Minolta DiMAGE 7 Review
Minolta Image Viewer Utility
Supplied with the camera is the DiMAGE Image Viewer Utility. This application is ESSENTIAL to perform the conversion between the proprietary DiMAGE colour space and also for processing of RAW (.MRW) files. Timings reported on this page were carried out on a dual processor 933 Mhz Pentium III workstation with 1 GB of RAM and SCSI disk subsystem.
As discussed earlier in this review the DiMAGE 7 shoots in its own colour space for both JPEG/TIFF and RAW images. It's therefore important that you run your images through this utility to get them into some standard colour space for either viewing on a standard PC (sRGB), the web (sRGB) or even printing (any of the wider gamut colour spaces; Adobe RGB is a good choice). Remembering also that if you have or intend to get a PIM (Print Image Matching) compatible printer then you will need to hang on to the original image files as they are ready for immediate output on these devices.
WARNING: DO NOT modify the DiMAGE 7 images in any way (lossless rotation in other applications etc.) otherwise the Minolta Image Viewer will not recognise them as DiMAGE 7 images and you will never be able to convert them to the correct colour space.
Interface and basic operation
Open the application and your first task is to select some images to process, you can either do this a single image at a time or (more logically) select an entire folder ("Load images in a folder").
You'll note that this is the dialog box which allows you to enable "Color Matching" (recommended!), simply select the required colour space (sRGB if you're unsure, Adobe RGB is recommended for professionals).
The Image Viewer Utility will now display a page of thumbnails for the selected folder, if any of the images are RAW format it will display the RAW settings dialog FOR EACH IMAGE, this gets a bit tedious after a while and should really just be an option. (More detail on RAW files further down this page).
The opening of a page of thumbnails certainly isn't as quick as some of the better browser applications (ACDSEE comes to mind). It doesn't cache thumbnails in any way and took approximately 20 seconds to open a folder of 60 JPEG FINE images (@ 2560 x 1920).
At this stage you can change sorting order, rotate or flip single or multiple images, select a group (or single image) and click on "Save image" and you'll be prompted:
You can now save the selected images as TIFF or JPEG (with a very wide range of compression settings). Images saved from the Image Viewer Utility (assuming you checked the "Color Matching" checkbox) will be converted to the appropriate color space profile and also tagged (so that Photoshop recognises it). Here's what Photoshop sees as the image's profiles when it opens them:
(sRGB colour space)
(Adobe RGB colour space)
Two other options on the toolbar:
|Image Size (change size)||Image Information|
Display / Conversion performance
|File type / size||Time to load /
|Time to convert
/ save image *1
|2560 x 1920 RAW||28.0 sec||2.7 sec|
|2560 x 1920 FINE JPEG||0.54 sec||6.6 sec|
|1280 x 960 FINE JPEG||0.38 sec||2.9 sec|
|*1||Saved as JPEG 5 (approximately same size as FINE JPEG from the camera). Colour space was set to sRGB. No image manipulation settings (color correction / sharpness) settings applied.|
Clicking on the 'Color Correction' tab switches to this single image view. You can browse through the images using the small film-like counter in the top right of the pane. This part of the utility allows you to carry out a variety of tone and colour adjustments to the image which will be applied before the image is saved. Here's a run-down of the available correction functions:
|Tone Curves and Histogram||Brightness, Contrast and Color Balance|
|Variations||Hue, Saturation, Lightness|
Obviously the advantage of doing these kind of adjustments in the Image Viewer Utility (versus later in Photoshop etc.) is that you're dealing with the entire input colour gamut before it is converted to another colour space. (Clearly if you saved the image to a wide gamut space such as Adobe RGB this is less of an issue).
The Image Viewer has the ability to take 'snapshots' at different adjustment settings so you can back up through them to a preferred setting.
You can also compare the original to the adjusted image, side-by-side:
On the next tab you can apply additional sharpening to the image:
Opening a RAW file (.MRW extension) displays the following window:
You can choose to change the white balance, saturation, contrast and sharpness of the RAW image before its placed in the thumbnail view. (For some reason the Saturation and Contrast setting were unavailable on the images I loaded). It would be nice to be able to do this for a selection of files and not have this window pop up for each and every RAW file opened. Saving a RAW file as TIFF saves it as 36-bits per pixel (16-bits per colour) - 28 MB.
RAW files exhibited an EVEN WIDER colour gamut than native JPEG files, take a look at the sample below, the pink crayon (third from the bottom) is far more vivid in the RAW converted image, and is indeed much closer to the real thing.
|JPEG converted to sRGB colour space||RAW converted to sRGB colour space and saved as JPEG|
The image on the right (RAW converted to sRGB saved as JPEG) has the best colour (based on the original scene) I've seen from anything this side of a Fujifilm S1 Pro or Nikon D1x.
|Street Food 2017 by ziggyzag|
from Your City - Fast Food
|Running free by LassiM|
|Treacherous Land- "Dune " by Frank Herbert by Domenick Creaco|
from Sci-Fi or Fantasy Film Titles
|1969 Oldsmobile 442 Resto-Mod by J Warren|
from O is for...
