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Konica Minolta Maxxum 5D

Quickly on the heels of its first dSLR, Konica Minolta shrinks the form factor and the price without losing in-camera image stabilization.

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Page 3:Design

Review First Posted: 10/31/2005


Designed for amateur or professional photographers (and really anyone interested in a dSLR), Konica Minolta's Dynax Maxxum 5D offers exceptional exposure control and a solid build reminiscent of a high-end, compact 35mm SLR. The body accommodates a handy assortment of control buttons, switches, and dials, but a much reduced set from the larger 7D. The smaller set is nevertheless ergonomically laid out and thoughtfully designed. So much so that we didn't really miss any of the 7D's buttons, switches, or dials. When shooting, your attention is directed primarily to the back panel and sometimes to the top, but not to either side as is the case with many prosumer digital cameras. The 5D features the same 6.1-megapixel CCD as the 7D and has a Konica Minolta standard lens mount that accommodates a wide range of Konica Minolta AF lenses.

The 5D's all-black and compact body measures 5.1 x 5.6 x 3.7 inches (131 x 142 x 96 millimeters) with the 18-70mm lens, and weighs 24.3 ounces (690 grams) with the lens, battery, and memory card. The Maxxum 5D isn't small enough to fit a pocket or purse, but is light enough to carry on vacation. You'll want a camera bag for the 5D, but the positions of the eyelets for the included neck strap at least let the camera hang level with the standard lens.

The camera's front panel houses the Konica Minolta A-type bayonet lens mount, lens release button, Depth of Field Preview button, Self-Timer lamp, and the front of the pop-up flash compartment. Also visible from the front of the camera are the Shutter button and Front Control dial, located at the top of the hand grip. An indentation near the top of the hand grip comfortably cradles your middle finger as it curls around the grip.

The right side of the camera holds the CompactFlash memory card slot, covered by a hinged plastic door. The 5D accommodates Type I or II CF memory cards, including Microdrives. Nestled inside the compartment door is the shared-use A/V Out / USB 2.0 jack for direct connection to a computer or television set. At the very top of the right panel is one of the two neck strap attachment eyelets.

The left side of the camera has a remote control jack at the very bottom and the Manual / Auto focus switch just below the lens release button housing. At the top is the other neck strap attachment eyelet.

The top panel accommodates the manually-activated pop-up flash compartment and external flash hot shoe; the latter is protected by a sliding plastic cover that is completely removable from the camera body. The hot shoe employs a proprietary electrode setup and mounting bracket for Konica Minolta accessory flash units which isn't compatible with generic hot-shoe flashes. The pop-up flash has two small tabs on either side that allow you to raise it into its upright position (it does not automatically pop up). In addition, there are a number of controls that access various camera functions, including the White Balance button and dial, Exposure Mode Dial (which unlike the 7D does not have a release button), Drive Mode button, ISO button, front Control dial, and Shutter Release button. The CCD focal plane is not indicated on the top panel.

The remaining controls are on the camera's rear panel, along with the optical viewfinder and LCD monitor. The 5D's optical viewfinder is surrounded by a flexible, removable arch, and features two sensors below it that detect when your eye is next to the camera. (You can enable these sensors through the Custom menu to automatically detect your eye in front of the viewfinder and disable the information display on the LCD monitor, cutting out any distracting glare.) A diopter adjustment dial on the right side of the eyepiece adjusts the view for eyeglass wearers. Controls on the left side of the rear panel include the Power switch, and the Menu, Display, Delete, and Playback buttons. On the other side of the LCD monitor are the four-way Controller with a Spot-AF button / OK button at its center, the DC In jack, and the Anti-Shake switch. On top and to the right of the optical viewfinder are three buttons. The Function button (which also zooms out in Playback), the Exposure Compensation button (Zoom In) and the AE lock button, which also enables Slow Sync flash mode.

The camera's bottom panel is fairly flat, with a grooved grip pad surrounding the metal tripod mount. Also on the bottom panel is the camera's battery compartment, which features a locking, hinged door. The battery compartment is far from the metal tripod mount, allowing quick battery changes when mounted on a tripod, something I always look for in a digicam, given the amount of studio shooting I do.

Worth noting are the absence of the focal plane indicator and a flash sync terminal. An illustration on page 110 of the manual gives an approximate location of the focal plane.



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