There was a transition screen in older FF games as well. That’s the point. The ones in VII are no more an issue than they were in the SNES games. Masked loading or not, the end result is what counts, and in this case, mentioning them is grasping at straws at best.
I just timed them. FFVI took 5 sec total on SNES to transition from screen distortion to the ATB meter starting. FFVII on the PS1 took 11 seconds to do the same thing. That is just over twice as long. It is even longer than the load times in Chrono Trigger on PS1, which many consider atrocious. The difference is that FFVII masked them, where CT did not and therefore it seemed like CT had horrid load times even though FFVII was longer.
Is it blown a bit out of proportion? Yeah, because FFVII masks them well enough. But in a discussion that takes load times into consideration when it comes to a form of media, yeah it is very valid to bring up the fact that PS1 battle transitions took more than twice as long as their SNES counterparts. There is no grasping straws when it comes to that.