The 10 Open category winners revealed this week will duke it out for $5,000 in prize money and the title of Open Photographer of the Year. The winner will be revealed on April 19th, alongside the Professional category winners.
The new Laowa 9mm F2.8 Zero-D is "the world’s widest rectilinear f/2.8 lens for mirrorless APS-C cameras." It boasts a 113° angle of view, fast F2.8 aperture, and a Zero-D design that promises "close to zero" distortion.
YouTuber Devin Graham recently got to do something very few of us will ever get to: he purchased and unboxed nearly a quarter million dollars worth of cinema lenses.
We're looking for a Software Development Engineer to join our Seattle-based team. Bring your creativity, passion and talent to help us build the next generation of our web and mobile experiences.
If you're on a budget and looking to get into Fujifilm's X-system, the X-A5 is likely on your radar. We've been out shooting with this updated entry-level camera.
A report from the National Endowment for the Arts shows that photography and photo-finishing services contributed $10.2 billion to the US economy in 2015.
According to unnamed sources, Google will acquire Lytro's technology and patents, with Lytro employees already having left the company.
Our review of the Sony a7 III is well underway and, as part of this, we're publishing our studio test scene. We'll be building out the review in the coming weeks as we test and shoot the camera in a series of situations.
The new ExaDrive offers a three times higher capacity than the previous largest SSD, a 30TB model by Samsung.
A pair of images show what may be the upcoming DJI Phantom 5 drone featuring an interchangeable lens camera. Update: Comparing this image to the size of previous DJI lens mounts, and noting the 3:2 aspect ratio of the sensor, we're confident the leaked image shows a 1"-type sensor
We were saddened to hear of the death last week of Chuck Westfall, a 35-year veteran of Canon USA, and a legend in the photography industry.
Nikon looks to be positioning its D850 as a serious video rig with today's announcement of its D850 Filmmaker's Kit. The kit includes the body, 20/35/85mm F1.8G lenses, an Atomos Ninja Flame external recorder, two microphones and an extra battery.
Photographers shopping around for Lightroom alternatives have likely encountered Alien Skin's Exposure X3. Here's an overview of its organization and editing controls, and how they differ from the competition.
Alien Skin has released a significant update for its Exposure X3 image editor, adding greater precision to adjustment tools and more printing capabilities, among other improvements.
The FAA has ordered helicopter pilots and operators to halt certain doors-off flights in the wake of a tragedy that killed five passengers.
Analysts TechInsights have torn down a Samsung Galaxy S9 Plus to have a closer look at the device's internal components and their cost.
Oppo's new high-end phones bear an uncanny resemblance to the iPhone X, with features like face unlock to a portrait lighting mode.
Recently we visited the 2018 CP+ show in Yokohama, Japan and as usual, we booked interviews with senior executives from several major manufacturers, including Sigma.
At this year's CP+ show in Yokohama, we sat down with senior executives from several major manufacturers, including Canon. Topics of conversation included Canon's ambitions for high-end mirrorless cameras, and the importance of responding to the demands of the smartphone generation.
We were recently able to follow local frame builder Max Kullaway as he created one of his AirLandSea bikes. Here are our picks of the photos we got, as the project progressed from bare tubes all the way to rideable bicycle.
On paper, the Sony a7 III is a tempting option for photographers who've been considering a switch to full-frame mirrorless. But how does its image quality stack up? We compare it to the Mark II and a few of its other peers.
Erez Marom shares the details behind this beautiful aurora photograph, captured on Haukland Beach in the Lofoten Islands, Arctic Norway, on a moonless evening.
Google Lens uses artificial intelligence and 'computer vision' to identify and provide information about businesses, landmarks and other objects using your phone's camera. And now it's available for iPhone users, too.
The company posted a record quarterly revenue of $2.08 billion for the first quarter of the 2018 fiscal year. That represents incredibly healthy year-over-year growth of 24 percent.
In the job posting, the Times' describes this role as "one of the most important and high-profile jobs in visual journalism." If you're looking for a high profile job in photojournalism, you could do a lot worse than being Photo Director at The Gray Lady.
According to a recent report out of South Korea, Samsung is increasing production of its ISOCELL image sensors in a bid towards market leadership for image sensors. To reach this goal, Samsung will have to dethrone current market leader Sony... no small task.
In this video, large format photographer Ben Horne shows off the incredible resolving power of 8x10 slide film by pixel peeping a massive 709.6-megapixel drum scan of one of his landscape shots. And you thought 100MP medium format was big...
Photographer Wendy Teal tells the heart-breaking story of a wedding she shot at a hospital on just 24-hours notice. The mother of the bride had been given one week to live, and Wendy responded to the couple's desperate social media plea for someone to capture their special day.
This tiny little plug-and-play VR/AR camera for Android phones uses a pair of greater-than-180° FOV fisheye lenses to offer both 360° video/photo capture and 360° livestreaming at 1440p resolution.
Syrp has announced the Magic Carpet Pro: a slider that offers filmmakers an 'infinitely extendable' range thanks to built-in track levers that let you connect lengths of track without the use of tools.