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minolta dimage z1 Build quality??

 
 
andy
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-30-2003
On Paper the new Minolta Dimage z1 is great, but when I went in the
shop to buy one, I was really put off. The lense assembly rattled
audibly when I picked it up, The viewfinder is switched by a
mechanical shutter and instead of the screen being recessed slightly,
the whole back of the camera is a smooth glass sheet.

Surely a rattly lense will give bad focus, the glass back will get
scratched and dirty and the mechanical switch will jam.

It felt like the whole left side of the camera was glass and fragile
and I hardly knew how to hold it!

But its still a very high spec camera at a very low price.

Anyone had the same thoughts? Anyone had one a while? are they
reliable?
 
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NJH
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Posts: n/a
 
      10-30-2003

"andy" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> On Paper the new Minolta Dimage z1 is great, but when I went in the
> shop to buy one, I was really put off. The lense assembly rattled
> audibly when I picked it up, The viewfinder is switched by a
> mechanical shutter and instead of the screen being recessed slightly,
> the whole back of the camera is a smooth glass sheet.
>
> Surely a rattly lense will give bad focus, the glass back will get
> scratched and dirty and the mechanical switch will jam.
>
> It felt like the whole left side of the camera was glass and fragile
> and I hardly knew how to hold it!
>
> But its still a very high spec camera at a very low price.
>
> Anyone had the same thoughts? Anyone had one a while? are they
> reliable?


I had one for a very short time--a couple of days, and that long only
because I couldn't get to the UPS drop-off center to ship it back any
earlier.

When I received the camera and was taking it out of the package, I wondered
what was making that clunking sound inside the box. Yep, it was the lens
barrel. Now I am not put off by a reasonable amount of looseness--my old
Olympus C-2040 has obvious looseness in the lens barrel too, as do other
Olympus models I've handled--but it really does seem excessive in the Z1.

I hate to say this because I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Minolta fan; I have
several first-rate Minolta DiMAGE cameras including the 7i, 7Hi, F300 and Xt
and I love them all. But this Z1 really does seem to be cheesy in
construction. I wondered how they could sell a camera with those specs and
features at such a low price, and I guess that's the answer. The camera is
just not the usual Minolta quality or anything remotely like it.

It was not the loose lens barrel that made me send it back. It was the fact
that the camera jammed within two hours of my taking it out of the box. That
ingenious moving mirror that switches the LCD image from the rear glass
panel to the viewfinder apparently got stuck (what looked like the edge of
the mirror could be seen pressed against the glass about 1/3 of the way up),
and it was impossible to return the image to the panel though it still
showed perfectly in the viewfinder.

I tried switching the camera on and off, moving the switch lever back and
forth etc. but nothing worked. I called Minolta at the supplied 800 number
and quickly got a rep who was very pleasant, tried to be helpful, and who
decided after discussion that the camera would have to be sent back for
repair, and Minolta promptly e-mailed me the necessary form. But I'd already
decided by that time I didn't want any more of the Z1.

My guess is that the lateral lens looseness, though disturbing, probably
does not really cause any problems with image sharpness. Since others have
reported the same looseness, this is likely something designed into the
camera, or within the design tolerances anyway. It may well be the case that
my experience with the mirror jamming was unique. But the camera just seems
to be not up to Minolta's usual build quality in general.

Neil


 
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andynews@stygian.demon.co.uk
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      10-30-2003
On Thu, 30 Oct 2003 14:55:15 GMT, "NJH" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
thanks for that,
I've found some other user reviews too, yes the lense rattles but
doesn't seem to affect pictures.
The glass back is OK apparently - easy to clean someone said.

but lots of sticking shutters on that viewfinder - total killer.

cheers

>
>"andy" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
>news:(E-Mail Removed). com...
>> On Paper the new Minolta Dimage z1 is great, but when I went in the
>> shop to buy one, I was really put off. The lense assembly rattled
>> audibly when I picked it up, The viewfinder is switched by a
>> mechanical shutter and instead of the screen being recessed slightly,
>> the whole back of the camera is a smooth glass sheet.
>>
>> Surely a rattly lense will give bad focus, the glass back will get
>> scratched and dirty and the mechanical switch will jam.
>>
>> It felt like the whole left side of the camera was glass and fragile
>> and I hardly knew how to hold it!
>>
>> But its still a very high spec camera at a very low price.
>>
>> Anyone had the same thoughts? Anyone had one a while? are they
>> reliable?

