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Old Aug 26, 2002, 5:23 PM   #1
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Default 7i vs 5700--An Amateurs Analysis

Iíve been looking for a comparison between the 7i and 5700. I haven't found one, so I decided to go through the process myself. I'm posting this analysis in both the Minolta and Nikon forums.

A little background. I lead a VERY busy life. Between running a business and being actively involved in the lives of my four children, I donít have nearly enough time for the things I want to do, including photography. I consider myself an average to above average AMATEUR photographer. I've been interested in photography since High School, over 30 years ago, and I used to develop my own black and whites. I've had a Casio Qv-2000 for about 2 years and I edit my digital photos with Microsoft Picture It! 2000 (very easy to use and I LOVE the collage feature) or Photoshop Elements (gives me many more editing features).

I've been daunted by the prospect of choosing between these 2 cameras. There are so many features to consider. You can go crazy trying to analyze and compare all of the features and test results. Where do you start, how do you make a final decision?

I decided to think about only the things that would be most important to MY use of the camera. Here's my list, in no particular order:

1. Telephoto/wide angle lens parameters.
2. LCD/EVF quality and ease of use.
3. Image quality.
4. Manual controls & 'bells and whistles'.
5. Storage medium (size).

Both cameras have the same Compact Flash type I/II large, storage capabilities (which I think is critical) so number 5 is not an issue. I've made some assumptions that take care of numbers 3 and 4, and greatly simplify the scope of the analysis. Minolta and Nikon are both great companies that make great cameras, and these are two great cameras. Not being a professional photographer, I don't think I'll EVER notice the subtleties of the tests run by the likes of Phil Askey (though I really appreciate his reviews-as well as Steve's of course), so Iím sure that I will be thrilled with the image quality of either camera. Both cameras have all of the manual controls and B&H's that anyone at my level would ever want to use. I need to spend more time at the camera shop to get a sense of how each one has set up accessing all of their settings, but I trust that I'll learn the ropes quickly with either camera and once I know, getting what I want will become second nature. After my 2 megapixel,, 3X telephoto Casio, Iíll be in photo heaven with either camera!

Telephoto/wide angle lens -- I think that a large zoom lens is very important in giving me the most photographic flexibility possible. The 5700 has a larger zoom, but with 5 megapixels I believe that images from the 7i could be 'cropped up' to the missing magnification. On the other side, I often wish that my Casio QV-2000 went wider than 35 mm. I think that I would miss the 7i's 28 mm wide(r) angle lens.

LCD/EVF -- Both cameras have very good LCD/EVF's, although the 7i seemed a bit brighter in the camera store. I use the viewfinder way more often than I use the LCD, so I like the idea of the swiveling 7i EVF more than the 5700's swiveling LCD. I think that the 7i's larger LCD makes a difference, and the way the 7i automatically switches between the LCD and EVF when your eye approaches the EVF is WAY COOL!

Other factors Iím considering that didnít make the ítop 5í list:

1. The 5700 is smaller and lighter, but not enough to eliminate the 7i. I've handled both of them and they are both very comfortable. Someone with larger hands might actually like the 7i better.

2. I donít like having to open the flash manually on the 7i.
3. I like AA batteries (7i) better than proprietary batteries (5700).
4. Iím worried about the low-light effectiveness of the EVFís of both cameras.

5. Do I really want a manual wide angle/telephoto operation (7i) when I can push a button on the 5700? On the other hand, I have both hands on the camera anyway and the manual will save on batteries.

I like both cameras a lot!!! By the above analysis I'm leaning slightly towards the 7i, but I'm not quite there yet.

I look forward to reading other people's views, I need all of the help I can get in making this decision.

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Old Aug 26, 2002, 6:02 PM   #2
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Well, you've been paying attention. I have a few small comments to add. The EVF on the D7 works very well in low light, switching to B&W display, and showing you things you sometimes can't see with the naked eye. As for the manual zoom it allows you to get the precise framing you want, something difficult or sometimes impossible with power zoom controls.
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Old Aug 26, 2002, 7:56 PM   #3
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I must echo padeye's comments above and I would also like to add that I prefer the 28mm on the wide end over 35mm. For me anyway, it really does make a difference, as I shoot mainly on the wide end. The 200mm end of the zoom is no slouch though. You must also remember that the longer the focal lenght, the harder it is to hand hold the camera for good sharp images.
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Old Aug 26, 2002, 8:07 PM   #4
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Don't forget the real-time histogram, it's not a gadget once one learns how to use it properly. Check my previous posting but you can shift the pixel density when use in conjunction with a polarizer (The D7i also sports a filter thread), or spread out its density by varying the contrast wheel.

The Direct Manual Focus overide is also a plus. There's no need to go in manual focus mode anymore... Just spin the the focus ring after the camera has locked on! BTW the 4x magnification button also works when the DMF is active and is way COOL! Especially when one want's to narrow down on a detail to focus on manually... (ie the overall picture will still be full-frame)

The 5700 may be smaller or lighter, but not after one adds the optional $150 battery grip, especially when used with a microdrive... this camera will be handicapped by it's EN-EL1 750mAh rating (vs 1800mAh AA NiMh) when the current of the MD is factored into account.

[Edited on 8-27-2002 by NHL]
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