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Old Aug 15, 2004, 4:07 PM   #1
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I passed the bandwidth in days, but relocated the images.

Welcome to my own in depth review.
http://www.microsaft.com/z3/

The ultimate cameras won't be around for another couple of two years, but this is an inexpensive compromise to carry me there.

Compromise... it does things well
and it does things less well.

Cons
The main flaw is the noisy skies at high ISO, but the noise is comparable to most other cameras in this price range. It will be reduced when shooting at lower Iso or when rescaling the images for the web or for printing, so it won't show in the final product. There are programs which remove the annoyances in batches, so it doesn't have to be a problem at all with slight postprocessing. I can easily live with it.

Pros
The advantages weigh heavier for me.
It works really well, dropped it into the floor and it still works like it did last week.

420 mm zoom is really something I wonder how I ever did without. See the samples for the difference it makes.
Note that the internal clock wasn't correct for some samples.
It is fun to see that the Anti Shake really works. It feels odd not having to shoot three pictures, like with the G600 to know that one is ok, and not having to remove unsteady shots from the disk.
I have confidence in Anti Shake.
The AF is performing really well at any zoom range.

Whip out the camera like a gunslinger and take a one handed shot at full 12x zoom and know it is ok. Pure bliss.

I think that this camera will get good reviews from the pros. It is a toy dollar camera with impressive features.
2.5 shots / second blows me away. Ability to automatically shoot 3 frames with different exposure is helpful.

512 Mb is a tad too litte. With the G600 it was sufficient, but when I am holding the Z3 I am also using it. 273 images on 512 Mb.

The LCD monitor clearly show a good representation and you can't tell that the screen have less pixels there than in many others. I never use the EVF.

You can flick through the stored images instantly... which is very nice... It feels like modern technology.
It is a stepping stone for the future.

The future is going to be grand.

/Fredrik
http://www.microsaft.com/z3/
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Old Aug 24, 2004, 2:58 PM   #2
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Thanks for your great review! Say, have you tried zooming in/out while taking a movie? Someone else posted a movie clip and it appeared to have some focusing issues while zooming in the movie mode. Have you noticed this? The reason I ask is because the movie mode is a very important feature to me along with the extra long zoom. I'm still trying to decide between the Z3 and the canon S1 IS and I've seen some excellent movies by the S1 without any zooming issues. thanks..
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Old Aug 27, 2004, 1:59 AM   #3
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hi regti,

can u give me the links where u saw movie with zoom in/out on s1. i am still in thinking to go for s1 / minolta z3 - which is 100 $ more than s1 - is $100 for the extra 2x zoom - or is there any thing extra in Z3 - please do let me know
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Old Aug 27, 2004, 10:18 AM   #4
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go here: http://www.blueskypilot.dk/ and click on the 6mb file on the right side. I couldn't get the other samples to work but this one looked pretty decent.
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Old Aug 30, 2004, 1:31 AM   #5
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The advantages in the Z3 include the 2x more zoom, which ain't such a big deal. However, also it is 4.2 mpxl whereas the S1 is only 3.2

Also, I personally don't very much care for flip-out LCDs. That's one of the main reasons I got the Z3 instead of the S1. If that sucker breaks you're screwed. And I just don't trust those flip-outs.

There are a few other minor things like ever-so-slight variances in F-stop if I remmeber correctly. All in all they're very similar.
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Old Aug 30, 2004, 3:20 AM   #6
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The automatic external flash was important to me. I tried to shoot this fly with the internal flash, but the lens shadowed it. The external flash bounced from the ceiling did a good job. (The image is resized but not cropped)

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Old Aug 30, 2004, 6:35 AM   #7
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Just for the record, this is a large fly, about 1.5 cm length. :-)
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