DiMAGE Z1 is the first in an innovative series of Minolta's new user-friendly,
powerful SLR-type digital cameras. Its 10X Mega zoom, equivalent to 38-380mm 35mm
camera zoom, in combination with the digital zoom, offers a 40X zoom range. The
DiMAGE Z1 comes complete with a 3.2 megapixel display and weighs in at only 305g.
With Minolta's new drive mode, Rapid AF, and minimal shutter release lag time,
this compact, stylish digital camera has all the necessary imaging tools to capture
high-quality digital images.
The 10X Mega-zoom is a fast f2.8 - f3.5 lens allowing fast shutter speeds for
sport or natural-light photography. The ten-element, seven-group design employs
two aspheric lenses to minimise aberrations and produce sharp images.
Such powerful optics combined with a high-resolution 3.3 megapixel 1/2.7 interline
primary colour CCD require a powerful auto-focus system. The DiMAGE Z1 employs
Rapid AF to ensure sharp images with minimum delay. Rapid AF utilises a passive
AF sensor that instantly estimates the distance between the subject and the
camera's CCD to determine the precise focus point. A high-speed drive focuses
the lens quickly and smoothly, while the CCD uses a 60fps sampling rate to determine
the optimum focus. This sampling speed is twice the rate of most digital cameras
on the market today. All this translates into a 0.3 second focusing time at
a focal length of 5.8mm and 0.4 seconds at 59mm, giving the DiMAGE Z1 the world's
fastest AF among digital cameras with a built-in 10X or greater optical zoom.1
Minolta's new drive mode, Progressive Capture, ensures a moment will never
be missed. When the shutter-release button is pressed and held, Progressive
Capture begins saving images in the buffer memory. Watch the action on the monitor
and when it is over, release the shutter button to save the images from the
buffer memory to the memory card. Six frames are saved when using standard continuous
advance, and 10 frames when using Ultra High Speed (UHS) continuous advance.
Standard continuous advance records at approximately 1.5 fps at any image size
or quality setting. UHS continuous advance records 1.2 megapixel images at 10
affect of camera shake, a slight blurring of the image when the camera is handheld,
can be a significant problem when such powerful optics are used. Minolta engineers
have developed an advanced program exposure line to maximise shutter speeds
by controlling the aperture and camera sensitivity based on the selected subject
program and focal length.
Every aspect of the DiMAGE Z1's performance is breaking records in speed. Start-up
time is only 2 seconds and shutdown time is just 2.4 seconds. After focus has
been locked, the shutter-release time lag is 0.06 seconds or less, comparable
to an SLR film camera. The camera will be ready to capture another image in
1.2 seconds or less after the exposure.
The DiMAGE Z1 packs Minolta's most powerful flash in a digital camera yet.
With a guide number of 12 meters (39 in feet), the flash can illuminate a subject
up to approximately 6m away (20 ft.) when used at the wide-angle position with
autoexposure and auto camera sensitivity.
The DiMAGE Z1 is compatible with the Minolta Program Flash 3600HS (D) or 5600HS
(D) units as well as the latest addition to the line, the Program Flash 2500
(D). These powerful flash units can be used directly on the camera. The 3600HS
(D) and 5600HS (D) have zoom heads that automatically adjust as the camera's
lens is zoomed in and out, and their heads can be tilted for bounce illumination.
The 5600HS (D)'s head also swivels and the flash output can be controlled with
power ratios. The newest addition to Minolta's Program Flash line, the new 2500
(D) is a compact, automatic flash unit with a tilting head and an affordable
The DiMAGE Z1 is not limited to capturing static images, but high-quality VGA
(640 X 480) movies can be recorded at 30fps. Image size and frame rate can be
selected to balance image quality with file size. Three image sizes are available:
640 X 480, 320 X 240, and 160 X 120. Because of the high frame rate of the CCD,
movies may be shot at 30fps to create natural flicker-free images, or 15fps
to maximise recording time. The length of the movie is limited only by the memory
card capacity, image size, and frame rate.
Because the DiMAGE Z1 can capture large, high-quality VGA (640 X 480) movies,
image sharpness and brightness are absolutely critical. During recording the
Z1 will continue to auto-focus to provide the sharpest possible image, and the
night-movie mode can make colour recordings under extreme low-light conditions.
The controls and dials are laid out for clear, intuitive operation. For quick
changes to camera settings, the large exposure mode dial and zoom lever are
located on the top of the grip. Placed on the back of the camera, the controller
is a straightforward five-way array used to control many of the camera's advanced
features and menus. The large grip provides the DiMAGE Z1 with secure, comfortable
handling, especially for keeping a steady hand in low-light conditions or when
using long focal lengths.
Ordinary AA batteries power the DiMAGE Z1, and ubiquitous alkaline or rechargeable
Ni-MH can also be used.
CxProcess II, Minolta's new image-processing technology, is integrated to bring
out the best in the 3.3 megapixel 1/2.7 interline primary-colour CCD. CxProcess
II controls the essential image qualities of colour, contrast, and sharpness
while minimising noise. Brilliant, saturated colour 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.
Balancing resolution with acutance controls sharpness, as well as shows fine
detail while minimising hard, unnatural edges.
The DiMAGE Z1 possesses the necessary, advanced technology and powerful optics
enabling the capture of high-quality images and 30fps VGA movies. This compact,
stylish digital camera has the imaging tools required to capture first-rate
images in virtually any situation.
(1) As of July 1st, 2003