Throwback Thursday: Minolta DiMAGE Xi Digital Camera (2002)

It’s practically impossible to keep up with the breakneck pace at which technology continues to advance. What might be the hottest new toy on the block today could become outdated tomorrow. We lust after hot new smartphones, but even something like the Samsung Galaxy S6 released earlier this year has already be usurped by something newer and shinier. Sometimes we forget just how far we’ve gotten in such a short time. Take the world of digital photography as a prime example.

My first ever digital camera was a clunky black contraption that took really poor quality images. It was ugly and honestly not very useful. For my second ever digital camera, I chose something that was immediately much more “cool” looking, even if the pictures it took still weren’t that great (especially by today’s standards). It was the Minolta DiMAGE Xi from 2002.

The two things that really drew me to this camera were its remarkably compact size (85 x 72 x 20 mm) and its rather slick design. The DiMAGE Xi was like a fancy deck of cards that could take 3.2 megapixel images and show them back to you on the tiny 1.5-inch TFT LCD. It had 3x optical zoom and a built-in flash. It could even shoot video, though that was limited to QVGA at 15fps for a maximum length of 35 seconds.

At the time, this was almost as good as it got for a relatively budget-oriented camera. The DiMAGE Xi was cool-looking and I brought this thing along with me onto campus all the time to capture random moments. Unlike the camera that I use today, the DiMAGE Xi even had an optical viewfinder. Fancy stuff. Eventually, I smartened up and bought a Canon A60 with my brother. That was a much better camera in just about every way, except it didn’t look nearly as unique as this silver box from Minolta.

Its spec sheet may be laughable when compared to what you can get today for less than $100. Indeed, even the most budget-oriented smartphones of 2015 can take better pictures than the DiMAGE Xi… but I definitely wasn’t going to bother with film cameras anymore. I was a techie even before I became a professional gadget geek.

Throwback Thursday: Minolta DiMAGE Xi Digital Camera (2002)

I haven’t yet decided whether or not Throwback Thursday is going to become a regular feature here on Beyond the Rhetoric. I also haven’t yet decided if it’s going to focus solely on older technology or if I’ll look into some retro video games, TV shows and other relics from the past either. What do you think?