Tuesday, March 1 2005

Why the Minolta Maxxum 7D is cooler than your Nikon/Canon digital SLR

Minolta was a bit late in producing a modern digital body that used their full range of 35mm lenses, and the 7D doesn’t have the raw pixel count that some of the others do. In addition to Minolta’s typically superior ergonomics, though, it has one very cool feature: optical image stabilization that works with almost every autofocus lens that Minolta has ever made.

I haven’t picked up a 7D for myself yet, mostly out of laziness, but a co-worker did, and I brought in some of my lenses to see just how well the image stabilization worked. The following image was shot handheld with the 500mm/f8 Reflex lens, and the full-size JPG (click the thumbnail for the 4MB version) is straight from the camera with no modifications (fine-mode JPEG; I didn’t change the settings on his camera, so I don’t have a best-quality RAW image).

That’s a very small bird, but I was able to grab a quite reasonable picture of it while just walking around outside my office with a cheap mirror lens. I own much better lenses, and every one of them will gain the benefit of the 7D’s image stabilization. Now I just have to buy one…