Steve's Digicams - Breaking News - Konica Minolta 02/12/04 Press Release






Press Release - February 12, 2004




Konica Minolta Introduces High Performance 4 Megapixel Digital Camera


The stylish new easy-to-use DiMAGE Z2 features a 10x optical Mega-zoom GT lens, Rapid Autofocusing, Predictive Focus Control, VGA quality movies and more!

Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z2

Las Vegas, NV (February 12, 2004) – Konica Minolta introduces the stylish new DiMAGE Z2 – appealing to photographers – from soccer moms to serious wildlife photographers – who appreciate high-quality high-resolution digital photography. The new DiMAGE Z2 boasts the Rapid autofocusing (AF) and high-quality VGA/SVGA movie functionality of its predecessor while raising the bar with the adoption of a Konica Minolta GT 10x optical zoom lens and 4-megapixel resolution, allowing the camera to deliver crisp clear pictures.

The new DiMAGE Z2 even offers a Super Macro Mode, Konica Minolta’s Progressive Capture and CxProcess II, plus manual focus and built-in flash. In addition, a Predictive Focus Control function increases the speed of the camera’s AF function, making it perfect for use during sporting events or any moving subject.

"The new DiMAGE Z2 possesses advanced technology and powerful optics so photographers can capture the pictures they want, even high-quality VGA movies. This compact, stylish digital camera is the ideal imaging tool for photographers who need to capture images in virtually any situation," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Konica Minolta’s Camera Division. "The DiMAGE Z2’s ease of operation makes it simple for photographers of all levels to record precious photographic moments. And, with its 4-megapixel resolution, the DiMAGE Z2 appeals to photographers that appreciate high-quality high-resolution digital photography."

The new DiMAGE Z2 is the first Konica Minolta digital camera to be equipped with the new Mega-zoom featuring the all-glass apochromatic (APO) lens. The camera’s new 10x Mega-zoom is a fast f2.8 – f3.5 lens allowing fast shutter speeds for sports or natural-light photography. With a focal range of 5.8mm to 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. To extend the versatility of the powerful 10x Mega-zoom, an optional 0.75x wide-converter is available. And close-up photography is possible with just the press of a button. The camera’s Super Macro mode lets photographers focus down to 1.6 inches from the front of the lens.

The DiMAGE Z2 can record high-quality 30 frames per second VGA (640 x 480) movies – as clear and as smooth as the moving image on a television. Also available is the world’s first 15 frames per second SVGA (800 x 600) movie option. Viewed on a PC the SVGA movie delivers approximately 6.3 more pixels than the standard QVGA (320 x 240) format. And users can keep recording until the memory card is full.*

*On rare occasions, the memory card may not record to full capacity due to its writing speed.

The camera’s Predictive Focus Control keeps a clear focus on fast-moving subjects until the photographer is ready to shoot. It calculates exactly where a moving subject is going to be at the moment of shutter-release, and makes certain that the focus is razor sharp.

In addition, the DiMAGE Z2 employs Rapid AF, the only camera in its class*, to ensure sharp images with minimum delay. The DiMAGE Z2’s powerful optics and high-resolution, 4-megapixel 1/2.5 interline primary-color CCD requires a powerful AF system.

The DiMAGE Z2 also features a quick start up time, fast-reacting LCD display, Rapid AF, minimal release time lag, super-fast continuous advance and quick playback.

* The DiMAGE Z2 is the only camera featuring Rapid AF with Predictive Focus Control among digital cameras with a built-in zoom lens with 10x or more optical zoom, as of January 1, 2004.






DiMAGE Z2 Backgrounder

Konica Minolta’s stylish new 4.0 megapixel DiMAGE Z2 appeals to photographers – from soccer moms to serious wildlife photographers – who appreciate high-quality high-resolution digital photography.

Product Highlights

  • The DiMAGE Z2’s 4-megapixel CCD and Konica Minolta all-glass apochromatic (APO) GT lens equipped with Mega-zoom, allows photographers to use the 10x optical zoom and a 4x digital zoom for fine, detailed images even in close-up.

  • Rapid AF with Predictive Focus Control – the only camera in its class* that delivers this functionality for the sharpest focus possible on a moving subject. (* As of January 1, 2004, digital camera with a built-in 10x or greater optical zoom.

