Minolta unveils a slim digital still camera

Minolta Co. Ltd. will soon be selling a digital still camera with 3x optical zoom in a package just 20 millimeters thick, the company revealed Wednesday.

The 2-megapixel Dimage X weighs 135 grams and measures 84.5 millimeters by 72 millimeters by 20 millimeters, making it the most compact 3x optical-zoom digital still camera on the market, according to a statement from Minolta. Its inner-zooming system allows the camera to keep its flat shape for close-up shots, it said.

"Many makers are now unveiling smaller digital still cameras for users on the move," said Akihisa Maruyama, a spokesman for Minolta. "However, according to our research, users still don't find those cameras compact to carry everywhere. So, we wanted to develop a camera which is slim and light enough for users to have the same feeling as if they are carrying cell phones or MD (MiniDisc) players, which they find handy to carry around all the time."

The camera boots in 1.8 seconds from turning the switch on to recording images, according to the statement.

The camera has a 38-millimeter color LCD (liquid crystal display) and a USB (Universal Serial Bus) interface, and runs for two hours on its rechargeable battery, the statement said.

It stores images on Secure Digital Memory Cards or MultiMediaCards. An 8M-byte card holds 13 still images of 1,600 by 1,200 pixels, or 19 seconds of moving images, according to the statement.

Minolta will roll out the product on Feb. 6 at 72,000 yen (US$542) in Japan, North America and Europe, and later in other Asian regions, Maruyama said. The company plans to manufacture 50,000 units in the first month of its production, the statement said.

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