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Minolta Dimage 7Hi

Minolta updates their revolutionary five-megapixel electronic SLR with an external flash sync connection, faster continuous mode, an "extra fine" JPEG option, and increased color space flexibility.

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Page 1:Intro and Highlights

Review First Posted: 10/15/2002

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5.0-megapixel CCD delivers uninterpolated images as large as 2,568 x 1,928 pixels.
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Tack sharp 7x optical zoom lens covers a 28-200mm equivalent focus range.
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Ferroelectric LCD technology gives sharp electronic viewfinder image that is visible even at low light levels.
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Enhancements over the D7i include external sync socket, extra-fine JPEG option, and external flash sync socket.

 

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Manufacturer Overview
Minolta Corporation is a traditional camera manufacturer of long experience, who made a slow but calculated entry into the digital marketplace. Like its popular line of 35mm SLRs, the Maxxum Series, Minolta's Dimage Digital Cameras are developing a reputation for innovative technology in light metering, exposure control, and autofocus systems. Their lenses in particular have received high praise for their optical quality.

Last year (2001), Minolta shook up the high end of the prosumer market, by beating everyone else to the punch with the first five megapixel prosumer digital camera. - And it wasn't just "any" five megapixel model either, but the Dimage 7, an electronic SLR design with a remarkably high quality 7x optical zoom lens, a host of advanced image-control functions, and an all-new electronic viewfinder using ferroelectric LCD technology for impressive low light performance.

Now, just over a year later, Minolta has upped the ante again first with the Dimage 7i, which added numerous features, and offered dramatically improved focusing speed and shutter response. Now, they've announced the Dimage 7Hi, which adds an external flash sync socket, higher-speed continuous shooting for full-resolution files, and an extra-fine JPEG image-quality setting. The 7Hi will apparently sell alongside the 7i, for people needing the faster shooting speed, lower JPEG compression, or (most importantly for most users, I think) the external flash sync connector.

The Dimage 7 was an impressive camera when it was introduced, and Minolta's improvements implemented in the 7i version were well-considered, intelligent, and bountiful. With the 7Hi, they've brought the camera fully into the photo studio, with the external flash sync connector, in addition to increasing continuous-mode speed, and offering an extra-fine JPEG mode as an alternative to TIFF or RAW files. Finally, the Dimage 7Hi offers several options for color space, including both normal and "vivid" sRGB options, and Adobe RGB. Overall, some nice tweaks to what was an impressive upgrade, to what was already an excellent camera. Phew. Read on for all the details!


Highlights

  • True 5.0-megapixel CCD delivering resolutions as high as 2,560 x 1,920 pixels.
  • 12-Bit A/D conversion.
  • Digital Hyper Electronic viewfinder with 90-degree variable position.
  • 1.8-inch TFT color LCD monitor.
  • 7.2-50.8mm lens (equivalent to a 28-200mm lens on a 35mm camera) with a maximum aperture of f/2.8 to f/3.5, depending on the zoom setting.
  • 2x digital zoom.
  • Auto and Manual focus.
  • Macro option at maximum telephoto or wide angle zoom settings.
  • Program AE, Aperture Priority, Shutter Priority, Manual, and Subject Program shooting modes.
  • Shutter speeds from 1/2,000 to 15 seconds, with Bulb setting for longer exposures (up to 30 seconds), up to 1/4,000 under certain conditions.
  • 300 segment Multi-Segment, Center-Weighted, and Spot metering options, with AE Lock function.
  • Adjustable ISO with five settings.
  • Built-in, pop-up flash with three operating modes, a dual-mode flash metering system, and manually adjustable intensity.
  • External flash hot-shoe for Minolta accessory flash units.
  • New external flash sync terminal.
  • Built-in support for wireless TTL flash exposure with certain Minolta flashes. (Very slick!)
  • High-Speed and Ultra High Speed Continuous Shooting, Interval, Movie, and Night Movie shooting modes.
  • Digital Effects Control for Exposure, Color Saturation, Contrast Compensation, and Hue (color filter) control, with Bracketing
  • Adjustable White Balance with seven modes.
  • Sharpness and Color control via menu options. Color modes include Standard (sRGB), Vivid Color (sRGB), Black & White, Adobe RGB, and Solarization.
  • RAW, uncompressed TIFF, and JPEG file formats.
  • Images saved to CompactFlash Type I or II memory cards (16MB card included), Microdrive compatible.
  • "Storage-Class" USB interface.
  • USB cable and interface software for connecting to a computer and downloading images.
  • NTSC or PAL selectable video output signal, with cable included.
  • Power supplied by four AA batteries or separate AC adapter (available as an accessory).
  • DPOF (Digital Print Order Format) compliant.


Many of our readers are familiar with the recent Dimage 7i, so I put together the following major feature comparison between the Dimage 7Hi and the recent 7i version. See my review of the D7i to see the differences between it and the original Dimage 7. (There could be other differences as well, but these are the ones I'm aware of.)

 

Feature Dimage 7Hi Dimage 7i
New custom color space
Adjustable color space, with sRGB and Adobe RGB settings, plus the ability to embed color space settings in JPEG header.
Color space is quite close to sRGB, making images more usable without postprocessing in Minolta's software.
New PC sync terminal for external flash units.
Still has external flash hot shoe as well.
External flash hot shoe.
Longer shutter times.
Maximum 15 seconds in standard mode (Bulb setting to 30 seconds still available).
Maximum of four seconds outside of Bulb mode.
Continuous shooting mode speed
Faster, three frames per second.
Approximately two frames per second.
Expanded JPEG compression levels Extra Fine, Fine, Standard (Economy setting removed) Fine, Standard, and Economy
Expanded camera setup controls More direct control over button functions with an additional Setup menu page. -
Expanded white balance options Two fluorescent settings, up to three Custom settings. One fluorescent mode, one Custom setting.

 


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