Written on: 06/08/2002 by Dave.
Well built with lots of great features. Rear mounted display is great to see what your camera is set to do especially when on a tripod, or in the dark. Focussing is fast and normally only hunts in lower or non-existant light. The ability to bracket automatically is wonderful when you just have to get that one shot. Eye start feature is great for fast moving events. eg. auto racing
Camera is still a little small for big hands, especially the AF/MF button which is hard to get with your thumb when needed quickly. Rear mounted display gets dirty easily as your nose rests against it for most pics. This camera will eat through batteries very quickly especially if you like to use the flash or the eyestart function in many of your photos. Lots of functions but it takes a lot of time to learn them all so they will be of use or you will have to carry the manual with you.
Overall I'm very happy with this camera. I'm an amateur photographer and am constantly trying to improve my pics. The ability to go back and see what your camera was set on eg. F-stop, shutter speed, focal distance, time and date, and exposure, It lets you see what works and what doesn't and is great when you get your photos back from the developer. Aperture and shutter speeds are easily set on the move and can easily be seen in the rear viewing screen or through the viewfinder. One great feature is the ability to rewind your film regardless of where it is and leave the film leader out. Awesome if you only want to carry one camera and perhaps carry different types of film such as Black and White or different speeds as light dissipates. The eyestart function is nice but will eat your battery very quickly. It has a tendency to hunt and focus especially if you have it hanging in front of you on the neckstrap. Your clothing and arm movements will inadvertently trigger it possibly moving your focal point a lot closer...slowing you up if you want to get a quick shot at a distance. To use one of the many functions that can tell you your depth of field you must use a Minolta "D" lens. These are a little more expensive than perhaps a generic brand that will fit the Maxxum 7, but otherwise, other brands of lenses I have tried seem to work just as well. It may seem like I am nitpicking, but I am not. This will be my last Film SLR as I am leaning slowly towards Digital. I am constantly amazed with the quality of my pictures using this camera. It is well built, evenly balanced especially with a telephoto lens (200-300mm)and reasonably easy to use right out of the box. I was taking photos in 10 minutes after quickly reading the basic operation section in the instruction manual. The high speed shutter is extremely fast (4 fps) with no lag, even if you pound off 36 exposures at one time. Lot of fun, but eats up your film supply rather fast. So far I have shot about 40 rolls of film through my camera at all times of the day or night with extreme differences of lens (28-80 to 650-1300) I have used ISO 200 and 400 in both color and black and white. I would recommend this camera to anyone who likes to experiment with his/her shots and practice at becoming a better photographer. It has a lot of features that would keep a pro happy and it will keep the amateur trying different functions without scaring them. This camera has helped me get better pics, and I have tried lots of tricks that I otherwise may not have been able to use with another model