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Minolta Dimage 7i announced

Minolta Dimage 7i announced

|  Minolta Dimage 7i in Digital SLRs
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Minolta's Dimage 7 got a lot of press around the time of its launch for the 5 megapixel CCD and other impressive features. Now Minolta have improved the camera further and added an "i" to the title to make it clear this is an improved model.

Press release
The DiMAGE 7 was named the best digital prosumer camera 2001 2002 by TIPA, the Technical Image Press Association. Minolta is pleased to introduce the next generation SLR-type digital camera, the DiMAGE 7i.

The new DiMAGE 7i has an improved performance and additional features to make a truly flexible imaging tool. When quality and control matter, the DiMAGE 7i is the camera of choice. With a five million pixel resolution and a 7x zoom lens, the DiMAGE 7i is a digital imaging centre that can control all the essential elements for high quality photography: sharpness, exposure, contrast, colour, and saturation. The electro-optical system has been refined to improve the spectral response. 12-bit A/D conversion and Minoltas image processing technology, CxProcess, guarantee what you see will be captured.

Advanced technology gives the camera professional versatility: a 3 point wide AF system for fast, accurate focusing, Flex Focus Point for precise control over the focusing area and Direct Manual Focus (DMF) to make instant adjustments to the autofocus. The viewfinder and monitor displays have been expanded not only to show the status of the camera, but also to include a grid for aligning the camera to the horizon or vertical subject elements, or a scale to judge image size in close-up photography. A real time histogram is available to evaluate the effects of exposure and contrast on the image before it is captured.

The new DiMAGE 7i is fast. In the program and aperture priority exposure modes, the shutter speed tops out at 1/4000s. The new UHS (Ultra High Speed) continuous advance drive mode can capture approximately 7 frames a second to compete with most professional film cameras. The AF system is approximately twice as fast as the DiMAGE 7 and the capturing interval has been reduced to make a more responsive camera.

Extensive system accessories make the DiMAGE 7i a serious photographic tool. The camera can be coupled with powerful shoe-mounted and off-camera flash units from portable camera strobes to large studio lighting systems. The new wireless/remote function allows slave control over the Minolta 5600HS(D) and 3600HS(D) program flashes. Remote cables and standard 49mm filters can also be used.

The LCD monitor and Digital Hyper Viewfinder have been improved for easier viewing and more accurate colour rendition. These are housed in a durable magnesium alloy body with a rich new finish and a comfortable new grip. The DiMAGE 7i retains the same simple ergonomic control layout of the DiMAGE 7. The Digital Effects Control (DEC) and Digital Enhanced Bracketing gives the photographer control over saturation, contrast and exposure as well as new control over colour. A new filter effect has been added to the DEC; colour images can be made warmer or cooler and black and white images can be toned. This offers unparalleled creative freedom when combined with the two new color modes: Vivid Color and Solarization.

The DiMAGE 7i can record high quality 16-bit audio with still and moving images. Along with standard QVGA digital movies, three new movie functions have been added. Night movies allow monochrome images to be recorded in low light, time lapse movies capture the imperceptible motions of the world and UHS continuous advance movies show unfolding events.

A flexible, professional quality imaging tool
The DiMAGE 7i is built around a high precision electro-optical system designed to maximise image quality. The system starts with a 5.24 mega-pixel 2/3-type interline primary-colour CCD with 4.95 million effective pixels for fine high resolution images. The pixel resolution of the CCD will produce 32.5 X 43.3 cm 150dpi prints or 16.3 X 21.7 photo quality prints; this creates a print size larger than both A3 and A5 respectively.

