Z3 - the highs and the lows - the tears and the laughter...

Started Sep 24, 2004 | Discussions thread
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ruggedtoast Junior Member • Posts: 45
Z3 - the highs and the lows - the tears and the laughter...

Since its release theres been a lot of speculation and excitement about the Konica Minolta Dimage Z3 -

Excitement - because on paper its a very capable and compact 4 megapixel camera with a great 12x zoom, a raft of features to titillate the fancy of the most picky prosumer consumer and a price tag that wont leave too big a crater in your poor old wallet at the end of the month.

Speculation - because most review sites havent tested this one yet whereas forum users have reported a somewhat mixed bag when it comes to their z3's performance and reliability.

Im not a professional and this is my first digital so I certainly cant write a review and in some instances I may well be guilty of the novices crime of being a bad workmen blaming his tools - however there are some things about my experience that I would like others thinking about buying this machine to think about before they part with their money.

I bought this camera a few days after it came out in Tokyo so I guess I was one of the first people to start using this machine. Its cost 62,000Yen including a 256k memory card.

The first couple of hundred photos had me not exactly over the moon with the camera. Daytime shots involving sky were sometimes horribly over exposed on auto mode and often beyond my abilities with photo shop to correct. Sometimes they were ok but it seemed a very hit and miss affair.


On my second or third day out with it struggling with the exposure settings it froze and crashed several times so I decided that enough was enough and took it back to the shop where they changed it straight away for a new one.

The new one came with the new firmware 1.01 - The light meter was better and it didnt over expose as much as the first one (It still in my opinion and compared to my old 35mm had an exposure problem) - nor did it crash. It did however have this problem.


Blue. Blue. Blue. It was taking every shot on sunny white balance mode with a blue tinge! I had a blue apartment, blue neighbourhood and often a blue girlfriend. By the time this fully sunk in it was a month old - yet another firmware upgrade 1.02 failed to solve the problem so I decided to forget about the shop and went to KM service in Shinjuku as I was pushed for time.

I explained to them I was leaving Japan soon and didnt have alot of time for a long service. I will give these guys 10/10 for service, they were very nice and helpful and changed the camera with many apologies for a new model straight away - they confirmed that it was defective and displayed a noticeable blue cast even on the viewfinder.

So today I have my third camera. It came with the second firmware, or was it the first - theyre all blurring into one now and ,from the few shots I had time to take today I am cautiously optimistic but to be honest by now my expectations for this model and the KM brand are not high.

As far as the camera goes, Macro and portrait modes are very pleasing, indoor shots are usually well exposed and nice - it did very well in a gloomy tokyo bar being operated by various drunken people where most cameras would produce not much really. Some of the people there went out of their way to remark how good the photos were when I emailed them. The auto focus is usually fast and accurate.

I have noticed diaginal banding in ISO 400 shots on all the cameras I have had, but in general this setting is too noisy to use anyway.

Landscape shots are nothing to write home about - maybe the bland colours, the exposure and the contrast can be corrected in P mode or in photoshop - probably but if you dont know how to do this and dont want to learn you may want to rethink this camera.

If I could go back in time knowing what would happen would I buy this camera again? Not on your life. The amount of hassle and wasted time this has caused me, not to mention unusable pictures , is not worth any camera, no matter how good the final one may be.

Would I recommend buying it if I could be sure that I was going to get a good one and not a succession of lemons? Well, - three different cameras from a company that has to release a total of three different firmwares a month after launch is enough to tell me that Konica Minolta are not a company I will be patronising again. If YOU but this camera please make sure you check everything very carefully, if you dont know what to check for then, again, newbies may want to rethink this purchase.

I hope this can be helpful to you if you are thinking of buying this camera. Happy Z3 users please dont get angry with me, I take it as read of course that there are many people who havent had problems with their camera and are pleased they got what they wanted - personally I have had a tranche of headaches from this machine and would like others to at least be aware of the pitfalls.

I am looking forward now to forgetting abour defective z3's and getting back to what I actually got the camera for - photography!

Happy Snapping -

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