Home | Reviews | Q&A | Links | Gallery | Free Photo Hosting
Konica Minolta Dimage E40 - Digital Camera Review
Introduction: Available in shops now from £149 including VAT - the Konica Minolta Dimage E40 is a compact 4 megapixel digital camera, with a 3x optical zoom lens (equivalent to 32mm - 96mm on a 35mm camera), and a large 2" TFT screen. The camera is made out of metal, and records 320x240 / 15fps videos with sound. The camera is very compact with the following size: 88.5x24x54.5mm (without protruding parts), and only weighs 125g (without the battery and SD card) Check latest price on Amazon.co.uk

The Konica Minolta Dimage E40 found it's way into on-line shops in UK in early December 2004 - I spotted it, and announced it on my site on the 14th of December 2004, later Konica Minolta released a press release on the 20th December 2004. Currently there is no information about the Dimage E40 on Konica Minolta's website.

The Konica Minolta Dimage E40 is also known as the BenQ DC E43, Minox DC4211, Premier DC4331, Rollei Prego dp4200, Centon DC4s, Voigtländer Virtus D4, Maginon Slimline X4, and so on... there appear to be 2 or 3 flavours of this digital camera, a 4mp digital camera with a 2" TFT screen, and 5mp and possibly 6mp versions with a 2.5" TFT screen - although the 5mp/6mp versions do not have an optical viewfinder. 5mp versions include the BenQ DC E53, the Rollei Prego dp5200, etc. It is believed that Premier manufacture these 'OEM' cameras for other companies to re-badge/bundle etc.

The Camera: It's compact and made out of shiny silver metal.
(Photos of the camera were taken with the Kodak Easyshare DX7440)


Front - Camera off. Flash, optical viewfinder, self-timer led / auto-focus assist lamp, microphone.


Front - Camera on, lens extended.


Back - the 2" TFT screen, optical viewfinder, mode: play/video/photo, wide/telephoto zoom control, menu, delete, display, 4-way controller with set button in the middle.


Top - shutter release, on/off button.


Bottom, under the camera is tripod mount.


Left Side (from back) - Speaker, USB/TV connector.


On this side is the battery and memory compartment.

Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm automatic, this camera is a lot smaller than the Pentax.


The Konica Minolta is considerably thinner as well.


Size comparison.

Specifications / Features:

  • 4.2 megapixel CCD Sensor
  • 2.0" TFT screen
  • 3x Optical zoom lens (5.4-16.2mm - 32mm - 96mm equivalent on 35mm camera / f2.8-4.8)
  • 3.6x digital zoom
  • 320x240 / 15fps video clips with sound
  • Voice memo
  • 6cm macro mode (Wide angle) 35cm macro mode (telephoto)
  • 1/2 - 1/1000 shutter speed
  • Manual White balance
  • ISO settings: Auto/50/100/200
  • TV out
  • Effective Flash range 0.5 - 2.7m

Full Specifications can't be found on Konica Minolta's site.

Box Contents:

  • Digital Camera
  • Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery.
  • Hand-strap
  • USB Cable
  • AV Cable
  • 8mb SD memory card
  • Battery charger / AC Adapter
  • Camera case
  • CD-Rom
  • 75 page manual

Average box contents - It's nice to see a case (shown below), but an 8mb memory card is very poor - especially considering the low price of SD memory cards ie, a 128mb SD memory card is only £12!


Camera, convertor, battery and case.

Battery usage: The camera uses a small 3.7v 650mAh Lithium-Ion rechargeable battery made by Sanyo - as shown above. To charge the battery, the battery must be in the camera, and then a small convertor is connected to the camera, and then the AC adapter is plugged into the convertor. The convertor has both a USB connection and the DC in socket. This is a bit fiddly having to use the adapter. Charging the battery takes around 2 hours.

Menu Options / Modes: The camera mode is selected using the dial on the back - the dial has the following modes: Play, Video and Photo.

Photo mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown below:

The options are: Picture / Screen one (shown above): Size, Quality, Sharpness, Contrast, Colour, White Balance (includes custom), Manual WB, ISO and metering.

Function Menu options (shown above): Capture mode, Voice memo, LCD brightness, Digital zoom, Preview, Date print.

Setup menu options (shown above): Beep, Fr. No. Reset, Date/Time, Auto-off, System reset, Language.

Video mode menu items: Quality, Contrast (Hard, normal, soft), Colour (standard, vivid, sepia, monochrome).

Playback (Review) mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown below:

In playback mode the options are: Slide show, DPOF, Protect, LCD Brightness. On the setup menu, in addition to the options mentioned above, there are also the following options: Format, Card info, System info, Language, Video out.

Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures, and the following number of images will fit on the 8mb SD card:

Size / Quality: Number of Photos Stored (Average file size)
  Fine Standard Economy

4mp (2272x1704)

3 (2.4mb) 9 (800kb) 15 (500kb)
2mp (1600x1200) 8 (900kb) 13 (500kb) 33 (230kb)
1.3mp (1280 x960) 12 (550kb) 20 (370kb) 41 (180kb)
VGA (640x480) 31 (230kb) 48 (150kb) 91 (80kb)
Video 320x240 15fps 38 seconds

You can fit a poor number of images on the provided 8mb memory - a larger memory card is definitely recommended, unless you want to use the lower image sizes / lower compression options. There is a fairly good choice of image sizes, and there is a good choice regarding image compression.

