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

Started Sep 24, 2004 | Discussions
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.

http://www.pbase.com/ruggedtoast/first_z3

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.

http://www.pbase.com/ruggedtoast/z3

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 -

KueH
KueH Regular Member • Posts: 259
Re: Z3 - the highs and the lows - the tears and the laughter...

No worries. My camera is okay, but yes, the noise level at even ISO 200 can be a little high.

ATWTUT Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: Z3 - the highs and the lows - the tears and the laughter...

As you said it is your first digital camera.

Two firmware releases for the Z3. Go over to Canon and Nikon and have a look. This is the digital world, you won't find any less releases for DSLR or SLR-type cameras. Some have had six firmware releases !

As you say yourself, "struggling" with the exposure settings. This, together with "compared to my old 35mm camera", shows that you are still struggling to make the switch from film to digital. A digital camera will not behave like a film camera, period. Either you make that mental switch and do not try to have your camera expose in the same way as your 35mm camera, or you'll be on your 5th Z3 by year end.

I have read most of your previous posts and while it is totally unarguable that you had a bad first camera, most of the rest of your posts has always felt, in my opinion, that, aside from the well-known but now cured clock, banding, and occasional freeze problems, that the exposure problems and blues in your pictures were down to the end-user, you. I have seen many make recommendations to you but some of the crucial ones you still have not tried.

If you are still disatisfied with what the camera actually does, there are two things you should do and which have been suggested to you on this forum by others : one is to reset the camera to factory defaults and play with it, understanding what "digital photography" means, and only changing one setting at a time, painstakingly experimenting till you have a camera configured for YOUR liking and till you fully understand FOR YOURSELF how each setting affects the camera's results. Only change settings one at a time, experiment, go back and change again.

The other suggestion someone made to you was for you to read the DPREVIEW FAQs which are EXTREMELY informative.

Above all, do not compare your digital camera to your old 35mm film camera - it is a different world.

ATWTUT

ruggedtoast wrote:

....................................................
....................................................
....................................................
....................................................
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.

....................................................
....................................................

OP ruggedtoast Junior Member • Posts: 45
Re: Z3 - the highs and the lows - the tears and the laughter...

Fair enough, but the second camera was checked by the KM repair center and they clearly told me it was defective and needed to be adjusted. They gave me a new one because Im leaving Japan before theyd be able to get it back from the factory in China.

Im also not saying that the camera cannot take good pictures, but as a novice I can only make a value judgement based on the cameras auto mode in comparison to my old OLY 35mm's auto shots - you can see what the 2 cams I had turned out from my pbase samples, if you think these are alright then ok I wont argue but these problems may not be what a lot of newbies like myself expected from a change to digital.

ATWTUT wrote:
As you said it is your first digital camera.

Two firmware releases for the Z3. Go over to Canon and Nikon and
have a look. This is the digital world, you won't find any less
releases for DSLR or SLR-type cameras. Some have had six firmware
releases !

As you say yourself, "struggling" with the exposure settings.
This, together with "compared to my old 35mm camera", shows that
you are still struggling to make the switch from film to digital.
A digital camera will not behave like a film camera, period.
Either you make that mental switch and do not try to have your
camera expose in the same way as your 35mm camera, or you'll be on
your 5th Z3 by year end.

I have read most of your previous posts and while it is totally
unarguable that you had a bad first camera, most of the rest of
your posts has always felt, in my opinion, that, aside from the
well-known but now cured clock, banding, and occasional freeze
problems, that the exposure problems and blues in your pictures
were down to the end-user, you. I have seen many make
recommendations to you but some of the crucial ones you still have
not tried.

If you are still disatisfied with what the camera actually does,
there are two things you should do and which have been suggested to
you on this forum by others : one is to reset the camera to
factory defaults and play with it, understanding what "digital
photography" means, and only changing one setting at a time,
painstakingly experimenting till you have a camera configured for
YOUR liking and till you fully understand FOR YOURSELF how each
setting affects the camera's results. Only change settings one at
a time, experiment, go back and change again.

