Abstract: Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D Digital SLR Preview - Tests - Reviews

Photography - Canon EOS, digital, nature, Canon EOS 20D

Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D Digital SLR

The Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D is a unique camera in that it incorporates a moving sensor which can compensate for the effects of camera shake. Other vendors offer similar systems, but only built into individual lenses, not into the camera body. Obviously, building the anti-shake system into the body has the advantage of providing anti-shake with just about all lenses, not just a few, and that makes the lenses cheaper (and lighter) than if they contained shake compensating optics.

A downside of the Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D system is that you don't actually see the effect of the anti-shake system though the viewfinder, since the lens isn't involved. With both the Canon and Nikon systems you can see the Image Stabilization (IS - Canon) or Vibration Reduction (VR - Nikon) in operation. It also seems that the "in body" system isn't quite as effective as the "in lens" systems.

Another feature of the Maxxum 7D which I noticed when I handled one is that Konica-Minolta have provides a lot of dials and buttons to select various camera functions rather than using scrolling menus. It's also noticeable that the LCD on the Maxxum 7D is quite a bit larger than that found on other similar cameras from Canon and Nikon (2.5" on the 7D vs. 1.8" on the EOS 20D)

I have played with the Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D a little, but I have not had the chance to do a real test of its capabilities (a review sample was promised, but has yet has not materialized!). However general reports from users indicate good performance and no major problems. The anti-shake feature certainly works, giving maybe 2 stops of extra "handholdability" with normal lenses, though there is some suggestion that it's not quite as effective at minimizing image blur as the Canon IS system - particularly at longer focal lengths. Nevertheless, it's effective with just about lenses to some degree, which is, of course, a very nice feature.

The image quality of the Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D is very good and fully up the the standards of its competition. Noise at higher ISO setting isn't excessive, though the in-camera noise reduction algorithms do soften the images slightly. One minor point of inconvenience is that the maxxum 7D takes a while to "wakeup" when turned on. It takes 2 to 3 seconds before the first image can be obtained.

The following is a description of the camera by Konica-Minolta:

Konica Minolta is delighted to unveil the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D. This groundbreaking 6.1 Megapixels resolution, interchangeable lens digital camera is the World's first digital SLR to contain a body integral CCD-Shift, "Anti-Shake" (camera shake compensation) technology that enhances picture quality, performance and improved handling characteristics.

The Maxxum 7D is compatible with the full range* of Maxxum AF lenses.

The Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D is an interchangeable lens digital SLR camera that inherits many of the high specifications and much of the Award winning performance from the Maxxum Series SLR cameras.

Introduced in 1985, the Minolta 7000; the first 35mm film SLR with body integrated AF system designed to use interchangeable AF lenses.

The new model's high technological standards and heritage make it an intensely appealing camera.

The Maxxum 7D is a digital SLR created using a broad range of sophisticated photographic technologies each developed with years of camera making experience and expertise.

The unique built-in CCD-Shift type "Anti-Shake" technology endows the new camera the first digital SLR to feature body-integral Anti-Shake function. The key benefit of Anti-Shake is it can support all Maxxum AF lenses. *2 Anti-Shake technology allows photography with reduced blur due to camera shake, even when shooting dimly lit scenes or when using telephoto lenses and shooting macro subjects without the aid of flash or a tripod.

Other key contributors to the new camera's performance are its 6.1 million effective pixels, housed on an APS-C size CCD and the Konica Minolta proprietary CxProcess™ III image processing technology, that delivers high definition, natural looking images.

High speed image processing is achieved through the all new Advanced LSI Engine, designed to help provide fast data handling for improved camera responsiveness and control.

The camera also sports a large, easy to view, high definition, 2.5-inch color LCD monitor housed on its rear panel. The large screen provides a large clear display for menu navigation and image display. It also displays relevant shooting information and camera settings.

In keeping with its acclaimed Maxxum film SLR counterpart the Maxxum 7D inherits a similar, simple to use Mode Dial and Lever Operation system. To enhance handling further the new model also features a superbly bright, easy to view, high performance optical viewfinder.

In addition, the new digital SLR offers a comprehensive function set designed to meet a diverse range of photographic challenges and user needs. The Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D is complemented by a broad range of Maxxum accessories that offers photographers a complete system back up.

Product Highlights

1. World's first*1 digital SLR to be equipped with a body integral, CCD-Shift camera shake compensation. Anti-Shake technology that supports all genuine Maxxum interchangeable AF lenses. *2

2. Excellent picture quality derived from a high resolution 6.1 million pixels (effective) APS-C size CCD and original CxProcess™ III image processing technology

3. A large easy to view 2.5-inch high-definition color LCD monitor that combines menu navigation with image and data display.

