PMA 2004: In the second of three announcements, Konica Minolta have revealed a new version of the slightly odd looking DiMAGE Z1, the four megapixel, ten times optical zoom DiMAGE Z2 (it still looks a bit Buck Rogers to me.) The DiMAGE Z2 squeezes its four megapixels out of a tiny 1/2.5" CCD, has a brand new ten times optical zoom lens (38 - 380 mm equiv.), predictive focus control and streaming SVGA or VGA movies with audio. The only thing I feel this camera lacks is Image Stabilization.

Phil: Apologies but at this time we only have this one image of the DiMAGE Z2, as soon as we can get our hands on a camera or some new images we'll post them here.

Press Release:

KONICA MINOLTA INTRODUCES HIGH PERFORMANCE
4 MEGAPIXEL DIGITAL CAMERA

The stylish new easy-to-use DiMAGE Z2 features a 10x optical Mega-zoom GT lens, Rapid Autofocusing, Predictive Focus Control, VGA quality movies and more!

Las Vegas, NV (February 12, 2004) - Konica Minolta introduces the stylish new DiMAGE Z2 - appealing to photographers - from soccer moms to serious wildlife photographers - who appreciate high-quality high-resolution digital photography. The new DiMAGE Z2 boasts the Rapid autofocusing (AF) and high-quality VGA/SVGA movie functionality of its predecessor while raising the bar with the adoption of a Konica Minolta GT 10x optical zoom lens and 4-megapixel resolution, allowing the camera to deliver crisp clear pictures.

The new DiMAGE Z2 even offers a Super Macro Mode, Konica Minolta's Progressive Capture and CxProcess II, plus manual focus and built-in flash. In addition, a Predictive Focus Control function increases the speed of the camera's AF function, making it perfect for use during sporting events or any moving subject.

"The new DiMAGE Z2 possesses advanced technology and powerful optics so photographers can capture the pictures they want, even high-quality VGA movies. This compact, stylish digital camera is the ideal imaging tool for photographers who need to capture images in virtually any situation," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Konica Minolta's Camera Division. "The DiMAGE Z2's ease of operation makes it simple for photographers of all levels to record precious photographic moments. And, with its 4-megapixel resolution, the DiMAGE Z2 appeals to photographers that appreciate high-quality high-resolution digital photography."

The new DiMAGE Z2 is the first Konica Minolta digital camera to be equipped with the new Mega-zoom featuring the all-glass apochromatic (APO) lens. The camera's new 10x Mega-zoom is a fast f2.8 - f3.5 lens allowing fast shutter speeds for sports or natural-light photography. With a focal range of 5.8mm to 58mm, it is equivalent to a 38 - 380mm 35mm camera lens. When combined with the seamless 4x digital zoom, it has an amazing 40x zoom range, equivalent to a 38 - 1520mm lens. To extend the versatility of the powerful 10x Mega-zoom, an optional 0.75x wide-converter is available. And close-up photography is possible with just the press of a button. The camera's Super Macro mode lets photographers focus down to 1.6 inches from the front of the lens.

The DiMAGE Z2 can record high-quality 30 frames per second VGA (640 x 480) movies - as clear and as smooth as the moving image on a television. Also available is the world's first 15 frames per second SVGA (800 x 600) movie option. Viewed on a PC the SVGA movie delivers approximately 6.3 more pixels than the standard QVGA (320 x 240) format. And users can keep recording until the memory card is full.*
*On rare occasions, the memory card may not record to full capacity due to its writing speed.

The camera's Predictive Focus Control keeps a clear focus on fast-moving subjects until the photographer is ready to shoot. It calculates exactly where a moving subject is going to be at the moment of shutter-release, and makes certain that the focus is razor sharp.

In addition, the DiMAGE Z2 employs Rapid AF, the only camera in its class*, to ensure sharp images with minimum delay. The DiMAGE Z2's powerful optics and high-resolution, 4-megapixel 1/2.5 interline primary-color CCD requires a powerful AF system.

The DiMAGE Z2 also features a quick start up time, fast-reacting LCD display, Rapid AF, minimal release time lag, super-fast continuous advance and quick playback.

