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