Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20 Review

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Features & Controls

The Z20 features a Konica Minolta 8x Mega-zoom lens with a 35mm equivalent coverage of 36 - 290mm. The maximum aperture is f/3.2 - 3.4 and this all-glass lens is constructed of 11 elements in 9 groups. The lens threads accepts 43mm filters and add-on lenses.

The Z20 uses Rapid AF to ensure sharp images with minimum delay. Rapid AF uses a passive AF sensor (seen above, located below the flash) to instantly estimate the distance to the subject and the camera's CCD to determine the precise focus point. A high-speed drive focuses the lens quickly and smoothly.

The normal focus range is from 1.6 ft. (0.5 m) to infinity in Wide and from 4.9 ft. (1.5 m) to infinity in Telephoto. In Macro mode the lens focuses as close as 0.4 in. (1 cm) in Wide and 23.6 in. (0.6 m) in Telephoto.

Minolta DiMAGE Z20

The Z20's eyelevel viewfinder is quite unique, most other super-zoom cameras use a tiny color LCD monitor in the eyepiece for display. The Z20 employs a shutter-mirror that closes over the 1.5-inch color LCD and redirects the image up to the eyelevel finder. It has full dioptric adjustment and 98% field of view coverage.

When shooting in less than ideal lighting conditions, precise framing of an image on the monitor can be difficult. Automatic monitor amplification brightens the monitor under low light so the live image is always visible. Since a single monitor is used, photographers won't need to worry about the color, contrast, and resolution difference between separate rear and viewfinder monitors. Because of the viewfinder's large apparent angle of view, the monitor image is large and clear.

Animation courtesy of Minolta Corp.

Minolta DiMAGE Z20

The built-in flash in AUTO, Programmed AE and Digital Subject Program mode offers: Autoflash, Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill flash, Slow-shutter sync and Flash cancel. When in Aperture priority, Manual exposure, or Shutter priority it offers: Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill flash, Slow-shutter sync and Flash cancel.

Minolta DiMAGE Z20

Minolta DiMAGE Z20

The Z20's main functions are controlled by the Mode Dial located on the top of the handgrip. It has positions for AUTOmatic, Movie, Program AE, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual, Night Portrait, Beach/Sea, Landscape, Sports and Portrait.

In between the shutter release and the Mode Dial are the Focus and Flash mode buttons.

Minolta DiMAGE Z20

On the back is Record EVF - Record LCD - Playback mode lever, in its center is the Power button. The 4-way selector lets you navigate menus and select images during playback, the button in the center accepts menu selections. The "QV" button lets you quickly view the last image captured, press it a second time to delete the image. The MENU button calls up and dismisses the menus. The "i+" button controls the amount of data overlayed on the screen and the playback modes.

Minolta DiMAGE Z20

The Z20 is equipped with ~14.5MB of internal memory and a Secure Digital card slot. Compatible with any size card, we tested it with the SanDisk Ultra II 512MB SD card.

Minolta DiMAGE Z20

Minolta DiMAGE Z20Minolta DiMAGE Z20

The USB 2.0 port (Full speed, 12Mbps) is on the side below the SD card slot. This connector also handles the Audio-Video Out cable, the format is NTSC or PAL (selectable.) There's a DC INput jack on the other side for an AC adapter or external battery pack.

Minolta DiMAGE Z20

The Z20 uses four standard AA type batteries, alkaline can be used but we'd highly recommend using high-capacity NiMH rechargeables. Reusable up to 500-1000 times, NiMH batteries save you money and the environment.

Approximate number of recorded images: 450 frames with alkaline batteries, LCD monitor on, Full-size images (2560x1920), Standard image quality, No instant playback, No full-time AF, Flash used with 50% of the frames. Approximate continuous playback time: 180 min. with alkaline batteries

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