The Timing Tests

* NOTE: For all of our time tests, both cameras are reset to their factory default settings and set to record using the highest resolution and quality setting. The cameras were set to Auto mode. We also disabled all sounds. A PNY 512MB SD card was used.

Before reading our results, please refer to our Testing Procedures page.

Startup Time

The startup time is recorded from the moment the power button is pushed to the moment the shutter sounds. The cameras were set to startup in LCD mode and to record in Auto mode.

 Startup time (seconds)
Z2 4.24
Z3 3.86

The Z3 did just a bit better than the Z2 with regards to startup time. The difference is very small, however, at .38 sec. The startup time will vary a little depending on the flash card used in the camera. We used a PNY 512MB SD card. We were not really blown away by either of these times.

Shutter Lag

To record shutter lag, we perform two tests. For the first test, we pre-focus the lens and measure the amount of time it takes the camera to take a picture after the shutter button is pressed. The second test measures the time it takes for the camera to take a picture after we press the shutter button without pre-focusing. Each test is performed 3 times and the results are averaged. For more information regarding our testing procedures, please refer to our Testing Procedures page.

   With Pre-focus (seconds)  Without Pre-focus (seconds)
Z2 .09 .59
Z3 .11 .55

When we pre-focused the cameras, we measured the shutter lag at 0.09 sec. for the Z2 and 0.11 for the Z3. This difference is so small that it is virtually unnoticeable. The lag time from the moment we fully pressed the shutter button to when the shutter sounded was 0.59 sec for the Z2 and 0.55 sec. for the Z3. Again, there is not a huge difference between the cameras, but the Z3 has just a small advantage. Both cameras are fairly fast compared to the other cameras that we have tested. In short, we did not find shutter lag to be an issue with either camera.

Write Times

We recorded 5 different write times with a PNY 512 SD card: Single Shot, Shot to Shot, Shot to Shot w/Flash, Shot to Shot w/Buffer Full (to next frame), and Shot to Shot w/Buffer Full (to next burst).

Single Shot - The time it takes for a single picture to be completely written to the flash card (the time the "activity light" is on).
Shot To Shot (STS) - The time until the second shot is able to be taken after the first (shutter to shutter).
Shot To Shot w/Flash - The time it takes for the camera to take two pictures with the flash, starting from the moment the first flash is fired to the moment the second is fired.
Shot To Shot w/Buffer Full (to next frame) - The time between taking the last shot of a "Continuous advance" burst to the moment the shutter sounds again.
Shot To Shot w/Buffer Full (to next burst) - The time between taking the last shot of a "Continuous advance" burst to the moment the first frame of the next burst is taken.

We set the camera to the highest resolution and quality setting and ran 4 tests. We performed each test three times and averaged the results. Below are the resolution, quality setting, and average file size used for the tests.

Z2 - 2272x1704, Fine, Avg. file size = 1.4MB
Z3 - 2272x1704, Fine, Avg. file size = 2.59MB

 SD card (seconds)
   Single Shot  Shot To Shot  Shot To Shot w/Flash  Shot To Shot w/Buffer Full (to next frame)  Shot To Shot w/Buffer Full (to next burst)
Z2 0.92 1.82 2.09 4.97 6.06
Z3 1.58 0.95 3.01 1.37 6.89

The Z2 has a Single Shot time of 0.92 sec. compared to the Z3's time of 1.58 sec. The difference here is merely an indication of the file size differences. Although the Z3 is slower to write a single image, its Shot to Shot time is about half of the Z2's. Interestingly, the Z2's Shot to Shot w/Flash time is nearly a second faster than the Z3.

When it comes to the Continuous advance mode, both the Z2 and Z3 are able to take 5 pictures in a row at 2.5 fps before filling the buffer. Although both cameras capture these 5 frames at the same rate, we should point out the significant advantage that the Z3 has. After the burst, the Z3 is able to shoot another frame after just 1.37 sec. compared to nearly 5 seconds on the Z2. We should point out that the Z3 is able to shoot at this rate (one image every 1.37 sec.) until the flash card is full. The speed does not slow down. We found the discrepancy between the Z3's Single Shot time and Shot to Shot w/Buffer Full time to be intriguing. One possible explanation for this may be that the activity light is on for a couple of tenths of a second too long. That would explain why the Z3 seems to be capable of writing its Continuous advance images faster than its Single Shot images.

The Z2 has a bit of an advantage over the Z3 in its speed in emptying its internal buffer after a burst of images. However, we were truly impressed with the Z3's ability to shoot endlessly at 1.37 sec. per frame in Continuous advance mode.

Battery Performance Resolving Fine Lines
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  • PaulS - Tuesday, September 21, 2004 - link

    Stephen, thanks for the information (and the review!). I'm looking at using either the Z2 or the Z3 for astrophotography where I would need detail derived from dark areas. I like the antishake and separate viewfinder that the Z3 offers, but I think from your comments the picture quality of the Z2 would be better.

    Thanks again!
    Reply
  • stephencaston - Friday, September 17, 2004 - link

    There are certainly ways to deal with some of the Z3's shortcomings by doing post-work. However, There isn't a way to deal with the loss of detail in shadow areas.

    The real question is what issues will a new firmware address? It will be interesting to see what Konica Minolta will do.
    Reply
  • PaulS - Friday, September 17, 2004 - link

    Until new firmware is released, is it possible to deal with Z3's flaws (e.g. under-exposure, darker images, colour reproduction) using standard image processing software? Reply
  • stephencaston - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

    Kelh,

    Both cameras have an accessory shoe that fits Konica Minolta flash units: 2500(D), 3600HS(D), and 5600HS(D). However, these flash units are sold separately. I hope this answers your comment ;-)
    Reply
  • Kelh - Thursday, September 16, 2004 - link

    One of the things I never find in these reviews is wether the cameras include a flash stand. Sometimes the flashes that come with digicams are not good enough and night pictures look dark.

    Reply
  • joyce - Wednesday, September 15, 2004 - link

    Is it worth the price difference?
    Here in The Netherlands the difference is about €140,=.

    I think it is very much
    Reply
  • microsaftcom - Monday, September 06, 2004 - link

    what the reviewers call jpeg compression artefacts may be just normal noise... I don't know...
    Depends on the reviewers...

    All cameras have some sort of horizontal lines...
    I don't see when it will be a problem.

    I think 3 mb for 4 Mpixel pictures show that the compression isn't very effective.

    Reply
  • microsaftcom - Monday, September 06, 2004 - link

    It seems that Z3's flaws can be dealt with with firmware updates.

    Perhapos that is why the current new firmware 1.01e is not official yet, even though it solved many problems.

    In my mind these cams are uncomparable as one has image stabilisation and thoe other hasn't.
    It has to be compared with the panasonic or the canon.
    /F
    Reply
  • Chaotic42 - Monday, September 06, 2004 - link

    I had a Z2 for a brief period of time (I had to return it when my PSU killed my motherboard) and it was an awesome camera.

    The Z3 looks even better. I would recommend that anyone looking for a high-zoom camera check these out.
    Reply

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