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jezmundv Jan 5, 2003 11:10 PM

Should I buy a Dimage 7i and other deep questions.....
I want to buy a Digital camera in the next few weeks so I can take it on a trip to Germany in Febuary. I have pretty much narrowed it down to the Sony F-717 or the Minolta Dimage 7i. I am leaning towards the minolta because I don't like the whole memory stick thing. I looked at the Nikon, but the autofocus on Nikon stinks, I have an N-80 and it does the same thing their digitals do if the light is anything but perfect. My question is, what do you think of the Dimage for a novice photographer who is going to use it mostly for personal use? Also, the one thing I liked about the sony was they had a hip pouch case where you could carry the camera on your waist. Does anyone make this for the Minolta, it would make it more convient. The size of both those cameras are a little big, but it seemed like a worthwhile tradeoff to get the bigger lens range and higher resolution... Any advice would be welcom

NHL Jan 6, 2003 8:57 AM

The Oly5050 is more compact and is quite good also, what you gain on the D7i is the wide angle (ie 28mm) that allow you to capture more of a picture, not less, and this lens is quite good with no CA but like you have notice you're compromising on the size...

However with its rechargeable NiMh you can pair this camera with a microdrive, and then you can live with the freedom of not to worry about running out of film while traveling!

jezmundv Jan 6, 2003 1:05 PM


Originally Posted by NHL
The Oly5050 is more compact .... and this lens is quite good with no CA but like you have notice you're compromising on the size...

What do you mean by "CA", I am not familiar with the term. Also I see lots of refereces to Noise in respect to the Minolta, how would that impact your average user? It seems that to get a good lens I need to go with Either the Olympus 20, The Dimage 7i or the Sony 717. I think the Olympus is too expensive for me. I am leaning towards either the Minolta or Sony. I think the laser night shot capability is pretty cool on the Sony, but am not sure how much I would use it. The memory sticks seem like a big negative for the sony as well as the proprietary batteries. I like the way the minolta feels in my hand a little better than the Sony also. I am mostly concerned about whether I will be bothered by these noise complaints and whether I can get an efficient case for the Minolta. B&H has the minolta for $769 for The 7i, so it seems like a pretty good deal if I can get past these issues.

NHL Jan 6, 2003 3:15 PM

CA is chromatic aberration (ie when light traveled through a lens not all colors are bended the same amount) and required various internal elements to correct... Beside it's only one of a few that get you down to 28mm that'll allow you to capture more of a picture, and not less like a long zoom. As for Noise:

This issue has been beaten to death... ie if you see it and don't like it don't buy it! I think the camera is flexible enough to customized it to anyone preference, it's sure is loaded with features! :lol:

Don Jan 6, 2003 7:07 PM

Focus and noise.
jezmundv, I don’t blame you for not wanting a Sony camera with the memory stick. It basically has a limited storage capacity and is way too expensive. Sony has even been forced to come out with a new, non-compatible form in order to increase the storage capacity, which is still too small for 5 mega-pixel cameras.

If you are worried about focus problems, however, then the 7i isn't the camera for you. If you check back through this forum you will see that the 7 series of cameras have a long history of complaints about poor focusing ability. I frequently find that it is necessary to use direct manually focus after the camera simply gives up on auto focus. Without manual focus I average about 10%-20% of my photos being out of focus. When you do get a good focus, however, you can’t beat the pictures unless you go to a much more expensive professional digital camera. Focus and battery lifetime problems are a part of the 7 series of cameras, but I still love my 7i.

As far as noise goes, I have only had that as a problem one time when I forgot I had the camera set up to use slaved studio lighting and tried taking some pictures with on the camera flash set to 1/16th power. I “rescued” the four badly underexposed shots using a photoshop add on but the colors were off and the pictures were very grainy (i.e. noisy). This is because camera was smart enough to try taking the pictures, even if I had it set up incorrectly, so it set the ISO to 800.

