Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D SLR Review

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Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D

Camera Features & Controls

The MAXXUM 7D has a magnesium-alloy front cover panel and bottom plate which are mounted on a die-cast magnesium front chassis to ensure the reliability and durability that experienced SLR users demand. High-quality materials and construction are featured throughout, and the outer body shell has a sophisticated black leather-tone finish that matches the camera's high performance standards.

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

Specifically designed to match the performance requirements of the camera's high resolution 6-megapixel CCD sensor, the MAXXUM 7D's unique, built-in exclusive CCD shift-type Anti-Shake technology makes this new camera the first digital SLR to feature a body-integral Anti-Shake function. This system instantly and precisely shifts the CCD to compensate for camera motion.

It's so effective photographers can shoot at shutter speeds up to three steps slower than what they could use without it. So even in low light, photographers can keep their images clean and sharp, free of the image-degrading noise that creeps in when they boost ISO sensitivity. And because the mechanism is integrated directly into the MAXXUM 7D's camera body, it works with virtually any MAXXUM AF lens - a major advantage for photographers when compared to bulky and expensive lens-based optical stabilization systems and software-based "digital correction systems" that can degrade image quality.

Konica Minolta's award-winning Anti-Shake technology provides images with reduced blur due to camera shake, even when shooting dimly lit scenes or when using telephoto lenses and shooting macro subjects without the aid of flash or a tripod.

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

The MAXXUM 7D digital SLR camera is fully compatible with the existing line of MAXXUM autofocusing lenses - nearly 40 in all. The focal length multiplier is 1.5x due the smaller size of the camera's imager versus a standard 35mm film frame.

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

The MAXXUM 7D is engineered to take full advantage of the advanced optical technologies incorporated into MAXXUM lenses. Aspherical optics, for example, reduce the spherical aberration that can degrade resolving power, particularly on large diameter lenses. Aspherical elements also allow lenses to be made lighter and more compact, and provide excellent contrast even at the largest aperture setting. AD (Anomalous Dispersion) glass also helps improve contrast, and is particularly effective in reducing the chromatic aberration that can occur with high-power telephoto and zoom lenses. Konica Minolta was also the first camera manufacturer to feature multi-coating on its lenses, and today this technology is used to reduce ghosting and flaring on a wide range of MAXXUM lenses.

Two New Zoom Lenses Designed Specifically For The MAXXUM 7D

Konica Minolta has designed two new interchangeable zoom lenses, each designed to provide optimum image quality when used with the MAXXUM 7D. The Konica Minolta AF ZOOM 17 - 35mm F/2.8 - 4 (D) lens and the Konica Minolta AF ZOOM 28 - 75mm F/2.8 (D) lens offer superior handling characteristics making them ideal in a diverse range of shooting situations.

These new auto focus lenses 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. In addition, these lenses provide unparalleled creative control because of their circular apertures. Using a round aperture enhances the defocused areas of an image with smoother, more natural looking gradations of tone.

These lenses also incorporate Konica Minolta's Advanced Distance Integration (ADI) flash metering. When attached to the new Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D, these new lenses provide the camera with additional information on focusing distance to further enhance the electronic flash lighting performance and exposure accuracy when using either the built-in flash or the external flash units such as the Konica Minolta MAXXUM Flash 5600HS(D), Konica Minolta MAXXUM Flash 3600HS(D), or the Konica Minolta MAXXUM 2500(D) Flash units.

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

The built-in manual popup flash features ADI, Pre-flash TTL and Manual flash control. The flash's guide number is 12 (in meters at ISO 100) / 17 (in meters ISO 200). It has coverage sufficient for 24mm lenses with a recycling time of approximately 3 seconds. Available flash modes are: Fill Flash, Flash Cancel, Red-eye Reduction (pre-flash), Wireless/Remote Off-camera Flash, Rear Flash Sync. and High Speed Sync. Flash output compensation is +/- 2 EV in 1/2 stop increments

ADI - Advanced Distance Integration is available with any MAXXUM D-Series lens. By comparing information obtained from the lens' built-in distance encoder with pre-flash metering data, ADI calculates the optimum exposure settings and flash brightness needed to obtain a beautiful image -- even if your subject is standing in front of a very dark, light, or reflective background.

Flash Range

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D with Canon 550EX speedlight, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

The MAXXUM 7D supports full-featured flash photography with the built-in flash and external flash units such as the MAXXUM Flash 5600HS(D) and 3600HS(D), allowing you to take advantage of wireless high-speed and TTL flash, rear-curtain flash synchronization, bounce flash and advanced off-camera setups for pro-level flash shooting.