Minoltas image processing technology, CxProcess, guarantees the image from the CCD will faithfully reproduce the scene. CxProcess controls image sharpness, colour, and contrast while minimising noise to produce vivid, natural pictures. CxProcess controls sharpness by balancing resolution with acutance. This allows fine detail to be preserved while adding depth to the image. Colour is critically controlled to
prevent objects from appearing over-saturated in the image while remaining vibrant; the warmth of the human complexion or the rich subtleties of green foliage will be rendered as clearly as they were perceived. Contrast is regulated to bring out a luminous quality in the mid-tones and highlights and to strengthen and enrich the shadows. Smooth gradations and fine details bring a photograph to life. The 12bit A/D conversion preserves all the subtleties of the original scene. With billions of colours and 4,096 levels in each colour channel, images possess almost lifelike colour and detail. This is especially evident in portraiture: smooth complexion, fine hair detail and vivid eye color. A high resolution CCD is as only as good as the lens in front of it. The Minolta GT lens is
an optical jewel cut in glass. The fast f2.8 f3.5 7x optical zoom is an advanced apochromatic (APO) lens. With a resolution to produce a fine image on a seven-million pixel CCD, this lens employs AD glass and aspheric elements to ensure sharp, contrasty images with no chromatic aberration at any focal length.

Although this lens is a fast 7x zoom, it is about the same size as a standard 50mm lens on a 35mm camera but its performance is far from standard. With a focal range of 7.2mm to 50.8mm, it is equivalent to a 28mm to 200mm 35mm zoom lens. This lens encompasses the most used focal lengths in photography today. It can range from wide angle for expansive landscapes and confined interiors to telephoto for intimate portraits and details of distant landmarks. A straightforward manual zooming ring makes framing simple. The fast f2.8 f3.5 aperture easily permits natural light shooting without having to use a flash, which destroys the expressive ambient light.

The DiMAGE 7i zoom has a new dual-focal macro system. This system allows the lens to be set at the wide angle or telephoto position to take advantage of different focal lengths. At the wide-angle position, the larger field of view and depth of field create a stronger perspective and a sense of space. The telephoto position isolates the subject and minimises distortion with a narrow field of view and shallow depth of field. Pro level features for all shooting conditions The speed and accuracy of the DiMAGE 7is autofocus system has been improved to create a more responsive camera.

The DiMAGE 7is wide AF makes accurate focusing simple. Within the focus frames are three sensitive AF sensors including a central crosshair sensor; the cross hair sensor guarantees accurate focusing regardless of subject contrast orientation. The camera automatically locates the subject within the wide frames and confirms the point of focus by briefly displaying the active AF sensor. The AF system works in low-light conditions, the fading light of twilight or dimly lit interiors, without the need of a special AF illuminator; the monitor and viewfinder image is automatically amplified so the subject is always visible.

The DiMAGE 7i is the first Minolta digital camera to incorporate Direct Manual Focus (DMF). DMF is found in professional level film cameras like the award-winning Dynax 7. After the AF system has focused and locked on the subject, the focus can be fine tuned manually. Flex Focus Point adds unlimited versatility to the AF system. When the camera is fixed to a tripod or when the position of the focal plane is critical as with close-up photography, it can be very difficult to use most autofocus systems because camera must be moved to focus and then repositioned to compose the image. Flex Focus Point is a single cross hair sensor that can be placed anywhere within the field of view. With the camera on a tripod, simply use the four-way controller to position the Flex Focus Point on the subject; the AF system will use that point for each exposure. The performance of the DiMAGE 7is Flex Focus Point has been improved.

As with the DiMAGE 7, the viewfinder and monitor display active camera settings, exposure information, and warnings. This information can be turned off so that the entire image can be viewed. The DiMAGE 7i has two additional displays for critical composition: grid and scale. Usually found in large format view cameras, the grid makes aligning the camera with vertical or horizontal elements within the image simple. Confirming that the horizon or buildings are straight in landscape or architectural photography is easy. The scale can be used in close-up photography to judge the relative proportions of the subject.

Unique to digital imaging, the DiMAGE 7is real time histogram shows the luminance distribution of the image before it is captured. Displayed with the live image, the histogram allows the subject brightness and contrast to be evaluated to optimise the cameras exposure and contrast controls. The DiMAGE 7i has a dynamic shutter speed range from four seconds to a fast 1/4000 second to control exposure and motion in the program and aperture priority exposures modes. In shutter priority and manual modes, the maximum shutter speed is 1/2000s. Bulb exposures up to thirty seconds can also be made. Flash Capabilities The DiMAGE 7i can capture unpredictable natural light or use the reliable output of portable and studio flash systems. The DiMAGE 7i has an extensive system of accessories.