4. Combines simple operation in a stylish, compact package inheriting the product ideals of the Maxxum range of film SLRs. Versatile imaging functions designed to satisfy any photographer's needs, whether they are an amateur or enthusiast.

5. Excellent system back up and accessories to cater to a broad range of subject genres and conditions.

Maxxum 7D Features

1. The World’s first*1 digital SLR with body integral Anti-Shake Technology and CCD-Shift Mechanism. Providing simple compatibility with Maxxum A Mount optics and allowing all Maxxum interchangeable AF lenses to be used.*2

2. Konica Minolta award winning Anti-Shake technology has been selected as “European Photo Innovation of the Year 2004 – 2005” by EISA*4 and provides an equivalent correction effect*3 allowing the use of a shutter speed 2 - 3 steps slower.

Now it’s possible to reduce blur caused by camera shake. Even when taking photos in dimly lit or twilight scenes or in natural light with a telephoto lens, as well as macro shots – without relying on a higher ISO setting, the aid of a flash or tripod.

Anti-Shake responds quickly to both broad, low velocity slow-swaying motion of the camera body and the higher frequency movement typical of camera shake caused by a photographer’s muscle.

The Anti-Shake technology can be switched on or off via a dedicated switch on the camera’s back. When activated an Anti-Shake indicator is displayed in the viewfinder to keep the user informed how much shake is being detected.

3. Consistently high picture quality is ensured by the 6.1 Million (effective) pixel APS-C size CCD, the unique CxProcess™ III image processing technology. This is delivered by a combination of Konica Minolta’s expertise in photosensitive materials and exposure control technologies. Each is integrated here in this new model to ensure superb picture quality and to help make the most of any attached Maxxum AF lens.

• A large 6.1 Million effective pixel APS-C size CCD allows shooting of high-resolution images that have a wide dynamic range but with reduced noise, in highlight and shadows.

• A newly developed Advanced LSI image processing engine designed for the Maxxum 7D enables high-speed processing of large quantities of data and has been designed to improve image processing at high-sensitivity settings, ensuring reduced image noise while retaining high picture quality. This combination also helps ensure a handling response similar to the smooth shooting rhythm associated with 35mm film SLRs.

• CxProcess™ III is a Konica Minolta original, image processing technology designed to provide impressive and natural looking images. CxProcess™ III achieves these stunning, natural looking images by integrating a broad range of photographic technologies gained from the Konica Minolta experience in this area. It ensures clear and crisp pictures, natural skin tones and packs in detail ideal for recording faithfully landscapes or macro subjects.

4. A large, easy to view monitor that works as both the menu Navigation Display and Image Review Screen.

• Easy to view 2.5-inch High Definition LCD Monitor mounted on the camera’s back-plate is the large, easy to view 2.5-inch, high resolution 207,000-pixel color monitor. It quickly and clearly displays captured shots for fast image appraisal. Image histogram data can be overlaid without obscuring the displayed image Thanks to its large size, it can also display up to a 16-frame thumbnail index display.

• Menu and Navigation Display

The LCD monitor works as a Navigation Display allowing seamless operation with clear and concise camera settings displayed with comprehensive shooting information, indicated with large and easy to read text. Aiding ease of use further, the display automatically switches from horizontal to vertical format when shooting in the upright “portrait” format.

5. Simple operation and a stylish design ethos inherits design features and ease of use from its Maxxum 7, 35mm film SLR camera predecessor.

• Intuitive Operation with Mode Dial and Lever System

The new model inherits the dial and lever operation system from the Maxxum 7, a system highly regarded by owners or its user-friendliness. It offer’s intuitive operation making it particularly familiar to users moving up to the new digital model from the silver halide SLR predecessor. The exposure compensation dial and easy to use exposure mode dial is also inherited from the Maxxum 7, making it familiar and helping users respond quickly to changing shooting conditions or rapidly changing picture opportunities. A separate white balance lever is provided for fast white balance control, enhancing ease of use even further.

• Easy to view High Performance Viewfinder

A spherical acute matte focusing screen is used in the viewfinder for accurate, bright, critical focusing assessment. The new model incorporates an optical glass pentaprism viewfinder with 0.9X Magnification Factor and 95% Field of View for easy scene assessment and composition.

• Highly Durable and Reliable Magnesium Alloy Body The Maxxum 7D has a robust build quality due to its magnesium alloy front body panel and base. The tough build also enhances camera reliability.

6. Enhanced shooting functions and versatile control designed to satisfy photographic enthusiast and amateur users.

• High Performance - High Speed AF

The new model incorporates a central cross hair type 9-point and 8-line AF sensor array. This provides high precision AF and high performance subject tracking of moving subjects within the frame. The AF system enables both Predictive Focus Control and Subject Tracking for high speed focus adjustment of moving subjects making it ideal for capturing fleeting moments or use in sports photography.

