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Old May 19, 2003, 5:10 PM   #1
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Default Minolta Dimage 7i or Sony DSC F717, help me decide !

Hello everybody,

I need your expert advice and opinions to help me buy a digital camera.
i've browsed all the top sites in digital camera reviews but i still can't make up my mind between the SONY DSC F717 and Minolta Dimage 7i.
can somebody please help me on deciding. Before that let me tell you that i have never used a digital camera before so this would be my first one if i get any one of these.
The reasons/factors which make me want both these cameras and which gives me a hard time selecting one of these..

What i like in Minolta
Minolta
1.I really like the 7x zoom lens.
2.EVF 220,000 pixels one of the best out there.(i hope i'm right on this.)
i seem to be really particular about the EVF's pixels because,i feel uncomfortable to look at grainy images in the EVF under low light,minolta being the exception at this,atleast the better of the lot.

what i dislike and am uncomfortable with
1.The Err message which many of the Minolta users have experienced( this is the one and only reason which make me think,why go for a camera which has some problems when i can get a "SONY",also a really good camera for a lesser price ? which also has some unique features.)

2.I feel a bit uncomfortable that i need to go through the minolta software and save the images under the RGB space to get the best quality pictures.i think i read that minolta uses its own color space(please correct me if i'm wrong and also shed some light where ever needed)
but still i would go through this if i have to, after all i can get used to it.


Sony
1.i'm really impressed by the Night Framing and the Night shots.

Features that i'm not comfortable with sony
1.First thing, the EVF 180,000 pixels.i did go to the store to get the look and feel of the camera and looking at the grainy image in the EVF made me uncomfortable(it was around 8.00 pm and the store has enough lights on).
2.5x zoom,but i guess i can live with it especially with a camera like SONY .



as a sum up of the points.

on the + side of the Minolta
1.220,000 pixel EVF(one of my main considerations in the camera)

-ve points for Minolta,can say that it's an issue with the cameras.
1.The unsolved "Err" message which keeps appearing in the camera (who would want to buy a camera knowing that it could be problematic)


+ points for the Sony.i would rather say extra features.
1.NIght framing and Night shots.



as of now my thinking is, ' if the Minolta didn't have that 'Err' issue i would have most probably opted for the Minolta '
and i don't mind the price of both the camera's, i don't mind whether its bulky or not and believe me i also don't mind the fact(according to me, from the diff reviews i have gone through) that the final images produced by the Minolta(after saving it in the RGB color space by running them through the software,which BTW is bit if a hassle) has more noise than the sony images.
because i'm not such a professional photographer to look into real minute details of the images but at the same time i would want a real good picture and definitely not a problematic camera.

so guys please help me out in selecting one of them.please do give suggestions whether my opinions are correct or wrong,whould i be looking at other aspects while going in to buy a digital camera, any thing, any suggestion is most welcome.
it would be of great help and i would really appreciate it if you guys could help me deciding on any one of these cameras.
and one more thing can someone explain more about the "Err" message in the Minolta Dimage, like how bad is that Err,whether it can be resolved,will it keep occurring over and over though we try to resolve it .. so that i can gain more knowledge regarding that "Err" message.
i know i'm asking a lot of questions to which, almost all the answers are there in the forum,but i really want to know how much all these would affect one's decision when it comes to buying these camera.

and please pardon me for my English if it's bad or if any of my above mentioned points or features of the camera are wrong.
waiting for all your knowledgeable and valued suggestions.

thanks in advance,
vinod
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Old May 20, 2003, 12:28 PM   #2
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Vinod,
Many who have either of these cameras (7i, 717 and the Nikon 5700) probably went through what you are going through now.
I did, and purchased the 7i and am glad I did. I have a friend who has the Sony 717 and after shooting with him and looking at some of his images I am certain that I made the right choice for me.
The Minolta 7i is no second class (or lesser) performer than any of these other digital cameras named.
I have never had any problems (been using since 2/2/03), no err messages, auto focus problems, power, etc., etc.
As far as what you experienced with the EVF on the Sony, that is the nature of EVF as opposed to optical viewfinder. One EVF may be better than another, you may notice it and may not.
I would suggest what you do is to make a print out of the features in the cameras that you are interested in, get your hands on them if you can, and then make the decision on what WORKS FOR YOU; that is the only way you will be satisfied with your purchase.
Research, research, research. Review, review, review. Then go for it.