The reason why increasing the ISO causes noise is because the detector elements of the array have a fixed light sensitivity range. If there is lots of light the camera uses a low ISO value (i.e. low amplifier gain) and adjusts the shutter speed and lens opening to allow the sensors to utilize their full sensitivity range. In a dark area of the image only a little light falls on the sensor element so only a small charge builds up on it and the amplifier produces only a small signal for that sensor. In the bright areas a large charge builds up on the sensor element and a large signal is produced by the amplifier. (You can think of each detector element as a bucket able to hold a lot of different amounts of water, i.e. charge. With lots of light on a sensor element the bucket is full, with only a little light the bucket only has a small amount of water, or even none, in it.)

The problem arises when you don’t have enough light to fully expose the sensor elements. In this case the gain of the amplifier increases so that the small charges on the sensor elements are amplified till they have much higher signal levels, resulting in what looks like a normally exposed photo. (When the ISO increases from 100 to 200 you can think of the buckets as being only one-half full but the amplifier makes them look like they are full. As the ISO increases to 800 you are working with buckets that are only one-eighth full to start with.) Unfortunately there is always thermal and electronic noise in the array signals. With a exposure where there is plenty of light and the detector elements in bright areas reach full charge, this is negligible. With very low light exposures the detectors never reach full charge and the large gain of the amplifier makes this noise visible. You will have the same problem with any digital camera and the more dense the sensors get, the more you will see this problem- i.e. for two sensors of equal area the one with more pixels will have smaller detector elements which will, therefore, have lower sensitivity. Lower sensitivity means that greater amplification will be required, and thus there will be a greater noise problem - i.e. the more pixels in a given area the smaller the charges that can build up so the larger the amplification of the signals must be and the greater the noise will be.

All cameras have their limits. The trick is to find the one that can give you what you want and learn to live with the limits. Unless you are willing to spend multiple thousands of dollars you won’t find a better camera for the $ than the Minolta DiMAGE 7i or 7Hi. Note that the 7Hi offers a couple of very nice enhancements over the 7i and would be my first choice today.

amazingthailand Jan 6, 2003 7:54 PM

The single biggest problem with the D7 (original) is the autofocus. It is just plain unreliable. I shoot in manual focus mode 99% of the time because I cannot rely on the D7 to autofocus properly.

Despite this, I still love my D7. The manual zoom, the zoom range and the 28mm wide end, plus it takes microdrives. The lens produces spectacular results (very sharp) and noise is really not an issue, unless you are in a low light situitation, and then most cameras will exhibit the same problem.

I have read that the D7Hi uses a different method for determining the correct focus than the other D7's, so maybe it is more reliable.

On the other hand, the memorystick of Sony's is a major drawback, and I think the 717 is just plain butt ugly.

As for a belt pack for the D7, there are lots of small cases available that you can fit the D7 into, but it tends to be a bit fat for a belt pack (I think), plus you will need to carry additional batteries and probably CF cards, unless you use a 1GB microdrive.


jezmundv Jan 6, 2003 9:23 PM

Is the autofocus problem at all remidiated in the 7i or do you need to go to the 7Hi to get it fixed. When I looked at the 7Hi it seemed that you were getting precious little for the additional 300 dollars. Is there something I am missing?

amazingthailand Jan 7, 2003 7:23 AM

The D7 and D7i are basically the same, autofocus wise - as far as I know.

The BIG plus for the D7Hi is that it has a much larger memory buffer, and that would allow you to actually shoot in RAW file mode in a practical sense.

The D7 and D7i have a smaller buffer, so when you take a RAW shot you must wait for the file to be written to the CF card BEFORE you can take another shot. Approximately 20 - 25 seconds! With the D7Hi you can take a number of shots before the buffer fills up.


NHL Jan 9, 2003 11:04 AM

Just found this article over the French site: All the EVF cameras (ie without the prism for the phase detector) ie contrast based are slighly slower. They all need 0.9s to focus lock on a moving subject however the 7Hi only requires 0.2 lux, the F717 even with the 'laser' needs 3.4 lux, while the 5700... well.

Miket Jan 12, 2003 9:38 AM

I like my Dimage 7i very much. Get some experience with the camera before you take it on your trip. You need some skill and experience to use it as i find it less forgiving that a 35mm SLR. .

One suggestion is that i would read the forums on NiMh batteries and chargers closely. You'll need to buy a different charger and have multiple NiMh batteries if you plan to shoot many pictures during the day. Count on no more that 100-150 frames on a charge, assuming that you economize your battery usage.

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