The other suggestion someone made to you was for you to read the
DPREVIEW FAQs which are EXTREMELY informative.

Above all, do not compare your digital camera to your old 35mm film
camera - it is a different world.

ATWTUT

ruggedtoast wrote:

....................................................
....................................................
....................................................
....................................................
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.

....................................................
....................................................

RebelAnt Forum Member • Posts: 71
Re: Z3 - the highs and the lows - the tears and the laughter...

Slight hijacking of thread... sorry

I just bought the z3 despite the various things I'd read, and it turned up today.

Ok, it all seems great, although I've realised that I'm such a novice that I've really I can't really give much of a view on its image quality.

However... I'm a bit concerned over the the sounds that come from the camera (yes I've turned off the various audio). When I zoom, if I do it in little bursts, its fairly quiet, but if I do a longer zoom, when I leave go theres a distinctive clicking noise which I'm sure would turn up on any movie recordings. This seems to be related to the image / focus / something changing, but having put it in manual mode with everything off auto, it still does it. Anybody else get this noise ?

Cheers
Aaron.

ruggedtoast wrote:
Fair enough, but the second camera was checked by the KM repair
center and they clearly told me it was defective and needed to be
adjusted. They gave me a new one because Im leaving Japan before
theyd be able to get it back from the factory in China.

Im also not saying that the camera cannot take good pictures, but
as a novice I can only make a value judgement based on the cameras
auto mode in comparison to my old OLY 35mm's auto shots - you can
see what the 2 cams I had turned out from my pbase samples, if you
think these are alright then ok I wont argue but these problems may
not be what a lot of newbies like myself expected from a change to
digital.

ATWTUT wrote:
As you said it is your first digital camera.

Two firmware releases for the Z3. Go over to Canon and Nikon and
have a look. This is the digital world, you won't find any less
releases for DSLR or SLR-type cameras. Some have had six firmware
releases !

As you say yourself, "struggling" with the exposure settings.
This, together with "compared to my old 35mm camera", shows that
you are still struggling to make the switch from film to digital.
A digital camera will not behave like a film camera, period.
Either you make that mental switch and do not try to have your
camera expose in the same way as your 35mm camera, or you'll be on
your 5th Z3 by year end.

I have read most of your previous posts and while it is totally
unarguable that you had a bad first camera, most of the rest of
your posts has always felt, in my opinion, that, aside from the
well-known but now cured clock, banding, and occasional freeze
problems, that the exposure problems and blues in your pictures
were down to the end-user, you. I have seen many make
recommendations to you but some of the crucial ones you still have
not tried.

If you are still disatisfied with what the camera actually does,
there are two things you should do and which have been suggested to
you on this forum by others : one is to reset the camera to
factory defaults and play with it, understanding what "digital
photography" means, and only changing one setting at a time,
painstakingly experimenting till you have a camera configured for
YOUR liking and till you fully understand FOR YOURSELF how each
setting affects the camera's results. Only change settings one at
a time, experiment, go back and change again.

The other suggestion someone made to you was for you to read the
DPREVIEW FAQs which are EXTREMELY informative.

Above all, do not compare your digital camera to your old 35mm film
camera - it is a different world.

ATWTUT

ruggedtoast wrote:

....................................................
....................................................
....................................................
....................................................
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.

....................................................
....................................................

Microsaft_com Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Z3 Bliss

The instructions manual state that noise from the zoom may be heard.

Itis muffeled... not silent. And while shooting movies, the zoom goes into the silent mode. Very handy. Test your cam with 1000 shots. It is funny.
Did you get the firmware 1.02 preinstalled?
If not download here http://www.microsaft.com/z3/

For the best results, shoot in P mode, at Iso 50, single focus, spot metering, and anti shake for exp. only

For flowers, use bracketing which gives you three exposure settings.

The movie mode really need to be set as single focus.
It works fine.

I have 600 photos to be sorted for another gallery.
Beautiful day here.
F

However... I'm a bit concerned over the the sounds that come from
the camera (yes I've turned off the various audio). When I zoom, if
I do it in little bursts, its fairly quiet, but if I do a longer
zoom, when I leave go theres a distinctive clicking noise which I'm
sure would turn up on any movie recordings. This seems to be
related to the image / focus / something changing, but having put
it in manual mode with everything off auto, it still does it.
Anybody else get this noise ?