A larger memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at least a 128mb or 256mb memory, or larger especially considering the relatively low prices - the larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in, as you don't always know when you will next be at a computer. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Konica Minolta Dimage E40:

128mb SD memory card - £11.99 from Amazon.co.uk.
256mb SD memory card - £19.00 from Amazon.co.uk.
512mb SD memory card - £33.99 from Amazon.co.uk.
1gb (1000mb) SD memory card - £59.99 from Amazon.co.uk. * Updated: Some 1gb memory cards will not work with the Dimage E40.

Speed, Ease of use: The camera is very easy to use, quick to switch on (quicker than a Canon IXUS 500), and quick to take photos. The controls on the back of the camera are fairly easy to use. The screen updates are quick and smooth. In continuous shooting mode the flash is disabled, and you are limited to 3 photos in a row. The camera is very compact and fits very easily into pockets. The menus are also easy to use, although not your traditional Konica Minolta menus, for obvious reasons. The modes are very easy to access, and quick simple, as there are only 3 modes: Play, Video and Photo.

The playback mode is also quick, although it only allows you to zoom as close as 4x. In playback mode, the left and right buttons on the 4-way controller rotates the image - I keep expecting these buttons to go from photo to photo, but instead you press up or down on the 4-way controller to scroll through the photos.

Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seems to be the right amount of buttons. The buttons feel good, and are labelled well. Despite the camera's small size, the buttons seem well spaced.

Battery usage: Battery life seems average, giving about 50-100 images per charge - a backup battery is recommended as the camera does not take AA batteries. You can switch off the display to conserve battery power, as there is an optical viewfinder you can use instead.

LCD Display (Photo mode / Playback mode):


LCD display in photo mode - It shows the following: Mode, zoom, battery, live-histogram, date, time, picture size (the square next to the stars) and compression (3 star = Fine), remaining pictures, aperture and shutter are shown when you half press the shutter.

LCD display in photo mode: The screen is a fairly decent resolution, and updates smoothly - the colours appear accurate. The screen shows how many remaining photos you can take with the available memory, as well as current picture size, etc. There is a live histogram (shown above), when you press the display button to show extra information.


Playback mode: The camera displays very little information, unless you press the display button, and then the camera will display the information shown above, i.e. shutter, aperture, exposure compensation, ISO, picture resolution, compression, file size, flash setting, date and time, plus the file number. Scrolling through the photos is very quick. The zoom is quick from 2x - 4x, easy to use. Playback menu options are discussed above.

Image Quality: Here are some sample photos/video(s) taken in various settings, such as Inside, Noise, Outside, Zoom, Macro, Movie to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the new gallery! (A second gallery is available at http://joshwaller.tk)

Inside:

Heather and Flower Group Photo

Inside: The camera has a decent flash, and copes well with group photos - although in darker conditions noise is quite visible. Red eye was noticeable on some photos of people - although the red-eye reduction flash managed to do a good job at reducing red-eye. The camera did a good job of focusing in low light. Skin colour was okay - there were some problems whereby photos would look overly green even when using the flash.

Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. Noise is most noticeable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels (with a range between 50 and 200), as well as manual ISO settings: 50, 100, and 200. To demonstrate the effect of the different ISO levels on this camera I have taken these pictures, and cropped an area of the image to show you at 100% what the noise looks like.

Noise Test Photo ISO50 - 100%
ISO100 - 100% ISO200 - 100%

Noise levels at ISO50/100 are quite low - which means you get quite smooth images. ISO200 still displays fairly acceptable noise levels - although results may depend on the amount of light available.

Outside:

Unisys Building Snowy Sheffield street

Outside, the camera had decent colour, with good contrast, saturation and detail - although it did tend to overexpose the images and lose highlight detail (i.e. in the sky in these photos). I didn't notice jpeg artefacts in the images. The snowy Sheffield street photo was taken at the same time with the Kodak Easyshare DX7440.

Zoom: This camera has a 3x Optical zoom and a built in 3.6x Digital zoom -in the case of this camera the digital zoom basically takes a smaller area of the photo and enlarges it using software blurring the image so that it is not pixellated. Generally it's best to avoid using digital zoom as it degrades the quality of the image and, often, better results can be obtained by using a photo package such as Adobe Photoshop. I've included examples below simply to show what these features do.

Wide-angle 3x Optical zoom 3x Optical + 3.6x Digital Zoom

Lens noise and zoom: When using the optical zoom, it's fairly quiet, and is fairly quick, it has about 10 steps between wide and telephoto. The amount of optical or digital zoom isn't displayed on screen numerically, but is simply displayed with a bar.

Other Image Quality issues: Chromatic Aberrations / Purple Fringing where noticeable was very minor. Colour problems (occasional greenness), shown below. Corner softness / blurring, shown below is the corner from the 'Snowy Sheffield street', although this may not be noticeable in printed images.

