Minolta DiMAGE 7i Review

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Review posted 6/3/02

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

Minolta has made significant improvements to their extremely popular 5-megapixel DiMAGE 7 with the introduction of the new Minolta DiMAGE 7i. The DiMAGE 7i retains the same durable and stylish metal body, the 5-megapixel imager, the flexible electronic viewfinder and the impressive 7x optical zoom and adds new features and performance. The DiMAGE 7i's autofocusing system is 2x faster, in Program AE and aperture-priority AE modes, the shutter speed tops out at 1/4000s. The UHS (Ultra High Speed) continuous-advance drive mode can capture approximately 7 frames per second (at 1280x960) to compete professional film cameras. Significant improvements have also been made to the DiMAGE 7i's video recording capabilities, it can now capture audio with movie clips as well as still images.

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.

Minolta DiMAGE 7i

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.

Minolta DiMAGE 7i

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.

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

DiMAGE 7i Major 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
  • CCD-RAW and TIFF modes as well as JPEG compressed
  • Ultra High Speed 1280x960 capture at 7 fps
  • Up to 60 secs of 320x240 motion video at 15 fps with audio
  • Program AE with Shift, Aperture priority, Shutter priority and Manual modes
  • Shutter speed from 4 sec to 1/4000th sec and Bulb (30 sec max.)
  • Program selections: portrait, sports, night portrait, sunset and text mode
  • Flexible white balance: automatic, preset (daylight, tungsten, cloudy and fluorescent) and custom modes
  • Sensitivity settings: auto, 100, 200, 400 and 800 ISO equivalents
  • 5 or 15 sec audio memos can be added to still images
  • 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
  • Variable position, hi-res, TTL color viewfinder with low-light amplification
  • Playback/QuickView histogram feature
  • Epson's PRINT Image Matching Technology incorporated
  • Data imprinting that records date, time and descriptive information on an image.

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.

Physical Views

Minolta DiMAGE 7i

Minolta DiMAGE 7i

Minolta DiMAGE 7i

Minolta DiMAGE 7i

Minolta DiMAGE 7i

Minolta DiMAGE 7i

Minolta DiMAGE 7i

The battle of the BIG-zoom 5-megapixel cameras
The 7X DiMAGE 7i and the 8X Nikon Coolpix 5700

Minolta DiMAGE 7i

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DiMAGE 7i Specifications

CCD Imager 2/3 inch-type interline CCD with a total of 5.24 million pixels and a primary color filter
Number of effective pixels 4.95 million pixels (2568x1928)
Image Sizes Still images:


Aspect Ratio 4:3
Image compression mode Raw (2560x1920 only)
Super Fine (TIFF uncompressed)
Fine, Standard or Economy JPEG
Storage capacity (16 MB) Raw: 1, Super Fine: 1, Fine: 6, Standard: 12, Economy: 20, Movie: 90 seconds
File format Exif 2.1(JPEG, TIFF), Motion JPEG (AVI) and RAW
DCF 1.0-compliant, DPOF-compliant (Supported by printing functions in version 1.1)
Exif tag information Date and time, Exposure mode, Shutter speed, Aperture value, Exposure compensation value, Metering method, Flash on/off, Camera sensitivity, White balance setting, Focal length, Color space, etc.
Recording medium CompactFlash card Type I and Type II,
(IBM Microdrive: 340MB, 512MB, 1GB)
A/D conversion 12 bits per color RGB
Sensitivity Auto, fixed ISO 100, 200, 400 or 800
Lens focal length 7.2mm - 50.8mm (28mm - 200mm in 35mm format)
Lens construction All glass: 16 elements in 13 groups (including two AD glass elements and two aspheric surfaces)
Maximum aperture f/2.8 - f/3.5
Focusing range Normal: 1.6 feet (0.5m) from the CCD to infinity
Macro focus range Wide: 1.0 - 2.0 ft from CCD
Telephoto: 0.8 - 2.0 ft from CCD
Maximum magnification: 0.177x (with a focal length of 50.8mm. Distance at 25cm)
Area covered at maximum magnification: 50 x 37mm (approx.)
Optical zooming control Manual zooming ring
Threaded filter diameter 49mm
Viewfinder EVF (Electronic viewfinder) with ferroelectric 0.19-inch reflective liquid crystal microdisplay with equivalent resolution of 220,000 pixels with automatic monitor amplification and electronic magnification. Magnification of 0.31-2.1x. 90-degree variable position
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) 1.8-inch (46mm) TFT color LCD monitor with total 122,000 pixels
Display-mode switch Auto-display, electronic-viewfinder display and external LCD monitor display mode
Field of view EVF and external LCD monitor: approximately 100%
Diopter control Continuously variable; -5 to +0.5 diopter
Eye relief 20mm from the eyepiece
Shutter CCD electronic shutter and mechanical shutter
Shutter speed 4 - 1/4000 sec in programmed AE and aperture-priority modes
Maximum shutter speed in shutter-priority and manual modes is 1/2000 sec
Bulb (max. 30 sec)
Autofocus Video AF system
Autofocus areas Wide focus area, Spot focus point, Flex Focus Point control is available with the spot focus point
Focus modes Single-shot AF, Continuous AF or Manual
Focus lock Available with AF/AE-lock button or by pressing the shutter-release button part-way down
Metering 300 multi-segment, center-weighted and spot
Exposure control range Wide: EV1 - 17
Telephoto: EV1.6 - 17.7
Exposure modes Programmed AE (with program shift)
Aperture priority
Shutter priority

