Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi Review

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First Look posted 9/11/02
Full Review posted 10/11/02

Click on the DiMAGE 7Hi to take a QuickTime VR tour

Minolta has significantly improved their popular DiMAGE 7i with the introduction of the new DiMAGE 7Hi. It employs the same 5-Megapixel imager, Minolta GT 7X optical zoom, flexible Hyper Viewfinder and the same lightweight, stylish and durable metal body, only now it's finished in professional black. Most of the DiMAGE 7Hi's improvements are internal; an almost lossless Extra Fine JPEG mode with just 1:2.5 compression. The color space (sRGB or Adobe RGB) is now selectable and the ICC profile is embedded in the output image. There's a new high-speed continuous advance drive mode and a large 64MB SDRAM buffer that makes it possible to record at approx. 3 frames per second with 2560 x 1920 full-size images at any quality setting including TIFF or RAW. The shutter speed range is 15 seconds to 1/4000 second in the program and aperture-priority exposures modes. The DiMAGE 7Hi has a customizable user interface (the following items are customizable from the setup menu: Memory recall method, Control dial in M mode, Bracketing, Manual shift, Color profile, Dialogue default on the delete confirmation screen and Undo function for "P" reset.) And one more new feature on the outside is a standard PC flash sync port for easy connection to external lighting equipment.

The DiMAGE 7Hi features a 2/3-inch 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 photography).

The DiMAGE 7Hi'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 the original DiMAGE 7, and the capturing interval has been reduced to make it a more responsive camera.

The DiMAGE 7Hi 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.

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi

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 7Hi'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.

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi
Under the stylish metal exterior is a solid alloy frame

DiMAGE 7Hi Features:

  • 7x optical zoom with manual zoom and focus control on the lens
  • 5-megapixel imager for images up to 2560 x 1950 pixels
  • 12-bit A/D conversion provides a finer tonal gradation
  • 1.8-inch low-temp 118,000 pixels, high-contrast color LCD monitor with extended color gamut, contrast, and dynamic range
  • Color Viewfinder, 220,000 pixels, variable position can be tilted up to 90 degrees
  • CCD-RAW and Uncompressed TIFF image modes
  • New ExtraFine (1:2.5 compression) JPEG mode plus Fine and Standard
  • The color space (Native or Vivid sRGB, Adobe RGB) is selectable and the ICC profile is embedded in the output image
  • 3fps Continuous-advance mode with 64MB SDRAM buffer captures 2560 x 1920 full-size images at any quality, including TIFF or RAW
  • Ultra High Speed 1280x960 capture at 7 fps
  • Up to 60 secs of 320x240 motion video at 15fps with 16-bit audio
  • Program AE with Shift, Aperture priority, Shutter priority and Manual modes
  • Shutter speeds from 15 seconds to 1/4000 in Program and Aperture priority exposures modes
  • Digital Program modes: portrait, sports, night portrait, sunset and text
  • 9 white-balance settings including three custom settings
  • ISO Sensitivity: Auto, 100, 200, 400 and 800 equivalents
  • 5 or 15 sec audio memos can be added to still images
  • Built-in PC flash synchronization terminal
  • Digital Enhanced Bracketing: exposure, contrast and color saturation
  • Digital Effects Control for exposure compensation, contrast and color saturation
  • Flex Focus Point, changes the extra-wide focus to a cross-hair spot focus point that can be moved to anywhere within the image
  • High Performance flash with Advanced Distance Integration flash metering
  • Three exposure-metering modes: multi-segment, center-weighted and spot
  • Playback/QuickView with histogram feature
  • Exif Print and Epson PRINT Image Matching II compatible
  • Data imprinting that records date, time and descriptive information on an image.
  • Feather-light magnesium-alloy body with a professional black finish and a large rubber grip for easier holding

The Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi and DiMAGE 7i will be available side-by-side at retail at differing price points. The DiMAGE 7Hi is available now with an estimated street price of $1,299.

Physical Views

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi

Minolta DiMAGE 7Hi

The DiMAGE 7Hi is smaller than most people imagine!

