Minolta DiMAGE Z1 Review

Click for our main menu

First Look posted 8/7/03
Full review posted 10/6/03

Click on the DiMAGE Z1 to take a QuickTime VR tour

The stylish new 3.2-megapixel DiMAGE Z1 is the first in a series of easy-to-use powerful Single Lens-Reflex (SLR)-type digital cameras. It features Minolta's new 10x optical Mega-zoom lens, advanced technology and the world's fastest autofocusing among digital cameras with a built-in 10x or greater optical zoom. In addition, the DiMAGE Z1 is capable of recording TV-quality 30 frames per second VGA movies.

The new Minolta 10x Mega-zoom is a fast f2.8 - f3.5 lens allowing fast shutter speeds for sport 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.

Although the new DiMAGE Z1 uses complex AF technology, focusing the camera couldn't be easier. Simply place the subject anywhere within the focus frames and the camera will do the rest; an AF sensor is briefly displayed so the subject can be confirmed. Minolta's new drive mode, Progressive Capture, makes sure photographers never miss a shot. When the shutter-release button is pressed and held down, Progressive Capture begins saving images in the buffer memory.

The DiMAGE Z1 is equipped with Minolta's unique Switch Finder. This unique system allows the camera's LCD monitor to be viewed directly or through the viewfinder. The Real Motion LCD monitor uses a 60 frames per second frame rate. This Real Motion frame rate brings the live image to life by the ability to show action smoothly.

Every aspect of the DiMAGE Z1's performance is pushed to the limit. Startup time is 2 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 film camera. The camera will be ready to capture another image in 1.2 seconds after the exposure.

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.

DiMAGE Z1 Features:

  • 10x Mega-zoom (38-380mm coverage) with high-speed autofocus
  • 3.2-megapixel imager for images up to 2048 x 1536 pixels
  • 12-bit A/D conversion provides a finer tonal gradation
  • 1.5-inch color LCD with 113,000 pixels
  • Color eyelevel viewfinder with 98% coverage
  • Ultra High Speed 1280x960 capture at 10fps
  • 640x480 motion video at 15fps/30fps with audio, length limited only by SD card capacity
  • Program AE with Shift, 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, night portrait and sunset
  • Multi-segment, center-weighted and spot metering modes
  • Automatic noise-reduction for one second or longer exposures
  • 5 white-balance settings including custom settings
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 50, 100, 200, and 400 equivalents
  • Flash shoe for Minolta speedlights
  • AE Bracketing of exposure
  • Digital Effects Control for contrast and sharpness
  • Color modes: Natural, Vivid, B&W, Sepia
  • Three exposure-metering modes: multi-segment, center-weighted and spot
  • Playback/QuickView with histogram feature
  • PictBridge, Exif Print and Epson PRINT Image Matching II compatible
  • Data imprinting that records date, time and descriptive information on an image.
  • Powered by four standard AA type batteries

The DiMAGE Z1 is available now for around $399.00.

Physical Views

Minolta DiMAGE Z1

Minolta DiMAGE Z1

Minolta DiMAGE Z1

Minolta DiMAGE Z1

Minolta DiMAGE Z1

Minolta DiMAGE Z1

Minolta DiMAGE Z1

The DiMAGE Z1 compared in size to a standard CD.

Minolta DiMAGE Z1

The DiMAGE Z1 and the Toshiba M700, both 10x and 3.2-megapixel.

Minolta DiMAGE Z1

The 2003 Minolta DiMAGE A1 and the DiMAGE Z1.

Continue on to
Page Two

DiMAGE Z1 Specifications

Number of effective pixels Approx. 3.2 million
CCD 1/2.7-type interline primary-color CCD, total pixels: approx. 3.3 million
Camera sensitivity Auto, ISO 50, 100, 200, 400 equivalents
Lens construction 10 elements in 7 groups (includes two elements with three aspheric surfaces)
Maximum aperture f/2.8 - f/3.5
Focal length 5.8 - 58 mm (35 mm equivalent: 38 - 380mm)
Minimum focusing distance Wide: 0.5 m (1.6 ft.)
Telephoto: 2m (6.6 ft.)
Minimum macro distance Super Macro; 1,6 inches at 9.7mm
Macro Wide: 10cm (3.9 in.)
Macro Telephoto: 120cm (47.2 in.)
Maximum magnification 0.12x (Equivalent to 0.79x in 35 mm format)
Area covered at maximum magnification: 33 x 44 mm / 1.3 x 1.73 inch (approx.)
LCD monitor 1.5 inch (3.8cm) low-temperature polysilicon TFT color with anti- reflection coating
Total number of pixels: 113,000
Automatic monitor amplification
Field of view Viewfinder: Approximately 98%
LCD monitor: Approximately 100 %
Display mode switch Viewfinder display, LCD-monitor display Switch Finder system allows the monitor to be viewed directly or through the viewfinder.
Diopter control - 3 ~ +1m-1
Eye relief 18.8mm
Shutter CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter
Shutter speed range 4 - 1/1000 second in programmed-AE and aperture-priority modes.
15 - 1/1000 second in shutter-priority and manual exposure modes.
2 - 1/1000 second in auto-recording and Digital Subject Programs
Bulb (maximum 30 seconds)
Autofocus system Rapid AF: a combination of a passive AF sensor with the video AF system
Autofocus areas Wide focus area
Spot focus areas with Focus Area Selection
Focus lock By pressing shutter-release button partway down.
Exposure modes
P (Programmed AE) (with program shift), A (Aperture priority),
S (Shutter priority), M (Manual).
Digital Subject Programs Portrait, Sports action, Landscape, Sunset, Night portrait. Automatic and manual selection.
Exposure compensation +/- 2 Ev in 1/3 increments
AE lock By pressing shutter-release button partway down
Flash metering Pre-flash TTL
Flash range Wide: Approximately 0.8 - 20 ft. (0.23 - 6.1 m) from CCD
Telephoto: Approximately 3.9 - 15.7 ft. (1.2 - 4.8 m) from CCD
(Camera sensitivity: auto)
Flash modes Autoflash, Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill flash, Slow-shutter sync. Autoflash not available with aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual exposure modes.
Flash cancel by pushing the built-in flash down.
Flash recycling time Approx. 7 seconds
Flash compensation ± 2 EV in 1/3 increments
Flash synch speeds All shutter speeds
External flashes Auto-flash metering with Program/Maxxum Flash 2500 (D), Program/Maxxum 3600HS (D), Program/Maxxum Flash 5600HS (D)
Continuous advance - UHS (Ultra High Speed) continuous advance:
Approximately ten 1280x960 frames in one second
- Standard continuous advance:
Approximately 1.5 frames per second
* Actual speed may vary depending upon the subject and camera settings.
Approximate number of frames that can be captured at one time with the continuous-advance drive modes:

UHS continuous advance (1280x960)
Fine: 10 frames
Standard: 10 frames
Economy: 10 frames

Standard continuous advance
2048x1536 1600x1200 1280x960 640x480
Fine 5 frames 8 frames 13 frames 42 frames
Standard 10 frames 16 frames 24 frames 67 frames
Economy 19 frames 30 frames 42 frames 94 frames
Actual number of images may vary depending upon the subject and camera settings.
Progressive capture Maximum number of images that can be recorded with the Progressive Capture mode:
UHS: 10 frames
Standard: 6 frames
Exposure bracketing Three frame bracket in 1.0, 0.5, 0.3 EV increments
Self-timer Approx. 10 seconds
Movie Recording time dependent on memory card capacity, image size, and frame rate.
Frame rate: 15 frames per second, 30 frames per second
Fast forward and rewind control.
With and without monaural audio with playback volume control.
Movie frame capture
Night movie (automatic selection or disabled)
White balance control Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash), Custom
Digital Effects Control Contrast compensation, Sharpness
Contrast compensation Three levels (Low, Normal, High)
Sharpness settings Three levels (Soft, Normal, Hard)
Color modes Natural Color, Vivid Color, Black and White, Sepia
Noise reduction User selectable dark noise reduction
Digital zoom Maximum 4x in 0.1x increments
Copy function To copy single or multiple images to the same or another memory card.
E-mail Copy function Creates a compressed 640x480 or 160x120 JPEG image for transmission.
Date imprinting Year/month/day (Format can be changed.) Imprinting can be disabled
Key customization The function activated by the flash-mode button can be changed.
Image quality modes Fine, Standard, Economy
Number of recorded pixels
(still images)
2048 x 1536
1600 x 1200
1280 x 960
640 x 480
1280 x 960 in UHS continuous-advance mode
Number of recorded pixels
(Movie clips)
Recording media Secure Digital (16MB supplied)
Storage capacity* (16MB)
2048x1536 1600x1200 1280x960 640x480
Fine 9 frames 14 frames 22 frames 69 frames
Standard 17 frames 27 frames 39 frames 100 frames
Economy 32 frames 47 frames 69 frames 150 frames
* Numerical value may vary depending upon the subject.
File formats JPEG, Motion JPEG (MOV)
DCF 1.0-compliant
DPOF-compliant (Supported by printing functions in version 1.1)
Exif 2.2
Printing output control Exif Print, PRINT Image Matching II
Direct print USB Direct-Print
AV output NTSC, PAL (selected on the camera)
Batteries Four AA Ni-MH or alkaline batteries (Use of Ni-MH batteries is recommended.)
Battery performance(approx.)
Approximate continuous playback time: 300 min. with alkaline batteries.
Battery performance(approx.)
Approximate number of recorded images: 250 frames with alkaline batteries, LCD monitor on, Full-size images (2048x1536), Standard image quality, No instant playback, No full-time AF, Flash used with 50% of the frames.
External power source 6V DC with specified AC adapter
Interface Full-speed 12Mbps USB 1.1
Dimensions (WxHxD) 109.5 x 77.5 x 80 mm / 4.31 x 3.05 x 3.15 inch
Weight 305 g / 10.8 ounce without batteries or recording media
Standard accessories Neck Strap NS-DG5000, Lens Cap LF-242, Accessory Shoe Cap SC-1000, AV Cable AVC-200, 16MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card, USB Cable USB-500, DiMAGE Viewer, ArcSoft VideoImpression CD-ROM, Four AA Alkaline batteries
Optional accessories AC Adapter AC-1L, Leather Neck Strap NS-DG1000, External High Power Battery Pack Kit EBP-100, Wide Converter Kit ZCW-100
System requirements IBM PC/AT compatible computers with Windows XP Home, Windows XP Professional, Windows Me, Windows 2000 Professional, Windows 98*, or Windows 98 Second Edition* and with a USB port as standard interface.

Apple Macintosh computers with Mac OS 9.0 - 9.2.2, Mac OS X v10.1.3-10.1.5, or v10.2.1 - 10.2.5 and with a USB port as standard interface.

(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

Return To Our
Reviews Menu

Visitors of Steves can visit the stores below for real-time pricing and availability. You can also find hot, soon to expire online offers on a variety of cameras and accessories at our very own Camera Deals page.