Cheers
Aaron.

!Blob! Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Z3 Bliss

Microsaft_com wrote:

For the best results, shoot in P mode, at Iso 50, single focus,
spot metering, and anti shake for exp. only

I don't understand why shooting in P mode & anti-shake for exposure only will give best results. Sometimes exposure compensation isn't enough, then you can set everything up in M mode. Anti-shake for display & exposure drains the batteries more, but nothing else. Or am I wrong?

I've also found that in low-light it's easier to focus with center-weighted metering. But it can be only my imagination/coincidence...

RebelAnt Forum Member • Posts: 71
Re: Z3 Bliss

Thanks, useful reply - I hadn't noticed the quiet zoom in movie mode, but it is better. There is still quite a lot of sound though. Having looked in a mirror while zooming, I can see that when the noise occurs, something is happening 'in the lense' - this 'could' be the aperture closing down - almost as if it has stayed open until the zoom finishes, then it closes and produces a noise.
Does this happen on yours ?

I've seen a video from someone else on steve-digicams forums, and their's seemed to make more noise in the zoom itself, but it also has the distinctive clicking noise (someone said it was the clock ?).

Ps. have got 1.02e installed. Did have a lock up (screen got all sorts of moving inteference) but on/off fixed it.
Cheers
Aaron.

Microsaft_com wrote:
The instructions manual state that noise from the zoom may be heard.
Itis muffeled... not silent. And while shooting movies, the zoom
goes into the silent mode. Very handy. Test your cam with 1000
shots. It is funny.
Did you get the firmware 1.02 preinstalled?
If not download here http://www.microsaft.com/z3/

For the best results, shoot in P mode, at Iso 50, single focus,
spot metering, and anti shake for exp. only

For flowers, use bracketing which gives you three exposure settings.

The movie mode really need to be set as single focus.
It works fine.

I have 600 photos to be sorted for another gallery.
Beautiful day here.
F

However... I'm a bit concerned over the the sounds that come from
the camera (yes I've turned off the various audio). When I zoom, if
I do it in little bursts, its fairly quiet, but if I do a longer
zoom, when I leave go theres a distinctive clicking noise which I'm
sure would turn up on any movie recordings. This seems to be
related to the image / focus / something changing, but having put
it in manual mode with everything off auto, it still does it.
Anybody else get this noise ?

Cheers
Aaron.

Plantzzman Junior Member • Posts: 30
Re: Z3 - the highs and the lows - the tears and the laughter...

RebelAnt Iam much like you in that I am also a novice. Heck I dont have the first idea on how to set it up-just got through the manual and it might as well have had sections written in swahili for what use it was to me.

On the subject of noises you hear and your concerns regarding movie mode my experience with my Z3 is to get movies with only the sound you want it seemed I had to switch off anti shake and set the camera to single af as without doing so the camera picks up noise of the focusing etc which while only small once on the movie they are in my view far to annoying. Having done that everything seemed ok.

RebelAnt wrote:
Slight hijacking of thread... sorry
I just bought the z3 despite the various things I'd read, and it
turned up today.
Ok, it all seems great, although I've realised that I'm such a
novice that I've really I can't really give much of a view on its
image quality.

However... I'm a bit concerned over the the sounds that come from
the camera (yes I've turned off the various audio). When I zoom, if
I do it in little bursts, its fairly quiet, but if I do a longer
zoom, when I leave go theres a distinctive clicking noise which I'm
sure would turn up on any movie recordings. This seems to be
related to the image / focus / something changing, but having put
it in manual mode with everything off auto, it still does it.
Anybody else get this noise ?

Cheers
Aaron.

ruggedtoast wrote:
Fair enough, but the second camera was checked by the KM repair
center and they clearly told me it was defective and needed to be
adjusted. They gave me a new one because Im leaving Japan before
theyd be able to get it back from the factory in China.

