Full production-level update to Minolta DiMAGE Z1 posted!|
(Friday, October 24, 2003 - 15:57 EDT)
I was pretty impressed with the specs and performance of Minolta's new little DiMAGE Z1 long-zoom camera back when I first previewed a prototype unit, particularly in light of the unit's low selling price. Now that I've fully tested a production-level model, I like the camera more than ever. A very nice little 3-megapixel, 10x-zooom model, the Z1 uses an unusual "flipping LCD" design to cut costs by using the same LCD panel for both eyelevel and rear-panel displays. This does result in a low price, but in other respects, the Z1 more than holds its own with the higher-priced competition. It offers a full range of exposure controls, has a very good quality lens (I've found that Minolta's digicams generally have excellent lenses on them), and perhaps best of all, has much better than average shutter lag performance. Oh - and battery life is really exceptional. The combination makes this an excellent digicam for sports or wildlife shooting, where you need both a long telephoto lens and good shuttter response, but the Z1 is by no means limited to such use: I think it'd make a great choice for an all-around camera as well. I haven't heard a lot about this model from other reviewers or in the marketplace, but I think it has the potential to be a really big seller. (I'm not personally crazy about its external design aesthetics, but would happily overlook that in exchange for great performance at an aggressive price.) Check it out!