Minolta DiMAGE Xg ($299) is a camera that adds a few new
features to the compact and stylish DiMAGE Xt. What's the difference
between the two models? Here's a chart:
mode frame rate
pasting (described later)
are ultra-thin 3.2 Megapixel with a unique 3X optical zoom lens
that goes down the length of the body (rather than "into" it).
with that, let's begin our look at the DiMAGE Xg. Do note that
since the cameras are so similar, I will be reusing parts of
the DiMAGE Xt review here.
in the Box?
DiMAGE Xg has a good bundle. Inside the box, you'll find:
3.2 effective Megapixel DiMAGE Xg camera
Secure Digital card
Li-ion rechargeable battery
Viewer Utility + DiMAGE Software CDs
page camera manual + software manual (both printed)
DiMAGE Xg is bundled with a 16MB Secure Digital (SD) memory card.
It'll be a good card to start with, but you'll probably want
to buy a larger one soon after your camera purchase. The Xg works
with both SD and MultiMedia (MMC) cards (with the former being
preferred for capacity and speed reasons).
most ultra-small cameras, the Xg uses a small, proprietary battery.
Long time readers of this site know that I'm not a huge fan of
these expensive batteries ($40 a pop), but they are really unavoidable
on cameras like this. This particular lithium-ion battery, known
as the NP-200, has 2.8 Watt/hours of energy. Minolta estimates
that you can take about 220 photos, or spend 240 minutes in playback
mode, on a single charge -- an improvement over the DiMAGE Xt.
DiMAGE had a unique battery charger that could charge the battery
by itself, or while it was in the camera. That has gone the way
of the dodo bird and we're left with an external charger. Pop
in the battery, wait 90 minutes, and serve. Note that this isn't
one of those "plug it right into the wall" chargers
-- you must use a power cable.
Xg has as built-in lens cover, so there is no need to worry about
lens caps. As you can see, it's a very small camera.
DiMAGE Xg uses the same accessories as the Xt, except for the
marine case. For the Xg, you'll want the MC-DG300 model ($200),
which lets you take the camera up to 30 meters underwater. Cool!
Other accessories include an AC adapter ($60), metal camera strap,
and various cases.
with the camera is version 2.3.1 of the Minolta DiMAGE Viewer
software for Mac (including OS X) and Windows.. It's certainly
not a substitute for something like Photoshop Elements, but it
does basic editing fairly well.
Xg's manual is pretty good as well, with long explanations and
not a lot of fine print. Much better than the average camera
from a few cosmetic changes to the back of the camera, the DiMAGE
Xg looks just like its predecessor. That means that it has an
all-metal body, which, as you might imagine, feels pretty solid.
Do watch out though, as metal cameras can scratch easily. The
Xg fits into your pocket better than almost any camera out there.
engineering behind the DiMAGE X series is very impressive. Minolta
has managed put a 3X optical zoom lens into a camera less than
an inch thick. What they've done is put a prism at the back of
the lens, and then put all the moving parts and additional optics
down the camera body. The CCD sensor is actually on the bottom
of the camera, rather than directly behind the lens.
official dimensions are 3.4 x 2.6 x 0.8 inches (W x H x D) and
it weighs just 120 grams empty. My numbers may be off, but I
think that the Xg is slightly smaller than the Xt.
begin our tour of this camera now.
DiMAGE Xg has the same F2.8-3.6, 3X optical zoom as its predecessor.
The focal range of the lens is 5.7 - 17.1 mm, which is equivalent
to 37 - 111 mm. Obviously, there are no lens accessories available
for this camera.
thing you really have to watch out for with the DiMAGE X-series
cameras is your finger. It's very easy to put your finger
near the lens, and thus, into the picture.
to the left of the lens, you can see the optical viewfinder,
self-time lamp, and the flash. The Xg's flash has a working range
of 0.15 - 3.2 m at wide-angle and 0.15 - 2.5 m at telephoto --
same as on the Xt. The recycle time for the flash is approximately
6 seconds. You cannot attach an external flash to the DiMAGE
toward the bottom is the Xg's microphone.
thing that still has not appeared on an X-series camera is an
AF-assist lamp, which helps the camera focus in dim lighting.
back of the camera has changed in two ways since the DiMAGE Xt:
the LCD is larger, and the mode dial has been reworked.
LCD has gone up in size, from 1.5" to 1.6" -- but the
resolution has gone down. That didn't bother me, but I did notice "color
banding" while reviewing some photos on the screen, which
was disappointing. The screen is bright, though, and motion is
fluid. You can adjust the screen brightness in the setup menu.
should also mention that in dim lighting, the camera boosts the
gain on the LCD, giving you a brighter (though grainy) view of
what you're looking at.
optical viewfinder, found at the upper-left, is very small, and
lacks a diopter correction feature (forgivable on such a small
the LCD is the mode dial, which is different than on the Xt.