Im also not saying that the camera cannot take good pictures, but
as a novice I can only make a value judgement based on the cameras
auto mode in comparison to my old OLY 35mm's auto shots - you can
see what the 2 cams I had turned out from my pbase samples, if you
think these are alright then ok I wont argue but these problems may
not be what a lot of newbies like myself expected from a change to
digital.

ATWTUT wrote:
As you said it is your first digital camera.

Two firmware releases for the Z3. Go over to Canon and Nikon and
have a look. This is the digital world, you won't find any less
releases for DSLR or SLR-type cameras. Some have had six firmware
releases !

As you say yourself, "struggling" with the exposure settings.
This, together with "compared to my old 35mm camera", shows that
you are still struggling to make the switch from film to digital.
A digital camera will not behave like a film camera, period.
Either you make that mental switch and do not try to have your
camera expose in the same way as your 35mm camera, or you'll be on
your 5th Z3 by year end.

I have read most of your previous posts and while it is totally
unarguable that you had a bad first camera, most of the rest of
your posts has always felt, in my opinion, that, aside from the
well-known but now cured clock, banding, and occasional freeze
problems, that the exposure problems and blues in your pictures
were down to the end-user, you. I have seen many make
recommendations to you but some of the crucial ones you still have
not tried.

If you are still disatisfied with what the camera actually does,
there are two things you should do and which have been suggested to
you on this forum by others : one is to reset the camera to
factory defaults and play with it, understanding what "digital
photography" means, and only changing one setting at a time,
painstakingly experimenting till you have a camera configured for
YOUR liking and till you fully understand FOR YOURSELF how each
setting affects the camera's results. Only change settings one at
a time, experiment, go back and change again.

The other suggestion someone made to you was for you to read the
DPREVIEW FAQs which are EXTREMELY informative.

Above all, do not compare your digital camera to your old 35mm film
camera - it is a different world.

ATWTUT

ruggedtoast wrote:

....................................................
....................................................
....................................................
....................................................
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.

....................................................
....................................................

-- hide signature --

If life really is like a box of chocolates why is my box full of hard nutty ones?

Remember Only losers give up.

ATWTUT Forum Member • Posts: 68
Re: Z3 Bliss

Hi Blob,

You may be both right.

I am like you, P mode, Center weighted, anti-shake at all times as I believe that, FOR ME, it enables me to do better and faster composition at the 420mm range of the zoom. I use ISO 50 only in excellent light conditions. Any other times, ISO 100 which enables me to capture any candid shot I might need to take ultra quickly.

But Microsaft is very prolific in terms of pictures, he also has a high percentage of macro shots (beautiful ones, I might add), and for prolific shooting or macro it is recommended to have Anti-Shake OFF for a variety of reasons ranging from contribution to heat, to extra noise at high ISO in low light.

Metering is a different issue and is a definite "photography" issue rather than a "technical" one. In my opinion center weighted is the best compromise for all-round photography which includes any mixture of lighting and where you cannot be bothered messing with the metering mode constantly (in passing, a tip to RuggedToast who started this now hijacked thread : if you have not already done so, you may want to try Center Weighted to deal with your overexposure complaints). That said, if you photograph subjects which give you time to take the shot, or if you want specific effects in very contrasted lighting conditions, then spot metering is often the way.

Hope this helps.

ATWTUT

!Blob! wrote:

Microsaft_com wrote:

For the best results, shoot in P mode, at Iso 50, single focus,
spot metering, and anti shake for exp. only

I don't understand why shooting in P mode & anti-shake for exposure
only will give best results. Sometimes exposure compensation isn't
enough, then you can set everything up in M mode. Anti-shake for
display & exposure drains the batteries more, but nothing else. Or
am I wrong?

I've also found that in low-light it's easier to focus with
center-weighted metering. But it can be only my
imagination/coincidence...

Microsaft_com Contributing Member • Posts: 846
Re: Z3 Bliss

True some of those tips were for battery life...
I am just sharing my default settings for all those who are
new to the cam. They are good settings worth trying.

