As a professional photographer, I have access to a lot of cameras. I use at least five different cameras in a typical work week, most of which are digital SLRs. I also use a couple of different Mini DV camcorders in a regular basis, since my newspaper is now including short videos on its web site.
My first digital SLR at work was the Nikon D1H, which my company bought for me in August of 2001, an excellent camera for newspaper shooting. It remains in my stable, and I shoot with it pretty much every day, a testament to how well it was made and how capable it is.
It was around that same time that I decided I wanted digital capability for my own purposes, yet something smaller, lighter, and more versatile, for situations like hiking and traveling. In the summer of 2002, I bought a tiny point-and-shoot, the Nikon CoolPix 885. It was small enough to pocket, but wasn’t as capable as I would have liked for “fine art” type images. After some more research, I bought a Minolta DiMage 7i in the fall of 2002, and used it first on my two hiking trips that autumn, Caprock Canyons in October, and Sand Animals in November.
Right away I was very pleased with the camera, particularly the color I got right out of the box, and the quality of the excellent 7-51mm lens.
Over the years I bought and shot with cameras that were obvious replacements for the DiMage, but it always remained dear to my heart, particularly for long hikes when I needed a light load. Earlier this year, I thought I’d see what the 7i was fetching on Ebay, and when I saw them going for less than 10% of the original price I paid, I bought one to use at my office, for occasions when I needed a very small, light camera (especially to spare my elbow), and because it will make video as well as stills, thus filling two roles.