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"Picky Details" for the Konica Minolta Z2 digital camera
(Timing, Power, and Storage Info)

Timing
When you press the shutter release on a camera, there's usually a lag time or delay before the shutter actually fires. This corresponds to the time required for the autofocus and autoexposure mechanisms time to do their work, and can amount to a fairly long delay in some situations. Since this number is rarely reported on (and even more rarely reported accurately), and can significantly affect the picture taking experience, I routinely measure both shutter delay and shot to shot cycle times for all cameras I test, using a test system I designed and built for the purpose. (Crystal-controlled, with a resolution of 0.001 second.) Here are the numbers I collected for the Konica Minolta Z2:

Konica Minolta Z2 Timings
Operation
Time
(secs)
Notes
Power On -> First shot
3.0
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. Reasonably fast for a long-zoom model.
Shutdown
2 - 33
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Pretty fast for the first number, second is long, but the Z2's buffer memory is unusually large, so it's to be expected.
Play to Record, first shot
1.58
Time until first shot is captured. Pretty fast.
Record to play
4.5 / 1.4
First time is that required to display a large/fine file immediately after capture, second time is that needed to display a large/fine file that has already been processed and stored on the memory card. First time is a little slow, second is pretty fast.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.59/0.82
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Better than average, particularly for a long-zoom model. (Average range is about 0.8-1.0 seconds.)
Shutter lag, prefocus
0.089
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Very fast. (!)
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.77 (.57 fps)

Shoots at the same rate for large/fine files or for small/basic ones. Times are averages. In large/fine mode, shoots this fast for 16 shots (!), then slows to 4.3 seconds apart, and clears the buffer in up to 33 seconds. In small/basic mode, the buffer fills very slowly, and takes 19 seconds to clear after over 30 shots. Shot to shot time is pretty decent for a 4 megapixel camera, and Konica Minolta is to be commended for including such a large buffer memory in an inexpensive model.
Cycle Time, continuous Low mode, max/min resolution 0.57
(1.75 fps)
Shoots at the same rate for large/fine files or for small/basic ones. Times are averages. Stops after five frames in either mode. In large/fine mode, the buffer clears in 15 seconds, and in TV mode, in 6 seconds. This is pretty fast for an inexpensive 4-megapixel camera, and the 5-frame buffer depth is pretty good as well. - At least in my tests though, it didn't up to Konica Minolta's claim of 2.5 fps.
Cycle Time, High Speed Continuous mode .01
(9.93 fps)
HSC mode captures up to 15 frames at 1280 x 960 resolution. Buffer clears in 22 seconds. This is *very* fast, and a good buffer depth for 1.3 megapixel files.

All in all, the Z2 is a pretty fast camera, surprisingly so for an inexpensive long-zoom model. It starts up and shuts down fairly quickly, is reasonably fast from shot to shot, and has better than average shutter lag times, unusual in long-zoom cameras at any price point. Prefocus shutter lag is very fast, making this a good camera for sports shooting. It also has good continuous-mode performance, including its blazingly fast high-speed continuous mode, and both normal and high-speed continuous shooting are supported in its "Progressive Capture" mode. In Progressive Capture mode, the camera begins shooting images continuously and cycling them through the camera's buffer memory when press and hold down the shutter button. When you release the shutter button, the camera takes the last 5 frames in normal mode or the last 10 frames in high-speed mode, and saves them to the memory card. This compensates for slow reflexes on the part of the photographer, letting you capture action just prior to releasing the shutter button. Very slick. Overall, the Z2 is a great choice for capturing fast action in a variety of modes. (But its ability to freeze motion with fast shutter speeds will be somewhat limited by the high noise levels of its ISO 400 sensitivity setting.)

Power

The Konica Minolta Z2 uses four AA batteries for power, and comes with ordinary alkaline batteries. NiMH rechargeable AA batteries are recommended, and the test numbers below are calculated for NiMH power.

Operating Mode
Power
(@6 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(four 1600 mA cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
370 mA
208
Capture Mode, no LCD
356 mA
216
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
366 mA
210
Half-pressed w/o LCD
351 mA
219
Memory Write (transient)
474 mA
n/a
Flash Recharge (transient)
1427 mA
n/a
Image Playback
202 mA
379

These run-time numbers are quite good, with a worst case battery life of nearly three and a half hours. Note too, that they're based on a "standard" set of 1600 mAh NiMH cells, and modern cells are available with true (vs advertised) capacities as high as 2100 mAh, so your own results could be much better. Regardless of the Z2's long battery life though, I still strongly recommend that you purchase several sets of high-capacity NiMH AA cells and a good charger to go along with them. To see which NiMH cells are best, see my battery shootout page. Read my review of the Maha C-204F charger, to learn why it's my longtime favorite.

Storage Capacity
The Konica Minolta stores its photos on SD memory cards, and a 16 MB card is included with the camera. (I strongly recommend buying at least a 64 MB card, preferably a 128 MB one, to give yourself extra space for extended outings.) The chart below shows how many images can be stored on the included 16 MB card at each size/quality setting.

Image Capacity vs
Resolution/Quality
16 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
Basic
2,272 x 1,704 Images
(Avg size)
7
2.1 MB
15
1.1 MB
28
557 KB
Approx.
Compression
6:1 11:1 21:1
1,600 x 1,200 Images
(Avg size)
15
1.1 MB
28
557 KB
50
320 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1 10:1 18:1
1,024 x 768 Images
(Avg size)
23
696 KB
41
388 KB
73
219 KB
Approx.
Compression
5:1 10:1
17:1
640 x 480
Images
(Avg size)
73
219 KB
105
152 KB
158
101 KB
Approx.
Compression
4:1 6:1
9:1

 

Download Speed
The Konica Minolta connects to a host computer via a USB interface. Downloading files to my Sony desktop running Windows XP (Pentium IV, 2.4 GHz), I clocked it at 503 KBytes/second. This is pretty fast for a camera with a USB v1.1 interface, but models with the high-speed version of the USB 2.0 standard can go a good bit faster. Still, fast enough that you probably won't feel the need for a separate card reader. (Cameras with slow USB interfaces run as low as 300 KB/s, cameras with fast v1.1 interfaces run as high as 600 KB/s. Cameras with USB v2.0 interfaces run as fast as several megabytes/second.)

 

Z2 Review
Z2 Test Images
Z2 Specifications
Z2 "Picky Details"
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