For connection of studio flash units there is also a standard PC flash sync connector.

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D with Canon 550EX speedlight, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

Minolta Program Flash 5600HS is a high-powered and functional external flash unit designed for Minolta's AF SLRs. This flash provides Guide Number 184 (@ ISO 100) flash output performance in a compact body, highly reliable exposure precision, versatile remote flash photography, and superior operation that supports creative flash photography.

Flash coverage is available from 24mm to 85mm focal lengths, and further extends to the 17mm focal length with a built-in wide-angle adapter. The 5600HS assures highly reliable metering accuracy with the ADI (Advanced Distance Integration) flash metering in combination with Minolta's AF-D lenses with distance encoder. It also supports versatile remote flash photography with wireless/remote high-speed sync when the 5600HS is used as an off-camera flash. The AF illuminator covers the Maxuum/Dynax 7D's 9-point sensors in the wide focus area. Furthermore, the flash head tilts 10 degrees downward for close-up photography.

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

The MAXXUM 7D employs an eye-level fixed pentaprism (not a pentamirror) with a field of view of approximately 95%. It has a 25mm eye-relief from the eyepiece, the eyepiece cup is removable. The camera comes with a Spherical Acute Matte (G-type as standard) focusing screen. Interchangeable focusing screens (type M, L, ML) are available.

The viewfinder magnification is 0.9x (with 50mm lens focused on infinity) and has a -3.0 to + 1.0 m-1 dioptric adjustment.

Optional viewfinder accessories include the Angle Finder VN, Magnifier VN and Eyepiece Corrector 1000.

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D

Inside the viewfinder is a partial metering circle (spot), nine focusing points and the wide area focus frame marks. The active focus point(s) are illuminated so you know exactly which AF zone(s) has been selected.

On the right side are five indicators that show graphically the amount of action being taken by the Anti Shake system to counteract camera movement. Along the bottom is a digital status line that displays flash compensation, flash ready, manual focus, auto exposure lock, shutter speed, aperture, exposure compensation / metered manual exposure indicator, anti shake indicator and continuous frames available.

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

The MAXXUM 7D's high-performance AF system offers exceptional accuracy, with 9 separate AF sensors for wide-area coverage that gives you great flexibility in how you frame your subject. To exercise even more control, you can use the focus area selector switch on the back of the camera to choose any of the nine sensors as a spot-focusing target -- the selected focus point will be indicated by a red mark superimposed on the image in the viewfinder.

High-speed AF data processing and lens drive systems assure instantaneous focus response, so you can more consistently capture the "magic moments" that SLR photography is all about. In addition, the AF system offers multi-dimensional predictive autofocus with auto- tracking focus-point display. It uses powerful processing algorithms to calculate the speed and direction of moving subjects in four directions, and significantly improves focusing accuracy during high-speed action photography.

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

Four focusing modes assure optimum performance in a wide range of situations. There's AF-S mode for single-shot AF, an AF-C mode for continuous AF, and an AF-A mode that automatically switches from single-shot to continuous AF when it detects that your subject is moving.

In addition, the MAXXUM 7D features the same AF/MF controls featured on the MAXXUM 7. Conveniently positioned for easy operation with the right thumb, the AF/MF button allows you to instantly toggle between autofocusing and manual focusing -- without interrupting the flow of distance information to the camera's metering, Anti-Shake, and ADI flash systems.

Another focusing option that is particularly useful for macro and portrait photography is Direct Manual Focus. When the shutter release is pressed halfway in this mode, the focusing mechanism's internal clutch is released as soon as the AF system locks onto the subject, allowing you to manually rotate the focusing ring to fine- tune the image. Combining the convenience of AF with the enhanced creative control of MF, it lets you enjoy the benefits of both without switching focus modes.

Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D, image (c) 2005 Steve's Digicams

A high precision 14-segment honeycomb pattern metering system provides optimum exposure control for various lighting conditions. User selectable metering modes: Honeycomb-pattern, Center-weighted averaging or Spot metering. Metering range: EV 0 - 20 (EV 3 - 20 in spot metering)

The MAXXUM 7D's exclusive Zone Matching system ensures the best possible exposure control in even the most extreme of lighting situations. When ordinary dSLRs would produce a "white-out," the 7D emphasizes highlights while retaining subtle tones. And it captures noise-free images in dimly-lit indoor conditions.

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