>
>I had one for a very short time--a couple of days, and that long only
>because I couldn't get to the UPS drop-off center to ship it back any
>earlier.
>
>When I received the camera and was taking it out of the package, I wondered
>what was making that clunking sound inside the box. Yep, it was the lens
>barrel. Now I am not put off by a reasonable amount of looseness--my old
>Olympus C-2040 has obvious looseness in the lens barrel too, as do other
>Olympus models I've handled--but it really does seem excessive in the Z1.
>
>I hate to say this because I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Minolta fan; I have
>several first-rate Minolta DiMAGE cameras including the 7i, 7Hi, F300 and Xt
>and I love them all. But this Z1 really does seem to be cheesy in
>construction. I wondered how they could sell a camera with those specs and
>features at such a low price, and I guess that's the answer. The camera is
>just not the usual Minolta quality or anything remotely like it.
>
>It was not the loose lens barrel that made me send it back. It was the fact
>that the camera jammed within two hours of my taking it out of the box. That
>ingenious moving mirror that switches the LCD image from the rear glass
>panel to the viewfinder apparently got stuck (what looked like the edge of
>the mirror could be seen pressed against the glass about 1/3 of the way up),
>and it was impossible to return the image to the panel though it still
>showed perfectly in the viewfinder.
>
>I tried switching the camera on and off, moving the switch lever back and
>forth etc. but nothing worked. I called Minolta at the supplied 800 number
>and quickly got a rep who was very pleasant, tried to be helpful, and who
>decided after discussion that the camera would have to be sent back for
>repair, and Minolta promptly e-mailed me the necessary form. But I'd already
>decided by that time I didn't want any more of the Z1.
>
>My guess is that the lateral lens looseness, though disturbing, probably
>does not really cause any problems with image sharpness. Since others have
>reported the same looseness, this is likely something designed into the
>camera, or within the design tolerances anyway. It may well be the case that
>my experience with the mirror jamming was unique. But the camera just seems
>to be not up to Minolta's usual build quality in general.
>
>Neil
>


 
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Andrew
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      11-20-2003
I just obtained a dimage Z1, and I have to say so far I love it,
except the stupid mirror. Like the previous poster, my mirror now
refuses to transfer back to the large back screen. However, I believe
this might occur when the camera is low on power, and it will be fine
when the batteries are replaced. I will test this idea out and get
back to the group.

Otherwise, the 10x optical zoom, though it does rattle slightly, gives
beautiful pictures. The ease of use, the quick start up and quick
processive picture taking is lovely. I do wish I could store some RAW
or TIFF format pictures, but you can have everything. I'm happy
overall.



"NJH" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message news:<nD9ob.22030$(E-Mail Removed) .com>...
> "andy" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> > On Paper the new Minolta Dimage z1 is great, but when I went in the
> > shop to buy one, I was really put off. The lense assembly rattled
> > audibly when I picked it up, The viewfinder is switched by a
> > mechanical shutter and instead of the screen being recessed slightly,
> > the whole back of the camera is a smooth glass sheet.
> >
> > Surely a rattly lense will give bad focus, the glass back will get
> > scratched and dirty and the mechanical switch will jam.
> >
> > It felt like the whole left side of the camera was glass and fragile
> > and I hardly knew how to hold it!
> >
> > But its still a very high spec camera at a very low price.
> >
> > Anyone had the same thoughts? Anyone had one a while? are they
> > reliable?