The DiMAGE 7i is compatible with the Minolta program flash 3600HS(D) or 5600HS(D) units. These powerful flash units can be used directly on the camera. Both flashes have a zoom head that automatically adjust as the cameras lens is zoomed in and out and their heads can be tilted for bounce illumination. The 5600HS (D) also has a swivel head and the flash output can be controlled with power ratios. The wireless/remote flash function gives even more control over flash photography by allowing multiple off-camera Minolta flash units to be fired simultaneously by the camera without the need of cables. Minolta 5600HS(D), or 3600HS(D) flash units can be placed around the subject to create attractive side lighting. By using the built-in flash and TTL metering, the camera controls the output of the off-camera flash units for perfect exposures. Unlike most slave flash systems, the built-in flash will fire the remote Minolta 5600HS(D) or 3600HS(D) units without influencing the lighting of the final image. The DiMAGE 7i is also compatible with normal slave units where the camera flash can act as a main or fill light while triggering single or multiple off-camera lighting units.

For close-up photography, Minolta has a high quality macro lighting system. The Macro Flash Controller can be coupled with the Macro Ring Flash 1200 or the Macro Twin Flash 2400 lighting sets. Both these systems give considerable control over lighting in confined spaces at close working distances. The optional PC Flash Adapter allows the DiMAGE 7i to be connected to professional studio and location flash systems. Simply slide the PC Flash Adapter into the cameras accessory shoe and plug the flashs PC cord into the adapter. Designed for centre negative and centre-positive polarities, the flash adapter is compatible with most studio and location lighting systems. The DiMAGE 7i can be fired with the 50cm remote cord RC1000S or the 5m remote cord RC1000L. The optical zoom accepts standard 49mm filters.

A fast, professional, ergonomic design
The DiMAGE 7i is a responsive imaging tool built to work effortlessly under demanding situations. The high performance AF system is twice as fast as the DiMAGE 7. And with two continuous advance rates, you are sure to catch the action as it unfolds. New to the DiMAGE 7i is the UHS (Ultra High Speed) continuous advance mode. Using SXGA size images (1280 X 960 pixels), this new mode can capture approximately 7 frames per second. This is equivalent to many motor drives on professional 35mm cameras. The standard continuous advance mode can capture images of all sizes from fullsize (2560 X 1920) to VGA (640 X 480) images at an increased rate of a maximum of 2 frames per second.

The DiMAGE 7i is fitted with a new 1.8-inch low temperature high contrast color LCD monitor. The monitor has an extended colour gamut, contrast, and dynamic range. These improvements make judging image quality and sharpness even easier. The monitor has a wide viewing angle so that the camera does not need to be held perpendicularly to clearly view the live image. Captured images can be easily accessed from the recording mode. Simply pressing the Quick View button displays the recorded images. The images can be enlarged to confirm sharpness and a histogram can be displayed to judge exposure. Images can be displayed with or without shooting data.

The controls and dials are laid out for clear, intuitive operation. All shooting controls are placed around the grip area. The camera can be controlled with the thumb and index finger while allowing a firm grip on the body. Creative and high level functions are placed on the function dial and Digital Effects Control on the other side of the camera. Setting single or multiple functions is quick and easy.

The function dial sets the metering, drive and exposure modes as well as the white balance, camera sensitivity and memorized camera settings. The Digital Effects Control allows changes to be made to colour, saturation, contrast, and exposure. Located above the grip, the main dial turns the camera on and gives direct access to the recording, playback, movie, setup and data transfer modes. Placed on the back of the camera, the controller is a straightforward five way array used to control many of the cameras advanced features and menus. The controller has been redesigned with separate the four way key and central enter button.