Green Heather (Thumbnail) Corner softness. (actual pixels)

Macro: When this camera is in macro mode, the lens is set to wide angle, and you can zoom in but you must move further away from the object, you can also use the digital zoom - and you can use the flash. This camera can focus down to roughly 6cm in normal macro mode.

Normal Macro Actual Pixels (100%)

The macro mode is very good - you can get very close - however the flash can cause problems by overexposing the subject if it is close. I used the Dimage E40 to take photos of the Kodak Easyshare DX7440 and they all looked quite good, apart from the odd moire problem, and occasional green-ness.

Movie: 320x240 / 15fps with sound - you can't use the digital or optical zoom whilst recording a video, but you can zoom in using the optical and digital zoom before you start recording. The movie is recorded as an .AVI file. Length is limited only by the size of the memory card.


Heather - Download 320x240/15fps movie
Click here. (right click, save target as, 6 seconds, 1.1mb AVI) (saved as Zip file)

The quality of the movie(s) is quite good, colour and focus are quite good, 320 x 240/15fps with sound is average.

Conclusion

Image Quality: The images have okay colour, saturation and contrast. Images appear to have fairly low noise, with good detail, but show signs of corner softness and vignetting. Purple fringing was slightly evident in some of the photos but isn't a major concern. There is a good range of image sizes and compression options. The macro mode is very good, although the flash did cause problems when the subject was close. Auto white balance and metering seemed to be quite poor, often producing green colours indoors, or the wrong skin tones, as well as loosing highlight detail inside and outside. The movie mode is average, at 320x240/15fps with sound. When inside, the camera does a good job of focusing, due to the AF-assist lamp, and the flash is fairly decent.

Everything else (the camera as a whole): The design is good, the camera is very small, and pocketable, the camera is fairly stylish depending on your tastes. The large 2" screen updates smoothly and has accurate colour and makes it easier to view and compose your pictures. The camera is very easy to use, the menu system is easy to use and there are is a good layout of buttons and controls. There is an okay choice of options and features, such as custom white balance, and live histogram, however there are no scene modes. The 3x optical zoom lens seems to be good apart from the corner softness. The camera speed is very good in use with a quick zoom, and quick shot to shot time.

Alternative ultra compact digital cameras: Canon IXUS i (£172), IXUS 30/40 (£230), IXUS IIs (£172), IXUS 500 (£239), Olympus Mju Mini Digital (£195 - read my review), Olympus Mju 500 (£236), Nikon Coolpix 3200 (125), Konica Minolta X31 (£117 - read my review), Konica Minolta Dimage XG (160), Konica Minolta Dimage X50 (£236), Sony Cybershot DSC-U40 (£99 - read my review), L1 (£196), T1 (£299), T3 (£313), Casio Exilim EX-S100, EX-Z30 (£192), EX-Z40 (£215), Panasonic Lumix FX2, FX7 (£289 - read my review), Pentax Optio S4i, S5i (£256), Fuji F440 (£205), F450. Check amazon.co.uk / kelkoo.co.uk or amazon.com for the latest prices.

Summary: The Konica Minolta Dimage E40 is a very compact metal 4 megapixel, 3x optical zoom lens digital camera with a large 2" colour screen. The camera records unlimited length videos with sound. The camera is easy to use, dare I say fun, but produces average images with average colour, sharpness and saturation - the camera produced better results outdoors, although there were still issues with the images. The camera has some good features, such as a live histogram, and custom white balance, and provides a case, but only an 8mb memory card (Although this may depend upon which manufacturer you go for). For around £150 (UK) this camera offers good value for money. If you want an easy to use, small, 4 megapixel digital camera with a large 2" screen, and a 3x optical zoom lens, that produces average images, and records unlimited videos with sound, all for a decent price, then the Konica Minolta Dimage E40 is worth considering, but I can't really recommend it based on the image quality issues I experienced.

Konica Minolta Dimage E40 rating: Average
Check latest price on Amazon.co.uk

If you like the look of the Konica Minolta Dimage E40, but you would like more megapixels, then have a look at the 5 megapixel big brother, the BenQ DC E53, with a larger 2.5" screen - available from £185. Also, considering that Konica Minolta have already discontinued this digital camera, you may be better trying to find a supplier of the identical BenQ DC E43 available from £150.

What I like:

  • Includes camera case
  • Very small metal body
  • Large 2" screen (smooth)
  • Very good macro mode
  • Light-weight camera
  • Low purple-fringing
  • Easy to use
  • Custom white-balance
  • Live histogram

What I don't like:

  • Average image quality
  • White Balance / Colour issues
  • Corner softness
  • Over-exposes images / looses highlight detail
  • Only provided with 8mb memory card!
  • No mention of the camera on Konica Minolta's website (already discontinued by Konica Minolta)

Remember to have a look at the test photos in the new gallery. (A second gallery is available at http://joshwaller.co.uk)
Comment on this review. Preview posted: 24/12/04. Review completed: 14/01/05