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Konica Minolta Dimage X21

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      29.01.2006 22:14
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      Very neat, trendy camera. Suitable for teens!

      This camera was really a gift for my daughter, who requested a digital camera that was "small and cool looking" for Christmas. After extensive price and specification comparisons this was the choice that I made for her.

      In the interests of research for this review, I have used the camera on several trips and am now very familiar with how it operates. The first thing that I must mention is that this is a SMALL camera!! It makes my other cameras look and feel like bricks. It is the size of a pack of cards, but feels quite solid and substantial. Its small size doesn't make it feel cheap and lightweight.

      The body is silver and mostly metal with a plastic sliding cover for the lens. The camera is supplied with a lanyard but no case/pouch, this annoys me about most digital cameras. Why can't the manufacturers throw in a suitable protective case? It seems such a small addition, but hey ho.

      Despite its size, the camera is not too fiddly to use. The buttons are smaller than those on my Olympus and my Kodak, but then they have to be. They are still easy to use and aren't microscopic!

      There is a zoom button and a review button on the back of the camera, the shutter button is on top alongside a sliding on/off switch that also has the video facility button. The on /off switch is quite tight and I haven't had any accidental "shit! the camera is on and I've used up all my battery" moments. It seems nigh on impossible to switch on by accident.

      The viewing screen is small, again there is no getting around this. However, considering the overall size of the camera, good use has been made of space for the screen. Screen quality I am afraid, is mediocre.

      Upon switching to camera mode, you get a live view of your subject but you can turn this off to save batteries and just take your snap through the viewfinder. There are lots of "snapping" options: landscape, portrait, night scene, black and white, sepia, posterized (just puts pictures into lurid colours!) as well as framing options. I think that these are a bit gimmicky but to be honest, my daughter really likes these faffy types of feature. You know teenagers!

      The camera comes with excellent software but is also pict bridge supported so you don't NEED your own PC to get your pictures. You can take the card into any photo shop or Boots and get your pics printed. The memory card supplied is small; I managed about 25 photos on a medium quality setting. If you want premium quality photos then you get about ten on this card. Buy a spare card with bigger memory is my suggestion!

      The on board menus are easy to navigate, there is no jargon to decode and I think that it is suitable for a young user, or a technophobic user! Pictures are easily protected and simply deleted, and no, I haven't had any of those "Shit! I just lost all my pictures" moments either! Yet.....

      The video option is excellent. There is no loss of quality and you get a good few minutes of videoing time depending on your memory card size.

      The photos I have had from this camera have been excellent. Not as good as a top of the range camera, but certainly I have had some superb results in a few different conditions. The only bug that I have found (and I have found this with other digital cameras) is when using the "night time" setting shutter speed is slow and the resultant picture is blurred or grainy. I know it's not really shutter speed but whatever it is, my success rate with these shots is poor!

      Indoor shots of my family, portrait shots and outdoor daytime landscape shots have been excellent. I am pleased with all of those.

      In conclusion, I highly recommend this camera. I think it is a delight to use, fashionable enough for teens (and mums who want to look younger, ahem.) It is also a decent price at around the £120 mark. If you want a starter camera with some entertaining extras and a lot of street cred, buy this.

      One or two people have mentioned to me that theyfound it a bit TOO small. I think this is very fair comment and thought I'd add that those of you with big chunky hands might find this camera a tad too tiny to operate comfortably. However, my fingers are quite sausagy (!) and I don't have a problem at all. Maybe it's a man thing!!

      Cheers, Pippa!

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