  • Switch Finder viewfinder with 60 frames per second and Real Motion Monitor. Even moving subjects can be optimally framed thanks to this high refresh-rate.

  • Progressive Capture – This function means photographers won’t miss a shot.

  • Incredibly short 1.8-second start-up time for a camera with a 10x optical zoom.

  • High-quality VGA/SVGA movies. The DiMAGE Z2 includes a movie-editing feature that allows users to leave unwanted clips on the cutting room floor.

  • Compatibility with the Minolta Program/Maxxum Flash 3600HS (D) or 5600HS (D) units as well as the latest addition to the line, the Program/Maxxum Flash 2500 (D).

Features

Fine Image Quality with the Mega-zoom

The groundbreaking DiMAGE Z2 is the first Konica Minolta digital camera to be equipped with the new Mega-zoom featuring the all-glass apochromatic (APO) lens. This incredible zoom lens delivers a focal range equivalent to a 38 to 380mm range on a 35mm camera lens. Combining the 10x optical zoom of the GT Lens with the 4x digital zoom gives the DiMAGE Z2 an amazing 40x total zoom range. This flexibility makes it possible to capture outdoor events, sports, and scenic landscapes.

Konica Minolta GT Lens

The DiMAGE Z2’s GT lens is the finest all-glass apochromatic (APO) zoom lens designed specifically for digital photography.

The Konica Minolta GT lens is defined by one thing: image quality. Only those lenses that pass the strictest quality standards earn the GT lens designation. The GT lens is only fitted to those camera models that have been developed true to the concept of "Superior Image Quality" such as the DiMAGE Z2.

The DiMAGE Z2 user will notice the benefits of the APO lens immediately: every single shot comes out sharper, clearer, and without any color aberration, even when using the large aperture setting.

This GT lens has 11 elements in 7 groups. The APO effect is delivered by anomalous dispersion (AD) glass elements to ensure maximum color fidelity and aspheric elements to suppress distortion at the outer edges of an image.

Rapid AF with Predictive Focus Control

Predictive Focus Control keeps a clear focus on fast-moving subjects until the photographer is ready to shoot. It calculates exactly where a moving subject is going to be at the moment of shutter-release, and makes certain that the focus is razor sharp at the time of exposure.

In addition, the DiMAGE Z2 features Rapid AF, the only camera in its class*, to ensure sharp images with minimum delay. The DiMAGE Z2’s powerful optics and high-resolution, 4-megapixel 1/2.5 interline primary-color CCD require a powerful AF system.

* The DiMAGE Z2 is the only camera featuring Rapid AF with Predictive Focus Control among digital cameras with a built-in zoom lens with 10x or more optical zoom, as of January 1, 2004.

A passive AF sensor locks on to moving subjects and calculates the distance to the subject, causing the Rapid AF to react and adjust itself. The focus point is determined in relation to the camera CCD. In the blink of an eye, a high-speed drive focuses the lens quickly and smoothly.

High-Quality VGA/SVGA Movies

The DiMAGE Z2 can record high-quality 30 frames per second VGA (640 x 480) movies – as clear and as smooth as the moving image on a television. Also available is the world’s first 15 frames per second SVGA (800 x 600) movie option. Viewed on a PC the SVGA movie delivers approximately 6.3 more pixels than the standard QVGA (320 x 240) format. And users can keep recording until the memory card is full.*

Image sharpness and brightness are crucial when capturing movies. This is doubly true for the DiMAGE Z2 because it can capture large, high-quality VGA (640 x 480) movies. The DiMAGE Z2 always maintains the sharpest focus. And, the Night-Movie mode can make color recordings under extreme low-light conditions.

*On rare occasions, the memory card may not record to full capacity due to its writing speed.

Edit on the bounce with the DiMAGE Z2

Editing with this new function couldn’t be simpler. Select the scene you wish to cut from the footage being replayed and save the edited version using the Movie Select Shot Function. Unwanted movie footage is removed, freeing up valuable memory space. These saved movie images can also be processed with one of the Color Modes: vivid, natural, black and white, or sepia.

Super Macro Mode

With the press of a button, the Super Macro mode lets you focus as close as 1.2 inches away from your subject, perfect for shooting small gadgets, tiny insects, or delicate flowers.