The DiMAGE 7i is housed in a feather light magnesium alloy body. This high-tech alloy provides the benefits of rugged die-cast construction without the weight. Magnesium is the lightest structural metal on earth, about 30% lighter than aluminium and 65% lighter than steel. The alloy body was given a warm bright silver finish imparting an air of elegance to the DiMAGE 7i. The DiMAGE 7i is not only light, it is compact. The body is significantly smaller than compact 35mm SLR cameras with a built-in flash and zoom lens. A new contoured grip gives the DiMAGE 7i secure, comfortable handling. When handholding the camera in low-light conditions, nothing is more important than a well balanced grip to hold the camera steadily. The grip has a new imitation leather cover that extends to the back of the camera for comfort and security. Features, functions and fun that are only found in digital cameras The Digital Hyper Viewfinder gives the camera the same feel as an SLR. It can be tilted between 0 and 90 for comfortable shooting at low angles or in confined spaces. The viewfinder has an improved optical system for easier viewing and a reduction in aberrations, as well as refined colour matching for more accurate colour rendition. Because the viewfinder LCD is shielded from ambient light, it makes the perfect tool when working in bright lighting conditions.

The Digital Effects Control (DEC) is an image processing centre built into the camera. As with the DiMAGE 7, exposure, contrast, and colour saturation can be adjusted before the image is captured. The DiMAGE 7i has an additional Filter setting to control the overall colour of the image. When taking colour images, the filter can affect the mood of the picture by making the colour cooler or warmer in seven levels. When used with black and white images, the filter can create a warm or cool toned image similar to sepia or gold toners with photographic prints as well as the unique tones of magenta and green. Ten tones
are available. The Digital Effects Control allows image data to be maximised at the scene by controlling
the essential elements of image quality. Exposure controls the brightness of the image. Contrast controls the difference between brightness levels; increasing the contrast makes the highlights brighter and the shadows darker. Colour saturation changes the vividness of the colours.

To guarantee the correct level of adjustment is made with the Digital Effects Control, a Digital Enhanced Bracket can be made. A bracket is a series of images with a slight increase and decrease in exposure. The DiMAGE 7i can also make a contrast, colour saturation and filter brackets. Simply select the bracketing drive mode and then select the image quality to be bracketed. The camera will automatically make a three image bracket of the selected quality.

Digital Subject Programs optimise exposure and image processing controls for specific shooting conditions and subjects. Simply select the appropriate Digital Subject Program and the camera is ready to shoot. Five subject programs are available: Portrait, Sport Action, Sunset, Night Portrait and Text Modes. As with the DiMAGE 7, personal camera settings for specific situations can also be saved.
The camera can memorise the specific functions and settings in use. These can be recalled and reapplied to the camera at any time. As well as Natural Colour and black and white the DiMAGE 7i has two new colour modes for creative control: Vivid colour and Solarisation. Vivid Colour increases the saturation to
produce vibrant colour images. Solarization creates a partial reversal of image tones to produce unique imaging effects.

Thoughts and comments can be recorded along with a still image. Voice memo allows a 16-bit audio track up to 15 seconds to be attached to an image after it has been captured. The voice memo can be played back in the camera. Data imprinting allows the date or time to be printed on the image as well as text and serial numbers. The electronic keyboard used to imprint text has an expanded character set for German and French.

The DiMAGE 7i will not only produce great still images, but also makes digital videos in multiple creative formats. Standard QVGA (320X240) colour movies and monochrome night movies up to 60 seconds with 16-bit audio can be made. The night movie mode can record movie clips under extreme low-light conditions. The interval function can produce a series of still images taken at regular intervals or it can combine the images into a timelapse movie at any image size. The time-lapse movie plays the images back at 4fps so that normally imperceptible motion springs to life: the blossoming of a flower or the setting of the sun. In UHS continuous advance, a VGA (640 X 480) movie file can be created of an unfolding event. The Digital Effects Control can be used with the movie modes to adjust colour, contrast, saturation,and exposure.

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Photographs taken using the Minolta Dimage 7i

Dressed in lilacDerelict millNumber 15Elan ValleyStairs and doorSWAN REFLECTIONTime on his sideRose on GreenDressed in LilacGood MorningWell, it`s nearly EasterGreek sunsetWatching

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This sounds like an amazing camera! I just wonder if image-flex software would be compatible with it. I know that you can always go to a print shop or look online, at sites like www.dpoe.com. I'd appreciate feedback!! Thanks.

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