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Digicams: New Little Megapixel Monsters, Part II

Minolta Dimage Xi

Though it is bigger and broader than the Casio Exilim EX-M2, at two centimeters deep, the Dimage Xi is still one of the flattest cameras on the market. It, too, repeats an earlier casing, the one of the Dimage X where Minolta has just added a 3-megapixel CCD, so it also keeps its main advantage. With a focal length of 37-111 mm (= 35 mm), this is the biggest zoom lens in the test.

It is handsome and flat, but be careful where you put your fingers. The way this camera has to be held, your left index can easily find itself in front of the lens and you will find yourself with a pink spot on your photo.

Apart from its powerful and accurate zoom lens, the Dimage Xi also has another advantage over its rivals: it is by far the fastest of the three 3-megapixels we tested. It is up and running two and four times quicker, respectively, than the Canon and Toshiba. Well done, Minolta!

On the other hand, there are not so many exposure options as on the Canon. For instance, white balance cannot be properly customized. There is a choice of five modes (automatic, cloudy sky, etc.), but this is not really enough. In our indoor tests, and though we ran them in automatic and manual balance, we detected a definite red dominance in most of the shots.