Editors' note: We have changed the rating for this product to reflect changes in the current market since this review was written.
One of the 4-megapixel models in Konica Minolta's line of affordable megazoom EVF cameras, the Dimage Z2 offers a 10X zoom lens, a solid feature set, and impressive video-recording capabilities. This easy-to-use camera does a good job of bridging the gap between snapshooter and advanced amateur; it performs well in fully automatic mode but offers a wide array of photographic controls. Though the Dimage Z2 lacks some advanced features, such as the ability to save raw or TIFF files, its lightweight flexibility, solid performance, and satisfying image quality make it an excellent travel companion.Reasonably lightweight and compact for a 10X zoom camera, the Konica Minolta Dimage Z2 has a distinctive look with a circular motif that adds a little space-age pizzazz to a functional design. The ergonomic grip on the silver-and-black plastic body houses four AA batteries, the weight of which serves to nicely balance the zoom lens barrel. We particularly like the power button/viewing mode dial design, which facilitates quick selection of playback, preview, or viewfinder before powering on the camera. Situated below the LCD on the rear of the camera, it remains safely out of the way during shooting. The mode dial on top of the camera is devoted, then, entirely to shooting modes, including video capture.
The responsive buttons are clearly labeled. Individual buttons are laid out in compass formation for navigating the menus and are more easily operated than rocker-switch equivalents found on some cameras. Macro and flash buttons next to the mode dial cycle through the settings in those modes. As a bonus for more-advanced users, the flash button can instead be customized to control drive mode, white balance, focus mode, or color setting. Assigning drive-mode control is particularly handy when making frequent use of the self-timer and obviates the need for scrolling through the menu before each shot. Should scrolling the menus be necessary, however, they are easily navigated and clearly labeled.The Dimage Z2's most prized feature is, of course, the one that lent its initial to the camera's name. The all-glass, apochromatic f/2.8-to-f/3.7 10X zoom lens has Konica Minolta's GT designation, reserved for the company's higher-end lenses. The 38mm-to-380mm range (35mm-camera equivalent) is well suited to performances and wildlife photography, although you may find yourself craving the optional 0.75X lens attachment for wide-angle needs. The Dimage Z2's lack of image-stabilization technology necessitates the use of a tripod or monopod if you're zoomed in and shooting under dim lighting conditions.
This Konica Minolta Dimage Z2 provides the four standard exposure modes--programmed automatic, aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual--as well as five programmed scene presets and excellent video-recording capabilities. You can shoot 30fps VGA (640x480) movies with sound for as long as your SD card capacity allows or even, impressively, SVGA (800x600) at 15fps--again, limited by only your card's capacity and write speed. Basic in-camera editing allows you to delete unwanted footage from your movies and free up space on the memory card.
The camera's Super Macro mode, though restricted to a focal length of 11.1mm, can produce sharp, detailed images of objects as close as 1.7 inches to the front of the lens. Manual focus is available, but unless you're using a tripod and measuring distances, this feature isn't all that serviceable.