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Record mode display

Here you can see an example of the live preview image on the LCD (or EVF) just prior to taking a shot, note the wide focus bracket in the center of the frame. Various settings information is displayed around the edges of the display (detailed earlier in this review). Settings in this example: 2560 x 1920, FINE JPEG, Colour +1, Exposure compensation +0.7, Cloudy White balance, ISO 100, Programme exposure, Multi-segment metering, Macro, Single drive, 172 frames remaining.


Half-pressing the shutter release starts the cameras autofocus, once complete it locks along with metering system. In wide-AF mode (as above) the red rectangle indicates one of three positions (between the two black brackets, top image) which the AF system has automatically selected as the focus point. If the camera can't focus it will show a red dot. If the shot could suffer from blur due to hand shake (based on shutter speed and focal length) the hand icon is shown.

After fully depressing the shutter release a brief review (instant playback) is shown (this can be set to 2, 10 seconds or disabled). Press the QV/Delete button to cancel this image (do not save) or carry on shooting by quickly tapping the shutter release (half way).

RAW and TIFF formats do not allow you to return to shooting until the image have been written away, the EVF and LCD are blank during this process.

An example of spot AF mode, you can move the cross-hair to any one of 285 possible locations (a 15 x 19 grid). Once the cross-hair is in the required position a half-press of the shutter release will trigger AF. Example of spot metering / AE-Lock using the SPOT button on the rear of the hand grip.
After shooting in continuous drive mode all of the images in the sequence are shown as thumbnails, at this stage you can choose to delete before they are written away or continue shooting. Here you can see an example of movie capture mode. Auto focus is locked to the center spot and the remaining clip time is shown in the bottom right corner of the frame.
Pressing the QV button gives a quick review playback of the last image shot, you can browse through images on the CF card by pressing the 4-way controller left or right. A half-press of the shutter release returns to shooting mode. Once in QV mode pressing the 4-way controller up switches to this detailed exposure information and histogram. One bugbear here is that you can't browse in this mode, you have to return to full screen display first.

Manual focus / Direct Manual Focus

Pressing the AF/MF button switches the camera to manual focus. This is indicated on-screen by the MF icon and the focus distance readout directly below (0.56m in this case). Rotate the focus-by-wire ring at the back of the lens to adjust focus. Minimum focus distance is 0.50m in normal focus range, 0.25m with the lens engaged into macro focus range. The DiMAGE 7i features an very useful magnification mode which provides a 4x magnified view of the center of the frame which enables you to confirm the accuracy of the focus point.
 
The DiMAGE 7i has a Direct Manual Focus feature which, when enabled, allows you to adjust the auto focus point using the manual focus ring during a half-press of the shutter release. This is similar to 'full-time manual focus' seen on high end SLR lenses.  

Display modes

As mentioned previously in this review the DiMAGE7i offers a very flexible range of live view display modes. You can enable or disable any of the six display modes via the setup menu then press the information button (i+) to select between them.

Standard: The standard view consists of the center AF bracket surrounded by various camera settings indicators. AF frame: All of the overlaid information is removed leaving just the AF frame.
Standard with histogram: In this mode the view is identical the standard view (above) with the addition of a live histogram. Kudos Minolta for implementing this feature. The histogram updates itself several times a second, you can see an example of its usefulness when judging the correct exposure compensation in the animation above.
Grid: This view removes any overlaid information but keeps the AF brackets and adds a 6 x 4 grid which can be useful for aligning the shot with scene elements. Scale: displays two scale 'rulers' horizontally and vertically on the display. This could be useful for aligning subjects centrally within the frame.

Note there is also an 'Image only' display mode which has no overlaid indicators at all.


Play display

Switching to play mode immediately displays the last image taken. The D7i must use a 'thumbnail' image in the file header because it displays images very quickly. Press the 4-way controller left or right to browse through images (again virtually instant between images). Pushing the 4-way controller up displays a histogram of the image along with detailed exposure information. While in this view mode you can still browse through images using the left and right arrows on the controller.
Pressing the QV/delete button in play mode displays this delete confirmation prompt. Pressing the magnify button enters magnify mode, you can zoom between x2.0 and x4.0 in x0.2 steps. Press the center of the 4-way controller to switch between selecting the magnification level and scrolling around the image.
Pressing the Display information button (i+) twice switches to a thumbnail display which can be configured to either four (2 x 2) or nine (3 x 3) thumbnails.
A similar thumbnail view is also used to mark images for protection / deletion / print order. Here you can see movie clip playback which actually expands to fill the screen when you press the play button (4-way controller center button).
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