• RAW+JPEG Simultaneous Recording

You can choose to shoot either JPEG or RAW images or both combined with the simultaneous RAW + JPEG Dual-format Capture Mode for improved post-shoot workflow.

• High-Speed Continuous Advance and Image Processing with Large Capacity Image Buffer

The new model allows high speed continuous shooting of up to 9 consecutive frames at up to 3-frames per second in both RAW or RAW+JPEG modes due to the inclusion of a high capacity image buffer. Additionally it also allows continuous shooting of up to twelve 3008x2000 JPEG images at the extra-fine image-quality setting and fifteen JPEG images the same size at the fine image-quality setting. These high-speed shooting capabilities are ideal for capturing momentary expressions, sports or fleeting action shots, while retaining high picture quality throughout.

• Comprehensive Image Adjustment and Control for Creative Picture Capture

a) Image correction: 5-step fine control adjustment for sharpness, contrast, color saturation and hue.

b) White balance (WB) setting: In addition to the auto mode the new camera has six presets for WB plus a custom mode for precise white balance settings in difficult lighting conditions. This model also features numerical setting for color temperature which gives photographers a higher degree of color temperature matching. Fine-tuning is possible over a range from 2500K to 9900K in 100K increments providing a broader range than with the Auto White

Balance or Preset White Balance alone. This feature also allows precise control when directly input from accurate measurements calculated by the Konica Minolta Colormeter IIIF.

c) Zone Matching: A new technology that allows the precise reproduction of tonal gradations in highlights and shadows; essential in difficult shooting conditions with predominant highlights and helps ensure noise free lowlight images. The Zone Matching system permits effective control of high and low key tone capture; the former important for highlight capture in shots such as white of a of wedding dress; the latter for low light situations.

7. A wide variety of system accessories are also available adding versatility for all shooting styles and adding flexibility for any photographer’s needs.

• The dedicated VC-7D Vertical Control Grip for Maxxum 7D connects to the camera body and provides a reassuringly firm grip on the camera. It enhances, upright camera control and overall ease of use, particularly for portrait format shots.

a) Comfortable operation and handling for vertical shooting

The VC-7D’s sure-hold grip gives confident handling characteristics. The grip has a dedicated shutter-release button, front and rear control dials, AF/MF control button, AE lock button and AF area selector button, thereby delivering comfortable and reassuring handling characteristics to the camera in either horizontal or vertical shooting situations.

b) Dual lithium-ion batteries can be inserted and used in tandem

The VC-7D allows two lithium-ion batteries to be used simultaneously for an enhanced power supply. This allows photographers to take advantage of shooting many more images without worrying about recharging batteries.

c) AA batteries can also be used

Adding still more versatility, high capacity AA Ni-MH batteries can also be used.

• A broad range of Maxxum system accessories are available including D-Series flash units, remote cords and an angle viewfinder. The D-Series flash and D-Series lenses, which include built-in focus distance calculation, the new model gives improved exposure accuracy. Combined with high-precision ADI flash metering the camera provides high-precision lighting control that answers the most demanding and diverse needs.

• DiMAGE Master is optional software to improve creative workflow for advanced users. Diversified tools for classifying and comparing images boost work efficiency in of selecting the best shots. A newly developed RAW processing program enables more accurate color reproduction.

NOTES:

*1) As an interchangeable lens digital SLR camera

*2) Use of Anti-Shake with some specialist lenses may be subject to particular usage conditions.

*3) Anti-Shake picture blur correction effect amount varies with shooting conditions and lenses used.

*4) The European Imaging and Sound Association who publish 50 major photography and AVmagazines in 20 European countries.

Terms and product names may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective holders and are hereby acknowledged.

