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Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D Experience Report

A review diary by Uwe Steinmueller @Digital Outback Photo

Also photos by Bettina Steinmueller

 

 
 
 

Diary Index

 
 

Note on image processing:

As usual we work only with raw files and use RawShooter essentials 1.1.3

All images are also sharpened using EasyS Sharpening Toolkit and tonality tuned with our Tonality Tuning Kit (e.g. mid-tone contrast and opening up shadows).

 
 

 
8/22/2005 Getting Started
 
We got a sample of the Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D very late. We still wanted to have a look at this camera as it features a unique Anti Shake (AS) sensor. There is also a cheaper 5D planned to be released soon that has some fewer capabilities but uses the same base technology.
 
 
First Pictures
 

Our usual walk in Los Gatos:


Ristorante in Los Gatos


Crop at 100% magnification

 

 

Image has good color and is on par with most other 6MP DSLRs (detail/sharpness). We could have even sharpened the image a bit more.

 
Noise
 

 

What about noise? We used RawShooter Essential 1.1.3 with no extra noise removal. We shot once again the Los Gatos Bear Cafe at different ISO levels:

The following crops are all at 100% magnification.

Note: The 7D was used with the Konica Minolta 28-75mm f/2.8 zoom.

Maxxum 7D

ISO 100

ISO 200

ISO 400

ISO 800

ISO 1600

The results from ISO100-400 look excellent, ISO 800 pretty good and ISO 1600 quite useable.

Note: We have the feeling that ISO 100 is about 1/3 f-stop higher than 100 and ISO 1600 about 1/3 f-stop lower than 1600.

What about the AS (Anti Shake)?

The AS sensor makes the 7D different than all the other DSLRs. It implements the anti shake at the sensor level (using a vibrating sensor) and not within the lenses (like all the other image stabilizing technologies). This has the big advantage that most of the lenses can be used in AS mode.

We did a pragmatic and not really scientific test. We shot handheld (AS should not be used on the tripod - easy to forget) with the Konica Minolta APO 200mm f/2.8 lens with and without AS enabled. Normally our rule of thumb would let us use a shutter speed of 1/200 to 1/400 sec photographing handheld a static object with this lens.

AS off
AS on

1/125 sec

1/125 sec

1/60 sec

1/60 sec

1/30 sec

1/30 sec

This was the first day we used the AS feature and we may need a bit more practice using AS for maximum benefit. But at the lower shutter speeds it is clear that AS works. At 1/125 sec the results are pretty close. If we have some more time we may revisit AS as part of our diary.

Note: We are very much used to IS/VR on Canon/Nikon. The main advantage of stabilizing the lens is that also the viewfinder image gets stabilized as well.

Ergonomics

  • The Maxxum 7D is very well to handle and the layout of all controls is some of the best we have seen so far. Konica Minolta tried to get most features into your reach without using menus.
  • The 2.5" LCD is bright and very easy to read.
  • Minor issue: We often use a bubble level that we attach to the camera's flash hot shoe. We cannot use it on the 7D as this camera has a different styled hot shoe for use with only Konica Minolta flash units.

8/30/2005 7D on Tripod

We use for all our tripod work custom plates (see our tripods, heads and plates). Here is a photo of the Really Right Stuff plate for the 7D:

These plates do not twist and guarantee a tight fit. Tripods, heads and plates that are not tight don't do a proper job.

9/5/2005 AF D 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO

This is a very inexpensive lens for this range and we don't really know yet how it performs (we check the next days). Normally with all lenses of this range we would like to see it image stabilized. No problem with the 7D because all(!, maybe nearly all) lenses are instantly stabilized by the AS sensor.


Owl at daytime @300mm (450mm angle of view, major crop 1500x1100)


crop at 100% magnification (f9.5, 1/250sec, ISO 400)

This is a crop from a shot we got today (our first owl we ever saw and photographed in the wild). Unfortunately the sun was harsh and the owl partly in the shade. Lovely bird!

Notes:

  • 1/250 is quite a low shutter speed for 300mm (450mm angle of view)
  • The ears of the owl flipped very fast (you see the blur)

9/7/2005 New Gallery and some new Photos

Yesterday in Monterey we used only the AF D 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO. The 7D with this lens is a lot of fun to capture detail at some distance. Again the AS sensor helped a lot.


Monterey Pier Detail


Pelican Senior Home


Shades of Yellow

We consider the Maxxum 7D with the AF D 100-300mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, 28-70mm f/2.5 and a Macro a great travel combo.

We also published a 7D gallery.

Conclusion

Overall we are very impressed by the Maxxum 7D. The highlights for us are:

  • AS sensor
  • Bright and large viewfinder image
  • First class ergonomics

We would like to see this camera equipped with a 10MP sensor.

 


 

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Review methodology (or lack of :-)) here.
 
 
 

 

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