* The DiMAGE Z2 is the only camera featuring Rapid AF with Predictive Focus Control among digital cameras with a built-in zoom lens with 10x or more optical zoom, as of January 1, 2004.

Minolta DiMAGE Z2 Specifications

Sensor • 1/2.5" Type CCD
• 4.0 million effective pixels
Image sizes • 2272 x 1704
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960 (UHS mode only)
• 640 x 480
File formats • JPEG (EXIF 2.2)
• MOV (Motion JPEG)
Quality levels • Fine
• Standard
• Economy
Movie clips • 800 x 600, 15 fps
• 640 x 480, 15 / 30 fps
• 320 x 240, 15 / 30 fps
• 160 x 120, 15 / 30 fps
• Normal / Night Movie / Movie frame capture / Movie clip capture
• Limited only by storage (streaming)
• With audio
Lens • 10x optical zoom
• 38 - 380 mm equiv.
• F2.8 - F3.7
Digital zoom Up to 4x
Auto focus • Rapid AF: Hybrid external passive and Video TTL
• 3 Point Wide area / Spot focus area
Focus modes • Single
• Continuous with predictive focus control
• Full-time AF
• Manual focus
AF assist beam Unknown
Focus range • Normal: W 0.5 m - Infinity, T 2 m - Infinity
• Macro: W 7 - 14 cm, T 100 - 107 cm
• Super macro: 3 - 10 cm
Shooting modes • Auto
• Program AE
• Aperture Priority
• Shutter Priority
• Manual exposure
• Scene modes
Scene modes • Portrait
• Sports
• Landscape
• Sunset
• Night portrait
Metering • 256 Multi-segment
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
Sensitivity equiv. • Auto
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Exposure compen. • -2.0 to +2.0 EV
• 0.3 EV steps
Exposure bracketing • Three images
• 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV steps
Shutter speed • Program AE/Aperture Priority: 4 - 1/1000 sec
• Shutter Priority/Manual exposure: 15 - 1/1000 sec + Bulb (30 sec)
• Auto/Scene: 2 - 1/1000 sec
Noise reduction User controllable
White balance • Auto
• Sunny
• Cloudy
• Incandescent
• Fluorescent
• Flash
• Custom
Image parameters • Contrast (Low, Normal, High)
• Sharpness (Low, Normal, High)
• Color (Natural, Vivid, B&W, Sepia)
Self-timer 10 sec
Flash • Manual pop-up
• Metering: Pre-flash TTL
• Range (wide): 0.2 - 6.1 m (0.8 - 20 ft) - Auto ISO
• Range (tele): 1.3 - 4.8 m (4.1 - 15 ft) - Auto ISO
• Modes: Auto, Auto with red-eye reduction, Fill, Slow sync
• Compensation: +/- 2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
External flash • Accessory shoe
• Auto-flash metering with Program/Maxxum Flash 2500 (D), Program/Maxxum 3600HS (D), Program/Maxxum Flash 5600HS (D)
Flash sync All shutter speeds
Continuous drive • Standard: 1.5 fps (up to 6 frames)
• UHS progressive drive (1280 x 960): 10 fps (up to 10 frames)
Image parameters • Contrast: 3 evels
• Sharpness: 3 levels
• Saturation: 3 levels
Color modes • Natural color
• Vivid color
• B&W
• Sepia
Print compliance • Print Image Matching II
• Exif Print (EXIF 2.2)
• PictBridge
Direct print PictBridge compatible printers
Viewfinder • Reflected LCD image
• 98% frame coverage
LCD monitor • 1.5" TFT LCD
• 113,000 pixels
• 100% frame coverage
Storage • SD / MMC card
• 16 MB SD card supplied
Power 4 x AA batteries (NiMH recommended)
Connectivity • USB 2.0 (full speed)
• A/V out
Dimensions 109 x 78 x 80 mm (4.3 x 3.1 x 3.2 in)
Weight (no batt) 305 g (10.8 oz)
Weight (with batt) 411 g (14.5 oz)
Standard accessories Neck Strap NS-DG6000, Lens Cap LF-242A, Accessory Shoe Cap SC-1000, AV Cable AVC-400, 16MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card, USB Cable USB-500, DiMAGE Viewer, ArcSoft VideoImpression 2 CD-ROM (for windows only), Four AA Alkaline batteries