Specifications

Image sensor Interline primary color CCD (23.7 mm x 15.6 mm) with interlace scan
No. of pixels (approx.) Total: 6.3 million, Effective: 6.1 million
Sensitivity Auto, ISO 100 / 200 / 400 / 800 / 1600 / 3200 equivalents
White balance control Automatic, Preset (Daylight, Shade, Cloudy, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Flash), Custom,Color temperature setting available
Recording media Type I and Type II CompactFlash Cards / Microdrive, SD*Memory Cards / Multi Media Card*    * with optional SD-CF1 in use
File format JPEG, RAW, RAW+JPEG,
(DCF 2.0 compliant, DPOF supported by printing functions in ver.1.1, Exif 2.2)
Format function FAT 12, 16, 32 supported
Folder name formats Standard, Date
No. of recorded pixels Storage capacity (approx.)
(with 256MB CF card in L / M / S size)
L: 3008 x 2000, M: 2256 x 1496, S: 1504 x 1000
STD: 138 / 235 / 463, FINE: 81 / 141 / 292, EXTRA-FINE: 41 / 72 / 157,
RAW+JPEG: 19 / 21 / 23, RAW: 26 / - / -
Color mode Natural (sRGB), Natural+ (sRGB), Adobe RGB
Image quality mode Standard, Fine, Extra-fine, Raw, RAW+JPEG
Contrast / saturation / sharpness / hue adjustment 5 steps: -2,  -1,  0, +1, +2
Noise reduction Available at shutter speed longer than 1 s
Delete function Single, multiple, or all frames in a folder / memory card can be deleted
*selectable in the Menu, except single frame deletion
LCD monitor 2.5-inch TFT color, Total pixels: 207,000
No. of frame displayed 1, Index (4, 9, 16 selectable)
Display mode Image only, image + text, image + text + histogram
Type TTL phase-detection system
Sensor CCD line sensors  (9 points, 8 lines with center cross-hair sensor)
Sensitivity range EV-1 ~ EV18 (ISO 100 equivalent)
Main functions Wide area with local area selection, AF-A/C/S/MF switchable, predictive focus control for moving subject, auto-tracking focus-point display
AF illuminator Activated with the built-in flash in low-light / low contrast situations.
Range: 1 m ~ 5 m / 3.3 ft ~ 16.4 ft
Metering type Direct TTL metering; 14-segment honeycomb-pattern metering, Center-weighted metering, Spot metering
Metering cell 14-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC
Metering range EV 0 (EV 3 with Spot metering) ~ EV 20 (ISO 100 equivalent, with f/1.4 lens)
Exposure modes P/Full-auto program (Programmed AE with program shift), A, S, M
Exposure compensation 3EV in 1/2 EV increments, 2EV in 1/3 EV increments
Flash compensation 2EV in 1/2 EV increments
Flash metering system Multi-segment ADI / P-TTL flash metering, Manual
AE lock Automatically activated with AF lock. Available with AEL button
Guide No. GN 12 (in meters at ISO 100), GN 17 (ISO 200)  * with 24mm lens cover in use
Recycling time Approx. 3 s
Control Manual switchover; lift-up for Fill Flash, push down for Flash Cancel
Flash mode Fill Flash, Pre Flash with Red-eye reduction.
(Rear flash sync, Wireless/Remote off-camera flash, High-speed sync: Flash available with external flashes)
Type Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type
Range 1/4000 s ~ 30 s, Time-exposure (Bulb) possible
Flash sync speed 1/160 s (with Anti-Shake OFF), 1/125 s (with Anti-Shake ON)
Type Eye-level fixed system with optical-glass pentaprism
Focusing screen Spherical Acute Matte (G-type as standard)
Field of view Approx. 95%
Magnification 0.9x  * with 50mm lens focused on infinity, at -1 m-1
Eye relief Approx. 25 mm from the eyepiece, 21 mm from the eyepiece frame in -1 dioptor
(-1m-1), Eyepiece cup removable.
Diopter control -3.0 ~ +1.0 m-1
Drive mode Single,Continuous, 10 s / 2 s Self-timer, Single bracket, Continuous bracket
Continuous advance(approx.) Max. 9 frames (RAW / RAW+JPEG),max. 12 frames (JPEG, L-EXTRA-FINE), max. 15 frames (JPEG, L-FINE)
Interval 2-240 frames, Interval time:0.5/1-10/15/20/30/45/60 minutes, Start timer is equipped. (Settings: 0.5 to 24 H, in 0.5 increments)
Self-timer 10 s / 2 s delay selectable, with time display by LED
Exposure bracketing With 0.3 / 0.5 EV increments, 3 / 5 frames
System CCD-Shift mechanism
Shake display LED indicator in viewfinder
Shake compensation Equivalent to 2 – 3 steps in shutter speed(varies according to the lens used & shooting conditions)
Other functions Instant playback, zone matching, remote-storage function* (*Requires firmware update. Firmware updater and DiMAGE Transfer software will be available for download in January 2005.)
PC interface USB 2.0 High-Speed
Video output PAL / NTSC
Operating temperature 0 to 40 degrees centigrade / 32 to 104 degrees Fahrenheit
Printing output control Exif Print, PRINT Image Matching III, PictBridge
Battery Lithium-ion battery NP-400
Battery performance No. of frames recorded: approx. 400 (CIPA measurement),
approx. 600 (Konica Minolta measurement)
External power source 6 V DC (with specified AC adapter AC-11), Vertical Control Grip VC-7D (possible to adopt two NP-400 batteries, or six AA size Ni-MH batteries)
Dimensions (WxHxD) Approx. 150 mm x 106 mm x 77.5 mm / 5.9 in. x 4.2 in. x 3.1 in.
Weight (approx.) Approx. 760 g / 26.8 oz. * without batteries and recording media

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