Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3 Review

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Review posted 9/8/2004

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the DiMAGE Z3
Click on the DiMAGE Z3 to take a QuickTime VR tour

The next generation of Konica Minolta's "Z" series, the DiMAGE Z3 features a 4-megapixel imager combined with a high-quality GT 12x optical zoom lens. This newly developed GT APO lens offers clear, high-contrast, high-resolution images thanks to Konica Minolta's G lens optical technology. The AD (anomalous dispersion) glass and two aspheric lens elements help the Z3 correct spherical aberration and curvilinear distortion, factors that can cause problems at high zoom ranges. The advanced, high-sensitivity 4-megapixel CCD combines with Konica Minolta's proprietary CxProcess II technology to give photographers images as beautiful as those they see with their own eyes.

Previously a function found only on the high-end Konica Minolta DiMAGE "A" series digital cameras, the Konica Minolta CCD-shift Anti-Shake System is now available for the first time in the "Z" series cameras. This system compensates to minimize the effect of camera shake at 2-3 shutter speeds slower than on cameras without an Anti-Shake function (equivalent to 2-3 exposure increments.) For hand-held dim light photography and telephoto shots, both of which are susceptible to the effects of camera shake because of their slow shutter speeds, photographers can now get steady, blur-free images without the use of a flash or tripod. Unlike an optical system, Konica Minolta's proprietary Anti-Shake System uses a unique CCD-shift mechanism. This keeps the lens compact and the camera lightweight.

With Konica Minolta's unique CCD-shift Anti-Shake System accompanying the camera's built-in 12x optical zoom lens, the Z3 provides photographers of all levels with very steady and sharp hand-held telephoto shots. Its speed also enables photographers to get those action shots right away with Rapid Autofocus (AF) - the fastest auto focus in its class. The camera's AF also has a Predictive Focus Control for unmatched high-speed focusing that brings out the very best in the Z3's superior ability to capture fast moving subjects.

The DiMAGE Z3 incorporates an AF-dedicated ASIC to video AF system for focusing, enabling its Rapid AF to focus faster than previous models. Focusing time is approximately 0.15 second in wide-angle position and approximately 0.2 second in telephoto position. The Z3 also boasts a fast startup speed, a real motion monitor with 50 frames per second capability for smooth video viewing, minimal shutter-release time lag, and continuous shooting at 2.2 frames per second. And in Continuous AF, the DiMAGE Z3 includes Predictive Focus Control, which allows photographers to capture sharper images of moving subjects.

Its movie recording function allows users to take high-resolution movies that are as beautiful as TV programs or footage taken with a video camera. In addition to the VGA-size (640 x 480 Standard) mode that captures movies at 30 frames per second, Konica Minolta has added a new, high-quality-image Fine mode (640 x 480 Fine). The Silent Zoom feature employs a newly developed Silent Zoom mechanism that greatly reduces how much noise from the optical zoom is picked up while shooting movies with sound.

The optional Wide Converter Kit allows users to fit more of a scene into each shot. The lens has a 26mm wide angle that is ideal for capturing indoor or outdoor architecture and panoramic landscape shots. The Z3 is also equipped with a powerful built-in flash. But if even more flash power is needed, the camera accepts the Konica Minolta Program/Maxxum Flash 3600HS(D) 5600HS(D) or 2500(D) accessory flash units.

DiMAGE Z3 Features:

  • 12x zoom (35 - 420mm equivalent coverage) with high-speed autofocus
  • 4.0 megapixel imager for images up to 2272 x 1704 pixels
  • AS (Anti-Shake) system for sharp images at low shutter speed or long focal lengths
  • 1.5-inch color LCD with 78,000 pixels
  • Electronic viewfinder (EVF), 0.3 inch 118,000 pixels with dioptric adjustment
  • Program AE, Aperture priority, Shutter priority and Manual exposure modes
  • Shutter speeds from 15 seconds to 1/1000 in Shutter priority and Manual exposures modes
  • Digital Program modes: Portrait, Sports action, Landscape, Sunset, Night portrait
  • Multi-segment, center-weighted and spot metering modes
  • 640x480 Fine/Standard, and 320x240 motion video at 15fps or 30fps with audio, length limited only by SD card capacity
  • Automatic noise-reduction for one second or longer exposures
  • Auto White Balance with 5 presets and Custom
  • Sharpness and Contrast control, adjustable in 3 levels
  • Color modes: Vivid, Natural, Black and white, Sepia
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 50, 100, 200, and 400 equivalents
  • Playback/QuickView with histogram feature
  • Data imprinting that records date, time and descriptive information on an image.
  • Powered by four standard AA type batteries
  • USB connectivity for Windows and Mac OSX
  • PictBridge, Exif Print, and Epson PRINT Image Matching II compatible

Physical Views

Minolta DiMAGE Z3

Minolta DiMAGE Z3

Minolta DiMAGE Z3

Minolta DiMAGE Z3

Minolta DiMAGE Z3

Minolta DiMAGE Z3

Minolta DiMAGE Z3

The DiMAGE Z3 compared in size to a standard CD.

