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"Picky Details" for the Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3 digital camera


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 DiMAGE Z3:

Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3 Timings
Power On -> First shot
LCD turns on and lens extends forward. About average.
2.4 - 8.4
First time is time to retract lens, second time is worst-case buffer-clearing time. Fairly fast/
Play to Record, first shot
Time until first shot is captured. About average.
Record to play
3.1 / 2.3
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. A bit slower than average.
Shutter lag, full autofocus
0.26 / 0.47
First time is at full wide-angle, second is full telephoto. Very fast. (!)
Shutter lag, prefocused
Time to capture, after half-pressing shutter button. Pretty fast.
Cycle Time, max/min resolution

1.09 /

First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" mode (640x480) images. Times are averages. In both modes, buffer must partly clear before next shot. Buffer takes 5 seconds to completely clear. Good speed.
Cycle Time, continuous mode, max/min resolution 0.46 / 0.44
(2.16 / 2.30 fps)
First number is for large/fine files, second number is time for "TV" size images. Times are averages. Captures 6 large/fine images at this rate, then slows to about 1.1 seconds per shot. Takes over 100 TV size images without slowing. Buffer clears in 6 seconds for large/fine images, only 1 second for TV mode. "Progressive" continuous mode shoots at this same rate, but stores only the last four large/fine shots. Fairly fast, but not in the top tier of digicams.
Cycle Time, Ultra High Speed, max/min resolution 0.10
(10 fps)
Resolution is set to 1280x960, speed is set to 10 fps. Shoots 15 images, buffer clears in only 2 seconds, and it's ready for 15 more. Very fast.

Shutter response much faster than average, very good cycle times as well. With full-autofocus shutter delays of 0.26 - 0.47 second, the Konica Minolta Z3 is one of the faster digicams on the market, particularly impressive for a long-zoom model. Its shot to shot cycle time of just over a second in single-shot mode, or 0.46 second in continuous shooting mode are quite fast as well. For looking at really fast-breaking action (golf or tennis swings?), its ultra high-speed mode captures 1280x960 pixel images at 10 frames/second, an unusually rapid clip. Quite impressive, a good choice for sports and other action shooting.


The Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z3 uses four AA batteries for power. Following are projected run times with "standard" 1600 mAh cells. (Note that modern NiMH cells have true capacities as high as 2100-2200 mAh, so your run times could easily be 30% longer than shown in the table below.)

Operating Mode
(@6 volts on the external power terminal)
Est. Minutes
(four 1600 mA cells)
Capture Mode, w/LCD
438 mA
Capture Mode, w/EVF
438 mA
Half-pressed shutter w/LCD
635 mA
Half-pressed w/EVF
615 mA
Memory Write (transient)
Flash Recharge (transient)
875 mA
Image Playback
344 mA

Excellent battery life. Powered from four AA batteries, the DiMAGE Z3's battery life is excellent. Worst case run time with "standard" 1600 mAh batteries was just shy of three hours, extending to 3.7 hours in playback mode. With modern high-capacity NiMH cells, your run times could easily be 30% longer. As always though, I highly recommend purchasing two sets of high-capacity NiMH batteries and a good charger. (See my Battery Shootout page for test results from a variety of batteries, and read my review of the Maha C-204W to see why it's my new favorite AA-cell charger.)

Storage Capacity

The Konica Minolta DiMAGE stores its photos on SD/MMC 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
16 MB Memory Card
Fine Normal
2272 x 1704 Images
(Avg size)
2.1 MB
1.0 MB
534 KB
6:1 12:1 22:1
1600 x 1200 Images
(Avg size)
1.0 MB
627 KB
354 KB
6:1 9:1 16:1
1280 x 960 Images
(Avg size)
618 KB
382 KB
274 KB
6:1 10:1
640 x 480
(Avg size)
288 KB
217 KB
145 KB
3:1 4:1


Download Speed

The Konica Minolta DiMAGE 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 833 KBytes/second, a pretty good clip. (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.)

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