My first impressions - and some info...

Started Jul 28, 2001 | Discussions thread
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Wayne DeWitt Senior Member • Posts: 1,259
My first impressions - and some info...

Well, I finally got my camera today. I only had to call FEDEX half a dozen times and then go into my neighbor's garage to find it! That and a stray cay chewing on my arm has been the highlight of my day. Now my impressions:

1. Lightweight plastic-feeling comments: sorry don't agree. This camera is tiny, it's about 2/3 the size that I expected. Lesser mass equals lower weight, it feels perfect. I don't have a problem with anything feeling "cheap" about the camera. The two plug-in jack covers at the back could have been better-done. And the 4-way toggle protrudes a little further than necessary, feels a little loose, will probably last forever.

2. Tripod socket misplaced: agree - but. The proper place for the socket would have had it in the middle of the batteries - it's a compromise that I can live with.

3. Poor balance: disagree. Yes it is a LOT heavier on the left where everyhing is located. But have any of you handled a medium format camera with an L-grip? The proper way to use a camera is to cradle it in the left hand and only use the right for steadying, firing and film advance (where is that lever?). This camera feels perfect in my hands - as far as balance is concerned.

4. Plasticy-handgrip: agree. They really should have spent an extra dollar and used a better covering material. On the other hand the size is perfect for me (I never did become accustomed to the new grossly-oversized 35mm grips).

5. Heat: yes the grip does get warm. Haven't really shot with it yet - don't know if it will irritate me or not.

6. EVF: Love it! I wear glasses (-2.25 and -2.75) and can see the whole screen, the edges appear o.k., haven't had time to look for blurring. It does blackout during extreme changes of illumination. I found that the switch to B&W approximates the light level where the rods takeover for the cones in my own vision. In a darkened room (before my eyes accomodate) I can see more through the finder than with my normal vision (just a little more - this isn't a night vision device). As far as refresh rate - not a problem for me.

7. Stiff zoom: sorry, it feels ideal to me. It's moving several lens groups on cams within the lens, tighter can mean tighter tolerances inside. I never liked sloppy zooms.

I haven't had time to play yet - as I said it was an adventure just finding the camera (3 hours and half a dozen neighbors houses - and none of them admit to owning the damn cat that mauled me).

Some answers to questions others have asked and some other info:

1. Mine came with a Minolta USA warranty - I don't know WHAT the rest of you got.

2. The video out does not recognize camera orientation - do a vertical and you need to lay the t.v. on it's side to see it - major bummer to me. If you include this feature why not do it right?

3. Macro. The camera has a minimum horizontal field width at the macro 200mm setting of 2". Add a +3.8 diopter (Minolta #2) and this becomes 1.2". Add a +10 diopter (Hoya) instead, and you're around 0.85". The guy who wants to do jewelry - get a Minolta #2 and a ring will fill the entire field of view. Reversed Nikon 50mm enlarging lens vignettes very badly (damn!) you're down to a field width of about 0.3" but only half the sensor is covered. My reversed 50mm camera lens covers almost the entire field (about 75%) and the width is about 0.6" - the 24 vignettes very badly. The best bet for me is to limit use to the regular diopters.

4. The lens feels nice and tight. It extends a great distance (relative to it's size) during zooming, but never gets wobbly like the newer 1:1 macro lenses for 35mm. This is good, since locking on the bayonet lenshood requires a bit of force. The heavy 35mm lenses attached during the macro tests didn't seem to stress the lens at all - but I don't advocate attaching anything that heavy (8-9 oz.) onto the end of this lens.

My one gripe so far having to do with the ergonomics is that during manual focussing my fingertips contact those of the hand wrapped around the grip - this is a small camera and the clearances will take some getting used to. Also, when I dropped the batteries into their holes they almost jumped back out - they installed some hefty springs in there!

I may have a theory about the autofocus problem at 200mm - camera shake! While I was playing around I noticed one or two times when the lens racked itself in and out before locking, I also noticed that I was offbalance and shaking. It is a 200mm equivalent - shooter steadiness will have an impact on the autofocus being able to lock on. When I braced myself it locked on a lot quicker.

My overall opinion: This camera is just plain NEAT!

Now I've got to sit down and read the manual (has about 2-3 pages of warnings before you get to any information!) tonight. Starting tomorrow I'll probably be gone for a few days (maybe weeks?) while I play. Hope you guys have fun with yours also.


 Wayne DeWitt's gear list:Wayne DeWitt's gear list
Minolta DiMAGE 7 Nikon Coolpix P510 Nikon Coolpix P7800 Kodak DCS Pro 14n Nikon D70 +2 more
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