Real Motion LCD monitor and Switch Finder

The DiMAGE Z2 features the Real Motion LCD monitor, which delivers crystal clear images to the user with a 60 frames per second rate. Conventional monitors on digital cameras use a 30-frames-per-second display format that sometimes results in a less-than smooth display. The 60 frames per second Real Motion Monitor rate gives smooth action that brings images to life. The LCD monitor on the DiMAGE Z2 can be viewed directly or through the viewfinder, thanks to Switch Finder. There is no color, contrast, and resolution difference between separate rear and viewfinder monitors because only one monitor is used. The monitor image is large and clear as the viewfinder was designed with a large apparent angle of view.

Rotate Function

Pictures appearing in the DiMAGE Z2’s Real Motion LCD monitor the can be rotated to orient them correctly so users don’t need to twist their head to the left or right when playing back vertically framed shots.

Automatic Monitor Amplification

The DiMAGE Z2 compensates when you find yourself working in less than ideal lighting conditions and when framing an image on the monitor is difficult. The Automatic Monitor Amplification function brightens the monitor under low light so the live image is always visible.

White Balance Control

Auto White Balance compensates for these changes automatically. Select from one of five preset white-balance settings: daylight, cloudy, tungsten, fluorescent, and flash. The names of the settings refer to specific light sources. The DiMAGE Z2 allows for critical control over color. Select the custom setting to calibrate the DiMAGE Z2 to the particular lighting conditions at the scene.

Progressive Capture

With the DiMAGE Z2 on Progressive Capture mode, when users cease pressing the shutter-release button, their images are saved automatically. Progressive Capture means that it’s the last several images in the sequence get saved: as many as 6 images (4 megapixel, Fine mode) or 12 images (UHS continuous shooting mode). So when shooting fast-moving objects, Progressive Capture will ensure that they are recorded when and where the user wants them.

Super-Fast UHS Continuous Shooting

Regardless of how fast something is moving, the DiMAGE Z2 can capture everything. Select the UHS (Ultra High Speed) option from the rapid shooting menu. The enlarged 32MB internal memory allows more continuous shooting. The DiMAGE Z2 captures 15 images, 10 frames per second at super-fast UHS continuous shooting mode.

PASM Exposure Control and Metering Modes

The DiMAGE Z2 offers incredible control over exposure. There are four modes: Program, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, and Manual. Select manual exposure to enable the 30-second time exposures. The DiMAGE Z2 has three metering modes: multi-segment, center-weighted and spot. Multi-segment metering uses 256 segments to determine exposure.

Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection

The DiMAGE Z2’s Automatic Digital Subject Program Selection analyzes the shooting conditions and selects from among five subject programs and programmed autoexposure to optimize the camera’s exposure, white balance, and image processing controls. This eliminates the need for time-consuming manual adjustments when the subject and shooting environment change. The five subject programs are portrait, sports action, landscape, sunset, and night portrait. These five options cover common and specialized shooting conditions and can be selected manually.

Konica Minolta’s CxProcess II

CxProcess II, Konica Minolta’s new image-processing technology, is employed to bring out the best in the 4 megapixel 1/2.5 interline primary-color CCD. CxProcess II controls the essential image qualities of color, contrast, and sharpness while minimizing noise. Brilliant, saturated color remains vibrant without becoming unnatural or flat. Subtle contrast is rendered to retain the richness and depth of the subject while preserving details in the highlights and shadows. Sharpness is controlled by balancing resolution with acutance to show fine detail while minimizing hard, unnatural edges.

Noise Reduction Function

Dark noise, an ever-present problem in electronic imaging systems, manifests itself as a grainy or sandy appearance to images taken with long exposures. The DiMAGE Z2 combats this with a selectable noise-reduction function, which automatically activates for exposures of one second or longer.

Sophisticated Design

The DiMAGE Z2 design reflects the sophistication and future of digital technology. Significantly smaller than a compact 35mm SLR camera with a built-in flash and zoom lens, this powerful imaging system can easily slip into a fanny pack or hip bag. And weighing only 11 ounces, it will not be a burden. Easy-to-find AA batteries power the DiMAGE Z1. Either alkaline or rechargeable Ni-MH can be used.

