When my camera was destroyed during the ill-advised dive mentioned in the previous post, I was understandably bummed out. The opportunity for which it did provide was tearing the camera apart and seeing what was going on inside. When I did so, I was a bit frumped to see a scene of bleak corrosion and rust inside an otherwise beautiful little machine. When I finally stripped out everything inside and got down to the image sensor, I was surprised to see an ingenious engineering solution that answered many of my questions about how a camera so thin can accomplish an optical zoom. The way the system is designed is that the light comes into the front of the camera, through the first lens, then it hits a 45 degree lens and the light is sent sideways through a series of lens elements (neutral density filter, diopter, etc) and into the CMOS image sensor. The movement of this intermediate lens elements is how the focus and zoom is achieved. I made a little video about it because I thought it was such a cool idea. After doing a little research I discovered that Minolta was the first manufacturer to use this design with the DiMAGE X released in 2002. One of the issues I always had with the camera was that the colors is medium and low light situations were really flat. I'm curious whether the use of a mirror to bounce the light causes any significant loss of contrast relative to a mirror-less design. The macro and video performance, however, is more than good enough to justify its performance in a night club.
Check out the video. It's fun.