Minolta DiMAGE S414 Digital Camera [4MP 4xOptical]
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- 4.0 Megapixel, 1/1.8-type CCD
- 35-140mm Minolta GT Lens
- 8.8x Zoom
- 4x Optical
- 2.2x Digital
- Ultra Fast Camera Operation
- 32M Buffer Memory
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The Minolta DiMAGE S414 is a responsive, easy to use digital camera that provides the tools necessary for great images, including a 4.1 megapixel CCD and a high quality Minolta GT 4x optical zoom lens.
The DiMAGE S414 has a high precision electro optical system built around a 4.1 megapixel 1/1.8-type interline primary colour CCD with 4 million effective pixels for fine high resolution images. The Minolta GT lens is a versatile apochromatic 4x zoom. The fast f/3.0f/3.6, eleven element, nine group design is equivalent to a 35140 mm lens on a 35 mm camera. The 4x optical zoom employs two double sided aspheric elements and AD (anomalous dispersion) glass to ensure sharp images at all focal lengths. Minolta's image processing technology, CxProcess, guarantees the image from the CCD will faithfully reproduce the scene. CxProcess controls sharpness by balancing resolution with acutance. This allows fine detail to be preserved while adding depth to the image. Colour is critically controlled to prevent objects from appearing over saturated while remaining vibrant; the warmth of the human complexion or the rich subtleties of green foliage will be rendered as clearly as they were perceived.
The DiMAGE S414 has an array of advanced functions and creative tools. The autofocus system incorporates flexible dynamic functions that allow the camera to perform flawlessly in any situation. Wide AF makes accurate focusing simple. Within the large focus area are three sensitive AF sensors including a central crosshair sensor; the crosshair sensor guarantees accurate focusing regardless of subject contrast orientation. The camera automatically locates the subject within the wide frames and confirms the point of focus by briefly displaying the active AF sensor. Focus area selection allows photographers to select a spot focus area from a five-point array. The DiMAGE S414 can also be manually focused.
The controls over exposure are amazing. The DiMAGE S414 has multi-segment and spot metering. Multi-segment metering uses 270 segments to determine exposure. Three exposure modes are available: program, aperture priority and manual. Camera sensitivity can be set to auto or to one of four ISO equivalent levels: 64, 100, 200 or 400 and to ensure the best exposure possible, an automatic three frame bracket can be made with 0.3, 0.5 of 1.0EV steps.
The DiMAGE S414's real time histogram shows the luminance distribution of the image before it is captured. Displayed with the live image, the histogram allows the subject brightness and contrast to be evaluated to optimise the camera's exposure and contrast controls. The LCD monitor displays active camera settings, exposure information and warnings. This information can be turned off so that the entire image can be viewed.
The DiMAGE S414 can continuously record still images at a rate of approximately 1.6 frames per second. A 10 second self timer is available for self portraits. The DiMAGE S414 is not limited to recording still images. Sixty seconds of digital video with audio can be captured. Voice memo allows up to 15 seconds of audio to be attached to an image when it is captured. The movie clips and audio tracks can be played back in the camera.
The DiMAGE S414's contoured body incorporates a large grip for secure, comfortable hold. This gives the S414 solid, well balanced handling while retaining the size of a compact.
Offering four megapixels and a 4x optical zoom, its no surprise that the Minolta DiMAGE S414 has so many fours in it. In fact you can even produce prints up to B4 (slightly larger than A4).
Coming with a bright f3.0--f3.6 lens with the equivalent to a 52--140 mm lens on a 35 mm camera the S414 also has a 2.2 times digital zoom offering up to 308 mm equivalent. For those wishing to work close up, a 10 cm macro is also present.
The camera may not be the smallest on the block, but nonetheless it does sit comfortably in the hand. Retaining the simple control layout of its predecessor, the S404, all of the buttons are clearly labelled and easy to operate. Unlike some digital cameras the Minolta S414 has a small LCD status window on the top of the camera; very handy for checking battery life and basic stats and information.
Images are saved onto CompactFlash card (a 16 MB card is included) and the whole device is powered by four AA batteries. Battery life is a tad short, so an investment in a pack of rechargeable batteries would be money well spent.
All menu control and picture viewing is done through the large, 1.8" LCD display on the rear of the camera and it's here you have further control over the pre-programmed settings, white balance, flash and even colour modes such as natural colour, sepia or solarisation to name but a few. For the more advanced photographer, users can easily change the manual settings as well as benefit from a real-time histogram feature; something that's becoming more and more common in digital cameras of this spec.
