Minolta DiMAGE 7i Review
Click on the DiMAGE 7i to take a QuickTime VR tour
The Digital Effects Control (DEC) and the Digital Enhanced Bracketing gives the photographer control over saturation, contrast and exposure, as well as new control over color. A new filter effect has been added to the DEC so that color images can be made warmer or cooler; and black and white images can be toned. This offers unparalleled creative freedom when combined with the two new color modes: Vivid Color and Solarization.
The DiMAGE 7i features a 2/3 inch-type CCD image sensor with 5-megapixel effective resolution The camera incorporates a 7x zoom apochromatic Minolta GT LENS with two anomalous dispersion (AD) glass elements for color accuracy and dual aspherical elements which, combined with a 2x digital zoom, provides a compact lens design with a wide image capture range. The optical zoom lens range 7.2mm - 50.8mm (equivalent to 28mm - 200mm in 35mm).
The DiMAGE 7i's 3-point wide AF system assures fast, accurate focusing, and the Flex Focus Point gives you precise control over the focusing area. The Direct Manual Focus (DMF) feature allows for instant manual adjustments to the autofocus. The AF system is almost twice as fast as its predecessor, the DiMAGE 7, and the capturing interval has been reduced to make it a more responsive camera.
The DiMAGE 7i features Minolta's proprietary CxProcess, an image processing technology that provides clear and natural images. In image processing, too much emphasis on natural color produces flat color pictures. Overemphasizing the color range creates an unnatural color scheme. CxProcess balances both extremes by controlling sharpness, color reproduction, tonal gradation and noise to optimize results. The 12-bit A/D conversion provides a finer tonal gradation, with deep shadows, brilliant highlights and millions of colors, up to 4,096 levels in each RGB channel. Minolta's 12-bit A/D conversion provides exquisite details in portraiture: smooth complexion, rich shadows, and luminous highlights, as opposed to the standard 10-bit A/D conversion with its limited 1,024 levels per RGB channel.
The Digital Hyper Viewfinder provides photographers with clear images, even under bright light. With its reflective ferroelectric Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) viewfinder and a visual resolution equivalent to almost 220,000 pixels, it's the first time such a sophisticated optical device has been used on a high-resolution consumer SLR-type digital camera. The variable position viewfinder can be tilted up to 90 degrees for added flexibility and creativity in shooting. The Digital Hyper Viewfinder allows the photographer to simultaneously monitor the image and camera settings. And in low-light situations the viewfinder signal is amplified so you won't miss any important shots.
The DiMAGE 7i's 4x Electronic Magnification can enlarge the central area of the image in the viewfinder during manual focusing - an important feature when image sharpness is critical, especially with close-up photography. There are three exposure-metering modes: multi-segment, center-weighted and spot. The multi-segment metering technology uses both light values and color information to accurately calculate the exposure. With emphasis on the main subject, the luminance patterns on the CCD and AF information are used to accurately calculate the exposure.
The camera's controls are optimally laid out for ease of use. Frequently used functions are placed in a simple, function-dial system. The Digital Hyper Viewfinder and the LCD monitor offer a graphic-user interface with a full array of shooting information. The pro-auto button allows users to easily reset the camera to fully-automatic operation. The eyepiece sensors detect if the Digital Hyper Viewfinder is being used, and switch the display between the viewfinder and the monitor accordingly.
Under the stylish metal exterior is a solid alloy frame
DiMAGE 7i Major Features:
The DiMAGE Image Viewer Utility Software can display raw image data and allows for corrections and manipulations using built- in functions. The raw data is processed with a 16-bit color depth so that the fine tonal gradations are preserved. Based on the user-friendly graphic interface of Minolta's film scanner driver software, photographers can change tone curve/histogram, brightness/contrast/color pallet, hue/saturation/lightness, and sharpness of the raw data and save the image as a 16-bit TIFF. JPEG and TIFF images can also be viewed and corrected. The Color Correction Job function saves correction settings so they may be applied to different images. In addition, the Variation function allows photographers to choose the best image from a series of automatically bracketed corrections. The unique sharpness correction method is easy and effective. The color matching is compatible with most color spaces for accurate color reproduction with the ICC profiles.
The DiMAGE 7i will be available to consumers in summer 2002 with an estimated street price of $1,099.
The battle of the BIG-zoom 5-megapixel cameras
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DiMAGE 7i Specifications
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