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Page Two

DiMAGE 7Hi Specifications

Number of effective pixels Approx. 5.0 million (2568 x 1928)
CCD 2/3-type interline primary-color CCD, total pixels: approx. 5.2 million
Camera sensitivity Auto, ISO 100, 200, 400, 800 equivalents
Aspect ratio 4:3
Lens construction 16 elements in 13 groups (includes two AD glass elements and two aspheric elements)
Maximum aperture f/2.8 - f/3.5
Focal length 7.2 - 50.8 mm (35 mm equivalent: 28 - 200 mm)
Focusing range (from CCD) 0.5 m / 19.7 inch to infinity
Macro: Wide 30 - 60 cm / 11.8 - 23.6 inch, Telephoto 25 - 60 cm / 9.8 - 23.6 inch
Maximum magnification 0.177x (Equivalent to 0.7x in 35 mm format)
Area covered at maximum magnification: 50 x 37 mm / 2 x 1.5 inch (approx.)
Optical zooming control Manual zooming ring
Autofocus system Video AF
Focus lock Available
Autofocus areas Wide focus area, Spot focus point
Flex Focus Point control with spot focus point mode
Focus modes Autofocus: Single-shot AF, Continuous AF. Manual focus
Exposure modes
P (Programmed AE) (with program shift), A (Aperture priority),
S (Shutter priority), M (Manual).
AE lock Available
Metering Multi-segment (300 segments), Center-weighted, Spot
Exposure control range P / A modes: Wide; Ev - 1 - 18, Telephoto; Ev - 0.4 - 18.7
S / M modes: Wide; Ev - 1 - 17, Telephoto; Ev - 0.4 - 17.7
Shutter CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter
Shutter speed range 15 - 1/4000 seconds (in P / A modes, ISO 100)
Bulb (max. 30 seconds)
White-balance control Automatic, Preset {Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent 1, 2 (white / cool white), Cloudy}, Custom (3 positions)
Digital Subject Programs Portrait, Sports action, Sunset, Night portrait, Text
Digital Effects Control Exposure, Color saturation, Contrast compensation, Filter
Exposure compensation +/- 2 Ev in 1/3 increments
Flash metering ADI, Pre-flash TTL, Manual flash control
Flash-sync speeds All shutter speeds
Flash modes Fill-flash, Red-eye reduction, Rear flash sync, Wireless / Remote flash
Built-in flash range (approx.) (from CCD) Wide: 0.5 - 3.8 m / 1.6 - 12.5 feet,
Telephoto: 0.5 - 3 m / 1.6 - 9.8 feet (Camera sensitivity: auto)
External flash connection Accessory shoe or flash sync terminal
Recycling time 7 seconds (approx.)
Flash compensation +/-2 Ev in 1/3 increments
Viewfinder type EVF (Electronic viewfinder), Variable-position: 0 - 90 degrees
Automatic monitor amplification, Electronic magnification for manual focusing
Viewfinder LCD Ferroelectric 4.8 mm (0.19 inch) reflective liquid crystal microdisplay
Equivalent visual resolution: 220,000 pixels,
Field of view: 100% (approx.)
LCD monitor 46 mm (1.8 inch) low-temperature polysilicon TFT color,
Total pixels: 118,000, Field of view: 100% (approx.)
Display format Recording mode: Live image, Grid, Scale, Quick view, Instant playback, Histogram of live image, Various statuses
Playback mode: Single-frame, Index, Enlarged playback, Slide show, Histogram of recorded image, Various statuses
Display-mode switch Auto-display, Electronic-viewfinder display, External LCD-monitor display
Viewfinder magnification 0.31 - 2.1x
Diopter control -5 to +0.5 diopter
Eye relief 20 mm (from eyepiece)
A/D conversion 12 bits
Camera SDRAM Buffer 64 MegaBytes
File formats JPEG, TIFF, Motion JPEG (MOV), RAW.
DCF 1.0 / DPOF 1.1-compliant
Printing output control Exif Print, PRINT Image Matching II
Recording media Type I and Type II CompactFlash cards
IBM Microdrive (170MB, 340MB, 512MB, 1GB)
Image-quality modes RAW, Super fine (TIFF), Extra-Fine, Fine, Standard
Number of recorded pixels Still images: 2560 x 1920, 1600 x 1200, 1280 x 960, 640 x 480
Movie clips: 640 x 480 (UHS continuous-advance mode),
320 x 240 (standard, night movie modes), Time-lapse movie at all image sizes
Color modes Natural Color (sRGB), Vivid Color (sRGB), Adobe RGB, Black and white (neutral and toned), Solarization
Sharpness settings Three levels (Soft, Normal, Hard)
File size* (approx.)
2560 x 1920 1600 x 1200 1280 x 960 640 x 480
Standard 1.5MB 660KB 460KB 240KB
Fine 2.5MB 1.0MB 720KB 320KB
Extra Fine 4.8MB 1.9MB 1.3MB 420KB
Super FIine 14.2MB 5.6MB 3.6MB 1.0MB
RAW 9.6MB - - -
Movie 297KByte/second
* Numerical value may vary depending upon the subject.
Storage capacity* (16MB)
2560 x 1920 1600 x 1200 1280 x 960 640 x 480
Standard 10 frames 23 frames 33 frames 65 frames
Fine 5 frames 14 frames 21 frames 48 frames
Extra Fine 2 frames 7 frames 11 frames 36 frames
Super FIine 1 frame 2 frames 4 frames 15 frames
RAW 1 frame - - -
Movie 50 seconds
* Numerical value may vary depending upon the subject.
Continuous-advance modes Modes :
- High Speed continuous advance (with 2560 x 1920 size images)
- UHS (Ultra High Speed) continuous advance (with 1280 x 960 size images)
- Standard continuous advance
* UHS and standard continuous advance cannot be used with Super Fine or RAW images.

