DiMAGE Myths

A number of myths or "urban  legends" have been floating around about the DiMAGE 7 camera.

Some are exaggerations of facts. Some have no true aspects at all. I'll try to sort them out here and give references.

 

The camera has poor battery life. 20 shots is typical.

This is just dumb. How could anyone use a camera that only got 20 shots? And yet I've heard these very words used more than once. What IS true is that the camera uses a lot of current, and you need to have proper batteries and a good charger. These do not have to cost a lot of money, but you do have to have good batteries. Typical usage is 80-150 shots and 1.5 hrs of operation with good batteries. If that is "poor" to you, then yes, the camera has poor battery life. To me, that is acceptable, especially when another set of batteries only costs $10 at Wal Mart and only weighs 100 gm.

Read the battery FAQ for new users

Read A Day In the Life of a DiMAGE battery.

 

The camera gets HOT.

This was mentioned in one review, and is now repeated over and over as fact. The fact is that the camera only gets hot under one circumstance; if you have poor batteries that suffer from voltage depression. Voltage depression is a voltage drop under battery load. If the voltage drops too far, the internal voltage converter in the camera gets hot because it has to work so hard. With proper batteries, the camera will NOT get hot, only warm, even when the batteries are almost gone. My camera has never gotten hot, even after being on for hours. If your camera gets hot, you have a battery problem. You don't need anything special to have "good batteries", just $10 and a Wal Mart near you.

 

The autofocus takes 10 second to focus.

This is false. The autofocus speed is average for a digital camera. The focus time depends on the focal length used.

At less than 100mm focal length, the camera will focus in 0.7 to 0.8 seconds, every time.

At about100mm to about 120mm the camera will focus in about 1 second, every time.

At 120mm to 120mm, the camera will focus in 1.0 to 2.3 seconds. The camera will only take 2.3 second if you are moving it around, or if you don'th have it pointed at a high contrast area. The camera will never take more than 2.3 seconds, even in the worst case. Under no circumstances will the camera take longer than 2.3 seconds to focus, even if you wave it around in the air.

 

The camera is made out of plastic

Actually, there IS some plastic on it. Most of the body is metal, but because it is painted silver it looks like plastic. The knobs are plastic. The grip is plastic. The grip is plastic or rubber on every camera I've ever had. This is all done to save weight, and I think that Minolta did a good job. There aren't a lot (any!) of "I broke my camera" reports, (check the forums yourself) so it does not seem that lightweight means poorly built. There are several "I bounced the camera off the floor and nothing happened" reports though.

 

The camera has poor low light ability

The camera actually has better low light ability than most of the digital cameras out there. It does not have low light focus assist, but can still focus in quite dim light. The camera can focus in light light requiring 4 seconds at F2.8 for example; much better than my old CP990. The camera also has low light viewfinder boost that makes looking through the viewfinder like looking through a night scope. It also does have noise reduction (dark frame subtraction) on longer exposures (longer than about 1.5 seconds) although Minolta does not help by not telling how the low light noise reduction works. The camera has much better and more accurate low light focus than my old Nikon 990 did.

 

How to have a good experience checking the camera out in the store.

You should check the camera out before you buy. You should do this with any camera that you buy. Here are some tips which will allow you to give the camera a good check out in the store.

1) Bring your own NiMH batteries. Alkaline will not work. Most stores will not have a charged set. In fact at my local stores, NONE of the cameras ever have charged batteries.

2) Bring your own CF card so that you can take some shots home to look at them later. You really can't appreciate what the camera can do until you see it on a big screen.

3) THIS IS IMPORTANT! Adjust the diopter wheel on the left side of the electronic viewfinder so that you can see the screen clearly. The wheel isn't obvious, and there is report after report of people saying that the viewfinder was "blurry" because they didn't know that there was an adjustment.

4) The camera can't focus closer than 0.5 meters in non-macro mode. I watched a guy try to focus on a box on the counter about a foot away from him, then declare that the camera was "junk" and could not focus.

5) The macro mode can't focus farther than 0.5 M away.

6) You will be tempted to test the camera at full telephoto. Remember that not many cameras have a 200mm telephoto, and you have to hold the camera still to get it to focus fast. If you shake it around, the camera will take longer to focus.

7) If you get a camera that is messed up by other customers, I'd pick the "reset all" choice in the setup menu. It is common for cameras in the stores to be set to crazy modes or digital zoom.

8) If the image appears as a box in a box, you are in digital zoom mode. Press the mag button on ghe lower right on the back of the camera.

9) In record, press the menu button and confirm that the first choice on the first menu is AF mode set to AF single. Continuous focus mode will drive you crazy if you are just starting out.

10) Remember that if you point the camera at fluorescent lights or TVs in a store that you will see strobe effects in the viewfinder just like pointing a video camera at one of these devices