When you take the Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20 in your hand for the first time, it will strike you as featuring an almost tailor made design. Users with small or large hands won't encounter any problems when operating the camera. The right hand will get a firm grasp on the handgrip, and the right thumb will be able to reach and operate 95% of the buttons, with the exception of four (shutter release button, dioptre setting, macro and flash functions). It is advisable to place your left hand underneath the lens in order to increase the stability; however, it is also convenient to take pictures without doing that. Still you will find it comfortable because of increased stability and you will find that especially pictures taking with slow shutter speed will come out better. The lens has a large optical range with its 8x optical zoom. Compared with a 35mm camera it offers 36 - 290mm. Startup time is fast, a mere 1.5 second is needed to start the camera and to get the green light for the first image. The DiMAGE Z20 also has a quick response to the release button, no sign of the annoying interval or release. Focus is pleasant and precise.
Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20 – Focus
Focusing with the Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z20 is a joy, it happens swift as an arrow. Whether you are shooting in wide angle or telephoto makes no difference to the speed. There are different focus possibilities to choose from. Like the continuous shooting that does suffer from some interval before the camera actually captures the picture. The result is a crystal clear image, and if it weren't for the interval we wouldn't have any complaints. You can also choose for manual focus, sometimes it comes in handy, but for the average user hardly necessary. The general focus is excellent, and the Z20 doesn't give up when shooting in dark surroundings. The auto focus also manages very well here by focusing precisely and fast.
Konica Minolta Z20 - TFT display
The DiMAGE Z20 has to settle for a 1.5-inch sized monitor, while the DiMAGE Z5 already features a 2-inch one. This definitely is a minor on the extensive specification list. The image is rendered sharply on the display and the display is functioning excellently in bright sunlight as well as in the dark. The electronic viewfinder in fact uses the same monitor only projected from the camera to the small viewfinder. The main dial on the rear of the camera decides which display should be activated.
I'd rather see the electronic viewfinder being removed to be replaced by a larger size monitor. The subject on the monitor gets increased 2.5x which makes focusing a piece of cake.
DiMAGE Z20 - Swift action and friendly operation
Action images can be taken by activating the continuous shooting mode. The Konica Minolta Z20 does a good job with a speed of approximately 3 frames per second. Another handy function is the so-called "Progressive Capture". In this mode the camera will sequentially take images as long as the release button is pressed down, and the camera will store the last six images as soon as you let go of the release button. That is the theory, but in practise I have noticed that the camera seems to have trouble maintaining the speed which comes down to about 1 frame per second. As far as operation is concerned the Konica Minolta really appealed to us. The majority of the functions under the buttons react immediately to an action of the photographer. And because the menu is well thought-out and the users interface is clear, the operation is straightforward. Normally the lack of quick buttons causes problems for the user who will get lost in the menu, but this menu is comprehensible and easy to scroll through. The user-friendly way of operation makes a manual almost superfluous, which is a fact that many manufacturers don't seem to realize.