F

I don't understand why shooting in P mode & anti-shake for exposure
only will give best results. Sometimes exposure compensation isn't
enough, then you can set everything up in M mode. Anti-shake for
display & exposure drains the batteries more, but nothing else. Or
am I wrong?

I've also found that in low-light it's easier to focus with
center-weighted metering. But it can be only my
imagination/coincidence...

!Blob! Junior Member • Posts: 25
Re: Z3 Bliss

ATWTUT wrote:

I am like you, P mode, Center weighted, anti-shake at all times as
I believe that, FOR ME, it enables me to do better and faster
composition at the 420mm range of the zoom. I use ISO 50 only in
excellent light conditions. Any other times, ISO 100 which enables
me to capture any candid shot I might need to take ultra quickly.

I'm rather P/M mode (rarely S), and I use standard multi-segment metering, or whatever it's name. ISO50 all times. For me it's ok, as I found higher ISO to be too noisy.

But here it comes - next weeks 'convent' (RPG, fantasy, s-f and so on event), when I'll be shooting in extremly bad light conditions (99% of convents are in shools, but this one takes place in old fort with walls 3 meters or so wide and bad lightening). I don't wan't to go above 100, but what else can I do... I don't own any strong flash.

In my opinion center
weighted is the best compromise for all-round photography which
includes any mixture of lighting and where you cannot be bothered
messing with the metering mode constantly

Yeah, Z3 certainly lacks few customizeable buttons. I think the problem is only choosing best metering mode for low-light, becouse there's no problem with focusing in good conditions.

(in passing, a tip to
RuggedToast who started this now hijacked thread : if you have not
already done so, you may want to try Center Weighted to deal with
your overexposure complaints).

Overexposure problems were solved by 1.02 firmware. And before that update I used M mode or exposure compensation to correct it. It wasn't a big deal.

Clive Egginton Junior Member • Posts: 47
Re: Z3 - the highs and the lows - the tears and the laughter...

I have a feeling that the 'ticks' in video mode come from the auto-exposure system openining and closing the aperture - could be wrong though.

Panasonic suggest that their image stabilization system in the FZ10 performs better in 'exposure only' mode. I guess it's because there will always be some shift possible from centre (at the moment the shutter is released) to an offset position(as you shake during the exposure) whereas if the AS/IS is engaged all the time, the shutter may be released when the system is already at the extreme of range, alowing no further movement in that direction.

Now, what's the cause of the purple flaring in my video mode?

Clive

WildSammy Senior Member • Posts: 1,070
Re: Z3 - the highs and the lows & Z3 Bliss..

Yes.. I'm also hearing that "clicking" sound and I don't know if it is correct or not? Sound apears to come from objective and I also hear "tweety" highrange sound from somewhere between flash and display. Did hear anyone this sound to? Camera seems to be working fine. I'm only confused with higher "F" nubmers when I'm zooming as so as with long exposure (about 1" to 4" in "P" mode) in dim light and low-ligh / night party light conditions. I had before Olympus C-725 and they have "brigter" objective, but have often problems with focusing at dim and low and haven't stabilization for longer exposures without flash. Images from Olympus were more clearer and shraper as from Minolta, but Minolta focuses better and have better performance then Olympus C-725.

So have anyone hearing that 'tweety" noise from place around the flash and also that clicking before camera focuses? Is this normal or not?

Thanks.

 WildSammy's gear list:WildSammy's gear list
Panasonic Lumix DMC-LZ8 Nikon D40 Nikon D700 Nikon Df Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G II +8 more
Nols Senior Member • Posts: 2,997
Charge to experience!

Sorry to hear about your histrory with the Z3. Never had any problems with mine except for the occassional lockup and quircky white balance. I bought the Z3 precisely because of the manual shoot mode option and have never thus far shot in auto or any of the preset scene modes. If I wanted semi-auto, I'll just use P-mode.

Like any digiciam, the Z3 has it's own "performance envelope". I guess you just have to learn how to work within it's limitations. It's still has the best bang for buck for a 4mp camera IMO.

I've since outgrown the Z3 and moved up to a Pentax *istDs but I still make use of the Z3 for macros and moon pics.

Nols

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