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Old Mar 19, 2005, 6:25 AM   #1
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I visited a local camera store and had the chance to hold the Minolta 7D. I really like the look and feel of this dSLR. Being new to SLRs and manual photography, I was hoping to use this dSLR in Full Auto mode until I take a photography course later this summer / fall.

I was reading the reviews on this site andDPREVIEW.COM and came across two issues mentioned. Can Minolta 7D owners please comment / provide additional information for a newbie to SLRs? Do these comments suggest that a newbie stay away from this dSLR? If so, I may consider the Nikon D70 instead.

Flash / Exposure Issue:

"The 7D produced good exposures using its internal flash; it provided sufficient coverage for a 17mm wide angle (25.5mm in 35mm equivalence) field of view, and its AF-assist and Red Eye reduction functions were both very effective. Exposures made with the Minolta 5600HS(D) external flash, however, were inconsistent. The 7D tended to underexpose at wide angle, this despite the use of Advanced Distance Integration (ADI) compatible lenses. I had to use flash compensation of around +1½ EV on every image taken with the Konica Minolta 17-35mm f/2.8-4 D lens, while shots captured with the 24-105mm f/3.5-4.5 D lens required compensation at focal lengths less than about 40mm. The underexposure issue can hopefully be fixed by Minolta with a firmware update. Meanwhile, users of Minolta's external flash products will become familiar with the flash compensation dial when shooting wide angle."
Lack of Scene Modes:

"The 7D's exposure system, while offering comprehensive control for advanced photographers, is missing the beginner-friendly Scene modes offered by its competition. Taking a sports, portrait, night portrait or landscape shot? Sure, you can do it with the 7D, but you'll be setting the exposure parameters yourself, unaided by a built-in Scene mode that could optimize the settings for you."
The above comments were taken from Steve's Conclusion of the 7D.
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Old Mar 19, 2005, 6:56 AM   #2
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FWIW, apparently KM has a way to recalibrate the 5600 so that it works properly with the 7D (without altering exposure when it's used on film models).

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Old Mar 19, 2005, 7:15 AM   #3
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Make sure to check flash exposure with a GREY card... Different subjects have different brightness (depending on the clothes they wear/background) and will affect flash exposure

-> this is how most camera exposure are calibrated to :idea:
http://www.kodak.com/US/en/motion/pr...ols/card.shtml
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Old Mar 19, 2005, 1:20 PM   #4
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P.S.

Exposure with the 5600 is mentioned in this FAQ from Konica Minolta Europe:

Go to Dynax 7D FAQ and look under Flash

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Old May 26, 2005, 4:30 AM   #5
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agiaccio wrote:
Quote:
I also heard problems regarding 5600HS and also heardthey can fix it by upgrading chip or firmware in 5600HS.
Quote:
I have a 3600HS and extremely satisfied. I have never seen any exposureproblem with my Dynax 7D & Dimage A1. It works far better than internal flash. When using internal flash I always need to adjust flash compensation depending on the subject distance even thought I use D lens. But with 3600 HS, never touched the flash comp... Strange ?
Quote:
I visited a local camera store and had the chance to hold the Minolta 7D. I really like the look and feel of this dSLR. Being new to SLRs and manual photography, I was hoping to use this dSLR in Full Auto mode until I take a photography course later this summer / fall.

I was reading the reviews on this site andDPREVIEW.COM and came across two issues mentioned. Can Minolta 7D owners please comment / provide additional information for a newbie to SLRs? Do these comments suggest that a newbie stay away from this dSLR? If so, I may consider the Nikon D70 instead.

Flash / Exposure Issue:

"The 7D produced good exposures using its internal flash; it provided sufficient coverage for a 17mm wide angle (25.5mm in 35mm equivalence) field of view, and its AF-assist and Red Eye reduction functions were both very effective. Exposures made with the Minolta 5600HS(D) external flash, however, were inconsistent. The 7D tended to underexpose at wide angle, this despite the use of Advanced Distance Integration (ADI) compatible lenses. I had to use flash compensation of around +1½ EV on every image taken with the Konica Minolta 17-35mm f/2.8-4 D lens, while shots captured with the 24-105mm f/3.5-4.5 D lens required compensation at focal lengths less than about 40mm. The underexposure issue can hopefully be fixed by Minolta with a firmware update. Meanwhile, users of Minolta's external flash products will become familiar with the flash compensation dial when shooting wide angle."
Lack of Scene Modes:

"The 7D's exposure system, while offering comprehensive control for advanced photographers, is missing the beginner-friendly Scene modes offered by its competition. Taking a sports, portrait, night portrait or landscape shot? Sure, you can do it with the 7D, but you'll be setting the exposure parameters yourself, unaided by a built-in Scene mode that could optimize the settings for you."
The above comments were taken from Steve's Conclusion of the 7D.
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Old Oct 4, 2005, 8:57 AM   #6
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If I understand this topic properly, there are two distinct issues:
  1. Older, non (D) model flashes can only be used in manual mode on a 7D[/*]
  2. The new 5600HS(D) needs to be recalibrated.[/*]
Have I got this correct? Can nothing can be done for the older non (D) flashes to make them more useful with the 7D?


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Old Oct 4, 2005, 9:09 AM   #7
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Not that I'm aware of. But, you could always buy an "Auto Thyristor" type flash and use it via the sync port (or an adapter to give this model a standard hot shoe), setting the aperture rangeon the flash to match the camera settings. Then, let the sensor in the flash control it's output based on light reflected from your subject.