Speeds :
- High Speed continuous advance: max. 3 fps (approx.)
- UHS (Ultra High Speed) continuous advance: 7 fps (approx.)
- Standard continuous advance: max. 2 fps
* Actual speeds may vary depending upon subjects and shooting conditions.

Approximate number of frames that can be captured at the rate below:

UHS continuous advance
1280 x 960 640 x 480
at Digital Zoom
Standard 100 frames 211 frames
Fine 62 frames 150 frames
Extra Fine 32 frames 79 frames

Standard continuous advance
2560 x 1920 1600 x 1200 1280 x 960 640 x 480
Standard 17 frames 29 frames 42 frames 84 frames
Fine 10 frames 19 frames 27 frames 61 frames
Extra Fine 7 frames 12 frames 15 frames 33 frames
Super Fine 3 frames 3 frames 3 frames 3 frames
RAW 5 frames - - -
* Actual number of images may vary depending upon subjects and shooting conditions.
Interval recording 2 - 99 frames. Interval time: 1 - 10 / 15 / 20 / 30 / 45 / 60 minutes
Digital Enhanced Bracketing Exposure, Contrast, Color saturation, Filter (Number of brackets: 3 frames)
Self-timer 10 seconds (approx.)
Movie recording - Standard movie mode / Night movie mode: 60 seconds (max.) at 15 fps with / without monaural audio
- UHS continuous-advance movie mode: at 7 fps (approx.) with audio
- Time-lapse movie mode: at 4 fps without audio
Audio Voice memo: 5 / 15 seconds monaural audio with still image, File format: WAVE
Audio signals Two tones and two shutter sound effect settings
Exif tag information Date and time,
Camera settings: Exposure mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value,
Exposure compensation value, Metering method, Flash on / off,
Camera sensitivity, White balance setting, Focal length, etc.
Delete function Single, multiple, or all frames can be deleted
Format function Available in the Play mode
Data imprinting Year / month / day, Month / day / time, Text, Text and serial numbers
Digital zoom 2x
Batteries Four AA Ni-MH or alkaline batteries (Use of Ni-MH batteries is recommended.)
Battery performance(approx.)
(Minolta measurement)
Number of recording: 220 frames
Continuous playback time: 120 minutes
Operating time (approx.) Start-up time: 2.6 seconds. Shutter-release time lag: 0.1 second
External power source 6V DC (with specified AC adapter AC-1L or AC-2L)
Interface PC interface: USB 1.1, AV output: PAL / NTSC
Dimensions (WxHxD) 117 x 90.5 x 112.5 mm / 4.6 x 3.6 x 4.4 inch
Weight 530 g / 18.7 ounce without batteries or recording media
Standard accessories Leather Neck Strap NS-DG1000, Lens Cap (49mm) LF-1249,
Accessory Shoe Cap SC-9, AV Cable AVC-300, CF (CompactFlash) Card (16MB), USB Cable USB-100, DiMAGE Software CD-ROM (Includes DiMAGE Viewer),
Lens Shade DLS-7Hi, Four AA Ni-MH batteries, Ni-MH Battery Charger
(Specifications as represented by the manufacturer)

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