Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D Review
The Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D (Dynax 7D in Europe) was first revealed to the general public on 12th February 2004 at the PMA tradeshow, at that time we were able to produce a hands-on preview of a pre-production camera. Finally on 15th September 2004 just before the Photokina tradeshow Konica Minolta fleshed out the detail with full specifications and an official press release. A few days later we were able to get our hands on a pre-production camera and publish some exclusive samples and a full gallery. This final review is based on a full production camera.
The Maxxum 7D is Konica Minolta's first digital SLR for five years (since the RD-3000), it is based on the Maxxum 7 (Dynax 7) film SLR with a very similar body design and control layout. The main differences are obviously that the 7D has a digital 'heart', a large LCD monitor and control system and loses the 7's grip sensor. The 7D is clearly targeted at the higher end of the digital SLR market, at keen prosumer's and professionals, and that's reflected in its price at $1,599 (body only) it's up against cameras such as the Canon EOS 20D, Fujifilm S3 Pro, Olympus E-1 and Nikon D70 (which while cheaper is probably equally as capable).
* UPDATE 27/Feb/2005 - Firmware 1.10
We posted the original version of this review on 17/Jan/2005, on 14/Feb/2005 Konica Minolta issued a firmware update, named 'version 1.10'. This has resolved a couple of issues we discovered and wrote about in our original review. We wouldn't normally do updates to reviews however this update was delivered very quickly after our review was posted and does produce a very significant improvement in performance. We have now updated this review to reflect this new firmware version, the individual page updates are:
- Page 4 (Body & Design): USB 2.0 tranfser rates up to 25 Mbps (compared to 7.5 Mbps)
- Page 7 (Displays): Blinking highlights are now available in Instant Playback
- Page 9 (Menus): Transfer mode now supports Remote Storage
- Page 10 (Timings): Confirmed all timings, replaced Continuous and
File Flush Timing (both improved vastly)
- Page 26 (Conclusion): Corrected 'Cons' list
The Maxxum 7D's "unique selling point" is its Anti-Shake stabilization system, unique among digital SLR's. Minolta first introduced this feature with the DiMAGE A1, it is unique in its operation because instead of stabilizing a lens element (as in a traditional image stabilization system) the sensor is stabilized. Inside the 7D its six megapixel CCD is mounted on a movable platform controlled by two actuators (x and y axis).
The system works by analyzing input from motion detectors in the camera body and producing an inverse movement in the CCD. The system can be disabled (via switch on the rear of the camera) and can also detect a panning movement and only compensate for movement on the opposite axis. What's exciting and new about this system is that it instantly adds stabilization to the entire range of Minolta lenses. An 'Anti-Shake' indicator is visible through the viewfinder which provides feedback to the photographer as to how much the system is having to compensate for shake.
Note: If you're used to seeing the effect of optical image stabilization through the viewfinder of your SLR you have to get used to the fact that you don't get that on the 7D.
In conjunction with their announcement of the 7D Konica Minolta also announced two new lenses designed specifically for use with the 7D, according to Konica Minolta these "are designed to produce high quality digital images especially when used in combination with the new Maxxum 7D and its body-integral Anti-Shake technology" (I'm not sure exactly what this means as they do seem to be two fairly typical high quality lenses). These are the two lenses we will be using for the majority of our gallery samples (and the AF 50 mm F1.4 for comparison / test shots).
|Konica Minolta AF 17-35 mm F2.8-F4.0 (D)
(26 - 53 mm equiv. FOV, 2.0x zoom)
|Konica Minolta AF 28-75 mm F2.8 (D)
(42 - 113 mm equiv. FOV, 2.7x zoom)
I own it
I want it
I had it
Discuss in the forums
Sony is the world's leading mirrorless camera brand but remains third for ILCs overall, it's said in a presentation to investors. A focus on high value cameras and lenses should boost operating income, it says. Read more
It's nicknamed the 'Cycloptic Mustard Monster,' and is a 3D printed medium format camera. Read more
The new NanGuang LED lights are battery powered and come with accessories including filters and diffusers.
Have you been telling yourself, "Hey, I really need one of those 8K displays?" A video about Dell's new 8K monitor shows you what to expect. Is it really that much better?
Tamara Lackey, a Nikon ambassador USA and pro shooter, discusses embracing self-consciousness as a means of connecting with subjects.
There's a new Spiderman movie coming out and the poster been generating a lot of online chatter. Mostly about how it looks like the creation of a fevered teenager that just discovered Photoshop.
An honest defense of the system's merits, with photos as proof.
Copyright disputes are no fun at all. 'Binded' is a new startup that aims to simplify the process of registering - and enforcing - copyright for photographers. Read more
Not everyone wants to pay a premium for a long zoom camera. Thankfully, there are many reasonably priced cameras available, though they won't offer the same image quality as enthusiast models. In this updated roundup we look at big zoom cameras with more consumer-friendly price tags. Read more
Think Tank Photo has updated two of its popular bag lines with improvements to functionality. Read more
We’ve all seen Bob Jackson’s Pulitzer Prize winning photo, but there's another.
The sample footage looks good.
It will automatically pick the best camera settings depending on shooting conditions. It even promises enhanced functionality for your camera, like exposure and focus stacking. It already supports many cameras from Canon, Fuji, Nikon and Sony. Read more
As if $13,950 wasn’t enough to pay for a special edition lens, the Leica Store in San Francisco is offering a prototype of said lens for $24,995. Read more
Make those old photos disappear without deleting them forever.
Firmware updates enable 10 fps shooting with adapted A-mount lenses, and faster startup times and better compatibility for 20 fps shooting when using native lenses on the a9.
Fujifilm has released firmware updates for its camera models X-T2, X-Pro2, GFX 50s, X-T20, X100F and X-T1 and updates to three of its software products.
A 22 year-old Romanian photographer uses his DJI Phantom 4 drone to capture unique perspectives of the city where he now lives.
What's it like to ride the waves with champion surfer Kelly Slater? This VR video from Teton Gravity Research gives you a taste.
When Nikon released the full-frame D3 in 2007, it changed the professional photography industry. In this week's Throwback Thursday, Barney remembers a legend. Read more
The new stuff should have better red hues, improved sensitivity and finer grain - but don't worry - will still shift blues to green, greens to purple and yellows to pink.
Ricoh has introduced a new rugged compact camera with a 16MP CMOS sensor, 28-140mm lens, 2.7" LCD and built-in LED macro lights. Read more
This compact drone can shoot HD video using a 2-axis stabilized 12MP camera. Read more
The new Prynt Pocket can print a photo directly from their iPhone simply by inserting the phone into the printer, then snapping a photo. Each print will cost about 50 cents. Read more
Updates for Adobe Camera Raw and Lightroom CC bring support for the Sony A9 and Panasonic ZS70/TZ90, along with bug fixes.
The Triggertrap remote camera control system is no longer sold due to the company folding, but now users will be able to build their own. Read more
The Magic Format Converter comes with internal optics that expand the image circle of full-frame DSLR lenses for use on the Fuji medium format camera. Read more
The usually Apple-exclusive MacPhun software developer has announced that it will introduce PC versions of two of its most popular applications. Both Aurora HDR and Luminar should be available for the Windows operating system by the autumn of this year. Read more
Sony's newest G Master telephoto zoom, announced alongside the a9, is the first of the company's FE lenses to reach 400mm natively. We had one in California and photographed horses, portraits, and landscapes - check out how it did. Read more
Garmin has entered the 360-camera market with the VIRB, which captures 5.7K video at 30p as well as 15MP stills. Read more