Konica Minolta announces development of Maxxum 7-digital SLR!
Dave Etchells, The Imaging Resource
(Thursday, February 12, 2004 - 13:49 EST)
Konica Minolta announces their entry into the D-SLR market, the first model slated for Fall '04 availability.
Minolta's had a very successful entry into the digicam market, with a wide range of popular models, many with innovative features. Early on, they developed a digital SLR (the RD-3000) that used a prism system to route light to two separate 1.5 megapixel CCDs. The system worked pretty well, but the resulting camera was large and somewhat ungainly, and never gained much traction in the marketplace.
Now though, the newly minted Konica Minolta is on track to produce a full-fledged style D-SLR, with a host of advanced features, including in-body anti-shake technology that will convey vibration-reduction capabilities to Minolta's entire line of compatible lenses. - Rather than offering vibration reduction on only a few high-priced lenses, the new camera will incorporate the highly effective anti-shake technology first seen in the Minolta DiMAGE prosumer series to offer anti-shake in the camera body itself.
The new model (tentatively called the Maxxum 7 Digital) is based on Minolta's high-end Maxxum 7 film camera, an advanced model with Minolta's Advanced Distance Integration flash control, a fast multipoint AF system, and a top shutter speed of 1/8000 second. (These specs from the Maxxum 7, details of the new digital model have not yet been released.) The new D-SLR will be fully compatible with Minolta's existing line of roughly 40 lenses for the Maxxum film camera family, something Maxxum owners have been requesting (vigorously;-) for some while now.
At this point, we know very little of the details of the new Maxxum 7 Digital, othert than that it will use a 6-megapixel APS-C size CCD. The APS-C film size is 16.7 x 25.1 mm, slightly larger than Nikon's "DX" chips used in their D100 and D1x, slightly smaller than the chip in the Canon EOS-1D. It isn't clear at this point though, whether the Maxxum's chip would be exactly the size of the APS-C film frame, or if it would instead match the size of one of the existing sensors on the market. (Most likely the latter.)
We had a brief hands-on with a mockup of the new model last night, and collected a number of images (shared between several of the other digicam review websites), some of which are shown below. (Stay tuned, we'll try to get a few more up to whet your appetite, time permitting.)
We won't be able to tell much about the new camera until more specs come out (and ultimately, until we get a sample to test), but it's good to see Minolta getting into the D-SLR game.
(Click on any image below to view a larger version)