12:00 PM EST: The new DiMAGE Z1 is a rather odd looking ten times optical zoom, three megapixel digital camera. The Z1 looks as though it has dropped out of a science fiction movie with its rounded body and separate hand grip. The camera is powered by four AA batteries and stores images on SD/MMC cards. It has a unique LCD monitor with a very impressive 60 frames per second refresh rate. It also provides an electronic viewfinder by blanking out the LCD and mirroring the image up through the eyepiece, this does away with needing a separate EVF LCD.

Click here for a backgrounder document produced by Minolta (PDF, 36 KB)

Minolta DiMAGE Z1 pictures

Separated at birth?

Well obviously not but we couldn't help but notice the similarity in design between the new DiMAGE Z1 and the 1968 Minolta 16 Electro-Zoom X (16 mm film camera). Only three Electro-Zoom X's were made, one of which was displayed at Photokina 1968. We can't help but think this was a smile and nod from todays designers to the designers of previous Minolta's.

2003 DiMAGE Z1 1968 Electro-Zoom X

Press Release:


The new compact 3.2 megapixel 10x Mega-zoom DiMAGE Z1 features Rapid Autofocusing, high quality images and movies, Super Macro mode, Minolta's new Progressive Capture and CXProcess II, manual focus, built-in flash and more!

New York, NY (August 7, 2003) - Minolta Corporation introduces the stylish new 3.2 megapixel DiMAGE Z1 - the first in a series of easy-to-use powerful Single Lens-Reflex (SLR)-type digital cameras. Designed around and the first digital camera to include Minolta's new built-in 10x Mega-zoom lens, the DiMAGE Z1 possess advanced technology and the world's fastest autofocusing among digital cameras with a built-in 10x or greater optical zoom.* In addition, the DiMAGE Z1 is capable of recording TV-quality 30 frames per second VGA movies.

"The new Minolta DiMAGE Z1 possesses advanced technology and powerful optics so photographers can capture the pictures they want, even high-quality VGA movies. This camera's ease-of-use makes it perfect for the soccer mom on the go and its manual operation and even histogram display appeals to the serious photographer in the family. This compact, stylish digital camera has the imaging tools needed to capture images in virtually any situation," said Jon Sienkiewicz, vice president of marketing, Minolta Corporation's Consumer Products Group. "And the DiMAGE Z1's breakthrough design and engineering reflects the sophistication and future of digital technology."

The new Minolta 10x Mega-zoom is a fast f2.8 - f3.5 lens allowing fast shutter speeds for sport 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.

Such powerful optics combined with a high-resolution 3.3 megapixel 1/2.7 interline primary-color CCD sensor requires a powerful autofocus (AF) system. The new Minolta DiMAGE Z1 employs Rapid AF to ensure sharp images with minimum delay. Rapid AF uses a passive AF sensor to instantly estimate the distance to the subject and the camera's CCD to determine the precise focus point. The CCD uses a 60 frame per second sampling rate to determine the optimum focus giving the Minolta DiMAGE Z1 the world's fastest AF among digital cameras with a built-in 10x or greater optical zoom.* CxProcess II, Minolta's new image-processing technology, is employed to bring out the best in the 3.3 megapixel 1/2.7 interline primary-color CCD.

Although the new DiMAGE Z1 uses complex AF technology, focusing the camera couldn't be easier. Simply place the subject anywhere within the focus frames and the camera will do the rest; an AF sensor is briefly displayed so the subject can be confirmed.

Minolta's new drive mode, Progressive Capture, makes sure photographers never miss a shot. When the shutter-release button is pressed and held down, Progressive Capture begins saving images in the buffer memory.

The DiMAGE Z1 is equipped with Minolta's unique Switch Finder. This unique system allows the camera's LCD monitor to be viewed directly or through the viewfinder. The Real Motion LCD monitor uses a 60 frames per second frame rate. This Real Motion frame rate brings the live image to life by the ability to show action smoothly.

Every aspect of the DiMAGE Z1's performance is pushed to the limit. Startup time is 2 seconds and shutdown time is 2.4 seconds. After focus has been locked, the shutter-release time lag is 0.06 second, comparable to a 35mm SLR film camera. The camera will be ready to capture another image in 1.2 seconds after the exposure.

Significantly smaller than a compact 35mm SLR camera with a built-in flash and zoom lens, this powerful imaging system can easily slip into a fanny pack or hip bag.

Minolta DiMAGE Z1 Specifications

Sensor 1/2.7" type CCD (3.3 million pixels total)
Effective pixels 3.2 megapixels
Image sizes • 2048 x 1536
• 1600 x 1200
• 1280 x 960 (UHS mode only)
• 640 x 480
Image quality • Fine
• Standard
• Economy
Image formats • JPEG EXIF 2.2 (Still)
• MOV Motion JPEG (Movies)
Movie clips • 640 x 480, 30/15 fps, 13/26 sec max, with audio
• 320 x 240, 30/15 fps, 21/41 sec max, with audio
• 160 x 120, 30 /15 fps, 82/150 sec max, with audio
Sensitivity • Auto
• ISO 50
• ISO 100
• ISO 200
• ISO 400
Lens • 10x optical zoom
• 38 - 380 mm equiv.
• F2.8 - F3.5
Digital zoom Up to 4.0x
Focus range (normal) • Wide: 50 cm - Infinity (1.6 ft - Infinity)
• Tele: 2 m - Infinity (6.6 ft - Infinity)
Focus range (macro) • Wide: 10 cm (3.9 in)
• Tele: 120 cm (47.2 in)
Focus range (super macro) • Fixed zoom: 4 cm (1.6 in)
Auto focus Rapid AF: Hybrid external passive and video AF
AF areas • Wide focus area
• Spot focus area with area selection
Focus modes • Single shot AF
• Full time AF
• Manual focus
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 Dark frame subtraction for long exposures (can be disabled)
Metering • 256 Multi-segment
• Center-weighted average
• Spot
Exposure modes • Program AE
• Aperture Priority
• Shutter Priority
• Manual exposure
Subject modes • Auto
• Portrait
• Sports
• Landscape
• Sunset
• Night portrait
(Automatic selection available)
Exposure compensation +/-2.0 EV in 0.3 EV steps
Exposure bracketing • Three images
• 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV steps
Flash • Manual pop-up
• Metering: Pre-flash TTL
• Range (wide): 0.2 - 6.1 m (0.8 - 20 ft) - Auto ISO
• Range (tele): 1.2 - 4.8 m (3.9 - 15.7 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)
White balance • Auto
• Sunny
• Cloudy
• Incandescent
• Fluorescent
• Flash
• Manual (Custom)
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)
• USB Direct-Print
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 1.1
• Video out
Dimensions 110 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-DG5000, Lens Cap LF-242, Accessory Shoe Cap SC-1000, AV Cable AVC-200, 16MB SD (Secure Digital) Memory Card, USB Cable USB-500, DiMAGE Viewer, ArcSoft VideoImpression CD-ROM, Four AA Alkaline batteries
Optional accessories AC Adapter AC-1L, Leather Neck Strap NS-DG1000, External High Power Battery Pack Kit EBP-100, Wide Converter Kit ZCW-100