Auto Bracketing

Automatic bracketing is the exposure of an odd number of frames, typically three or five, over and under exposed by equal steps to enable the photographer to select the best exposed frame at a later time. The DiMAGE 7 allows you to bracket three frames by 0.3, 0.5 or 1.0 EV steps. In addition if you turn the EFFECT dial to colour saturation or contrast the camera will instead bracket three frames at + and - values for these settings.

Auto Bracketing: Exposure (0.5 EV)

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+/- 0.0 EV -0.5 EV +0.5 EV

Auto Bracketing: Colour saturation

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Saturation: Normal Saturation: -1 Saturation +1

Auto Bracketing: Contrast

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Contrast: Normal Contrast: -1 Contrast +1

Aperture Priority / Depth of field

Aperture priority is where you designate the aperture and the camera calculates the best shutter speed. Used properly Aperture Priority can be invaluable as it has a direct effect on depth of field (the distance in front and behind the focal point which will be in focus when taking the shot). As you adjust the aperture the camera immediately reflects this change in the image on the LCD screen.

The DiMAGE 7 offers a range of apertures between F2.8 and F8 (wide) and F3.5 and F9.5 (tele).

  • Wide: F2.8, F3.5, F4, F4.5, F5.6, F6.7, F8
  • Tele: F3.5, F4, F4.5, F5.6, F6.7, F8, F9.5

The sample below shows the difference in depth of field between F3.5 and F9.5 (lens set to maximum telephoto, macro mode).

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F3.5, 1/15 sec F9.5, 1/3 sec

Manual Focus

The DiMAGE 7's combination of a manual focus ring (albeit focus-by-wire), display of focus distance and record mode zoom (x4) makes it relatively easy to manually select the focus distance. You have to remember that the minimum focus distance in normal focus mode is 50 cm (19.7 in), and that you'll have to zoom to full telephoto to switch into macro focus mode where the minimum focus distance is 25 cm (9.8 in).

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Manually focused on the 4 cm mark on the ruler (camera was set approx. 19 cm back from the scene). Aperture: F3.5 Manually focused on the 17 cm mark on the ruler. Aperture: F3.5

Macro Focus

Macro focus is only available with the zoom set between 175 and 200 mm (as 35mm equiv. focal lengths) as indicated by a small arrow and line on the zoom grip. It is engaged by sliding a small switch forwards on the lens barrel, the camera can now focus between 25 cm - 60 cm (9.8 - 23.6 in). This means that when shooting macros 25 cm (9.8 in) is as close as you can get, however thanks to the magnification at 200 mm (equiv.) you can still shoot some fairly decent macros. We measured the closest frame coverage to be approximately 5 cm (2 in) across the entire frame. This is about the same as Sony's DSC-S75 / S85.

Low Light Focus

In a new addition to our reviews we'll now be measuring the minimum amount of light under which the camera can still focus. The focus target is our lens distortion test chart (shown here on the right), camera is positioned exactly 2 m (6.6 ft) away. Light levels are gradually dropped until the camera can no longer focus.

This test target is the optimum type of subject for most "contrast detect" AF systems (as it has a vertical line at its center), if the subject were less easy to focus upon then you would need more light.

This is about what we'd expect of a digital camera without an AF assist lamp.