A solid entry level DSLR with anti-shake and impressive design.
The Dynax 5D is Konica Minolta’s attempt to woo compact users to upgrade to an SLR.
On initial handling, you can’t escape the feeling that the build quality and materials don’t quite match the Nikon or Canon. The mechanical clank of the shutter isn’t subtle, like others. Also, rather than being a pop-up affair, you have to physically lift the flash up when you need it. As it doubles as the AF assist lamp, it’s just one more job to do that could mean you miss the shot.
But, there’s plenty to like about the 5D. For a start, it’s well designed: your forefinger falls naturally on the jog wheel, letting you make quick adjustments without taking your eye away from the viewfinder. Plus, you can set the LCD to display exposure information just like the Olympus - and it automatically rotates when you rotate the camera and dims when you put your eye to the viewfinder.
However, the 5D relies on an inconvenient additional menu screen for making some of the adjustments shown: you have to push the Fn button (similar to Pentax’s) for access to focus, metering, flash compensation and colour adjustments.
Two interesting features are the white-balance command dial and the anti-shake technology. The former lets you quickly select between auto, manual, colour temperature and preset balances. Frustratingly, you still have to select which preset you want from a menu, and the ability to select the precise colour temperature (in degrees Kelvin) won’t be useful to many photographers.
Anti-shake is more useful: it works well to compensate for shaky hands at slower shutter speeds. As it’s the sensor that moves, it’s compatible with all Dynax lenses. Image quality matched the Pentax overall, with consistently good exposures in most lighting conditions. In low light, the 5D overexposed images, so some EV compensation was needed. Noise at ISO 800 was slightly more noticeable than the Pentax, but not as bad as the Olympus.
The auto white balance didn’t cope with tungsten lighting as well as the Nikon, but if you shoot in RAW mode this isn’t a problem, and you can fully adjust RAW files in the bundled software. We were happy with saturation and contrast in our tests.
Overall then, the Dynax 5D has plenty of features on offer and is a good alternative to the winners.
This Review appeared in the February, 2006 issue of PC & Tech Authority Magazine
Source: Copyright © PC Pro, Dennis Publishing