Just like the DiMAGE 7/7i the 7Hi allows you to control various aspects of its internal image processing algorithms. These are a set of variables which control the way the image is turned into its final form from the CCD data. In total there are five different image processing parameters which can be changed (detailed below).
Once more we must give Minolta some Kudos for providing the user with such a wide range of control over the camera's internal processing algorithms. It allows you to configure the camera so that the final image matches your own personal taste without the need for post-processing. There are plenty of manufacturers out there who could learn a lot from this level of flexibility.
Color mode controls the way that the camera reproduces color. The Vivid and Neutral settings are now specifically labelled as 'sRGB' indicating that they are designed to be viewed / used in the sRGB color space. There is now the new 'Adobe RGB' color mode which records color in the wider gamut Adobe RGB color space, images recorded in this mode must be viewed in the correct color space using an ICC smart application. You can additionally choose to embed the color (ICC) profile into the image header.
|Vivid color (sRGB)||Neutral color (sRGB)||Adobe RGB|
|Black & White||Solarization|
The Filter option allows you to change the warmth of the final image, it could be likened to adjusting the white balance in slight steps and could be useful for tine tuning the preset white balance settings to match artificial light. I personally would have preferred this option to literally control white balance and be implemented as 'white balance fine tuning'. Note, with Color Mode (above) set to Black & White the Filter option provides different coloured B&W images.
|Filter: -3||Filter: -2||Filter: -1|
|Filter: 0||Filter: +1||Filter: +2|
This option controls the level of color in the image with a range of -3 (less) to +3 (more).
|Color saturation: -2||Color saturation: 0||Color saturation: +2|
This option sets the amount of contrast in the final image, it adjusts the 'S-curve' which is applied to all images in the final output stage. A setting of low contrast will leave images looking more flat but will be less likely to clip highlights.
|Contrast: -2||Contrast: 0||Contrast: +2|
The DiMAGE 7Hi allows you to control the internal sharpening of the image by a degree of one plus and minus it's "normal" sharpness. It would have been nice to see a finer level of control over sharpening, perhaps the same -3 to +3 range of control given to the other parameters but where -2 would represent the current 'Soft' and +2 would represent the current 'Hard'.