Minolta DiMAGE Z1 Review
Date: Jan 29, 2004
Handling & Feel
58mm, Programmed AE, Spot, 1/250 sec., F4.0, +0.7EV
and ISO 50
Levels Adjusted in Photoshop Elements
Minolta DiMAGE Z1 has a futuristic design
and handles superbly. It is extremely comfortable
to hold, and well balanced with a handgrip that
allow me to use all my fingers to hold it (those
of you with larger hands may need to place the
little pinkie finger under the handgrip). It is
compact with dimensions of 109.5W x 77.5H x 80D
mm / 4.31W x 3.05H x 3.15D in. and weighs only
305 g / 10.8 oz. without the 4 AA batteries and
SD memory card. Its construction feels solid and
the button controls respond precisely to the touch.
The Minolta Z1 is not pocketable, and Minolta
includes a neck strap. Holding the Z1 requires
both hands, with the right hand on the handgrip,
and the left hand under the lens barrel. If you
adjust the settings ahead of time (e.g. in Program
AE mode), then it is quite doable to take pictures
with [driving] gloves on -- as I did for many
of the sample images, since I was often operating
well below sub-zero temperatures. [I think someone
should make special Winter gloves for photographers
operating in very cold weather with the tips of
the index finger and thumb parts of the glove
either cut off or of thinner (though still warm)
tactile material. If you do make these from my
idea, I want a cut of the profits ;o).]
take many of the max. telephoto shots handheld.
Using a fast enough shutter speed, camera shake
is not a problem even at full telephoto. You would
definitely need to use a tripod for shots requiring
slow shutter speeds.
LCD has adjustable brightness and contrast, and
the menu system is well thought out. The image
on the LCD can also be rerouted to the Electronic
Viewfinder (EVF) which has diopter adjustment
for those who, like me, wear glasses. In my review
camera, when I switch to the EVF, the LCD is blanked
out, but there is a couple of places where a couple
of very thin lines of light shows through. I don't
know if this is normal or not, but this fortunately
does not seem to affect operation in any way.
viewfinder is electronic and very good. In fact,
I find myself using the EVF almost exclusively
for this review and I don't miss the lack of an
optical viewfinder here. In my review camera,
I found the coverage is not quite the 98% as specified.
I find it impossible to turn the tiny diopter
knob beside the EVF unless I use my fingernails,
and even then it's quite difficult. Fortunately
once the diopter is adjusted, you won't need to
touch that knob again.
flash does not automatically pop up, even in Auto
mode; you have to manually lift it up if you want
to use it. This enables you to disable flash in
all the modes. Lifting the flash up requires the
use of both the thumb and index finger.
toggle zoom lever works extremely well but, alas,
its location right at the base of the Exposure
Mode Dial means that the latter cannot be turned
with the thumb only. I need both my thumb and
index finger angled downward to turn the dial,
which means I have to remove my eye from the viewfinder,
my index finger is moved away from the shutter
release button momentarily, and I often bump the
zoom lever changing my carefully zoomed in composition.
you get used to the placement of the control buttons
(which is very quickly accomplished), the Minolta
DiMAGE Z1 is a fast and responsive digital camera.