Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3

  |   by DigitalCameraReview Staff

The stylish, SLR-style Konica Minolta Dimage Z2 is offers appealing features for a wide variety of photographers–from sports enthusiasts to serious wildlife photographers. Packed with power, yet easy to use, the Dimage Z2 features an amazing 10x optical zoom lens, quick startup time (1.8 seconds), and a rapid autofocus (the fastest for digital cameras of this class as of January, 2004) that helps you capture images in virtually any situation. It also offers a 4-megapixel resolution, VGA-quality video mode with audio, and a real-motion LCD monitor.

Optics and Resolution The Dimage Z2 has a maximum resolution of 2272 x 1704 pixels, good enough for enlargements up to 20 x 30 inches. It also offers 1600 x 1200 (2 MP), 1280 x 960 (1 MP) and 640 x 480 (VGA) resolution modes. The camera’s 10x optical zoom lens is a fast f2.8 – f3.5, allowing fast shutter speeds for sports or natural-light photography. With a focal range of 5.8mm-58mm, it is equivalent to a 38-380mm 35mm camera lens. When combined with the seamless 4x digital zoom, it has an amazing 40x zoom range, equivalent to a 38-1520mm lens.

Movie Mode
The Dimage Z2 can record high-quality VGA (640 x 480) movies at 30 frames per second (fps), which is comparable to S-VHS video. It also offer’s the world’s first (as of January, 2004) SVGA option, with a resolution of 800 x 600 and a 15 fps rate. Viewed on a PC, the SVGA movie delivers approx. 6.3 more pixels than the standard QVGA (320 x 240) found on many other comparable digital cameras. You can record as much video as your

More Features
The Dimage Z2 features Rapid AF with Predictive Focus Control to ensure sharp images with minimum delay. The Rapid AF system uses a high-speed drive to focus the lens quickly and smoothly–a 0.3 second focusing time at a focal length of 5.8mm and 0.4 seconds at 58mm–giving the DiMAGE Z2 the world’s fastest AF among digital cameras with a built-in 10X or greater optical zoom as of January 1, 2004. The Predictive Focus Control compensates for the minute delay from when the shutter-release button is pressed until the image is captured and adjusts focus right up until the exposure is made.

Startup time is a mere 1.8 seconds and shutdown time is 2.4 seconds. After focus has been locked, the shutter-release time lag is 0.06 second — comparable to a 35mm SLR camera. The Z2 is ready to capture another image in just 1.2 seconds after the previous exposure.

The powerful built-in flash can cover distances of up to 20 feet (6.1 meters) with the lens at its widest angle. Unlike most compact digital cameras, the Dimage Z2 offers extra versatility with flash photography. It has a hot shoe for attaching any of these Konica Minolta flash units: the Maxxum Flash 2500(D), 3600HS(D), or 5600HS(D).

The Real Motion LCD monitor uses a 60 fps rate, showing action smoothly compared to the slower 30 fps rate of conventional monitors. It’s also equipped with Konica Minolta’s exclusive Switch Finder, a unique system allows the camera’s LCD monitor to be viewed either directly or through the viewfinder. Since a single monitor is used, you need not worry about the color, contrast, and resolution difference between separate rear and viewfinder monitors. Automatic monitor amplification brightens the monitor under low light so the live image is always visible

Select the UHS (Ultra High Speed) option from the rapid shooting menu. The enlarged 32MB internal memory allows the Z2 to capture 15 images at 10 frames per second. When the shutter-release button is pressed and held, Progressive Capture begins saving images in the buffer memory. Five frames are saved with standard continuous advance and 12 frames with UHS continuous advance

Other features include:

  • Super Macro mode lets you focus as close as 1.2 in. (3cm) from the front of the lens
  • Real-time histogram shows the luminance distribution of the image before it is captured
  • Output photos directly to a PictBridge-compliant printer without having to go through a personal computer
  • Flash modes: auto, red-eye reduction, fill flash, and slow sync
  • Five subject programs–portrait, sports action, landscape, sunset, and night portrait–cover common and specialized shooting conditions and can be selected manually
  • Four exposure-control modes: programmed AE, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual
  • Three selectable metering modes: multi-segment, center-weighted, and spot

Storage and Transfer
Images are stored on Secure Digital (SD) or MultiMedia (MMC) memory cards; a 16 MB starter card is included (which will store approximately 17 standard 2272 x 1704 images). It transfers images to Macs and Windows-based PCs via a speedy USB 2.0 connection.

CxProcess II Image Processor
Konica Minolta’s newest image processing technology, CxProcess II, is used to bring out the best in the 3.3 megapixel CCD. CxProcess II controls the essential image qualities of color, contrast, and sharpness while minimizing noise. Brilliant, saturated color remains vibrant without becoming unnatural. Subtle contrast is rendered to retain the richness and depth of the subject while preserving details in the highlights and shadows. Sharpness is controlled to show fine detail while minimizing hard, unnatural edges.

Power and Size
The camera is powered by four AA batteries (alkaline included; NiMH rechargeables recommended). The Dimage Z2 measures 4.3 x 3.1 x 3.2 inches and weighs 10.8 ounces without batteries or recording media.

What’s in the Box
This package contains the Dimage Z2 digital camera, 16 MB Secure Digital memory card, 4 AA alkaline batteries, neck strap, lens cap, accessory shoe cap, USB and A/V cables, and CD-ROMs with Dimage Viewer and ArcSoft VideoImpression software.

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