Konica Minolta DiMAGE X21 and X31
image by Martin Taylor (Image rights)
Konica Minolta X31: A 3.2 megapixel, point and shoot, compact digicam that incorporates the unique 'folded' 3x optical zoom first offered in the DiMAGE X. The zoom lens is totally enclosed in the camera's sleek body and looks out of the top right of the camera via a mirror through a window in much the same way as a periscope. This design allows fast startup times and, with no delicate lens protruding from the camera's body, a very compact and relatively rugged design. The X31's styling and metal case belies its budget price tag and it looks much more expensive than its street price which was as low as $150 for the Christmas season of 2004.
To make the camera for this low price certain compromises have been made; there is no optical viewfinder, no sound in movie mode and some reviewers have complained about noise and poor focusing in low light situations. The camera shoots in an automatic program mode at all times with no shutter or aperture priority settings. There is exposure compensation, white balance settings, etc available, however, if you are serious about your photography this camera probably won't fulfil your needs. If you're looking for a cheap pocket or purse digicam when your SLR is too unwieldy the X31 might be worth considering. It also makes a great gift camera for anyone you want to give a stylish, automatic, small digicam to that will give competent results without the complexity of lots of manual settings. I gave one to my wife and it is perfect to leave in her purse for those moments when you need a camera. Just don't expect too much from the X31 and you won't be disappointed. For the price, it is a stylish bargain.
The original development of the camera type had been made by Minolta. The Minolta X20 had been the predecessor, a 2 megapixel camera in a similar design, which offered sound recording as additional feature. The brother of the X31 was another successor of the Minolta X20, the Konica Minolta X21. It had no sound recording, but in comparison to the X31 it had the advantage of the same brilliant image quality as that of the X20.
The camera series had a miniature joy-stick like some newer cell phones for navigating through the function menus and for zooming.
image by Uwe Kulick (Image rights)