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Konica Minolta Maxxum 7 Digital Konica Minolta Europe: new Dynax 7 Digital details
(Wednesday, August 4, 2004 - 13:39 EDT)

An email sent out by Konica Minolta Europe today to customers interested in the upcoming Dynax 7 Digital SLR (tentatively known as the Maxxum 7 Digital in the USA) contains some interesting new details about the camera.

The interview with Keiichi Ishizuka, General Manager
of the Konica Minolta Development Center, is not currently available on Konica Minolta Europe's website, but a few of the interesting points from the item are as follows:
  • The camera is intended to be introduced shortly after the Photokina 2004 show. Says Ishizuka-san:

    "The full product introduction is to be closely timed to coincide with Photokina 2004. Both development and production departments are under strong pressure to ship the product as soon after this time as possible, before the end of this year at least."

  • Some design changes have been made since the mock-up shown at the PMA 2004 show last February. According to Ishizuka-san:

    "[We] have made some minor design alterations after receiving several positive opinions from onlookers of the PMA mockup model. Generally no radical changes have been made. The mock-up model is based on near final basic concept. Our base concept for this Digital SLR is "Dynax 7", so this digital version aims to replicate the original film camera design ethic closely. Whilst unchanged in concept, the Dynax 7 Digital will have differences, especially when examined closely."

  • The CCD-shift type Anti Shake system used on the digital SLR will have four times the range of movement of that used in the DiMAGE A-series cameras, operates four times as fast, and has to shift a CCD that weighs three times as much.

  • From testing, Konica Minolta has concluded that the Anti Shake system is not able to function to remove dust from the CCD sensor by "shaking" it, however parts inside the camera such as the shutter unit will be given an anti-static treatment to keep dust to a minimum.

  • Compatibility testing for lenses such as the AF500mm f8 Reflex coupled with the Anti Shake system is still ongoing. Ishizuka-san notes:

    "we aim to incorporate that lens. We haven't fully completed the compatibility testing yet, but logically it is proven suitable. To confirm the operation with an actual body and entire Dynax lens range is a considerable task, this is being undertaken at the moment."

  • Konica Minolta is considering introducing a range of lenses with an APS-C sized imaging circle, that would be specifically for use with digital SLRs, to take advantage of the potential size and weight benefits the smaller imaging circle would bring. Ishizuka-san comments:

    "Our lenses are compatible with both conventional film and digital cameras at present, and it is natural to expect that such lenses form part of our plan. We will try to release some information as soon as possible. Within the premise that many of our consumers still enjoy conventional film SLR photography, we have to offer the best product line-up. There is an idea for the future, that for customers of Digital SLRs we will propose an exclusively designed APS based platform lenses that bring benefits for their size, weight and so on."

  • Plans for the available color space(s) and color reproduction qualities of the camera are still being tied down by a team comprised of staff originally from both Konica and Minolta. According to Ishizuka-san:

    "What we would like to realise with this first generation digital SLR is, to fuse two different colour reproduction methods, one from a film manufacturer and another from a camera maker, then to create a new value. Two members from legacy Konica team have joined the colour management team that was in place before the merger. Intense discussions are taking place all the time.

    The major difference lies between "colours of nature" and "colours in the users memory". Camera manufacturers, especially legacy Minolta, used to reproduce colours with fidelity, while film suppliers seem to strongly emphasise colours in the users memory, or the visual impressions that people recall. We are studying the method of colour accuracy that results from the integration of those two aspects. We are using a panel of external experts who are able to judge things objectively.

    We cannot say with absolute certainty [what color spaces will be adopted in the camera] at present, however, we are ready to respond to the general needs and expectations of the market."

  • A RAW file format is being incorporated into the camera, with an implication from the interview that the specification for that format is still being fine-tuned:

    "We aim to ensure that users gain maximum satisfaction using it. Between now and launch we have only to refine it. The Technological study has been completed, and the target is clearly defined, we are working hard to achieve our target."

  • Konica Minolta intends the Dynax 7 Digital to be the first of a new line of digital SLR cameras. Ishizuka-san notes:

    "[It] is fair to say that the Dynax 7 Digital is the first of a new generation of Digital SLR cameras. But the timing of any future introductions cannot be discussed. The Digital SLR market cannot withstand the rate of replacement nor the mass of products that operate within the digital compact market."

  • An LCD monitor-based Live View function is something that Konica Minolta is considering for future digital SLRs.

  • No new information is available on pricing. Ishizuka-san would only state that:

    "The main aim of this camera is to provide good value for money, through offering excellent picture quality, and to satisfy customers who enjoy using well-engineered cameras and producing outstanding images. The price will be reflective of the market conditions for products of this status and specification, our exclusive feature is Anti-Shake."
As noted previously, the full text of the interview is not available online as yet. If that changes, we'll update this item with a link to the full interview text.

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