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Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D; Feature-Packed D-SLR

Text and Photos by Mike Stensvold, November, 2005

We Rate It
Camera: Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D
Category: Entry-level AF D-SLR
Autofocus Perfomance
3.5
Metering Performance
5
Feature Set
4.5
Ease Of Use
4.5
Ergonomics
4
Value
4.5
4.3 Overall

Konica Minolta’s new Maxxum 5D is an $800 entry-level digital SLR with a bunch of great features, many borrowed from its excellent “big brother” the Maxxum 7D. The 5D is simpler to use than the 7D, and considerably smaller. Yet it packs the same huge 2.5” LCD monitor, body-integral Anti-Shake system, nine-point AF system , 14-segment honeycomb metering (plus center-weighted and spot), Konica Minolta’s Advanced LSI and CxProcess III image-processing technology, a very effective pop-up ADI TTL flash, 3-fps continuous shooting capability, 6.1-megapixel image sensor and more.

The 5D also adds five handy Digital Subject Programs, which set the Exposure Mode, AF Mode and image-processing program for portraits, sports action, landscapes, sunsets and night portraits—all at the mere twist of a dial. You can even apply exposure compensation in the Digital Subject Programs, something you can’t do with some other D-SLRs.

Digital Data
Like the Maxxum 7D, the 5D uses a 6.3-megapixel CCD image sensor (6.1 megapixels used for images), with a 23.5x15.7mm size that results in a 1.5X “crop factor” compared to a 35mm camera: a 100mm lens used on the 7D or 5D frames like a 150mm lens on a 35mm camera.

You can shoot JPEGs at three resolutions (3008x2000, 2256x1496 and 1504x1000 pixels), each at three levels of compression, with file sizes ranging from approximately 5.9MB to 540KB. You can also shoot RAW images at 3008x2000 pixels (8.8MB approximate file size), or RAW images plus JPEGs at any of the three resolutions.

Digital features include a variety of color modes (including sRGB, Adobe RGB, and Black-and-White), Auto White Balance plus a host of white-balance setting options and bracketing, five-step fine-tuning of Contrast, Saturation and Sharpness, Zone Matching to optimize high- and low-key images, and the aforementioned LSI and CxProcess III image-processing technology.

In Use
The 5D is considerably smaller than the 7D, yet it doesn’t feel too tiny in the hands, and the controls are easy to find and operate. The camera is very easy to learn: I was able to figure out how to do just about everything without referring to the instruction manual.

I loved the 7D’s Anti-Shake system—my “dream D-SLR” would certainly include this feature—and it’s equally effective in the 5D, enabling the user to get sharp hand-held shots at much slower shutter speeds than is possible without, especially handy when shooting in dim light, with long lenses or in close-up work. And that huge LCD monitor is a delight—I can set everything without my reading glasses, and it’s easy to evaluate just-shot images for sharpness and highlight/shadow detail with the one-touch 5X zoom feature.

Dynamic range is excellent. The 5D is among the best D-SLRs at handling high-contrast scenes, and scenes containing white subjects in bright sun.

Our 5D test camera took longer to start-up and wake from sleep mode than the 7D, and had more delay between the press of the shutter button and the firing of the shutter. Of course, the 7D is one of the quickest D-SLRs I’ve tested. I was able to get good action shots with the 5D, but for serious action shooters (and those whose photography depends on capturing “decisive moments” consistently), I think the 7D is worth the extra cost.

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