>
> I had one for a very short time--a couple of days, and that long only
> because I couldn't get to the UPS drop-off center to ship it back any
> earlier.
>
> When I received the camera and was taking it out of the package, I wondered
> what was making that clunking sound inside the box. Yep, it was the lens
> barrel. Now I am not put off by a reasonable amount of looseness--my old
> Olympus C-2040 has obvious looseness in the lens barrel too, as do other
> Olympus models I've handled--but it really does seem excessive in the Z1.
>
> I hate to say this because I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Minolta fan; I have
> several first-rate Minolta DiMAGE cameras including the 7i, 7Hi, F300 and Xt
> and I love them all. But this Z1 really does seem to be cheesy in
> construction. I wondered how they could sell a camera with those specs and
> features at such a low price, and I guess that's the answer. The camera is
> just not the usual Minolta quality or anything remotely like it.
>
> It was not the loose lens barrel that made me send it back. It was the fact
> that the camera jammed within two hours of my taking it out of the box. That
> ingenious moving mirror that switches the LCD image from the rear glass
> panel to the viewfinder apparently got stuck (what looked like the edge of
> the mirror could be seen pressed against the glass about 1/3 of the way up),
> and it was impossible to return the image to the panel though it still
> showed perfectly in the viewfinder.
>
> I tried switching the camera on and off, moving the switch lever back and
> forth etc. but nothing worked. I called Minolta at the supplied 800 number
> and quickly got a rep who was very pleasant, tried to be helpful, and who
> decided after discussion that the camera would have to be sent back for
> repair, and Minolta promptly e-mailed me the necessary form. But I'd already
> decided by that time I didn't want any more of the Z1.
>
> My guess is that the lateral lens looseness, though disturbing, probably
> does not really cause any problems with image sharpness. Since others have
> reported the same looseness, this is likely something designed into the
> camera, or within the design tolerances anyway. It may well be the case that
> my experience with the mirror jamming was unique. But the camera just seems
> to be not up to Minolta's usual build quality in general.
>
> Neil

 
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Laurence Wilmer
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      11-28-2003

"Andrew" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> I just obtained a dimage Z1, and I have to say so far I love it,
> except the stupid mirror. Like the previous poster, my mirror now
> refuses to transfer back to the large back screen. However, I believe
> this might occur when the camera is low on power, and it will be fine
> when the batteries are replaced. I will test this idea out and get
> back to the group.
>
> Otherwise, the 10x optical zoom, though it does rattle slightly, gives
> beautiful pictures. The ease of use, the quick start up and quick
> processive picture taking is lovely. I do wish I could store some RAW
> or TIFF format pictures, but you can have everything. I'm happy
> overall.


<snip>

The battery meter only shows when the camera is first switched on - not
usually looking at a screen at that point. You shouldn't have to "test out"
changing the batteries to see if that is the problem.
But that has happened to me a couple of times as well.

It really, really needs a clear low power warning.

Apart from that. I've been very happy with 3 weeks usage - it is much
sturdier than it looks and feels, no scratches or damage yet, and that
wobbly lens hasn't fallen off either. (Warning sticker "This lens is
designed to have a random vector free oscillation action until locked in
focus").

Laurence


 
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Andy Hewitt
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      11-28-2003
Laurence Wilmer <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> "Andrew" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
> news:(E-Mail Removed) om...
> > I just obtained a dimage Z1, and I have to say so far I love it,
> > except the stupid mirror. Like the previous poster, my mirror now
> > refuses to transfer back to the large back screen. However, I believe
> > this might occur when the camera is low on power, and it will be fine
> > when the batteries are replaced. I will test this idea out and get
> > back to the group.
> >
> > Otherwise, the 10x optical zoom, though it does rattle slightly, gives
> > beautiful pictures. The ease of use, the quick start up and quick
> > processive picture taking is lovely. I do wish I could store some RAW
> > or TIFF format pictures, but you can have everything. I'm happy
> > overall.

>
> <snip>
>
> The battery meter only shows when the camera is first switched on - not
> usually looking at a screen at that point. You shouldn't have to "test out"
> changing the batteries to see if that is the problem.
> But that has happened to me a couple of times as well.
>
> It really, really needs a clear low power warning.


'm at about three weeks now too, and the batteries haven't presented a
problem here at all, I use one set of 1800ma Uniross and a set of 2000ma
Uniross. However I still haven't changed them from the 1800's yet, since
I got it.

> Apart from that. I've been very happy with 3 weeks usage - it is much
> sturdier than it looks and feels, no scratches or damage yet, and that
> wobbly lens hasn't fallen off either. (Warning sticker "This lens is
> designed to have a random vector free oscillation action until locked in
> focus").


LOL, nice one. It certainly doesn't affect the image quality. FWIW, it
is a high end 'consumer' camera, and I feel the RAW format may well be
inappropriate at this level. I certainly don't feel I need better image
quality than I'm getting. If you set it to the finest quality at highest
resolution, and import them into Photohop, then save them as an
uncompressed Photoshop proprietry file while editing, you shouldn't see
too much loss.

The biggest problem comes when you try and continually edit a compressed
jpg, and lose out on each save. Even then I have only really noticed bad
loss after three or four saves.

