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Minolta snaps up summer

Massive rez 5.24Mp digicam among releases

Minolta is to introduce four digital stills cameras over the course of the summer, including a high-end model that - for a penny under a grand – brings digital photography a little closer to film camera quality.

The SLR-alike Dimage 7 boasts a whopping 5.24Mp screen. In English that means you can enlarge an image up to A3 in size before it gets fuzzy. The nearest competitor is Olympus' E10 at 4Mp.

The camera has a 7x optical zoom and a 2x digital zoom, the equivalent in a conventional camera lens of 28-400mm focal length zoom. It's bristling with features and top-end Minolta optical technology, looks dead funky and you've got until July to save up for it.

Marginally less desirable but more affordable at £799, the Dimage 5 has a 3.34Mp screen, is built on the same chassis and incorporates similar technology to the 7. Its digital and optical zoom is equivalent to a 35-250mm conventional zoom, but it won't appear until August.

The Dimage S304 is a compact-format 3.3Mp 4x optical zoom camera sporting voice annotations and movie clip capabilities. It won't be out until the fag-end of summer and Minolta won't put a price on it until nearer the time for fear of price undercutting by the competition.

Minolta's E201, though, is a no-nonsense 2.3Mp compact for £300 that will be in the shops next week.

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