When you read the various press reports on the 700si you realise just how good this camera must be, as few have found much to criticize. Many owners, through the Minolta Users Group forum have expressed a desire to have a mirror lockup or pre-fire together with a Rear Curtain Sync flash system. Of course these features are of benefit to only some types of photography. Minolta's reply to the mirror lockup is that the dampening system on the Dynax/Maxxum system is of such a standard that MLU is of negligible benefit.
What we find in the 700si is a choice of full automation, from the Multi-dimensional Predictive Focus Control, with the ultra-wide focus area, and Expert Program Selection exposure metered through the advanced Honeycomb-Pattern metering system, through Aperture and Shutter priority exposure systems to Fully metered manual exposure.
In addition to this are a number of features that provide greater control for creative exposures.
Centre-Weighted Average Metering
This mode lets you make adjustments in advance or while composing. It gives you consistent, predictable results by concentrating approximately 80% of the exposure system's metering sensitivity in the centre cliuster of three honeycomb segments and approximately 20% in the surrounding 10 segments. A metering index shows the amount of exposure compensation.
This mode gives you precise exposure control and lets you analyse lighting situations. The exposure reading is limited to the circle in the centre of the viewfinder, less than 3% of the film area. The viewfinder's metering index shows the difference in brightness between the reading memorized when the Spot Button is pressed and the currently metered reading. This lets you easily assess differences in lighting levels within your picture.
Expert Program Selection
The 700si's Expert Program Selection uses fuzzy logic to detect differences between situations like still and moving subject, or a close-up and a landscape, without changing modes. This mode takes the effects of your scene's depth of field into its calculations as it automatically set the most appropriate combination of aperture and shutter speed you need. All you have to do is aim and press the shutter release button.
In Aperture Priority Mode, you can select the aperture you want in 1/2 stop increments, to precisely control the depth of field for your subject, the camera will adjust the shutter speed for the correct exposure. A wider aperture will blur the background, while a smaller aperture will keep more of the scene in front and behind your main subject in focus.
In shutter priority mode you can capture moving subjects in precise focus. This mode allwos yu to freeze fast action or blur a subject to give it the meeling of motion. Just turn the control dial to manually change the camera's shutter speed in 1/2 stop increments from 1/8000th of a second to 30 seconds.
Manual Mode gives you full creative control over the final exposure setting. You can adjust both the aperture and shutter speed in 1/2 stop increments to achieve the effect you want. The 700si will indicate whether an over, under or correct exposure is likely depending on the settings you have selected.
The Exposure Compensation Button lets you adjust the exposure over a maximum range from +3 to -3EV in 0.5 EV increments. The 700si also allows you to make Flash Compensation adjustments over an identical range. This lets you adjust the flash intensity to obtain specific effects such as changing the exposure of the subject without altering the background expsoure.
By holding down the Exposure Compensation button you can make a three frame series of bracketed exposures with a +/- 0.5EV change around the metered exposure. With the addition of the Exposure Bracketing 2 Creative Expansion Card this can be extended to brackets of 3,5 or 7 shots in 0.3, 0.5 or 1 stop increments. Flash bracketing also becomes possible in 0.5 or 1 stop increments.
Spot AE Lock
Regardless of metering mode, when the Spot button is pressed the 700si will switch to spot metering and lock the meter value. This allows you to control exposure to emphasise any part of a scene. The Spot button when used in conjuction wth the Multi Spot Memory Card stores up to eight spot exposure reading. The exposure the camera sets will be the average of all readings and allows you to analyse and solve complex lighting situations.
Slow Shutter Sync
By pressing and holding the Spot button when taking a flash lit photograph the camera automatically sets a slower shutter speed. This exposues more of the lit areas by ambient light in the background, while keeping you main subject illumintaed by the flash.
Depth of Field Preview
Pressing the Depth of Field Preview button closes the lens aperture to the currently selected f-stop setting. This is very useful for evaluating the depth of field in a scene, particularly landscape and macro photography.
In this mode the 700si will not advance after the first exposure, so a second expsoure is superimposed on the same film frame. This feature may be extended through the Multiple Exposure Creative Expansion Card which allows up to nine (9) separate expsoure on the one frame, using any of three selectable modes: full metered exposure, gradually increasing expsoure, or gradually decreasing exposure.
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