Full review posted for Minolta Dimage 7!|
(Wednesday, May 23, 2001 - 03:00 EDT)
Full review of Minolta's just-announced Dimage 7, which features a whopping 5.2 megapixel image sensor and 7x optical zoom lens...
This could be the most significant digicam announcement of the year: When we first saw an early mockup of Minolta's new Dimage 7 camera at this year's PMA in Orlando (Feburary, 2001), it looked like a very intriguing camera. It was the first product announced with a 5 megapixel sensor (5.2 megapixel total, 4.95 effective), and it sported a 7x zoom lens. When we groused a little to the Minolta execs about its use of an Electronic Viewfinder (EVF), they replied that they thought we'd find this EVF "a little different". As it turned out, they were right on that score and then some! We've had hands on a fully functional prototype of the Dimage 7 for the last few days, and can confidently report that it's the biggest news in the prosumer digicam market so far this year: In a year marked mainly by incremental upgrades and enhancements to previous models, the Dimage 7 really breaks the mold. Its 5 megapixel CCD is coupled with a lens of unusually high quality, to produce a dramatic increase in resolution and image sharpness. The ferroelectric EVF is truly a breakthrough, not only for its exceptional resolution, but also for its remarkable light sensitivity: We had no trouble at all shooting with the Dimage 7 in very low light: Under normal nighttime conditions with reasonable artificial light, it's every bit as bright and usable as an optical finder, perhaps even more so. The Dimage 7 also provides unusually fine-grained control over color saturation and contrast, making it the first camera in our experience that you can really fine tune to your own photo tastes in a meaningful sense. Over and over again, the Dimage 7 impressed us in our testing, consistently delivering images beyond our expectations. Once Minolta gets the usual prototype bugs worked out, and applies the final color tweaks, the Dimage 7 is going to rock the industry: Get your orders in early for this one, there's going to be a long line! Check the review for full details!
Our friends Steve (Steve's Digicams) and Phil (DPReview) have both posted "first looks" at the Dimage 7 on their sites. Here are links to Steve's Review and Phil's Preview. Phil unfortunately didn't have a lot of hands-on with the camera, but he has a copy of the European press release on the camera, which was a bit more detailed than the US one. Steve has a more complete detailing of the camera's menu screens than we've posted, so you might find that interesting as well.