D2Xs v. Maxxum 7D – First impressions

Started Sep 12, 2006 | Discussions thread
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Jay Williams
Jay Williams Senior Member • Posts: 2,444
D2Xs v. Maxxum 7D – First impressions

D2Xs v. Maxxum 7D – First impressions

My history is with Minolta. I shot Minolta SLRs for years and was among the first adopters of both the 7D and 5D. The D2Xs is the first Nikon I have ever owned. These are my first impressions with the D2Xs and I compare it with the Maxxum 7D as is unavoidable given my background.

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  • I have never held a camera with a more comfortable grip than the Minolta Maxxum 7D. The D2Xs is, however, pretty good. Also, Minolta’s positioning of the vertical grip shutter release is excellent. Not sure why no one else is doing it this way. With Nikon and Canon, your hand is much higher (relative to your eye) when you shoot vertically. Ideally, your hand is in the same position whether you’re shooting landscape or portrait. Having said that, Minolta never has gotten the vertical grip perfect. The front control dial on the Maxxum 9 is in a bad position, and the grip on the 7D is too fat.

  • I really like the AF/MF button on the 7D. It falls right under your thumb and allows quick and easy switching between AF and MF. Will need to discover if there’s a good way to mimic this behavior with the D2Xs.

  • I like the center select button in the middle of the controller on the 7D. It is much easier to use than simply pressing the entire controller on the D2Xs.

  • On the D2Xs, it seems odd that there is a button on top that you have to press in combination with the rear control dial for exposure compensation, but that there is no similar button when shooting vertically. If there were a similar button for vertical shooting, I wouldn’t mention this at all. Thankfully, you can disable the need to press the button so you can simply spin the rear control dial for exposure compensation. This is the way it works on the 7D, 9, etc. The problem is the inconsistency between landscape and portrait shooting with D2Xs.

  • I really like the built-in flash on Minolta’s cameras. I’m going to miss that on the D2Xs.

  • Minolta’s proprietary flash shoe mount is super nice. I’m going to miss that. Having said that, the mount on the D2Xs with SB-800 seems very sturdy and easier to secure the flash than the old spin-the-wheel designs. Still, it’s much more difficult to use than the Minolta system.

  • The D2Xs has an insane amount of menu options and features. Great control and configurability. Very nice, but will be a challenge to learn.

  • The top LCD and lower rear LCD on the D2Xs seem nice. They’ll take just a bit of getting used to, but I think I’m going to like them. I did, however, like the white balance location on the 7D (where the top LCD usually goes). Very quick and easy to access.

  • Also on the 7D, the ISO button is great. Very quick and easy to access. In general, the buttons below the rear LCD on the D2Xs seems a bit difficult to use. I’ll probably get used to them, however.

  • Auto focus on the D2Xs is blazingly fast. When you press the shutter release button, the D2Xs take the picture NOW. Absolutely awesome. My experience thus far is with the 17-55 DX and the 70-200 VR. Both lenses seem fabulous. The 70-200 VR is somewhat less impressive looking than Minolta’s 70-200 SSM. The Minolta is simply a gorgeous lens. Both lenses are superb.

  • I’ve used the SB-800 only very briefly with the D2Xs. Just a few snapshots in a dark room. The exposure seems spot on regardless of what I’m pointing the camera at and what focal length the lens is set at. Also, bouncing seems to give just as good exposure. Also, there is no delay due to the flash charging. Just as without flash, the D2Xs and SB-800 take the picture the instant you press the shutter release button. The SB-800 does, however, feel and look a bit cheaper than the Minolta 5600HS. Its functionality is much better, however, than what Minolta ever achieved with their flashes and digital SLRs. Their flashes when combined with their film cameras is excellent. That’s yesterday, though. Nikon’s flash system is far superior based on my initial experience. I’ll have to test for lazy eye with a friend of mine who is a major blinker. This is one of the flash nightmares with the 7D. We’ll see if the pre-flash delay with the D2Xs is appreciably shorter.

  • The D2Xs has myriad possible info screens during image review, including RGB histograms. You can easily choose from among them.

  • I miss the 7D’s flashing underexposed areas on image review. Flashing highlights are critical, but the flashing underexposed areas are nice.

  • The front control dial on the D2Xs is positioned poorly. It’s too low. To experience the optimal position, pick up a 7D.

  • Both cameras are built very well and feel solid in the hands. The Nikon is, however, a step up in this regard, with its sealing.

  • Minolta’s Anti-Shake is an absolutely brilliant invention. Only from the Mind of Minolta, as they say. I’ll miss having image stabilization on every lens I own. This really is brilliant and a huge deal. Maybe someday Sony will come out with a camera that is the equal of the D2Xs, but with built in image stabilization.

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The D2Xs is a wonderful and amazing camera. I am enjoying getting to know it. It’s a fun camera to use and has some fantastic capabilities. There are some things I’ll miss about the Minoltas, but the D2Xs is an enormous upgrade.

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Jay
http://www.jpwphoto.com

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