Also, the simple yet thoughtful layout of the controls and dials makes for clear, intuitive operation. The well-balanced camera body allows photographers to operate the DiMAGE Z2 from a handheld stance in low-light conditions or when using long focal lengths.

Optional Wide-Angle Converter

To extend the versatility of the camera’s powerful 10x Mega-zoom, an optional 0.75x wide-angle converter is available for use with the DiMAGE Z2. This lens attachment increases the lens’ angle of view, giving it a maximum coverage approximately equal to a 28mm lens on a 35mm camera. The adapter ring supplied with the wide-angle converter allows 52mm filters to be used with the camera.

Real-Time Histogram Display

Because it’s not always easy to determine the brightness levels within your image when the sun is beating down from above, the live histogram supplies photographers with the information needed to adjust exposure more accurately. A luminance reading can be displayed on the DiMAGE Z2’s viewfinder before the picture is taken or while playback. With the real-time Histogram Display, the DiMAGE Z2 will inform users of the luminance distribution at a glance. The Histogram Display also adjusts brilliance when viewing pictures and movies from the memory.

Accessory Flash Compatibility

No other digital camera on the market today has a built-in flash as powerful as that of the DiMAGE Z2. When the DiMAGE Z2 is set at the wide-angle position with autoexposure and auto camera sensitivity, even if the subject is standing 20feet away, the flash, rated with a guide number of 39 feet, can illuminate the subject perfectly.

In addition, the DiMAGE Z2 is compatible with the Konica Minolta Program/Maxxum Flash 3600HS (D) or 5600HS (D) units as well as the latest addition to the Konica Minolta accessory flash line, the Program/Maxxum Flash 2500 (D). These powerful flash units can be used directly on the camera. The 3600HS (D) and 5600HS (D) have a zoom head that automatically adjusts as the camera’s lens is zoomed in and out, and their heads can be tilted for bounce illumination. The 5600HS (D) also has a swivel head and the flash output can be controlled with power ratios. The new 2500 (D) is a compact, automatic flash unit with a tilting head and an affordable price tag.

Key Customization

Operation of the DiMAGE Z2 can be tailored to meet the photographer’s needs. For example, the function set using the flash-mode button can be customized to control the flash mode, white balance, drive mode, focusing mode, or color mode.

Manual Focus

Manual Focus is an essential feature for the enthusiast and a great learning tool for the beginner. Switch off the autofocus and shots can be focused manually for maximum creative control.

Direct Printer Connection

Pictures can be printed easily, without going through a computer, by directly connecting the DiMAGE Z2 to a PictBridge*-compliant printer. You can check which image you want to print on the camera’s LCD monitor.

* PictBridge is an industry standard established by the Camera & Imaging Products Association (CIPA).

ArcSoft VideoImpression™ 2 CD-ROM

ArcSoft VideoImpression™ 2, bundled with the DiMAGE Z2, offers a fun way to merge movie clips and still shots. Working through a step by step guide, users can add text, music, and special effects to their movie. The finished movie can then be recorded onto a video CD.


About Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc.

Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc., headquartered in Mahwah, NJ, is the North American sales and marketing subsidiary of Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc. (Tokyo, Japan). On August 5, 2003 Konica Minolta Holdings, Inc. was formed to enhance both the competitive business capabilities and earning capacities of Konica Corporation and Minolta Co., Ltd.

Consumers around the world have come to know and trust the Konica and Minolta brands for all their imaging needs. Since the earliest days of the photo industry, Minolta and Konica have applied their talents and resources to create products and services that are essential to the world of imaging. Today, these efforts concentrate on the most important aspects of imaging: the quality of the images, the tools and methods for creating images, and the creation of environments for the application of images.

This focus on the essentials of imaging ties together the company’s key business and consumer product lines. Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc. is a leading manufacturer and marketer of 35mm and Advanced Photo System film, single-use cameras, digital and 35mm film cameras, accessory lenses, binoculars, photographic and color measurement meters. In addition the company offers color print photo papers, Inkjet photo paper, digital minilabs, digital film scanners, optical instruments, software and advanced imaging and sensing technologies. Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc. also provides wholesale photofinishing services and Internet imaging services. It is a complete imaging company, from input through output.

For more information about Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc., its products and services, visit www.ph.konicaminolta.us.





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