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Konica Minolta have this to say about the camera:
"Konica Minolta Photo Imaging U.S.A., Inc. introduces the new compact DiMAGE Z5 - a superb all-round digital camera that offers a built-in 12x optical Mega Zoom lens, Konica Minolta's proprietary Anti-Shake System, 5.0-megapixel CCD, fast overall response including Rapid autofocusing (AF), and a large 2.0-inch LCD screen for easy viewing. All of these features combine to ensure that photographers won't miss a photo opportunity and that the subjects of their photos are big, beautiful, and shake-free."
You can find more information on their website.
The Camera: It's
fairly compact and made out of silver plastic.
Size Comparison: Compared to a Pentax PC-550 35mm automatic.
Specifications / Features:
Average box contents
- a larger memory card and a case would have been nice.
Battery usage: Up to 240 images with alkaline batteries and 420 images with fully charged 2500mAh Ni-Mh batteries according to Konica Minolta - as this camera takes AA batteries I would highly recommend you get some high power Ni-Mh rechargable batteries and a charger to go with this camera. Battery life seemed very good.
Menu Options / Modes: The camera mode is selected using the rotating dial, or the Play/LCD/EVF switch under the LCD.
Photo mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown on the right below:
Screen / LCD display in photo mode: (shown on the left) The screen is a good decent resolution, and updates smoothly - the colours appear accurate. There is a live histogram available and the screen is clear and the text and menus are easy to read. Optical Viewfinder: The electronic viewfinder is a bit small for me as I wear glasses. It has a dioptor corrector which helps.
Photo menu options are: Drive mode, image size, quality, white balance (including custom), anti-shake mode, focus mode (including manual), full time AF, flash mode, flash compensation, metering mode, ISO sensitivity, colour mode (Natural, Vivid, Black and White, Sepia), sharpness, contrast, key function.
The playback info, which is accessed by pressing up on the 4-way controller displays futher image information, and a histogram.
Setup menu options: (shown on the right, above) LCDbrightness, power save, instant playback, lens accessories, language, file memory, folder name, date time set, date imprint, reset default, audio signals, focus signal, shutter fx, volume, video output, transfer mode, digital zoom, self-timer.
Movie options are: Quality (640 Fine, 640 Standard, 320 Standard), frame rate (30/15 fps), white balance (including custom), movie mode (standard or night movie), anti-shake, focus mode, and colour mode.
Playback (Review) mode/menu: The menu button brings up the menu screen as shown on the right, below:
Playback mode: Scrolling through the photos is quick. The zoom is fairly quick up to 4x/8x.
Playback menu options: Delete, format, lock, edit, copy, slideshow, playback, duration, repeat, DPOF set, date print, index print, email copy.
Picture Size / Quality: The camera takes the following size pictures, and the following number of images will fit on the 16mb memory provided with the camera:
You can fit a small number of images on the 16mb memory card - a larger memory card is definitely recommended, unless you want to use the lower image sizes / higher compression options in order to fit more pictures in memory. There is a good choice of image sizes, and there is a very good choice regarding image compression.
A larger memory card is relatively cheap, and highly recommended, I would recommend at a bare minimum a 128mb or 256mb memory card, and preferably a 512mb memory card, or larger, especially considering the relatively low prices - the larger the memory card, the more photos you will be able to take. If you are likely to go on holiday then the largest memory card you can afford would definitely be worth investing in, as you don't always know when you will next be at a computer. Listed below are links to memory cards that will work with the Konica Minolta Dimage Z5:
128mb SD memory card
Speed: The camera is very quick to switch on and take photos - however the camera can occassionally 'hunt' for the focus in darker indoor conditions. The screen updates are quick and smooth (in good light). The playback mode is also fairly quick. Playback mode allows you to zoom as close as 4x, and then 8x if you press to zoom again - this feels quite slow. The camera has a quick continuous shooting mode - as well as a high speed 10fps shooting mode (at 1024 x 768)! The camera shutter response seemed quicker than normal when pre-focused.
Ease of use: The camera is easy to use, although the camera does have a lot of options and features. The controls on the back of the camera are fairly easy to use - the menus are responsive and easy to read. The camera is compact although not as compact as other ultra zoom cameras due to the 12x lens. The menus are also easy to use, and the options are big enough and easy enough to see clearly. The modes are easy to access, quick and simple - there's a fully automatic mode as well as various scene modes for simple point and shoot operation.
