Help! need buying advice, have read other posts

Started Dec 31, 2001 | Discussions thread
Phatkemist Regular Member • Posts: 249
Re: Help! need buying advice, have read other posts

Summary: Relax. You do not have the option to make a big mistake with the cameras you are considering. I am highly impressed with the D7 relative to cameras I have owned and the Nikon 990 a friend owns. (The 995 is a 990 with the design mistakes corrected.) Based on (a lot of) reading discussion threads, I am more impressed with Minolta as a company than the others, especially Sony.

If you want to know why I believe this:

I have owned a couple of early Sony's, a Casio QV 3000 EX and have just acquired a Dimage 7. As noted earlier, each camera has its strengths and weaknesses.

Personally, I will never own another Sony. This is because they would lock me into accessories that limit what I can do relative to open market choices (taking TIF images on a 707 would require changing memory sticks evey 7 or 8 exposures) and offer generally poor value.

The second issue I have with Sony is illustrated by the response they issued with their blue flash problem: To wit, no firmware upgrade would be forthcoming. If you want the camera you paid for, then give it up for a few weeks while we correct our defect! Contrast that with the recent Minolta release of a firmware upgrade that apparently addresses many of the issues raised by early users. I feel much more comportable that I am not paying a lot of money to be a beta test site and will then be stuck with a product that is crippled relative to newer versions with my Minolta. I believe Sony will take deliberate actions to make my purchase obsolete, whereas Minolta seem to take a more supportive view of their customers.

The Casio QV 3000 has the same lens and CCD as the G1. I took a lot of pictures ( 20,000) with these and can give both a solid recommendation for performance in their class. I did find it necessary to purchase a wide angle and teleconverter and rig a mount to cover my needs. These are basically included in the price of the Dimage 7.

I have read a lot about Minolta focusing problems in low light at high telephoto settings. This is a load of malarkey. Of course, it is more difficult to 'contrast' focus with a higher magnification lens. That does not reflect a deficiency in the camera with the longer telephoto lens, however! I have taken picutes with the Casio using a 2x teleconverter to give the same 200 mm focal length as the D7. The D7 focuses under conditions where the Casio does not.

My limited personal experience confirms the D7's needs for batteries. Using a 1G microdrive and storing only RAW format pictures, I got about 60 frames in ~ 1 hour on a set of 1600 mAh Sunpak batteries. It took these batteries over an hour to finish discharging when I conditioned them prior to recharging. That is, my camera does not fully discharge the batteries when it shuts down. This would make the apparent battery life a strong function of the resistance of the contacts, etc. I believe this effect is a major contributor to the wide variability of experience amoung users.

My approach to battery life is to clean the contacts regularly and use an external battery for those occasions when I plan to take a lot of pictures. I have just purchased a Radio Shack battery which attaches nicely to my monopod using heavy duty velcro. It should have the life of ~ 2.5 sets of NiMH batteries.

The Dimage is not a point and shoot camera. It does have a point and shoot mode. It's real strength lies in the close approximation it gives you to a top end 35 mm SLR. I really like the telephoto adjustment system much better than any other digital camera I have used. The manual focus ring is comfortable for an old 35 mm user and the option to magnify the image 4x for focusing is adequate, although not a split ring by any stretch of the imagination.

If you read this far, happy shottin'.

Best regards,


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