Digital subject program selection (Portrait, Sports action, Sunset, Night portrait, Text)

Exposure compensation +/- 2 EV (in 1/3 EV increments)
AE lock Available with AF/AEL button or by pressing the shutter-release button part-way down
Flash metering ADI (Advanced Distance Integration), Pre-flash TTL
Built-in flash range Wide: approximately 1.6 - 12.5 feet (0.5-3.8m), Telephoto: approximately 1.6 - 9.8 feet (0.5-3m) (Camera sensitivity: auto)
Flash mode Fill-flash, Red-eye reduction, Rear flash sync
Built-in flash recycling time Approximately 7 seconds
Flash compensation +/- 2EV (in 1/3 EV increments)
Flash-sync speeds All shutter speeds
Dedicated external flash Auto-flash metering with Program Flash 3600HS(D), Program Flash 5600HS(D), Macro Twin Flash 2400*, Macro Ring Flash 1200* (*Macro Flash Controller is necessary.)
Continuous drive advance Modes:

UHS (Ultra High Speed) continuous advance (with 1280x960 size images only), Standard continuous advance.
UHS and standard continuous advance cannot be used with SuperFine or RAW images.


UHS (Ultra High Speed) continuous advance: 7 fps (approx.)
Standard continuous advance: max 2 fps

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

UHS continuous advance:

ECONOMY 39 frames
STANDARD 31 frames
FINE 15 frames

Standard continuous advance:

2560x1920 1600x120 1280x960 640x480
ECONOMY 11 frames 17 frames 22 frames 40 frames
STANDARD 7 frames 11 frames 16 frames 32 frames
FINE 4 frames 8 frames 11 frames 23 frames
Interval recording 2-99 frames. Interval time: 1-10 minutes, 15 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, 45 minutes, 60 minutes
Digital Enhanced Bracketing Exposure, Contrast, Color saturation.
Exposure in full stop, 1/2 stop, and 1/3 EV increments.
Contrast and Color saturation in fixed increments.
Number of brackets: 3 frames
Electronic Self-timer Approximately 10-second delayed release
Movie recording Standard movie mode:
60 seconds (max) withand without monoraul audio
Number of recorded pixels 320x240, framerate 15 fps

Night movie mode:
60 seconds (max) with and without monoraul audio
Number of recorded pixels 320x240, framerate 15 fps

UHS (Ultra High Speed) movie mode:
Number of recorded pixels 640x480
Framerate: approx. 7 fps without audio

Time-lapse movie mode: Number of recorded pixels 2560x1920, 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480
Framerate 4 fps without audio

Audio Voice memo: 5 or 15 seconds monoraul audio with still image
Operating speed Start-up time: approximately 3 seconds
Shutter-release time lag: approximately 0.1 - 0.17 second
Capturing interval: approximately 0.9 second
Playback loading interval: approximately 0.2 second
Color modes Color, Black and White
White balance Preset (Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent and Cloudy) plus Custom
Sharpness setting Three levels (Soft, Normal, Hard)
Digital Effects Control Exposure, Color, Saturation and Contrast compensation
Digital zoom 2x
Delete function Available (single frame, all frames or specified frames)
Format function Available in the setup mode
Data imprinting Year/month/day (Format can be changed), Month/day/time, Text, Text and serial numbers, Imprinting can be disabled
Printing output control PRINT Image Matching
PC interface USB version 1.1
Video output NTSC, PAL (can be selected by user)
Power Four AA batteries (Use of Ni-MH batteries is recommended.)
Minolta supplies four 1850mAh NiMH and charger
Battery performance playback Continuous playback time: approximately 110 minutes
(Based on Minolta's standard test method: Ni-MH batteries, external LCD monitor on, EVF off)
Battery performance recording Number of recorded images: approximately 200 frames
(Based on Minolta's standard test method: NiMH batteries, EVF on, external LCD monitor off, flash used with 50% of the frames, no instant playback, no voice memo)
External power source 6V DC with specified AC adapter (sold separately)
Dimensions (WxHxD) 4.61 x 3.56 x 4.43 inches
(117 x 90.5 x 112.5 mm)
Weight Approximately 18.5 ounces (525g)
(without batteries and CompactFlash card)
Accessories Standard: Neck Strap, Lens Cap (49mm), Lens Shade (DLS-7i), Accessory Shoe Cap, USB Cable, Video Cable, 16MB CompactFlash Card, four AA NiMH batteries, NiMH charger, DiMAGE Image Viewer Utility CD-ROM
System Requirements IBM PC/AT compatible computer with Windows XP, Me, Windows 2000, Windows 98, or Windows 98 SE and a built-in USB port.

Apple Macintosh models with Mac OS 8.6 - 9.2.2 or Mac OS X v 10.1 - 10.1.3 and a built-in USB port

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