Overall this is a great-value four-megapixel camera: picture quality is good, if not the best you can buy, but then at this price you are likely to be hard pushed to find something better. --Jason DenwoodSee all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The lens is amongst the best around and produces very sharp pictures at all settings with a nice neutral colour balance.
The camera is very easy to use, in auto mode it is simply a case of point and shoot and for the more experienced photographer there are plenty of options. Anyone coming to digital for the first time but who has used an SLR or rangefinder in the past will find the S414 has virtually everything they are used to, including different ISO setting, aperture priority auto and manual exposure control.
The only real criticism is that the camera is power hungry and gets through batteries very quickly unless you use high capacity (1800 mAhr or above) NiMH rechargables. In emergencies you can get away with AAs but they really don't last very long at all.
Nonetheless, all in all this is an excellent camera for both the absolute beginner and for the semi-serious amateur, all at a remarkable price.
Plus points: 1)4 mega pixels + very good apo lens, 2)4 x optical zoom (equiv. to up to 140mm in 35mm), 3)controls well placed and easy to use quickly, 4) TFT screen reasonably bright (up to 5 brightness settings), 5) Auto picture controls eg. white balance, very good for most things, 6)macro good from c.12-15cm, 7) Easy to transfer images to pc or review on camera (can zoom, scroll delete or lock any image), 8)Manual controls, esp. exposure compensation are a doddle to use, 9) exposure times up to 15 secs, 10)around 100 fine quality highest definition jpeg images on 250mb card, 11) can play to TV (if you want to), 12)a mode for photographing text.
Minus points: 1) The main thumbwheel control can catch easily going into a case turning the camera on. If the lens can't extend fully in the case it won't damage it but you need to remove the batteries to reset the camera. Don't let this put you off, just take the camera when you want to buy a case and try it for fit, 2) Not for the pocket (takes 4 AA size batteries) though it's not too bulky/heavy, 3) Optical viewfinder only gives c.85-90% view - why? TFT screen gives just about 100%.
Overall - I've had lots of cameras, this is my first digital and it's not only a good camera it's fun to use. I was surprised at how good the prints are (depends on your printer too of course). I haven't tried the 'movie' mode yet but why would I, I bought a camcorder for that.
The limited range of apertures (true of all compact digitals) makes depth of field difficult to control. The limited number of focus points (also true of any camera of this type) also makes precise control of focus and depth of field more difficult.
The LCD display is very convenient, and can be seen at quite a wide range of angles, although there are some lighting conditions where it does become more difficult to view (I may try and play around with the brightness setting to see if I can alleviate this). The information on displayed on the LCD is comprehensive, but can be switched off if it interferes with the view of the image. The additional LCD on the top of the camera, that displays some of the settings and the available memory left, is a useful addition I have not seen on many other cameras of this type.
The thumbwheel on the top makes this almost as easy to use as a film camera, but as some others have commented, it is very easy to nudge the thumbwheel when putting the camera back in the bag, and this not only drains battery, but can cause the camera to get confused about its state. I have also had the camera lock up on me on one other occasion, when writing an image back to the card, and had to remove the batteries to reset it (and lost the last shot because of it). Otherwise, the camera did what was asked of it.Read more ›
If you're looking for a digital camera which'll give you the option to take snaps or get more artisic at a really good price then just buy it ! But get some high capacity rechargeable batteries.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The S414 is a 'brick' of a camera so if you want slimline and lightweight, this is not the camera for you. Read morePublished on 13 Oct. 2004
still very very happy with this camera.
feels solid, take great pics and it has survived being dropped onto concrete twice! Read more
Excellent value for a semi professinal camera. Almost got everything I wanted in a digital camera. This is my first digital and I am delighted with the results. Read morePublished on 5 Feb. 2004
One fantastic piece of equipment very easy to use the camera has a quality feel with its all metal body and smooth operating function buttons a must have for serious amatures or... Read morePublished on 2 Aug. 2003 by M A OSBORNE
Wow...........best thing I've purchased in a long time.
Does alot more than I need it to I'm happy at the price, it's
delivery and packing. Read more
I don't understand why this camera isn't top of the best sellers. With 4m pixels and true 4x zoom, the spec is way better than more expensively priced 3m pixel devices. Read morePublished on 18 May 2003 by carruthers11
This camera is a fantastic bargain. It is priced similarly to 3-megapixel 3x zoom cameras like the Canon A70 but instead you get 4 megapixels and a 4x zoom. Read morePublished on 17 May 2003
What a bargain.
My first digital camera, after much research, and I'm delighted with my choice.
Image quality is excellent, build is very solid and very easy to use. Read more