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Don Aug 7, 2002 4:26 PM

How does 7i metering work with flash?
I just ordered a DiMAGE 7i and I am looking forward to using my new high resolution camera. Ordering it was not fun. The six lowest price dealers I found were "out of stock" even when their sites said the camera was in stock - oh yes, several did have the camera as part of a kit which included add on wide angle and telephoto lenses (posting on this sites show that the wide angle lenses cut off the corners so I didn't want them), etc. at about $400 more than the stated camera cost. After about an hour of work I finally managed to find a source for the camera, only $130 higher than the cheapest listed price. You pay for service.

One feature I don't like is the necessity of using pre-flash when the camera is used in auto-exposure mode. I hope some of you can help me with the following questions about this.

1. When the built in flash is used in the auto-exposure mode is the pre-flash used for focus and/or exposure control?

2. When a Minolta compatible external flash (e.g. the Minolta 5600 or one from Sunpak, etc.) is used, is auto-focus/auto-exposure mode still available or must the camera be in manual flash mode?

Thanks for any help you may be able to give me.


NHL Aug 7, 2002 4:45 PM


1. The pre-flash is used only to adjust the white balance. The auto focus is independent and work with or without the internal flash. The correct exposure is controlled either TTL only or TTL with ADI (Minolta call something Advance Distance Integration) ie also making use of the focal lens and the distance measurement in the lens.

2. Only newer Minolta (D) flashes will work with the D7, and also wirelessly on the D7i in full ADI and TTL mode. Any other flashes including Minolta's older 5600/5400/5200 will not work in auto. They can be used in manual only or to trigger slaves (which is now moot since with the D7i and the D7 upgrade, the built in flash power can also be reduced to 1/16 thus speeding up the recharge cycle and increase the batteries life for slave triggering!).

The autofocus work indepently from the flash. The only known problem is manual focus with a 3rd party flash, where the EVF neat feature: 'What-You-See-Is-What-You-Get' in a dark studio makes the EVF useless (ie. if you open up the aperture and decrease the shutter speed to see and get the correct exposure, it defeats the whole flash purpose). But the creative mind of minolta has since provided the D7 and the D7i with a capability to overide this feature (ie pushing in the select button and the I+ at the same time, and makes the EVF brightness independent from the real exposure)

[Edited on 8-7-2002 by NHL]

Don Aug 9, 2002 11:11 AM

Minolta 7i Flash Metering
Thanks for the reply NHL. Your reply of course brings up the question of whether or not the pre-flash flashes when you set the white balance manually? I'll try and find out the answer to this as soon as my new 7i arrives. I have a friend who will try with his 7 after his update arrives. We will post the results here.

NHL Aug 9, 2002 11:45 AM

That's a good question, but I think the white balance is still independent from the flash setting. I can almost bet it will pre-flash... This camera is very smart (beside isn't the flash daylight balance?), for example in the program mode, the white balance (ie color) is shifted accordingly... Try this by looking through the EVF and turn the dial from Portrait, Landscape, Flashfill, and Text mode and you'll see the different warm/cool color variations... Really amazing camera !!!

BTW in the Action mode even the shutter is switched automatically to high-speed... and back to single shot when you dial back to another mode!

[Edited on 8-9-2002 by NHL]

padeye Aug 9, 2002 11:49 AM

NHL, are you sure about that? It's been my understanding that most digicams don't do real time TTL flash like film cameras which measure light reflecting from the film plane. The conclusion I draw is that real time flash info from the CCD can't be done while recording an image. My dimage 7 has two flash metering modes, ADI and pre-flash TTL.

Don, you'll probably be getting pre flash in all modes except manual flash.

[Edited on 8-9-2002 by padeye]

NHL Aug 9, 2002 12:01 PM


You're right, it's pre-flash TTL (page 92 of manual), ditto for ADI. In either case it doesn't work very well for a flash fill with a polarizer... I still have to remove the PL for thoses situations (so where's the TTL in all this?) otherwise the pictures are underexposed... (worse on TTL than ADI)

[Edited on 8-9-2002 by NHL]

padeye Aug 9, 2002 6:29 PM

Well it _is_ TTL, just not the same way film cameras do it. It's my understanding that both flash exposure and white balance are set from the pre-flash. In looking over Metz's info about the 3000 series adapter for the Dimage 7 states the camera does not support "TTL flash contol" but does support "TTL flash correction"

At any rate it's splitting hairs. What suprises me is your incorrect exposures with a filter in pre-flash TTL mode. It should compensate the same way film TTL does. If anything I thikn ADI would be fooled by filters or bouncing the flash.

NHL Aug 10, 2002 8:30 AM


I've figured it out...

With a polarizer on a bright sunny beach the internal flash doesn't have enough power to compensate for the extra fill-in! Indoor it work just fine in both ADI and TTL. I just have to take my 5600D for the snorkeling to the islands next time then... LOL

amazingthailand Aug 10, 2002 3:27 PM

Interesting comments about the flash and white balance. I have noticed that if I shoot a subject outdoors with and without fill flash, that I get a noticable color shift between the two, with the fill flash being distinctly yellow/green.

Any idea what is going on here? The color balance is great on the non fill flash shot, just too many shodows.

And yes, the pre flash still fires in manual white balance mode (on a 7 - not 7i'd yet, still waiting).

[Edited on 8-10-2002 by amazingthailand]

padeye Aug 11, 2002 4:02 PM

Fill flash is a tricky situation. The TTL pre-flash is not going to be the same duration as the flash during exposure so color balance will shift from pre-flash to the actual exposure. This is less of an issue indoors where the flash overwhelms ambient light.

If you have time you might try doing a custom white balance with a flash exposure.

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