Photos © 2004, Peter K. Burian, All Rights Reserved
Although Konica Minolta was the last major manufacturer to enter the digital
SLR market, the Maxxum 7D was well worth the wait. This is an incredibly versatile
camera with advanced technology, including a significant bonus. The Maxxum 7D
is the first SLR camera in the world to boast a built-in Anti-Shake mechanism
to compensate for camera shake. That's a valuable feature because it works
with nearly all Maxxum lenses made since 1985, precluding the need to buy pricey
lenses that incorporate a stabilizer system.
Design And Features
This is a moderately large camera with a huge 2.5" LCD monitor, a real
advantage over the more typical 1.8" or 2" screens. There's
no need for a secondary data panel, because the color monitor displays all data
(with oversized numerals) as well as images. In keeping with its 35mm Maxxum
7 predecessor, the digital Maxxum 7D includes a durable magnesium-alloy front
body panel and base as well as many similar dials, knobs, levers, and buttons.
Naturally, many features are accessed with the electronic menu that includes
a multitude of options, including custom functions.
Anti-Shake system is the most attractive Maxxum 7D capability,
full-featured model is desirable for other reasons, too. Owners
of Maxxum lenses who have waited for a Konica Minolta digital
SLR camera will be well served by this one. (JPEG Large/Fine capture;
ISO 100; +0.3 exposure compensation; -1 color saturation setting;
Sunny Day white balance; f/8 at 1/125 sec; sharpness adjusted
The Maxxum 7D employs Konica Minolta's latest image processor, CxProcess
III, for high-definition, natural-looking images and pleasing skin tones. The
processor's Advanced LSI engine assures great speed and responsiveness.
A high-capacity buffer (temporary image storage bank) allows for shooting 15
consecutive full-resolution JPEGs or nine raw images, at 3 frames per second.
The 6-megapixel CCD sensor is 23.5x15.7mm in size and produces a typical 1.5x
focal length magnification factor, actually field of view crop.
7D is very quick to respond with fast autofocus and virtually
no delay between pressing the shutter button and the instant of
exposure. This makes the camera suitable for taking candid people
pictures or for action photography. (Program mode; Continuous
autofocus and framing; Large/Fine JPEG capture; sharpness adjusted
The Maxxum 7D is fast in other respects, too. Turn it on and it's ready
to shoot almost instantly; in most conditions, there's no apparent shutter
lag. I found that the camera quickly set focus and captured the image; that
was great in candid picture taking, for capturing a moment of interaction or
a fleeting gesture. Even in the highest quality JPEG mode, I rarely experienced
frustration waiting for the buffer to clear; that happened only after shooting
a very long series of images in action photography. The autofocus system is
quick and reliable in both single shot and continuous mode, indoors or out.
For even faster tracking performance, sports photographers will want one of
the Maxxum SSM lenses with ultrasonic focus motor.
without overrides for color, hue, white balance, or exposure,
the Maxxum 7D often produces pleasing images with a moderately
wide dynamic range. Color saturation is very high, especially
when a polarizer is used, ideal for some subjects but excessive
for others. (Maxxum 24-85mm zoom; JPEG Large/Extra Fine capture;
ISO 100; f/5 at 1/500 sec; Hoya polarizer; image sharpened in
Full specifics on the Anti-Shake technology are included in our sidebar, but
how effective is the system? According to Konica Minolta, it provides a two
to three shutter speed step advantage over a conventional camera/lens combination
when the equipment is handheld. That's a realistic estimate, based on
my tests with three Maxxum lenses ranging in focal length from 24-300mm.
For example, I was consistently able to make razor-sharp images at 85mm (127.5mm
equivalent) focal length at a shutter speed of 1/25 sec; some images made at
1/15 sec are equally sharp. At a 300mm focal length (450mm equivalent) I was
able to get sharp images at a 1/90 sec shutter speed, and occasionally at 1/45
sec, instead of the 1/500 sec speed usually required with conventional equipment.
That's preferable to the much faster shutter speeds required when using
a camera/lens without a shake compensation system. The primary benefit? We can
work at much lower ISO settings for superior image quality, without worrying
about blur from camera shake.
does not recommend using ISO 3200 routinely, but makes it available
for use in difficult conditions. Digital noise is prominent in
this ISO 3200 image above, but it's very well controlled
at other ISO levels, making the Maxxum 7D highly competitive with
the best cameras in its league. (A 100-300mm APO lens at 200mm;
f/4.5 at 1/300 sec; JPEG Large/Fine capture; sharpness adjusted
To be absolutely certain of technically excellent images, assume that the
Anti-Shake system provides a two shutter speed step advantage. For longer exposures--especially
when the Anti-Shake system is operating at maximum--brace the camera against
some firm support. As with any type of stabilizer system, think of the Anti-Shake
mechanism as a benefit in day-to-day shooting and as a valuable amenity in low
light when you simply must use fairly long shutter speeds.