The Konica Revio Z2 is a compact and nice looking point-and-shoot camera that uses APS film. APS is the shorthand of Advanced Photo System and is introduced in 1996. Unlike previous film formats, APS film cartridge (see photo below), with dimensions about the same as 35mm, stores data such as date, exposure info. and even short text message beside the photographic image itself.
APS film does not have a leading strip for film loading because it is not needed. Loading APS film is merely a simple drop-in (see upper photo below) and the film itself stays inside the cartridge whenever it is not loaded into the camera. In other words, you get the whole cartridge, rather than cutted strips, back from the lab. Moreoever, it also provides much easier mid-roll exchange than 35mm film. So how can you tell in what stage a particular roll of APS film is? The bottom of the cartridge gives a four-stage indicator system (see lower photo below): 1. brand new roll, 2. one or more but not all frames exposed, 3. all frames exposed but not developed and 4. all frames exposed and developed.
However, with all the advantages above, APS format is pretty short-lived (less than 10 years of production span). Well, you may ask why? There are two man reasons. First of all, APS film gets phased out because of the quick emerging of the digital era. Photojournalists started using the earliest DSLRs (digital-back conversions of film bodies and “true” DSLR like the Nikon D1) in the late 1990’s and comsumer-level DSLR dropped below the $1000USD price-line in 2003 (Canon Digital Rebel/300D). By late 2004, many entry-level digital point-and-shoots had dropped to a price-level so close to their film counterparts that many people would go for the digital ones because of the savings on film and processing in the long run. The other reason, probably the main cause in my opinion, is APS film, with a dimension of 30.2×16.7mm only has about 59% of the coverage of 35mm film (36x24mm). Smaller coverage with the same type of film emulsion leads to poorer quality enlargments. However, APS film is not cheaper than 35mm film because of its complicated cartridge design. Processing is also more expensive because photo labs need to buy new machines to deal with the format.
One thing worth mentioning (although I think it is just gimmick) is the so-called multi-format advantage of APS film. As I said before, APS film has a coverage of 30.2×16.7mm. This “full-frame” coverage is called APS-H with a 16:9 ratio. Two other coverages are available from cropping the “full frame”: APS-C (25.1×16.7mm with a 3:2 ratio) and APS-P (30.2×9.5mm, panoramic look). They are illustrated in the diagram below:
Other than the special features that come with the APS format, the Knoica Revio Z2 is just an ordinary point-and-shoot camera. It has a 24-48mm zoom lens which has a coverage approximately equivalent to a 32-64mm zoom lens in 35mm format (based on a ~1.3X crop-factor). The Revio Z2 also provides limited selections on scene modes, flash modes and date imprints. Along with the multi-format selection switch, the buttons and LCD screens which provide controls for the functions above are all conveniently located at the back of the camera.
One last thing that interests me about this obsolete point-and-shoot is its convenient “self-portrait” feature. Note that I did not say “self-timer” because it is actually a small mirror on top of the camera which allows the user to frame a self-portrait for him/herself. This is for sure a nice handy feature for persons or couples who travel alone. How many of you have taken self-portraits of yourself or with your other-half with a compact digital camrea? How many of you think that those Samsung digital point-and-shoots with small front LCD screens are great? Well, to me the Konica Revio Z2 is like a grand-grandfather of the dual-LCD Samsungs.
I bought this camera for only $7CAD at a charity thrift store mainly for the almost fresh CR-2 battery inside the camera. At the time I bought the camera, that battery had 3 full bars and a new CR-2 bought from store would cost about $10CAD! After that, I bought a roll of expired APS film for $3CAD (new ones cost $7CAD, crazy!) in order to try out the camera and shoot some sample photos. However, the expensive processing fee is what stops me from doing so. Well, now this little compact sits on my display shelf and waiting for me to share some photographic history with my friends.