It's not a "perfect solution" (and you'd lose some features like High Speed Sync), but many of these flash units are very inexpensive on the used market.

Metz hasa more modern unit that can also use this technique (for example, the Metz 54MZ3 or 54MZ4, using the latest SCA3302M5 foot (only the M5 will work with the 7D, but Metz can upgrade an older SCA3302).

It has the advantage of knowing what your camera settings are since it's dedicated, while still using it's own sensor for controlling flash output based on reflected light during the flash burst using it's Auto mode. So, it's like "having your cake and eating it, too" from my perspective (no need to change the flash each time you change aperture or ISO speed on the camera).

Of course, this kind of solution is not "pefect", since it won't be aware of things like your focus point and metering modes.

But, from user reports I've seen from owners of both flash units (5600HS and Metz 54MZ series) say that the Metz solution works better for them, especially since the preflash is not needed using the Auto mode on one of these Metz flash units (and the 5600HS will always use a preflash on a 7D unless in manual), with themalso indicatingthat the quality oflight is better from the Metz.

P.S.

Rumours from sources that have been reliable in the past say that KM plans on introducing some new flash units next year that may offer some advantages over existing ones with their DSLR models. Again, this is only rumour at this point.


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Old Oct 5, 2005, 8:10 AM   #8
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Thank you Jim for the detailed response. I've salted that away in my 7D TechTips file. It looks like I can hold off on the new flash for a while. The hand-metering will be a good exercise for me.

I do have a followup question though. In an earlier post, you wrote:
Quote:
FWIW, apparently KM has a way to recalibrate the 5600 so that it works properly with the 7D (without altering exposure when it's used on film models).
And then, in response to my question:
Quote:
Can nothing can be done for the older non (D) flashes to make them more useful with the 7D?
you wrote:
Quote:
Not that I'm aware of.
So - colour me confused. Can you please clarify? Do you simply mean that it can't be upgraded to support ADI?

BTW: I bought the 7D last night, in large part based on the excellent information available on this forum. C$1150 including shipping with a full Canadian warranty.

Thanks.
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Old Oct 5, 2005, 8:36 AM   #9
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No.

You've got to use one of the new flashes with it: 2500(D), 3600HS(D), or 5600HS(D).

You can't upgrade one of the previous models.

KM isn't alone here. Ask Nikon owners with older flash units like the SB28 how they feel about needing to buy a newer one like the SB800; or ask Canon owners that have older flashes the same thing. ;-)

Digital is different.

With film, the camera manufacturers refined and refined flash systems until they got pretty good, and even metered off of the film during the exposure to help control flash output.

Then, they went to Digital, and it's "back to the drawing board". The sensors are too reflective to allow metering from them during the exposure. So, new methods and flashes were developed.

Even in ADI mode, a preflash is used with newer flashes to help determine the length the flash burst needed, since the cameras aren't metering during the exposure.

The only way around it is to go manual, or to use a flash with it's own meter built in (i.e., auto thyristor type flash).

Metz seems to have the only ones like that right now that areable to both see the camera settings used foraperture and iso speed, as well as having a built in sensor to measure the flash burst during the exposure so it knows when to terminate it based on reflected light.

These are the 54MZ4 or 54MZ3 using the latest SCA3302M5 (older modules would need to be upgraded to the M5) foot for Minolta. In their Auto mode, they basically become a more "aware" Auto Thyristor flash, since unlike other similar flashes, they are aware of the camera settings for ISO and Aperture.

So, in their Auto Mode, you eliminate the preflash without needing to change the flash settings everyime you change aperture or iso speed on the camera. They also support HSS (High Speed Sync) in the non-Auto models (they also support the modes available to Minolta flashes).

Most users don't seem to mind a preflash too much. But, some pros I've seen discuss it that shoot a lot of people don't like it at all. They seem to indicate that too many people blink for the preflash (with the claims varying as to how many people are susceptible to blinking when they see it).

Again, KM isn't alone here. You have a preflash with other DSLR models using their flashes, too. But, some pros I've seen with camera from Canon or Nikon say it's a bit worse on the KM (length of time between main flash and preflash). Some KM owners say they can barely tell it's there; but I see my share of complaints elsewhere about some subjects always blinking with the preflash from them.

P.S.

Congratulations on your 7D!

That's one heck of a price given the exchange rates. I thought they were higher than that in Canada.


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Old Oct 5, 2005, 9:24 AM   #10
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Thanks again Jim. It's an fascinating topic. I wonder how the manufacturers will address it. It looks like the Metz is going to be on my shopping list now.

I think I understand the source of my confusion: when you said:
Quote:
KM has a way to recalibrate the 5600 so that it works properly with the 7D
you were referring to the (D) model and its exposure issue - not the older 5600HS.

Was that where I went off the rails?

As for the good price:
[align=left]
  1. The Canadian dollar has risen dramatically against the US dollar. It has gone from US$0.79 to US$0.85 since May. It was was 74 cents two years ago and 63 (!) cents three years ago.[/*]
  2. I found the buyer of Minolta Canada's remaining camera stock (sadly, not their lenses...)
    [/*]
  3. The uncertainty around Minolta in Canada has probably cooled the enthusiasm for good chunk of the potential purchasers.[/*]
Yes - I'm quite happy with the price that I paid.
[/align]
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