Good Day,
Steven
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Old May 21, 2003, 4:52 PM   #3
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Default 717 or D7i

1.i'm really impressed by the Night Framing and the Night shots.

I have the 717 and am very pleased with it, but do not be fooled by these night-time features. There is not enough light available in either of these modes to see the subject. I had a go at shooting frogs at night on the edge of my pond, and I needed a torch to see what I was doing. In dim lighting the laser works and gives sharp focus, but if it is dark and you cannot see the subject, then that is not a lot of use. I have no idea at all what the night shot is useful for. Of course if you want to try infra red pictures, you can do it with the Sony with no problem.

Features that i'm not comfortable with sony
1.First thing, the EVF 180,000 pixels.i did go to the store to get the look and feel of the camera and looking at the grainy image in the EVF made me uncomfortable(it was around 8.00 pm and the store has enough lights on).
2.5x zoom,but i guess i can live with it especially with a camera like SONY .

I find the Sony EVF brighter and sharper than the 3 Olympus cameras I have owned, but of course the Minolta brightens up in dim light, but only in monochrome, but that would be useful.

Dont dismiss the quality of the Zeiss Vario Sonnar lens on the Sony, and the fact that it is f2.4 at full telephoto. That really is some lens.

And please realise that the Minolta gets its bigger zoom ratio by going down to a wider angle than the Sony. At the telephoto end they are about the same focal length. So what does "living with" the smaller zoom mean, certainly not less telephoto ability.

In my opinion, the Sony is a very user friendly camera with features that make it really nice to use, but the Minolta has many many more menu features for those who have a keen interest in screwing absolutely the maximum out of their camera. They are both exceptionally good cameras.
Why not play around with each of them for an hour in a good photo dealers shop, and see how you like the way they feel.
And unless you have aspirations to take up photography as a serious hobby, producing large prints to hang on the wall, or for exhibition or competition purposes, don't make your choice based upon a whole array of features most of which you will never use. Both have far more tricks than needed by the average guy who just wants a "good camera".
Both will produce superb results in the right hands. Both will produce crap if you dont know how to use them.
You pays your money etc.
But when you have made your choice and enjoy your camera, please resist the temptation to tell the whole world of forums that yours is "the best camera"! There are already enough posters on the net who think camera ownership is a competition!
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Old May 22, 2003, 9:33 PM   #4
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Unless you're planning on printing 16x20 prints, you only need to go as high as a 3 mpix camera. That said, the Olympus 2100 is an amazing camera with its stabilizer that is no longer available by them or anyone else..pictures are great, camera is a cinch to use and it has a 10x zoom that works like a charm. With the stabilizer, i could take great waterskiing shots from the boat and the 8x10 photo I printed was great. Don't over buy if you don't need the added size.
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Old May 23, 2003, 9:13 PM   #5
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I own both a 7i and an Olympus c2100. So far I rate the Olympus much higher than the Minolta.

I may change that opinion after I use the Minolta more, but not at this time...
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Old May 27, 2003, 9:17 AM   #6
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Hi. I purchased the 7i about 4 months ago after going through the same process of deciding. I abslutely love the minolta. The pictures are sharp and once you get used to it, the camera has so many options. Some things I like:
equivalent 28mm at the wide end. This is alone is reason to purchase - nothing else compares.
evf - clear and great to use. also it automatically shifts between screen and evf which I've come to love. Amazing in low light conditions-you can nearly see in the dark with it.
minolta lens - a great lens so versatile at 28-200mm
manual zoom like on an SLR. much greater control
very intuitive controls once you get used to the camera
uses aa batteries
all the features and controls of an SLR

This was my first "real" camera of any type and I wanted something I could really cut my teeth on and learn about photography. The 7i allows me to do all this and more.
Regards Dean
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Old May 27, 2003, 11:59 PM   #7
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I've never experienced this err you mention.

