olympus Mju Mini Digital
(4 or 5 megapixel versions available in various colours),
Fuji Finepix F440
/ F450 (4 or 5 megapixel),
Nikon Coolpix S1
(5mp),
Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX7
(5mp with image stabilisation).

Check amazon.co.uk / kelkoo.co.uk or amazon.com for the latest prices. See more suggestions sorted by megapixels here.

Summary: The Konica Minolta Dimage X60 is a decent ultra compact digital camera, and will appeal to those who prefer less saturated images. The camera is aimed squarely at the point and shoot market, and I think it does well in that respect, as there are few controls that go beyond the basics. The large 2.5" screen, ultra fast startup, and ultra compact body will definitely appeal, however image quality was fairly average, and may not be to everybody's tastes due to the low saturation, soft images and vignetting. The Konica Minolta Dimage X60 is a nice little camera and with the fairly low price, speedy performance, and ease of use, this camera is definitely worth considering, however make sure you have a look at the sample images to see if you will be happy with the results.

Konica Minolta Dimage X60 Rating: Worth Considering
Buy Now from Amazon: £229

What I like:

  • Very good macro performance
  • Decent movie mode (30fps, Night mode)
  • Audio recording facility
  • Menu's colour coded
  • Tough metal body
  • Ultra compact / take anywhere camera
  • Ultra fast startup
  • Easy to use
  • 2.5" screen

What I don't like:

  • No 'vivid' colour setting (colours are nuetral / muted / dull as standard)
  • Soft images
  • Some vignetting (darkened corners)
  • Can't change ISO when using scenes/macro modes
  • No custom white balance
  • No printed manual

Remember to have a look at the test photos in the new gallery.