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Lens barrel controls

On the left side of the camera (on the "lens barrel") are a variety of controls, these cover the majority of camera settings and features thanks to two innovative (if initially awkward) function and effect dials. These are used by turning the dial to the required setting, holding the central button and then turning the control dial (beside the shutter release) at the same time to change that setting's value.

Zoom ring

Minolta have to be commended for providing such a wide focal length range. The ability to go from a very wide (for a digital camera) 28 mm through to a nice usable 200 mm telephoto is probably one of the DiMAGE 7's biggest assets (as well as its 5 megapixel CCD). I'm also a big fan of mechanically linked zoom rings (a ring which physically moves the lens elements), they offer the fastest and most accurate zoom control. My only gripe with the D7's zoom ring was that it seemed quite stiff, feels like plastic rubbing against plastic (this could simply require some 'breaking in').

Buttons / Switches

Button Description
MACRO

Macro focus mode

Switches from normal focus range (0.5 m - Infinity / 1.6 ft - Infinity) to macro focus range (0.25 - 0.6 m / 9.8 - 23.6 in). Macro mode can only be enabled when the lens zoom is set between approximately 175 and 200 mm (as 35mm equiv. focal lengths) as indicated by a small arrow and line on the zoom grip. You physically can not push the macro switch unless you have turned the zoom to these positions. You must also use macro focus mode to access closer subject distances in manual focus mode.

AF/MF

Auto Focus / Manual Focus

Switches between the camera's auto focus system and manual focus mode. In manual focus mode you change the focus distance by turning the fly-by-wire focus ring at the back of the lens (silver ribbed ring see above). As you focus the focus distance is displayed on the LCD / EVF:

My only problem with this button is that it isn't recessed, it does stick out from the case and this means that it will get occasionally knocked.

Function Dial

Position
SIZE

Image Size

Select output image size:
 • 2560 x 1920
 • 1600 x 1200
 • 1280 x 960
 • 640 x 480

QUAL

Image Quality

Select image quality / file type:
 • RAW (2560 x 1920 only)
 • Super Fine (TIFF)
 • Fine (JPEG)
 • Standard (JPEG)
 • Economy (JPEG)

PASM

Exposure mode

Select exposure mode (detailed below):
 • Programme (flexible)
 • Aperture Priority
 • Shutter Priority
 • Manual (Full)

DRIVE

Drive mode

Select drive mode:
 • Single shot
 • Continuous (approx. 1 fps up to 6 frames @ 2560 x 1920)
 • Self Timer
 • Auto Exposure Bracketing
 • Time-lapse

WB

White balance

Select white balance setting:
 • Auto
 • Sunny
 • Incandescent
 • Cloudy
 • Manual Preset
 • Set Manual Preset

ISO

Sensitivity (ISO equiv.)

Select ISO sensitivity equivalence:
 • Auto (ISO 100 - 200)
 • ISO 100
 • ISO 200
 • ISO 400
 • ISO 800

Exposure Modes (Settings Dial in PASM position)

Mode Description
P

Program Auto Exposure (with Program Shift)

Normal, fully automatic exposure. The D7 has a program shift mode which simply allows you to select equivalent exposures (changing both the shutter speed and aperture) by rolling the command dial:

 • 1/180 sec, F3.5 (wheel rotated one click anticlockwise)
 • 1/125 sec, F4.0 (normal)
 • 1/90 sec, F4.5 (wheel rotated one click clockwise)


A

Aperture Priority Auto Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the camera will attempt to select the best shutter speed for a proper exposure. Selected aperture is shown on the top information LCD and rear LCD (or EVF). Calculated shutter speed is shown on a half-press of the shutter release button. Rotate the command dial select different apertures. If the exposure is outside of the cameras exposure range the shutter speed will appear in red on the LCD/EVF. Available apertures:

 • Wide: F2.8, F3.5, F4, F4.5, F5.6, F6.7, F8
 • Tele: F3.5, F4, F4.5, F5.6, F6.7, F8, F9.5

Example:

S

Shutter Priority Auto Exposure

In this mode you select the shutter speed and the camera will attempt to select the best aperture for a proper exposure. Selected shutter speed is shown on the top information LCD and rear LCD (or EVF). Calculated aperture is shown on a half-press of the shutter release button. Rotate the command dial select different shutter speeds. If the exposure is outside of the cameras exposure range the aperture will appear in red on the LCD/EVF. Available shutter speeds:

 • 4, 3, 2, 1.5, 1, 0.7, 0.5, 1/3, 1/4, 1/6, 1/8, 1/10, 1/15, 1/20, 1/30, 1/45, 1/60, 1/90, 1/125, 1/180, 1/250, 1/350, 1/500, 1/750, 1/1000, 1/1500, 1/2000 sec

Example:

M

Full Manual Exposure

In this mode you select the aperture and the shutter speed from any combination of the above. Rotate the command dial to select shutter speed, hold the exposure compensation button (+/-) and rotate the command dial to select aperture.

Example:

Here's an interesting note from the DiMAGE 7 manual about the available aperture range:

"For 35mm photographers, an aperture range of f/ 2.8 to f/ 8 does not seem impressive. However, because of the CCD size and the actual focal length of the lens, the apertures on this digital camera give significantly more depth of field at any given angle of view with any given aperture than a 35mm camera. So even with the minimum aperture of f/ 8, the depth of field will give the coverage needed to create beautiful, sharp images."

Effect Dial

Position

Contrast

Set output image contrast between -3 (less contrast) and +3 (more contrast). Indicated setting remains on the LCD / EVF display.

Example:

Exposure compensation

Set exposure compensation between -2 EV and +2 EV in 0.3 EV steps. Indicated exposure compensation remains on the LCD / EVF display.

Example:

COL

Colour saturation

Set colour saturation level between -3 (less saturation) and +3 (more saturation). Indicated setting remains on the LCD / EVF display.

Example:

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