Ergonomics and Buttons: (Feel, placement, labels, etc) The buttons are fairly easy to use, and they are in a good position. There seems to be the right amount of buttons. The buttons feel okay, the shutter release is quite decent. The buttons are labelled fairly well - apart from the 4-way controller / middle 'OK' button which have no labels - in playback mode the up button does the same thing as the i+ button, but gives you more information, so it would make more sense if it was labelled as the i+ button, and the other i+ button was labelled as a display button instead. I thought the camera felt very good ergonomically, and was the correct weight - it seemed a decent weight and felt solidly built.
Image Quality: Here are some sample photos/video(s) taken in various settings, such as Inside, Noise, Outside, Zoom, Macro, Movie to demonstrate the quality of pictures taken and also show different features of the camera. Larger versions of these photos, plus more photos are available in the new gallery!
Inside: The camera has good colour. It has a powerful flash, and copes well with group photos. The camera did a good job at focusing the majority of the time. Red-eye didn't seem to be a problem. Images had fairly high noise, especially when left on automatic.
Noise: Noise is generally a bad thing - it removes detail, and gives a grainy effect over the image. With digital cameras noise can be a real problem as digital camera noise is often made out of blue, red or green dots. As the ISO setting increases, pictures tend to have more noise. Noise is most noticeable in dark areas of photos. The camera has an Automatic mode for ISO levels, and manual ISO settings (ISO50, 100, 200, and 320) - below you'll find the noise test image, plus actual pixel crops from the image taken at different ISO settings.
Noise levels appear low at ISO50. At ISO100 noise is visible, and at ISO200 noise becomes much more noticable and in my test photos it was just about acceptable, at ISO320 noise seems very high - and images don't have the same colour as images taken at the lower ISO settings.
Outside, the camera had very good colour, with good contrast and saturation. There was good detail, although images were slightly soft. Noise seemed slightly on the high side. I didn't notice jpeg artefacts in the images.
Zoom: This camera has a 12x optical zoom lens and a built in 4x digital zoom - in the case of this camera the digital zoom basically takes a smaller area of the photo and enlarges it using software blurring the image so that it is not pixellated. Generally it's best to avoid using digital zoom as it degrades the quality of the image and, often, better results can be obtained by using a photo package such as Adobe Photoshop. I've included examples below to show what the 12x optical zoom is capable of - the 12x optical zoom means you shouldn't need or want to use digital zoom.
Lens noise and zoom: The lens is very quiet. The lens is quick at going from wide to telephoto - there are at least 14 steps between wide and telephoto. This gives you good control on how you frame your subject.
Other Image Quality issues: Purple fringing was very low.
Macro: To use this camera in macro mode, you switch to macro mode - you can use the macro mode at wide angle, all the way to telephoto. You can use the flash in macro mode. The camera can be roughly as close as 1cm away from the subject from the front of the lens in Super Macro mode.
The macro mode is good, the super macro mode is very good - the camera does a good job of toning down the flash, and colours and detail are good.
- 320x240 - 30fps / 15fps (with 8khz / 16bps mono sound) - you can use
the optical zoom / digital zoom with sound. The movie is recorded as a
.MOV file. Length is only limited by the memory card size. The quality
of the movie(s) is good - the VGA mode is also good, 30fps is also good.
The only problem seems to be that the camera does not maintain sharp focus
- perhaps by changing the focusing mode it may be possible to get better
results. The camera also picks up the noise of the zoom when recording
Summary: The Konica Minolta Dimage Z5 has improved compared to the Z3 it replaces, they have replaced the screen with a much better 2" screen, and improved the slightly confusing on/off switch that was on the Z3, however, the upgrade to a 5 megapixel sensor has increased noise levels making the highest ISO setting unusable.
The camera has a very impressive 12x optical zoom lens that allows you to capture subject near or far. The camera's anti-shake system is pretty much essential for such a large zoom lens, and works very well with photos and videos. The camera lets you use the optical zoom whilst recording videos, which is quite rare, however noise from the lens is recorded on the videos. The camera has a very good super macro mode. The camera has fairly good image quality - let down by high noise, and slightly soft images. The camera is quick to switch on, quick to focus and quick to take photos.
Unfortunately to get the best out of it, you will need to stick to the lower ISO settings, and potentially have to post-process the images afterwards, but it is capable of taking good quality images with very good colour, saturation and detail. Knowing that it is a fast camera, with excellent features, and good value for money, I would recommend this camera, however bear in mind the excellent offerings from Panasonic.
What I like:
What I don't like:
Remember to have a look at the test photos in the new gallery.