Minolta DiMAGE Z3

The "top of the line" DiMAGE Z3 and the entry-level DiMAGE Z10 for comparison.

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Features & Controls

DiMAGE Z3 Specifications

Number of effective pixels Approx. 4 million
Imager 1/2.5-type interline primary-color CCD with a total of approx.
4.2 million pixels
Camera sensitivity Auto and 50 / 100 / 200 / 400 ISO equivalents
Lens 5.83 - 69.9 mm (35mm equivalent: 35 - 420mm),
f/ 2.8 - f/ 4.5, 13 elements in 10 groups
Recording media SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card, 16MB supplied
File format JPEG, Motion JPEG (MOV) with Audio, DCF2.0 compliant, DPOF (ver. 1.1), Exif 2.2
Number of recorded pixels 2272 x 1704, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480
Image file size
(approx. at 2272 x 1704)
Economy: 570 KB, Standard: 1050 KB, Fine: 2100 KB,
Movie (15 fps, 320 x 240): 230 KB/s
Storage capacity
(approx. number of frames* using 16 MB SD card)
(2272 x 1704)
Economy Standard Fine Movie recording
(15 fps, 320 x 240)
27 14 6 approx. 58 seconds
* The actual number of images may vary depending upon the subject and media used.
Autofocus system Video AF system
Autofocus area 5-point wide focus area: Wide focus area / Spot focus area with Focus Area Selection
Focus modes Autofocus: Single-shot AF, Continuous AF (with predictive focus control), Full-time AF, Manual focus. Focus lock available in Single-shot AF
Focusing range
(from front of the lens)
Wide / Tele: 0.6 m (2.0 feet) / 2.0 m (6.6 feet) to infinity
Macro: Wide: 0.1 m (0.3 feet) - 1.0 m (3.3 feet) / Tele: 1.2 m (3.9 feet) - 2.5 m (8.2 feet)
Super Macro: 1 cm (0.4 inches) - 100 cm (39.4 inches)
White-balance control Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash), Custom
Metering Multi-segment (256 segments), Spot, Center-weighted
Shutter speed A mode / P mode: 4 - 1/ 1000 seconds, M mode / S mode: 15 - 1/1000 seconds,
Time exposure (max. 30 seconds): Auto,
Digital Program Selector mode: 2 - 1/1000 seconds
Exposure mode Programmed AE, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual. AE lock available
Digital Subject
Program Selection
Portrait, Sports action, Landscape, Sunset, Night portrait, Standard
Exposure compensation ± 2 Ev with 1/3 Ev step
Exposure bracketing 1.0 / 0.5 / 0.3 Ev increments; No. of bracket: 3 frames
Flash mode Autoflash & Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill-flash, Slow shutter sync.(in Auto / P / DSPS mode),
Fill-flash, Fill-flash with red-eye reduction, Slow shutter sync. (in A/S/M mode).
Flash cancel possible by pushing the built-in flash unit downward
Flash GN 8/26.2 (in meters/feet at ISO 100)
Flash range
(sensitivity: Auto)
Wide: 0.20 - 4.0m from front of lens (approx.)
Telephoto: 1.2 - 2.5m from front of lens (approx.)
Eyelevel Finder Electronic viewfinder (EVF), 0.3 inch 118,000 pixels
Dioptric adjustment: -3 - +1m-1
LCD monitor 1.5 inch TFT color, 78,000 pixels
Self-timer Approx. 10 seconds / 2 seconds
Color mode Vivid, Natural, Black and white, Sepia
Movie recording No. of recorded pixels: 640 x 480 FINE, 640 x 480 STD, 320 x 240 STD
Frame rate: 30 fps / 15 fps, Long recording until the memory card is full
Audio: monaural
Sharpness / Contrast control Adjustable in 3 levels
Noise reduction User selectable
Printing output control Exif Print, PRINT Image Matching II, PictBridge
Interface USB: Full-Speed 12Mbps data transfer with a USB 2.0 compatible computer, Video output NTSC / PAL (selected on the camera)
Battery Four AA NiMH batteries, AA alkaline batteries,
External power source 6V DC (with specified AC adapter)
Dimensions (WxHxD) Approx. 108.5 x 80 x 83.5 mm / 4.3 x 3.1 x 3.3 inches
Weight Approx. 335 g / 11.8 ounces (without batteries or recording media)
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

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Features & Controls

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