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Conclusion - Pros

  • Good result in the resolution test
  • Excellent handling and operation
  • Very fast and responsive in use
  • Very fast focus - and generally very accurate too
  • Generally good color, good white balance in daylight (though see cons, below)
  • Excellent range of controls
  • Nice screen and useable 'switch' viewfinder
  • Excellent flash range and performance
  • Very low distortion and good edge-to-edge sharpness
  • Very low chromatic aberration and little purple fringing
  • Clear, fast and easy to use menu system
  • Superb battery life - even with alkalines
  • Excellent Super Macro mode
  • Class-leading movie performance
  • Clean, low-noise images at ISO 50 and 100
  • External flash and wide adapter lens options
  • Excellent value for money

Conclusion - Cons

  • Images look a bit soft, need sharpening in post-processing
  • Images can be over-contrasty - losing highlight/shadow detail in bright conditions
  • Occasional mild color casts
  • Occasional overexposure (and more rarely, underexposure)
  • Visible noise at high ISO's
  • No image stabilization, camera shake ever present danger at long end of zoom
  • No AF illuminator
  • Some focus problems in low light at the tele end of the zoom

Overall conclusion

Fast, fun, and easy to use, the Konica Minolta Z2 offers a compelling combination of features (including some pretty meaty movie capabilities) and image quality at an excellent price. The camera's 'hit rate' is very high, with the only problems being the occasional exposure problem and the ever-present danger of camera shake when shooting at the long end of the zoom in all but the brightest lighting. You need to play around a little with the in-camera settings, and to get the best possible results be prepared to do a little post-processing (the 'auto fix' button in most image editing applications is usually more than enough), but at least you're working with clean, high resolution raw materials in the first place. Just avoid the higher ISO settings if at all possible.

If you want a real 'swiss army knife' of a camera, don't intend to do a lot of prints over 8x10 inches, and have a steady enough hand to live without image stabilization, the Z2 offers one of the best price/performance ratios on the market today, and does so in a rewarding, easy to use and highly capable package. Excellent.

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