Other things to consider:
Sony extra battery costs $44.95 at PC Connection, $59.99 at Circuit City.
DiMAGE 7i uses standard AA rechargables, raging from $14 - $20.

Compact Flash Cards come in any size from 16Mb to 1Gb in various speeds and is compatible with MicroDrive formfactor. Costs for a 128Mb card range from $28.95 at Frys, $48 at Circuit City or $54 at PC Connection.

Sony's Memory Stick comes in much fewer sizes. 128Mb stick is $69.95 at Circuit City or PC Connection.

I also use the Cokin "A" series of filters which work beautifully because of the compact lens size of the Minolta (which is threaded). The Sony is much larger in diameter and you'll need the far more expensive Cokin "P" series.

And for the camera itself, I've come to use it as an SLR. I hardly ever use the LCD, love to twist the barrel for zoom, twist the ring for focus, etc. I often stand next to the Lacrosse field shooting action photos, another parent has the Sony. I ALWAYS get the action simple because I can manipulate the camera more quickly than he can.

The night usage is awesome, with up to 30 seconds using the remote control cable. My only, ONLY gripe is the amount of grain at 800 ISO settings.

Albert
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Old May 29, 2003, 3:27 AM   #8
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Default Sony V Minolta

And for the camera itself, I've come to use it as an SLR. I hardly ever use the LCD, love to twist the barrel for zoom, twist the ring for focus, etc. I often stand next to the Lacrosse field shooting action photos, another parent has the Sony. I ALWAYS get the action simple because I can manipulate the camera more quickly than he can.

This is difficult to understand because the Sony has a manual zoom ring too. Also, like the Minolta, the eyepiece can be adjusted to a comfortable angle. I wonder in what way you can "manipulate" faster than he can. Could you please explain your reasoning for the benefit of others. Or perhaps you are just more able to anticipate the action than he is. Or perhaps you understand your camera better than he does.
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Old May 29, 2003, 8:39 AM   #9
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Well, I can list at least two minor details that unless one own the D7's can not really appreciate it's agility:

1. The zoom ring is mechanically linked, unlike a servo controlled system where there's a delay with no instantaneous direct feedback. (This is unrelated to the variable speed of the zoom ring)
2. There's also a separate Direct Manual Focusing (DMF) ring where one can instansly overide the camera AF without having to switch it to manual focus mode first, this function is extremely useful in fine tuning or follow up of action shots

On the Sony one has to select one over the other or revert back to the pushbuttons for the zoom. A person can of course manipulate faster, but the camera has to be able to offer this capability to the user. Another example is the zero shutter delay while the shutter is 1/2 pressed where both the zoom and the manual focus can be adjusted at the same time instead of the fumbling between switching mode AF/manual/zoom... Or you'll need a little more dexterity with the Sony I guess :lol:

Another camera that was brought up in previous thread that can exceed the D7's in speed is the E10/20 which also features a manual zoom (just like any SLR). BTW the only other SLR that offered an electrical zoom ring is the Minolta Xi series that turned out to be a big flop for the same 'feedback' reason, it too had a variable zoom speed that varied with how fast one turn the ring! :P :P :P
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Old May 30, 2003, 12:46 AM   #10
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NHL is right, twisting the barrell provides instant feedback.

Another small observation I made is the fact that the Sony user tends to support the weight of camera in his left hand. I think this is because the lens of the Sony is so massive in proportion to the body. He then cannot twist the ring AND support the camera at the same time. He HAS to use the buttons to control the servo.

If you use the LCD rather than the view finder, this is even more troublesome as the body of the Sony can tilt. If you then use your right hand to hold the weight of the camera, you run the risk of the lens moving due to it's own weight. You HAVE to support it with your left hand.

The D7i has a more "traditional" design with the right hand holding the weight of the camera, leaving the left completely free to zoom and/or focus.

Albert
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