Minolta DiMAGE 7 Review
The DiMAGE 7 takes its layout from the SLR-like school of design, it's not the most attractive digital camera to date with lots of angular edges and elements which look as though they don't really belong. The lens in particular doesn't seem to "blend" into the body in the same way as we've seen of other fixed lens 'SLR-like' digital cameras, the main body itself, which extends only to the right, is quite thin and the hand grip doesn't add much to this. I found that the camera got especially hot around the compact flash compartment (just under your hand) which was surprising.
As far as I know this is the first digital camera to have its battery compartment located on the left side under the CCD/LCD construction. This has the consequence of making the camera feel heavier on the left than the right, this added to the narrow grip doesn't help the comfort level when holding the camera). I'm also concerned as to what effect a set of hot NiMH batteries would have on the CCD directly above them (although in use the right side of the camera seems to generate far more heat).
My first impression when I picked it up was that the plastic hand grip's flat front face loses some comfort / stability which would have been there had it been a more rounded shape (and rubber coated), it's also a little small for my hands (I'd consider I have regular "Caucasian adult male hands").
Metal or plastic?
This debate has been raging since the camera's announcement and first product photos. We can now bring you some detailed information on the DiMAGE 7's body make-up.
As you can see from the image on the left, the main body is made from a single piece of diecast magnesium alloy. Obviously the inside of the case contains the electronics and imager. On the outside is attached the barrel grip, lens, LCD viewfinder assembly, main LCD, dials, flash and compartment doors. I've taken the trouble of highlighting the areas of the DiMAGE's exterior which are actually exposed metal from the substructure seen above:
As you can see a good deal of the exterior of the camera is metal, maybe a little less than Fujifilm's 6900Z but still this ensures the camera is stiff, doesn't have any creaks or obvious chassis strength problems.
My major complaint is with the overall finish and build quality of the camera, it really doesn't give you the impression (or the satisfaction) of being $1500 worth of digital camera. Here are my list of gripes concerned with finish and build:
- Lightweight plastic hand grip, bad shape (flat faced) and plastic. A rubber, rounded grip would have helped a great deal.
- Some of the buttons aren't fitted centrally in their location.
- Details like the battery and compact flash compartment door feel flimsy.
- The 'rubber grommet' covers for connectors didn't stay in place.
- The zoom mechanism doesn't move smoothly, it's stiff and feels as though you're cranking plastic against plastic.
- The fly-by-wire manual focus ring wasn't fitted properly and rubbed against the left side of the case.
These details are considered with both lower priced (Fujifilm 6900Z) and directly competitive (Olympus E-10; superb build quality) digital cameras.
Top status LCD 'data panel'
A diagram indicating all possible status LCD settings is shown below.
Diagram reproduced from the DiMAGE 7 manual.
Rear LCD Monitor
One thing the DiMAGE 7 does very well is maintain an image on either the LCD monitor or EVF in low light situations. It automatically increases CCD sensitivity to continue to provide a bright image, in extremely low light it will push sensitivity one more step and switch to a black and white view to provide an image in almost completely dark situations.
A diagram indicating all possible LCD monitor (or EVF) information overlay is shown below.
|a. Flash mode indicators||o. Camera sensitivity (ISO) display|
|b. Flash signals||p. Manual focus indicator|
|c. Mode indicator||q. Focus signals|
|d. Flash compensation display||r. Frame counter|
|e. Sharpness display||s. Drive mode indicators|
|f. Contrast compensation display||t. Macro mode indicator|
|g. Color saturation compensation display||u. Battery condition indicator|
|h. Exposure compensation display||v. Image quality indicator|
|i. White balance indicators||w. Image size indicator|
|j. Exposure mode/ Digital subject program indicators||x. Digital zoom (Electronic magnification) indicator|
|k. Metering mode indicators||1. Focus frame|
|l. Shutter speed display||2. Spot metering area|
|m. Aperture display||3. AF sensors|
|n. Camera shake warning||4. Flex Focus Point|
Diagram reproduced from the DiMAGE 7 manual.
|Short-eared Owl by bryand7k|
from Best photo of the week...
|Happy girl! by Dutch Newchurch|
from Wide angle
Rumor has it Canon is planning to release a successor to its APS-C flagship EOS 7D Mark II in the first half of 2018. After 3 years, it's probably due an upgrade - here's our wishlist for a Mark III.
Have you followed us on Instagram yet? Now's a great time to, since over the next three days we'll be turning our account over to Barney, where he'll be sharing photos from a recent trip to central Mexico.
Quick. Unpredictable. Unwilling to sit still. Kids really are the ultimate test for a camera's autofocus system. We've compiled a short list of what we think are the best options for parents trying to keep up with young kids, and narrowed it down to one best all-rounder.
