Konica Minolta Dimage Z6 Review
The Konica Minolta Dimage Z6 is a six megapixel digital camera with a 12x optical zoom lens. With this length of zoom lens you should have no problem getting in close to your subject from a long way away. Therefore the Dimage Z6 is likely to appeal to photographers who shoot subjects such as sports and wildlife. With its range of features and length of zoom it is far more likely to be suited to someone who sees photography as a hobby rather than someone who is looking for a simple, easy-to-use point and shoot camera.
The Dimage Z6 is up against some pretty stiff competition. In my view there are many very good digital cameras to choose from in this category. I am afraid to say the Dimage Z6 falls short of the standard set by other digital cameras with long zoom lenses. I was disappointed with the initial set of shots I took so I went out and took from all over again. Unfortunately I could not see any real improvement in the new set of pictures.
The main drawback I found with this camera is the colours it produces. Whereas I have become used to seeing deep, vivid colours this camera had a habit of adding a purple tinge to a photo. This is something I have noticed with other Konica Minolta digital cameras. Unfortunately it affects nearly all types of photographs and in my view is a major handicap.
If you take a look at the outdoor landscape type shots the purple tinge is most noticeable in the skies. Rather than showing the deep blue colour I normally see the purple hue undermines the shots. If you look at the dedicated test for colour this is another test shot where the problem shows up clearly. As well as the purple tinge to the pictures I also feel that the lens is not quite as sharp as some of the cameras I have tested recently and focusing also tends to drift away a little towards the edge of the pictures.
As is common with this type of digital camera purple fringing also rears its head. This can be clearly seen around the edges of white and lighter coloured objects. I would say this problem is more prevalent than it is with other similar cameras. The camera also struggles in another way with very light areas. This problem leads to a loss of detail showing in the final picture.
Looking at the outdoor portrait test shot the issue with the colours shows here as well and detracts from the natural skin tones. In terms of lighting the camera performs well. Despite the time of year this picture was taken there is a brightness about it that I like.
The indoor portrait is probably the pick of the test shots. The picture is sharply focused and shows a pleasing level of detail. With the pop-up flash unit creating distance between the lens and a flash the camera is able to overcome any problems of red eye.
My other indoor test shot of some beer bottles taken in more or less complete darkness does not come out so well. The flash is overpowering and the camera is unable to produce a sharply focused photo. In recent months I have become used to seeing a much better attempt than this.
The macro shot is fine. It is clear and bright.
The maximum ISO setting on this camera is 320. Photos taken at this setting showed a clear loss of quality. This is a common problem with digital cameras and is often referred to as noise.
As you can see my overall impression with the Dimage Z6 is one of disappointment. I do not feel there is a fault with this camera it is just the way it works.
Shutter Lag and Recycling Times
I managed to take a single shot in 0.48 seconds. This is a slow time. It took 10.16 seconds to take five consecutive shots. This works out at a rate of one photo every 2.03 seconds. This is an average time. While the long zoom lens makes this camera suitable for wildlife and sports photography the shutter lag time means that there is a clear danger you would miss photo opportunities.
You can compare this camera to other models by taking a look at the Shutter Lag Comparison Table.
The 12 times optical zoom lens has a focal length equivalent to 35 - 420mm in 35mm format. The maximum aperture of the lens is f/ 2.8 (w) and f/ 4.5 (t). For close-up photography there is a super macro setting that lets you get in as close as 1 cm from your subject.
The camera has image stabilisation. This can be a great help to you if you are unable to keep the camera completely still. This is particularly important with cameras that have a long and heavy zoom lens. There are two types of image stabilisation. The first is where tiny gyroscopes are built into the lens unit and compensates for any camera movement. The second type is performed electronically and compensates within the CCD mechanism. The second type is used by the Dimage Z6.
For focusing you can choose between manual and automatic. If you are using automatic focusing you can select from spot and wide area focus. You can also select the focusing area.
