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Konica Lexio 70: "World's Smallest" 35mm Zoom?

By PHOTOgraphic Staff

December 9, 2001 — Not exactly spy stuff, but close: the Konica Lexio 70 is now on the market, claimed to be the world's smallest and lightest 35mm zoom camera. Weighing only six ounces, the little wonder includes a six-group, six-element 28mm-70mm zoom lens in a package measuring only 4.3" W x 2.3" H x 1.3" D---about the size of a typical cellular telephone.

Introduced in late September at Photokina 2000, the Lexio 70- is "first in a new Konica family of high-style 35mm zoom cameras featuring fully automatic operation," according to a company announcement. No mere toy, the Lexio 70 is described as a serious 35mm camera and a "major lifestyle statement."

The Lexio 70 has a sleek silver metallic body with a clamshell cover, which protects the autofocus zoom. Unlike most lenses in miniature 35mm cameras, the Lexio 70 offers a true 28mm wide angle, for dramatic landscape and architectural shots. Automated features include automatic loading and rewind, 10-second self-timer, close-focusing down to less than 28 inches, programmed, center-weighted autoexposure, auto-date functions and automatic film settings for films ranging from ISO 25 to 3200. Other standard features include auto-, on/off flash settings, red-eye reduction, night-view portrait settings, +1.5 EV exposure compensation, and long distance settings. An optional infrared remote control operates the camera from more than 16 feet away.

A new high-efficiency flash power management system boosts battery life, allowing photographers to shoot 18 rolls of 24-exposure film on a single 3-volt lithium battery, assuming the flash is used in 50% of the shots. Automatic shut-off and lens retraction functions further extend battery life. Essential information is displayed on a backlit LCD screen, useable even in low light conditions.

Despite the fantastic growth of digital photography, 35mm cameras still dominate the photography market. Konica product management v.p. Toyohito Tanaka believes the Lexio 70 may rekindle many photographers' love for the 35mm format, as well as bringing new converts into the fold. "We anticipate that this camera will win over many new friends," Tanaka stated. "Our ultra-compact Lexio 70 weighs much less than the next lightest camera in its class, and is significantly smaller as well. As a result, we expect legions of 35mm camera buffs around the world to pop this easy to use, feature rich 2.5x zoom camera into their shirt-pocket or purse and never give it a second thought---until it's time to take that once in a lifetime grab shot."

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