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I have a Minolta Dimage 7i that used to work fine. Now when I pop up the flash it doesn't work and after I press the shutter to take a pic no picture is captured. After many attempts then the machine shuts down. In order to switch it on, then, I have to remove the batteries and put them in again. Any opinions on how to resolve this problem?

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Congratulations you have held on to a great digital camera for a long time! The Dimage 7i was my first digital camera bought in 2002. For a high tech piece of equipment it is positively ancient but at least it worked that long. There are several options which come to mind:

  • From what I understand, it is working without the flash, so keep using it that way if you like. You can buy a used Minolta or Sony flash add-on unit if you really are keen on flash photography. It will mount on the hot-shoe and use its own batteries, so is less likely to cause an issue.
  • Minolta sold its camera business to Sony years ago, so you are unlikely to find a service location anymore. You may try to fix it yourself but expect the camera to possibly die in the process.
  • Cut your losses and buy yourself another camera. The Dimage 7i has a unique form-factor, so you won't find much that works like it, which is unfortunate. However, image-quality has improved considerably since those days and many cameras have much more features now.

It is tough to replace the Dimage 7i without losing something. Models to consider:

  • Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX100 which I reviewed here. The lens is ultra-wide 24mm-equivalent compared to the wide 28mm on the 7i but has less reach, 75mm instead of 200mm. Image quality is much higher as is the view in the EVF. The major loss here is that the zoom is not mechanical.
  • Fuji X30 which is smaller and cheaper. The lens is mechanical and image-quality is above that of the Dimage 7i but does not come close the the LX100.. It has an ultra-fast autofocus system that works in very low-light.
  • For a long reach and a mechanical zoom, your choices are limited. The Fuji X-S1 and HS50 EXR are not available in all markets. These are ultra-zooms with long reaches, a built-in EVF and high speed sensors. The X-S1 is weather-sealed while the HS50 EXR has Phase-Detect AF.

Then again, you can take this as an opportunity to reconsider your photographic needs and buy some entirely different type of camera. I am sure that with years of using a camera, you have a pretty good idea of what you would like to have in your next one.

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