Konica Minolta Dynax Maxxum 7DAt long last, Minolta SLR owners have a *very* worthy body to use with their lens collections!
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Page 12:Test Results & ConclusionReview First Posted: 11/27/2004, Updated: 02/01/2005
In keeping with my standard test policy, the comments given here summarize only my key findings. For a full commentary on each of the test images, see the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D's sample pictures page.
For a collection of more pictorial images from the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D, check out our Maxxum 7D photo gallery.
Not sure which camera to buy? Let your eyes be the ultimate judge! Visit our Comparometer(tm) to compare images from the Maxxum 7D with those from other cameras you may be considering. The proof is in the pictures, so let your own eyes decide which you like best!
As with all Imaging Resource product tests, I encourage you to let your own eyes be the judge of how well the camera performed. Explore the images on the pictures page, to see how the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D's images compare to other cameras you may be considering.
- Color: Very good color, more accurate than most. Overall
color was very good on the Maxxum 7D, though the difficult blues in the flower
bouquet from the "Sunlit Portrait" test were slightly darker and
more purplish than in real life. Skin tones were nice and natural, and the
camera's white balance system handled a range of lighting very well. (As is
typically the case, the Auto white balance setting had trouble with the strong
color cast of the household incandescent lighting on my "Indoor Portrait"
test, but both the Incandescent and Manual white balance options did very
well with that difficult light source.) Also notable is that the camera's
Kelvin white balance settings extend as low as 2,500K, letting the 7D handle
even very warm-hued incandescent lighting with aplomb. Color accuracy and
saturation on the MacBeth(tm) chart in my Davebox target was quite good: The
bright red swatch was oversaturated (as is typical of cameras I test), but
other colors were much closer to correct than is generally the case. The accurate
color saturation levels may lead some to view the 7D's color as a little understated,
but the in-camera saturation adjustment has fine enough steps that you can
easily boost saturation a little if that's your preference. Overall, a very
- Exposure: Average exposure accuracy, slightly high contrast.
The Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D handled my test lighting fairly well, though
high contrast shots like the "Sunlit" Portrait and outdoor house
tended to underexpose a fair bit. That said, an average amount of positive
exposure compensation did the trick on the "Sunlit" Portrait, capturing
bright midtones with strong detail. Despite a generally effective contrast
adjustment control though, the 7D lost significant detail in the deliberately
harsh highlights of the Sunlit Portrait shot. (I'd like to see the same size
steps on the contrast control, but extending further into the low-contrast
realm.) Indoors, the camera required an average amount of positive exposure
compensation as well, and the flash exposed subjects well, even at the default
exposure setting. The Maxxum 7D had no trouble distinguishing the subtle pastel
tones on the Q60 target of the Davebox, and shadow detail was typically good
to very good.
- Resolution/Sharpness: Very high resolution, 1,400 lines
of "strong detail." Good in-camera sharpening. The Maxxum 7D
performed very well on the "laboratory" resolution test chart for
its 6.1-megapixel class. Artifacts didn't appear in the test patterns until
resolutions as high as 1,200 lines per picture height in both directions.
I found "strong detail" out to at least 1,400 lines. "Extinction"
of the target patterns didn't occur until about 1,650 lines. Using its "MTF
50" numbers, which correlate best with visual sharpness, Imatest showed
an average uncorrected resolution of 1293 LW/PH, and a resolution of 1327
LW/PH when normalized to a standard 1-pixel sharpening, both good numbers
for a 6-megapixel camera. The Maxxum 7D's default in-camera sharpening does
a good job of crisping-up the images, without introducing objectionable artifacts
of its own.
- Image Noise: Very low noise levels, but some subject
detail traded away to achieve this, especially at higher ISO settings. The
Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D's images showed unusually low levels of image noise,
particularly at high ISO settings. BUT, it's clear that the camera is using
very aggressive noise-suppression algorithms at high ISOs to achieve the low
numbers. Overall, I'd prefer to see a bit less heavy-handed noise suppression,
to reduce the amount of lost detail at high ISOs. To its credit though, the
7D's noise pattern is also very tight, making what noise does appear less
objectionable than it would be otherwise.
- Closeups: Macro performance is entirely dependent on
the lens used, hence no comment for this category.
- Night Shots: Excellent low-light performance. Good color
and exposure, with low image noise, even at the darkest light levels of this
test. Good lowlight autofocus. (1/8 foot-candle without AF-assist, total darkness
with AF illuminator.) The Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D produced clear, bright,
usable images down to the 1/16 foot-candle (0.67 lux) limit of my test, with
good color at the 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1,600 ISO settings. Color was generally
quite good, though the lower light levels often resulted in a light pink cast.
Noise was quite low at all ISO levels, although it did increase to a noticeable
extent at ISO 800 and 1600. As was the case at higher light levels though,
the 7D trades away subject detail to achieve its low noise levels at high
ISO. There was relatively little difference between the shots taken with and
without Noise Reduction enabled, although the noise reduction did remove a
few "hot pixels" that crept into the images at the longest exposure
times. The 7D's autofocus worked well at low light levels, focusing to a bit
below 1/8 foot-candle with the AF-assist light disabled, and on nearby objects
in complete darkness with the AF illuminator turned on.
- Viewfinder Accuracy: A very accurate through-the-lens
(TTL) viewfinder. The Maxxum 7D's Digital SLR viewfinder is very accurate,
showing about 98 percent of the final image area at wide angle, and about
99+ percent at telephoto. Thus, the camera performed very well here.
- Optical Distortion: Distortion is entirely dependent
on the lens used, hence no comment for this category.
- Shutter Lag and Cycle Times: Average (good) shutter
response and cycle times. The word that comes to mind when thinking about
the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D's speed is "average." - But that's
not a bad thing, given the field it's playing in. Full-autofocus shutter lag
is actually faster than most d-SLRs, at about 0.27 second, although its manual
focus lag is only slightly better than the full-autofocus times. At 0.61 second,
shot to shot cycle times are decent and its 14-shot JPEG buffer capacity should
be enough for most users. At 2.75 frames/second, continuous-mode shooting
speed is also right on par with its primary competitors. Overall, a very workmanlike
- Battery Life: Excellent battery life (typical for an SLR). Like most digital SLRs, the 7D's battery life is excellent, largely because it doesn't have to keep the CCD and LCD clocking away to frame its shots. With run times of over 6 hours in record mode and better than 2.5 hours in playback, a fully charged NP-400 battery will last most shooters all day. If you plan lots of shooting in continuous mode though, I'd suggest picking up an extra battery pack.
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