There are just four options on it:
Subject Program Mode
Digital Subject Program Mode feature is a fancy way of saying "scene
modes". You can let the camera automatically pick the right
scene, or you can select one yourself. Choose from portrait,
sports action, landscape, sunset, and night portrait, and the
camera will use the proper settings for this situations.
not covering the audio recording feature in this review, so here's
just a quick summary: you can record up to 3 hours of continuous
audio on the Xg, though the 16MB SD card can only hold about
30 minutes. The optional AC adapter is advised if you're planning
on making very long audio recordings.
the right of the mode dial is the four-way switch, which is also
used for adjusting exposure compensation (±2EV, 1/3EV
increments) and operating the zoom lens. Instead of adjusting
exposure compensation, you can choose other functions for the
left/right buttons to control in the record menu. The lens moves
from wide-angle to telephoto in just two seconds (though it seems
slower than that). The zoom was much more responsive than on
the DiMAGE Xt.
the LCD there are four buttons. They are for:
/ Delete Photo - QuickView is a way to review the last shot
- Toggles LCD on/off
(Auto, auto w/redeye reduction, fill-flash, flash cancel)
to the right of those buttons is the speaker.
only things to see up here are the power and shutter release
at all to see here.
the other side of the camera you'll find the USB port, SD/MMC
memory card slot, and battery compartment. The USB port (top)
is normally covered with a plastic slider. There is no video
out port on the Xg -- the Xt had one. Also, instead of a DC-in
port like the Xt had, you now use a DC coupler, which is basically
a battery with a power cable coming out of it.
sturdy plastic door covers the memory card and battery compartments.
here is the bottom of the DiMAGE Xg. Down here is the plastic
tripod mount, located right in the center of the camera.
the Minolta DiMAGE Xg
DiMAGE Xg starts up and is ready to go in under 1.5 seconds --
Sorry these look so bad. No video out makes
for bad screenshots!
you halfway press the shutter release button, the Xg locks focus
in about half a second -- slightly longer if it has to "hunt" a
bit. The camera did an okay job of focusing in low light, but
it would've been a lot better with an AF-assist lamp.
lag is very low in most cases.
speed is very good. If you turn off the instant playback feature,
you can take another shot in under 2 seconds. You cannot delete
a photo as it's being saved to the memory card. You must wait
for it to finish, and then you can use the QuickView feature.
here's a look at the resolution and quality choices on the DiMAGE
on included 16MB card
Xg has lost the TIFF mode that the Xt had. This is not an issue
for the average shooter, in my opinion.
Xg saves images with a name of PICT####.JPG, where #### = 0001-9999.
The camera will maintain the file numbering, even as you erase/replace
DiMAGE Xg uses the standard Konica Minolta menu system. It's
fairly easy to operate, though its broken down into "sections" arbitrarily.
The items here include:
mode (Single-shot, continuous shooting, self-timer, multi-frame)
- see below
size (see chart)
balance (Auto, daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent) - no
custom option, unfortunately
- <> Key
function (Exp. compensation, white balance, drive, sensitivity,
off) - define what the left/right buttons on the four-way controller
[ISO] (Auto, 50, 100, 200, 400)
mode (Multi-segment, spot)
compensation (-2EV to +2EV, 1/3EV increments)
reduction (on/off) - reduces noise in photos with 1 sec or
slower shutter speed
reset (on/off) - whether camera saves settings when powered
mode (Color, black & white, sepia)
memo (on/off) - add a 15 second sound clip to each photo
imprint (Off, YYYY/MM/DD, MM/DD/hr:min) - prints the date/time
on your photos
zoom (on/off) - using this will reduce the quality of your
playback (on/off) - post-shot review
shooting mode will let you take images consecutively at a maximum
rate of 1.5 frames/second. You can take 5-19 shots in a row at
2048 x 1536, depending on the quality setting. The new multi-frame
feature will take nine shots in a row and put them into one image
(like a collage).
DiMAGE Xg also has a setup menu, which is accessed from the record
or playback menus. The options here include:
number memory (on/off)
name (Standard, date form)
(Japanese, English, German, French, Spanish)
signals (Off, 1, 2) - beeps
FX (Off, 1, 2, custom) - fake shutter sounds
record (Shutter FX, focus lock) - record your own sounds for
off (1, 3, 5, 10, 30 mins)
mode (Data storage, remote camera) - see below
camera" option was first seen on the DiMAGE Xt. It allows
people with Windows-based PCs to use the camera for videoconferencing,
using software like Microsoft NetMeeting. Being a Mac guy, I
could not try it.
move on to photo quality now!
DiMAGE Xg has an automatic macro mode -- you don't turn it on
like with most cameras. You can get as close to your subject
as 15 cm. The "sweet spot" for the lens as at the 0.6X
position, where you can fill the frame with an object 55.2 x
41.4 mm in size.
macro test was pretty good overall, but there's a slight blue
cast to the image. Since there's no custom white balance option,
there wasn't much I could do about it. If you shoot under studio
lights like I do, this may be a concern. If you shoot outdoors
or under more conventional lighting, it shouldn't be an issue.
