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Top of camera controls

On the top of the camera the information LCD (detailed earlier), shutter release and control dial. Behind this is the subject-program button, Pro-auto (reset) button and mode/power dial which is locked when in the OFF position.

Shutter release button - solved!

One frustration I had with the DiMAGE 7 was the way that the camera could occasionally just ignore a new press of the shutter release if you pressed too soon after taking the previous shot. The good news is that with the advent of the DiMAGE 7i Minolta has now addressed this, if you re-press the shutter release and hold it the camera will ALWAYS take another shot (as soon as it can).

Buttons

Button Description

Digital Subject Program

Pressing this button selects between one of five preset subject exposure programs, each of these programs configures the camera with the optimum settings for a particular subject:

Portrait Uses large apertures to create soft backgrounds (narrow DOF). Recommended long focal lengths.
Sports Action Engages continuous AF and uses highest possible shutter speed to capture action.
Sunset Uses special exposure mode, small apertures (large DOF) and fixed white balance.
Night Portrait Fixed white balance, allows long exposures in combination with the flash. Tripod recommended.
Text High contrast for capture of black text on a white background. Tripod recommended.
 
P

Pro-Auto (reset)

Pressing this button causes certain camera settings to return to their default values. This is especially useful for reverting to a 'known set'. Items reset and their reset value in (brackets):

  • Digital subject (Cancelled)
  • Exposure mode (P)
  • Drive (Single)
  • AF Mode (AF Single)
  • AF Area (Wide Area Focus)
  • AF/MF (AF)
  • White balance (Auto)
  • Metering (Multi Segment)
  • Exposure compensation (0)
  • Contrast (0)
  • Colour Saturation (0)
  • Filter (0)
  • Flash metering (ADI flash)
  • Flash compensation (0)
  • Drive (Single)
  • Sharpening (0 - Normal)

Pro-Auto doesn't change ISO sensitivity, flash mode, colour mode, data imprint, LCD information level, image size or image quality settings.

Mode Dial

Position Description
OFF

Power Off

Switched to this position the camera powers off, LCD powers down immediately, if there are any images still in the internal buffer they will continue to be written (flushed) to the CF card. CF activity light will go out once all buffered images are written.

Record

Main shooting mode, switching to this mode from the OFF position powers the camera on, enables the live view (either LCD or EVF) and prepares the camera to shoot. Exposure modes (P / A / S / M) are selected using the exposure mode position on the setting dial (barrel side of camera).

Play

Displays the last image shot (or last image on the CF card), this is displayed on the LCD or EVF depending on the position of the Display mode switch.
Movie record

Shoot movies, press the shutter release to start recording, press again to stop. Movies are recorded in MOV format @ 320 x 240 (M-JPEG), 15 frames per second for a maximum of 60 seconds. You also now have the option to record audio (8 kHz, 16-bit) as well as a special 'Night movie' mode which switches the camera to a high sensitivity black & white setting.
SETUP Setup mode

Camera displays special camera setup menu used to control global settings such as LCD / EVF brightness, language, date, video output etc. Format CF card is only available in this mode. Described in detail later in this review.
Communications mode

Enables USB communications for direct connectivity to a PC or Mac. Optionally allows the use of CF Modem or CF Cellular Modem.


Rear of camera controls

On the rear (right) of the camera are several more controls, most of which are positioned to be within reach of your thumb when gripping the camera with your right hand.

Display Mode switch

Position Description
EVF

Electronic Viewfinder display

In this position all live view / review / menu displays are shown on the EVF instead of the main LCD.

 A 

Automatic display (Eyepiece sensor)

In the Automatic position the camera will by default display the live view on the rear LCD, when you bring your eye up to the EVF it will automatically switch (thanks to the eyepiece sensor) to the EVF. Via the Setup menu you can configure the eyepiece sensor to operate in as a 'power up' for the EVF, in this mode no display is shown by default on the rear LCD or EVF, instead the EVF will only power-up when you raise your eye to it.

LCD display

In this position all live view / review / menu displays are shown on the main rear LCD.

i+ Display information

Record mode:
Switch between various display modes which control the overlaid information. These display modes can be individually enabled and disabled via the setup menu; Standard, Focus Frame, Histogram, Grid, Scale, Image only.

Play mode: Switch between different displays: All status and setting information overlay, No information overlay, Thumbnail view.

Buttons

Button Description
SPOT

Spot Auto Focus / Auto Exposure Lock

Engages SPOT metering and then triggers Auto Focus / Auto Exposure systems. Depending on the setting of a menu option this button be set to:

AF/AE hold - auto focus and auto exposure are locked for as long as the button is held
AF/AE toggle - auto focus and auto exposure are locked when the button is pressed and released on the next press *
AE hold - only auto exposure is locked for as long as the button is held
AE toggle - only auto exposure is locked when the button is pressed and released on the next press *

MENU

Menu

Pressing this button enters or leaves the mode menu in record or play modes.

4-way controller (arrows)

It's worth noting that the D7i's controller is significantly improved over the D7. It is shallower and thus has less 'travel', the feel and click of all of the buttons is better and the central 'confirm' button is now a separate unit.

Play mode: Press left / right to browse forwards and backwards through images taken, press up for histogram display.

Menus: Navigate through menus.

4-way controller (confirm / OK button)

Record mode: Press and hold for more than one second to switch from wide-focus mode to spot focus, in spot focus mode the controller can be used to move a small cross-hair (+) around the screen (a 15 x 19 grid) to indicate where you would like to measure autofocus.

Menus: Select menu option.

QV / Quick View / Delete

Record mode: Enter a 'mini-play-mode', displays the last image taken, you can scroll between images by pressing the 4-way controller left and right, you can also display a histogram by pushing the 4-way controller up. Pressing the button again with an image displayed gives you the option to delete it. You can not magnify the image in this mode.

Play mode: Delete current image, requires confirmation (4-way controller left, press controller confirm button).

Magnify / Digital Zoom

Record mode: This button can be set to perform two different tasks, by default it is used to magnify the live view 4x during manual focus to check accuracy of focus. You can also program it (through the setup menu) to toggle 2x digital zoom.

Play mode: Magnify currently displayed image in steps: x2.0, x2.5, x4.0. Magnified image can be panned using the 4-way controller.

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