Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D SLR Review

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Konica Minolta MAXXUM 7D



Camera Features & Controls (cont.)



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

The LCD monitor works as a Navigation Display allowing seamless operation with clear and concise camera settings displayed with comprehensive shooting information, indicated with large, easy to read text. Aiding ease of use further, the display automatically switches from horizontal to vertical format when shooting in the upright "portrait" format.

The amount of time the display remains active is user selectable (5s, 10s, 30s). When you put your eye up to the viewfinder it automatically turns off the LCD monitor's backlight.



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

You can choose the display mode to be simple (left) or detailed (right)





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

Centrally mounted on the back is the large, easy-to-view 2.5-inch, high-resolution, 207,000-pixel color monitor. It can be used as the information display, for accessing the menus and is an excellent display for in-field review of your pictures.

Controls on the back are plentiful. The main main power switch is on the left of the viewfinder. To the viewfinder's right, the Metering-mode dial has positions for 14-segment honeycomb pattern, center weighted or spot metering. In the center of the Metering-mode dial is the AE lock button; depress and hold it to set exposure on an off-center area of the subject, then recompose and shoot. With the exposure locked, the D7's metering system remains active, informing you of difference between the locked exposure and current level of light. When using flash, the AEL button activates slow-sync, balancing the ambient light with the flash exposure so that both subject and background are properly exposed.

The function of the AF/MF button depends on the position of the focus mode dial on the front of the body; if it is set to manual focus, focus mode switches to single-shot AF, or if it is set to any of the AF positions, Manual focus is activated. A Custom Function determines whether the AF/MF button toggles between focusing modes, or if releasing the button returns to the original focus mode. The Rear control dial is used to make a variety of menu context-sensitive setting changes and zoom the image during playback.

To the right of the LCD are the 4-way controller, spot AF button and Focus-area switch. The Focus-area switch controls which AF areas are used: Wide focus area allows the 7D to select from the 9 AF points, Focus area lock fixes the area used, and Focus-area selection allows you to choose the focus point using the 4-way controller; the Spot AF button selects the center point. The 4-way controller is also used to navigate the 7D's menu system, and scroll through an enlarged image in playback mode.

The MSET button is used to save camera settings in one of 3 memory registers. Pressing MSET displays the current settings and allows you to choose which register to save them in; depressing the center (AF) button saves the settings. Those settings can later be recalled by chosing one of the 3 registers on the 7D's exposure-mode dial. The ISO button sets camera sensitivity; the choice can be made using the left/right keys of the 4-way controller, or either of the control dials: Auto, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200. The Anti-Shake switch turns on/off the 7D's Anti-Shake system.

The Menu button is on the left of the LCD; it is used to call-up/dismiss the 7D's menu system. In recording mode, the Display button switches the LCD between showing full and basic camera settings, or off; in playback mode, depressing the Display button cycles the LCD through full display, image only and index playback modes. Under the Display button is the Magnification button, which enlarges the image up to 4.7x. The magnified image can be scrolled using the 4-way controller, and its magnification can be changed using the rear control dial; the front control dial is used to scroll through the images while retaining the same magnification. The Trash Can icon represents the Delete button, used to delete the currently displayed image; a confirmation menu prevents accidental erasure. At the bottom is the Playback button, which activates the LCD's playback mode.



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

The Exposure-mode dial is located on the top of the grip, having positions for Full-auto program, Program exposure, Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual exposure and Memory registers 1, 2 or 3; the dial can not be rotated without first depressing and holding the release button at its center. White balance controls are located to the right of the Exposure-mode dial. The dial has positions for Auto, Preset and Custom white balance, as well as Color temperature. The White Balance button at the center of the dial calls-up a white balance menu appropriate to the dial's position. The front control dial is located at the front of the grip; it controls a variety of settings within the context of the camera's current mode of operation. Most of its functions can also be accomplished by the rear control dial except in Manual mode (front dial controls shutter speed, rear dial controls aperture), and in enlarged playback mode (front dial scrolls from image-to-image, rear dial changes the degree of magnification). The shutter release is ergonomically located in a depression between the front control dial and white balance control.



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

Exposure compensation and flash exposure compensation are controlled using stacked dials on the top left of the camera body. Exposure compensation is set by the top dial ± 2EV in 1/3 EV steps using the orange scale, or ± 3EV in 1/2 EV steps with the silver scale. The dial can not be turned without first depressing and holding the release button at its center. Flash exposure compensation is adjusted with the bottom dial; the range is ± 2EV in 1/3 EV steps. The Drive mode dial is located under the Exposure mode dial. It has positions for Single-frame advance, Continuous advance, Self timers of 10 and 2 second duration, and either Single or Continuous advance bracketing.



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

Images are stored on CompactFlash devices. The MAXXUM 7D can use any capacity CompactFlash Type I or II card and is fully compatible with IBM/Hitachi Microdrives. It supports the FAT12/16/32 file systems and is fully compatible with CF cards over 2GB.

I recommended buying a BIG card for this camera, especially if you use the Raw+JPEG save option. Shown here is the Lexar 80x 4GB CF and the 2GB Hitachi Microdrive, both are very spacious devices.


Image Sizes / Buffer Depth

Image Quality Image Size File size (approx.) Continuous advance Storage capacity
(w. 256 MB CF Card )
RAW 3008x2000 8.6 MB 9 frames 26
RAW + JPEG L (3008x2000) 11.5 MB 9 frames 19
M (2256x1496) 10.2 MB 9 frames 21
S (1504x1000) 9.3 MB 9 frames 23
EX-FINE
(JPEG)
L 5.9 MB 12 frames 41
M 3.3 MB 14 frames 72
S 1.6 MB 20 frames 157
FINE
(JPEG)
L 3.0 MB 15 frames 81
M 1.7 MB 19 frames 141
S 850 KB 30 frames 292
STD.
(JPEG)
L 1.8 MB 19 frames 138
M 1.0 MB 26 frames 253
S 540 KB 43 frames 463




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

I/O Ports: On the left side is a standard PC flash sync port, a DC IN port for an AC power adapter and a connector for an optional wired remote controller. On the right side is the combination full speed USB 2.0 digital port (up to 54Mbps) and Video Out port (selectable for NTSC or PAL television systems).



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

The MAXXUM 7D is powered by NP-400 7.4v 1500mAh lithium rechargeable pack. At normal temperature (68°F/20°C) it's good for ~600 pictures without flash or ~400 pictures if the flash is used 50% of the time.

The supplied BC-400 (U.S. and Canada) compact charger requires 90 minutes to charge a fully depleted NP-400 battery pack.



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

The optional VC-7D Vertical Control Grip for the new MAXXUM 7D connects to the camera body and provides a secure grip on the camera while enhancing easy, vertical camera control and overall ease of use, particularly when shooting vertical, portrait shots.

The VC-7D's sure-hold grip provides confident handling characteristics and features a dedicated shutter-release button, front and rear control dials, autofocus (AF)/manual focus (MF) control button, auto exposure (AE) lock button and AF area selector button, thereby delivering comfortable and reassuring handling characteristics to the camera in either horizontal or vertical shooting situations.

The VC-7D allows two NP-400 batteries to be used simultaneously for an extra power supply. This allows photographers to take advantage of shooting many more images before worrying about recharging the batteries. Adding still more versatility, standard AA type Ni-MH batteries can also be used.





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