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The overall performance of the Z6 is safely above average. It starts up in around two seconds, which is impressive considering the size of that zoom lens. Shooting speed is good; in continuous drive mode it can shoot five frames in eight seconds, which isn’t particularly fast, however it can keep this rate up until the memory card is full. In progressive shooting mode it will shoot at approximately two frames a second as long as the shutter button is held down. When it is released the camera stores the last ten images.
Focusing speed is very good in daylight, taking around 0.2 seconds to lock on. It does slow down somewhat in lower light, but it will usually focus within a second even in quite dark conditions. This is impressive since the Z6 has no AF illuminator. The 5-point overlapping AF system is also very good at focusing on the correct subject, at least at normal ranges. I did find that at close range it would sometimes focus on the background by mistake, but it would usually get it right on a second try.
The Z6 is fitted with Konica Minolta’s unique anti-shake system, in which the CCD is moved by tiny high-speed actuators and motion sensors, dramatically reducing the effects of camera shake. The system is one of the best on the market, allowing hand-held shooting at shutter speeds as low as 1/15th of a second at wide angle, and also enabling the camera to be used at full zoom without a tripod, as long as the light is good and the shutter speed stays over 1/150th sec.
Full zoom in this case means the equivalent of a massive 35-420mm lens. This is one of the biggest zoom lenses to be found on any digital camera, and is the Z6’s main selling point. It’s a good lens, bearing the esteemed Minolta GT badge, but like any wide-zoom it is a compromise between conflicting performance requirements, and thus it does have some inherent faults. At the wide end of its range it suffers from a great deal of barrel distortion, while at the telephoto end it has a certain softness and just a hint of chromatic aberration. Nonetheless it is an extremely useful zoom range, and is excellent for picking out small details in a scene, or magnifying distant objects. Other interesting features include a 1cm supermacro mode, however like most supermacro modes it’s of limited use because anything that close to the lens tends to be in the camera’s shadow.
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