Xg did a nice job with the night shot (though it's a little "yellow" for
my taste), capturing plenty of light. Since there's no way to
manually select the shutter speed, you're at the mercy of the
camera's brain. The slowest shutter speed on the camera is 4
you pardon the crazy eyes, you'll see that the Xg does have a
bit of a redeye problem. Not as bad as some other compact cameras,
but you can expect to spend some time cleaning it up in software
(if it bothers you).
distortion test shows moderate barrel distortion, vignetting
(dark corners), and blurry corners. All three of these issues
are the tradeoffs that come with the DiMAGE X series' unique
lens design. You can check the gallery to
see how these issues look in real world photos.
of which -- the image quality on the Xg is good for everyday
shots. The issues I mentioned above, as well as an overall "soft" look
to the photos may turn off some enthusiasts. Color and exposure
were both accurate, and I didn't spot any purple fringing. By
all means, look at the photo gallery and
see if the images meet your expectations. You are encouraged
to print them, as well.
movie mode on the Xg has improved a bit since the Xt with the
addition of a 30 frames/sec mode. You can record movies until
the memory card is full -- though the included 16MB card only
holds 21 seconds at the highest quality setting. There are two
resolutions to choose from: 320 x 240 and 160 x 120. You can
choose from 30 or 15 frames/sec, as well. Sound is recorded along
with the video.
with most cameras that record sound with movies, the optical
zoom is disabled during filming. You can, however, use the digital
is a sample movie for your enjoyment.
to play movie (9.2MB, QuickTime format)
play it? Download QuickTime.
DiMAGE Xg's playback mode has gone through some changes since
the Xt. Gone is the slideshow feature, but there's some new stuff
as well that I'll explain in a minute. But first, I want to mention
the standard playback features that you'll find on the Xg. These
include image protection, DPOF print marking, audio captions,
thumbnail mode, and zoom and scroll. The camera is PictBridge-enabled.
zoom and scroll feature (my term) allows you to zoom in as much
as 6X into your photo, and then scroll around.
new image pasting feature lets you superimpose a new image over
one currently saved. You can select from nine shapes, position
the shape on a previously-taken photo, and you then get your
subject (presumably their head or face) into that shape. This
is a strange feature that makes more sense if you try it.
cropping is another new feature, which does just what its name
implies The E-mail copy option lets you create a 640 x 480 or
160 x 120 version of a photo, perfect for sharing.
movie lovers, the Xg has two new editing features. First, you
can capture frames from your movies (albeit at the same, low
resolution). The movie editor lets you set new start and end
points for a movie, and then save that into a new file. Do note
that there is a limit as to how long the new movie can be, depending
on the resolution and frame rate.
thing I continue to appreciate on the DiMAGE Xg is the ability
to delete a group of photos, instead of just one or all.
the Xg doesn't give you any information about exposure settings
in playback mode. The camera takes a little over one second to
move between photos.
Does it Compare?
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Xg is an interesting "upgrade" to
the previous model, the DiMAGE Xt. You gain some new features
(larger LCD, PictBridge support, movie editing) while losing
some others (lower LCD resolution, video out port). With the
DiMAGE Xt still available, you'll want to see which has the best
feature set for your needs!
said, the Xg is a very compact and very stylish camera with a
unique 3X zoom lens that's quite different than the one on your
typical camera. Performance on the camera is very good, though
an AF-assist lamp would've greatly helped in the low light focusing
department. Speaking of low light, I do like how Minolta boosts
the gain on the LCD, so you can still use the screen when it's
dark (more or less). One thing I don't like about the new LCD
is that it sometimes shows "color banding" -- something
I don't think I've seen before on other LCDs.
Xg is a pure point-and-shoot camera, with no manual controls
at all. Photo quality is good, but you can expect vignetting,
blurry corners, and an overall "fuzzy" look to your
images. With that in mind, I see the Xg fitting in either a "second
camera", or for those who are doing small prints or web
pictures (as the image quality issues will be apparent at larger
sizes). The image quality issues are the price you have to pay
for that unique lens design. All-in-all, I do recommend this
camera, but do your research carefully before you buy, as there's
good photo quality with accurate color and exposure, no purple
stylish body with a 3X zoom lens
movie mode: record until card is full, with sound, 30 fps
be used for videoconferencing (Windows only)
I didn't care for:
vignetting, blurry corners in images; images often have fuzzy, "video
out port has disappeared (as have several other features)
banding while viewing images on LCD
manual controls -- not even white balance
exposure info shown in playback mode
ultra-compact cameras worth checking out include the Canon PowerShot S410 and SD110, Casio
Exilim EX-Z40, Kyocera
Finecam SL300R, Nikon
Coolpix 3700, Olympus
Stylus 410, Pentax
Optio S4i, and the Sony
always, I recommend a trip to your local camera store to try
out the DiMAGE Xg and its competitors before you buy!
to see how the photo quality turned on? Check out our photo
a second opinion?
out the review of the DiMAGE Xg over at Steves
Feedback & Discussion
you have a question about this review, please send them to Jeff.
Due to my limited resources, please do not e-mail me asking
for a personal recommendation.
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