Out of interest, if you set a jpg to minmum compression setting, is this
actually a *no* compression setting, and therefore no loss? Or is it a
lossy format whatever you do?

--
Andy Hewitt ** FAF#1, OSOS#5 - BMW K100RS 8v, Honda Concerto 16v
Windows free zone (Mac G3)
<http://homepage.ntlworld.com/ahewitt/index.htm> (last update 12.02)
 
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Laurence Wilmer
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      11-29-2003

"Andy Hewitt" <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote in message
news:1g55g4a.njunig1y4pf78N%(E-Mail Removed) t...
> Laurence Wilmer <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


<snip>

> The biggest problem comes when you try and continually edit a compressed
> jpg, and lose out on each save. Even then I have only really noticed bad
> loss after three or four saves.
>
> Out of interest, if you set a jpg to minmum compression setting, is this
> actually a *no* compression setting, and therefore no loss? Or is it a
> lossy format whatever you do?
>
> --
> Andy Hewitt ** FAF#1, OSOS#5 - BMW K100RS 8v, Honda Concerto 16v
> Windows free zone (Mac G3)
> <http://homepage.ntlworld.com/ahewitt/index.htm> (last update 12.02)


I think you're well ahead of me there - I had always assumed that it was the
editing that caused the data loss, not the act of saving. Is it really
reconverted to jpg each time? (Always used tiff with PSP).
I have been careful to keep the original files as they came off the camera -
partly because my graphics package has always been PSP, and I found that it
(PSP7) junks exif data is I save from it.

So I make changes just long enough to print, don't overwrite originals.

My main concern has been to find a package that will extract the EXIF
exposure data and add it to the image as a caption, to help me understand
why some shots are better than others (I am accustomed to classic 1970s
SLRs, not modern fully auto cameras!).

Laurence

PhotoThumb nearly does that, but not quite!


 
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Andy Hewitt
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Posts: n/a
 
      11-29-2003
Laurence Wilmer <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

<Snipped Text>
> I think you're well ahead of me there - I had always assumed that it was the
> editing that caused the data loss, not the act of saving. Is it really
> reconverted to jpg each time? (Always used tiff with PSP).


That is indeed the case. You open a jpg and it get uncompressed, losing
any data that was disposed of in the compression originally. As you edit
it the image quality doesn't change, only in whatever way *you* change
it. Next time you save the image it is compressed again, losing more
data in the process, of course the more you do this the problem
compounds until the image quality is affected severely.

> I have been careful to keep the original files as they came off the camera -
> partly because my graphics package has always been PSP, and I found that it
> (PSP7) junks exif data is I save from it.
>
> So I make changes just long enough to print, don't overwrite originals.


Yes, that's the way I work too. Indeed I actually keep two originals. I
allow my card to mount on the desktop of my Mac, and then manually copy
the images into a chronological folder system I have. This I only ever
copy from for editing.

I also ise Apple's iPhoto, into which I seperately import the images. In
here I edit and save without worrying about the original - iPhoto does
have a revert to original option (although I don't trust it, hence my
secondary filing system).

I use a combination of many graphics apps myself, all which seem to
maintain the EXIF data (unless I save 'Web Ready' of course). I use
Photoshop for quick automated editing, I also have the very superb
shareware app Graphic Converter, which is excellent for saving large
numbers of images into a different format, although some of its editing
features can give unpredictable results. I also occasionally use GIMP as
well, as I find its editing tools easier to use then in Photoshop.

As a rule I try to do all my editing in one single session and save only
the once. I haven't noted any degredation at this level.

If I did need to do more than one session I usually save as a Photoshop
standard file, or a TIFF (although you can apply jpg compression to a
TIFF as well!).

> My main concern has been to find a package that will extract the EXIF
> exposure data and add it to the image as a caption, to help me understand
> why some shots are better than others (I am accustomed to classic 1970s
> SLRs, not modern fully auto cameras!).
>
> Laurence
>
> PhotoThumb nearly does that, but not quite!


I have no idea on Windows, but all my Mac apps maintain the EXIF data. I
believe you can get a version of GIMP for Windows. GIMP is a Unix port
that closely mimics Photoshop, using layers and plugins, but it's free.

--
Andy Hewitt ** FAF#1, OSOS#5 - BMW K100RS 8v, Honda Concerto 16v
Windows free zone (Mac G3)
<http://homepage.ntlworld.com/ahewitt/index.htm> (last update 12.02)
 
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