Fashion and portrait photographer Joe McNally is one of the most recognizable names in photography. We spoke to him recently to talk through the process of creating one of the most arresting images of Nikon's D850 launch campaign.
If you're on a budget and want a Sony FE 50mm F1.4 lens that'll autofocus, this one is worth consideration. But as is usually the case, you get what you pay for.
Time is running out to vote for your favorite cameras and lenses in our year-end Readers' Choice Awards! In this category, we've rounded up the seven of the best high-end interchangeable lens cameras for enthusiasts and pros.
Each week, we'll help you cut through the noise and share the top 5 photography news stories from the past 7 days. This week's top stories cover a wide range of emotions: from tragedy, to anger, inspiration, and a little bit of sticker shock courtesy of Apple.
In part two of his series on shooting lava flows in Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, landscape photographer Erez Marom tackles the challenges inherent in shooting lava from the ground.
"Texas, like many states, has a banned book list totaling about 10,000. What’s surprising is that whilst books by Adolf Hitler and the Klu Klux Klan leader do not make the list, a surprising number of photography books do."
Thinking of getting a rugged or underwater camera for a tropical vacation this winter? Jose Francisco Salgado tested two popular models, the Olympus TG-5 and Nikon W300 on a trip to Puerto Rico this summer. Find out what he thinks of these two cameras.
This year saw several cameras released in the mid-range ILC class, from full-frame DSLRs to super-compact APS-C mirrorless models. Take a look for a reminder of the key mid-range ILCs released in 2017, and don't forget to vote for your favorites.
The most important camera you'll ever own is the first one you buy. This year was relatively quiet on the entry-level ILC front, but the quality of the cameras released in this market segment was universally excellent. Vote while you can – polls close Monday!
Disney is attempting to buy most of 21st Century Fox in a deal worth a reported $52.4 billion. In the process, Disney will take over Fox's controlling 73% stake in National Geographic.
Leica has released a series of 100 limited edition M bodies with red anodized top and base plates. The company says the red hue of the cameras makes a bold statement, though some might argue the $7,000 price tag is slightly more daring.
Fuji users have another flash trigger to add to their arsenal. Broncolor's RFS 2.2F flash trigger—formerly only available for Canon, Nikon, and Sony—is now being made for Fujifilm cameras as well.
Canon might be planning to bring catadioptric 'mirror' lenses back from the dead. A new Canon patent spotted in Japan describes a 400mm F5.6 catadioptric lens that would use a variable density ‘electrochromic’ filter to 'stop down' the lens.
DxOMark just finished their review of the Leica M10 sensor, and while it outperforms almost every other digital Leica ever made, it still falls significantly short of the top-of-the-line full-frame sensors out there.
The aurora borealis, or northern lights, are one of Earth's great natural wonders. As we head into the dark days of winter, it's a great time to think about photographing them. In this article, we walk you through what you need to know to get your own magical photos of these lights in the sky.
The year 2017 was great for prime lens shooters. Based on reader interest and preferences, we've got a whopping twenty lenses for this category of our year-end reader polls. Vote now for your favorite!
It's the end of an era. Two years after releasing the Milvus line, Cosina Japan has announced that it has ceased production of the Zeiss SLR Classic series of lenses.
Now that the iMac Pro is live on the Apple store online, we can finally see how much a fully loaded, 18-core version with 128GB of RAM, a 4TB SSD and Radeon Pro Vega 64 graphics card will cost you. Surprise, surprise... it ain't cheap.
Apple just dropped a major update of video editing program Final Cut Pro X, adding support for HDR, VR and 360° video editing, 8K support, and advanced color grading tools including (FINALLY!) curves.
"I ended up with two minutes to shoot the group of 11 egos, six of whom were palpably unhelpful," says celebrity photographer Jesse Dittmar, "while a peanut gallery of 40 PR reps, individual hair, make-up, and stylists were trying to get their say."
26-year-old Chinese rooftopper Wu Yongning fell to his death from atop the 62-story Huayuan Hua Centre skyscraper when a photo stunt for an unnamed sponsor went horribly wrong.
Photographer Nasim Mansurov ran the new Microsoft Surface Book 2 and the newest 15-inch Apple MacBook Pro side-by-side for a month. Read on to find out how the two machines compared in real-world use.
President Trump has signed a bill that reinstates mandatory drone registration in the US, reversing a court ruling from earlier this year that eliminated the requirement.
The iPhone X shares the iPhone 8 Plus' camera specs with a notable exception: both of the X's main cameras are stabilized. Take a look at what Apple's newest flagship device can do.
This year saw plenty of new lenses released, including several excellent zooms. We've used a lot of them, but we want to hear from you – what were your favorite zoom lenses of 2017?
National Geographic has revealed the winners of its annual Nature Photographer of the Year contest, and every shot from the Grand Prize winner down to the Honorable Mentions and People's Choice awards are fantastic.