The camera has a pop-up style flash unit. The flash modes available to you are Autoflash, Autoflash with red-eye reduction, Fill-flash and Slow shutter sync. The maximum range of the flash unit is 8 m. You can also boost the capabilities of the flash by adding an external flash unit to the camera.
For lining up a shot there is the choice of an electronic viewfinder or the LCD screen. The LCD screen is 2 inches in size. The screen is made up of approximately 114,000 pixels. You can brighten the screen in dark conditions. The viewfinder has a diopter correction feature. This helps you to focus the viewfinder to suit your own eyesight.
When you would like to appear in the picture yourself there is a self timer mechanism. The delay can be set to either 2 or 10 seconds.
Movies can be recorded by the Dimage Z6. The duration of each movie is only limited by the capacity of the memory card. The maximum resolution of a movie is 320 x 240. The fastest recording speed is 30 frames per second. You can zoom in and out while you are shooting a movie and sound can also be recorded.
Other features likely to be of interest are the ability to set differing colour levels (vivid, natural, monochrome and sepia), plus sharpness and contrast controls.
Among the more advanced features are white balance (Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Flash), Custom), three types of metering (Multi-segment (256 segments), Spot, Center-weighted), exposure compensation (± 2 Ev with 1/3 Ev step) and shutter speeds in the range of 4 seconds to 1/ 1000 seconds. Exposure bracketing is also available.
When you would like to set the aperture size and shutter speed yourself you can use fully manual exposure. This is supported by both aperture priority and shutter priority. If you would like the camera to do more of the work there are a small selection of preset scene modes. All you need to do is select the most appropriate scene mode. The scene modes are Portrait, Sports action, Landscape, Sunset and Night portrait.
Konica Minolta also supplies all the necessary cables and software to connect the Dimage Z6 to a computer, PictBridge compatible printer and a television set.
Ease of Use
There is nothing overly taxing about the Dimage Z6. When a camera has this number of features it takes a little while to get fully up and running with it. The menu system is well thought out and the camera is not overloaded with buttons and dials. Therefore with a little practice and patience you should soon find your way around.
You can pick up a Konica Minolta Dimage Z6 for around £235. This compares to around £235 for an Olympus SP-500, £210 for a Fuji Finepix S5600 and £270 for a Sony DSC H1.
Both the Sony DSC H1 and the Fuji Finepix S5600 are five megapixel models. The Olympus SP-500 has six megapixels and in my view offers much better quality than the Dimage Z6 for the same price.
The Dimage Z6 and other cameras in this series have a fairly unique design. Although they are modeled on traditional SLR type cameras they still manage to look somewhat different to much of the direct competition. The camera does have a very good grip on the front to help you hold it steady when you are taking a shot. This can really help with such a long zoom lens. The body is made of plastic.
It weighs in at 340g and has dimensions of 108.5 mm x 80 mm x 84 mm.
Batteries and Memory Cards
Four AA batteries are required to provide power to the Dimage Z6. Konica Minolta estimates that up to 240 photos can be taken before the batteries will need to be changed. Although this is a high number of photos it is still likely to pay in the long-term to invest in a set of rechargeable batteries and a charger.
Images are stored on SD cards. A 16 MB card is supplied with the camera. In my tests I was able to take 15 photos before the memory card was full. Therefore it is advisable to pick up a high-capacity card to go with your camera. Click here to save money on SD cards..
Points I like:
Zoom available in movie mode
Where it is not so hot:
There are many digital cameras with long zoom lenses to choose between. In my opinion the Konica Minolta Dimage Z6 struggles to keep up with the competition. I was disappointed with the colours the camera produced and I also have concerns about the shutter lag. Therefore I would suggest looking elsewhere if this type of digital camera appeals to you.
Konica Minolta Dimage Z6 Front View
Konica Minolta Dimage Z6 Back View
Konica Minolta Dimage Z6 Top View