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Konica Minolta Dynax Maxxum 7D

At long last, Minolta SLR owners have a *very* worthy body to use with their lens collections!

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 11/27/2004, Updated: 02/01/2005

Design

Taking aim at the professional digital SLR market, Konica Minolta released the Dynax/Maxxum 7D, which offers exceptional exposure control and a solid build reminiscent of a high-end 35mm SLR. The body is literally covered with control buttons, switches, and dials, giving the 7D a somewhat daunting appearance. While the multitude of external controls may appear complicated at first glance, I actually found them to be well laid-out and very sensible after working with the camera for a short while. I always prefer more external control and less reliance on the LCD menu system, and the 7D has external controls in abundance. The 7D features a 6.1-megapixel CCD and has a Konica Minolta standard lens mount that accommodates a wide range of Konica Minolta AF lenses.


The 7D's all-black and rather bulky body measures a substantial 5.9 x 4.2 x 3.1 inches (150 x 106 x 78 millimeters) without a lens, and weighs in at over a pound and a half, or 26.8 ounces (760 grams), without the lens, battery, or memory card. In other words, the 7D's body is quite a handful on its own. An accessory camera bag would certainly be the preferred method of carrying and storing the 7D, but the positions of the eyelets for the included neck strap at least let the camera hang level when it's suspended from them. Inside, the 7D is built around a rugged magnesium-alloy frame.

The camera's front panel houses the Konica Minolta A-type bayonet lens mount, lens release button, Depth of Field Preview button, Focus Mode dial, Self-Timer light, and the front of the pop-up flash compartment. Also visible from the front of the camera are the Shutter button and Front Control dial, located at the top of the hand grip. An indentation near the top of the hand grip comfortably cradles your middle finger as it curls around the grip.

The right side of the camera holds the CompactFlash memory card slot, covered by a hinged plastic door. The 7D accommodates Type I or II CF memory cards, including Microdrives. Nestled inside the compartment door is the shared-use A/V Out / USB 2.0 jack for direct connection to a computer or television set. A nicely designed sliding plastic door protects the terminal from dust. At the very top of the right panel is one of the two neck strap attachment eyelets.

The left side of the camera features a host of input jacks, including the Flash sync terminal at the very top, above the DC In and remote control terminals. The Flash sync and DC In jacks are both protected by flexible rubber flaps that remain tethered to the camera body, while a sliding plastic cover protects the remote terminal. Also on this side of the camera is the second neck strap eyelet.

The top panel accommodates the pop-up flash compartment and external flash hot shoe; the latter is protected by a sliding plastic cover that is completely removable from the camera body. The hot shoe employs a custom electrode setup and mounting bracket for Konica Minolta accessory flash units, and so isn't compatible with generic hot-shoe flashes. The pop-up flash has two small tabs on either side that allow you to lift it up into its upright position. In addition, there are a number of controls that access various camera functions, including the Exposure Mode Dial and release button, Drive Mode dial, White Balance button and dial, a Shutter button, Front Control dial, Exposure Compensation dial and release button, and the Flash Compensation dial. Just behind the Exposure Mode dial is a small silver icon (a circle with a line through it), indicating the CCD focal plane.

The remaining controls are on the camera's rear panel, along with the optical viewfinder and LCD monitor. The 7D's optical viewfinder is surrounded by a flexible, removable cup, and features two sensors below it that detect when your eye is next to the camera. (You can enable these sensors through the Custom menu to automatically detect your eye in front of the viewfinder and disable the information display on the LCD monitor, cutting out any distracting glare.) A diopter adjustment dial on the right side of the eyepiece adjusts the view for eyeglass wearers. Controls on the left side of the rear panel include the Power switch, and the Menu, Display, Magnification, Delete, and Playback buttons. On the other side of the LCD monitor are the Memory Set and ISO buttons, along with the Anti-Shake switch. A Multi-controller serves as an eight-directional navigational tool, with a Spot AF / OK button at its center. A Focus Area switch surrounds the Multi-controller. Directly above this are the AE Lock button, Metering Mode dial, AF/MF / Slow Sync button, and Rear Control dial.

The camera's bottom panel is fairly flat, with a grooved grip pad surrounding the metal tripod mount. Also on the bottom panel is the camera's battery compartment, which features a locking, hinged door. The battery compartment is just far enough from the metal tripod mount to allow quick battery changes while working with a tripod (depending of course on the size of your tripod's mounting plate), something I always look for in a digicam, given the amount of studio shooting I do.

 

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