Steve's Digicams

Minolta Maxxum 5

35mm SLR

Review posted 4/02/02

Introduction & Physical Views

Click to take a QuickTime VR tour of the Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR
Click on the Maxxum 5 for a QuickTime VR tour

Minolta Corporation introduces a new easy-to-use, compact, lightweight and feature-packed 35mm Single-Lens Reflex (SLR) camera - the Minolta Maxxum 5. Developed using concepts and core technologies from the groundbreaking and unique Minolta Maxxum 7 SLR, the new Maxxum 5 incorporates advanced autofocus (AF) technology, powerful film drive, fast shutter speeds, and several creative features including 14 custom functions, into the a small and light SLR camera body.

Ideal for amateur and advanced amateur photographers, the Minolta Maxxum 5 was built designed to offer a high level of AF performance. Whether the subject is moving or stationary, the fast AF speed and Predictive Focus Control ensures quick and easy focusing. The 7-point AF system with a center cross-hair sensor allows fast and accurate focusing plus flexible framing. The clear, bright viewfinder of the new Maxxum 5 features LED-illuminated superimposition technology, which indicates the point of focus in one of seven local focus areas to confirm the desired subject is in focus - a first for a camera in this class. The focusing screen features a spherical acute matte surface usually found in higher-end SLR models.

The Minolta Maxxum 5 features a fast continuous advance speed of up to 3 frames per second enabling photographers to capture action shots in an instant. A dynamic shutter-speed range of 1/4000 second to 30 seconds plus bulb makes this a very versatile camera even under the most extreme lighting conditions. And, the camera’s entire range of shutter speeds can be used with Minolta’s external flash units with high-speed sync (HSS) - ideal for outdoor portraits.

Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR

The Maxxum 5 incorporates a sophisticated exposure metering system that includes 14-segment Honeycomb-Pattern plus spot metering for ambient light, and ADI (Advanced Distance Integration) for proper flash exposure when used in combination with Minolta D lenses and D flashes. A depth-of-field preview function has been added to support the needs of advanced photographers. This is especially useful to check that the subject and background will both be sharp when using a small aperture, or see the extent of the depth of field in portrait or macro photography.

Although packed with sophisticated features, the Maxxum 5’s operation is easy thanks to automated functions such as Eye-start Automation and well laid-out controls. And for added creativity, the camera’s 14 customizable functions enable camera features to be set to the photographer’s individual preferences.

A/F Focus Speed is among the top in its class.

The exceptional autofocus performance of the Minolta Maxxum 5 is achieved by a high-speed microcomputer, a refined algorithm, and improved CCD control. The autofocus drive motor quickly accelerates and decelerates the lens movement. Even random motion can be tracked easily right up to the moment the shutter releases with Minolta’s Predictive Focus Control. The Maxxum 5’s performance has been tripled from the Maxxum 505si SuperXTsi, and is among the top in its class.

7-Point AF System

The Minolta Maxxum 5’s new 7-Point AF System is employed in the wide focus area. The auto focusing sensors are laid out to the "rule of thirds" for effective composition and work in unison so the photographers can conveniently position the subject within the wide focus frame to obtain an aesthetically pleasing image. The cross-hair sensor in the center guarantees precise focus regardless of vertical or horizontal subject contrast. In continuous AF, photographers can completely leave subject tracking to the 7-Point AF System and simply concentrate on the composition.

The Maxxum 5 incorporates three AF modes: single-shot, continuous, and automatic. The automatic AF mode determines whether the subject is moving or still and automatically selects either single-shot or continuous AF.

Focus Area Selection for Creative Composition

Switching between the wide focus area and the local focus areas can be done simply by pressing the spot AF button. The local focus areas can be individually selected using both the spot AF button and the easy-to-use control dial, allowing photographers to select a specific local focus area, enhancing creative freedom. Off-center subjects can be singled out without the need to recompose. This can be valuable when the camera is mounted on a tripod.

AF Modes

The Maxxum 5 incorporates three AF modes: single-shot, continuous, and automatic. The automatic AF mode determines whether the subject is moving or still and automatically selects either single-shot or continuous AF.

Eye-Start Automation

When the Eye-start Automation is switched on, it immediately activates autofocus and auto exposure simply by looking through the viewfinder. With this one quick action, the camera starts working so photographers will not miss important photographs.

14-Segment Honeycomb-Pattern Metering and Spot Metering

The 14-segment Honeycomb-Pattern pattern metering automatically delivers correct exposures every time. The spot-metering mode offers precise control on exposure metering. The viewfinder’s EV scale assists photographers in evaluating the exposure compensation and showing the difference between the metered exposure and the set exposure in manual mode. The EV scale and the spot-metering area can be used to determine the brightness range of the scene by displaying the difference between the required exposure for the subject and the relative lighting of any area in the scene.

The Maxxum 5’s advanced exposure technology can be combined with a variety of exposure controls. Exposure can be compensated up to ±3 EV in 0.5 increments. To ensure the optimum exposure for high contrast scenes, three brackets can be made either in 0.3, 0.5, 0.7, or 1.0 EV increments. The multiple-exposure mode overrides the camera’s automatic frame advance to allow an unlimited number of exposures on a single frame.

Creative Flash Control

With Minolta program flash units, the Maxxum 5 offers flexible wireless/remote off-camera flash control. Photographers can experiment with lighting techniques without the usual tangle of cords and connectors. Using the built-in flash as a fill light, the ratio flash function controls the flash units to give a lighting ratio of 2:1. With Minolta’s Program Flash 5600HS(D) and 3600HS(D), the flash can synchronize to the maximum shutter speed of 1/4000 second.

Effortless and Worry-Free Operation

With an easy to use control layout, novices will learn how to use the camera quickly, and advanced photographers will find the operation intuitive. Push buttons for basic functions are comfortably located around the top of the grip, allowing quick and easy access to program-reset, self-timer/remote control, drive modes, and subject programs. On the left side, more advanced functions are clearly arranged on the function dial. A variety of settings can be made using a single operational pattern with the function dial, function button, and control dial. Three autofocus and four exposure modes, bracketing, multiple exposure, wireless/remote off-camera flash, and 14 custom functions can be set with the function dial.

The Minolta Maxxum 5’s film chamber lock protects film from being accidentally ruined. Once the film is loaded, the back cover is locked until the film is completely rewound. Subject program selection gives beginning photographers the ability to control the camera according to the subject without requiring a working knowledge of shutter speeds and apertures. The Maxxum 5 features five subject modes: portrait, landscape, close-up, sports action, and night portrait. When selected, audio signals indicate when autofocus is confirmed, counts down the self-timer period, and indicates the release of the shutter with the IR (sold separately) or wired remote control.

Physical Views

Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR

Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR

Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR

Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR

Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR

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Page Two

Maxxum 5 Specifications

35mm SLR with built-in flash, autofocus (AF) and autoexposure (AE)
Lens Mount:
Minolta A mount (metal mount)
Film Type:
35mm film
Eye-Start Automation:
AF and AE automatically activated/deactivated by combination of eyepiece and grip sensors. Eye-start Automation can be disabled.
AF System:
Minolta's TTL phase-detection system with CCD line sensors (7- point AF system with a center cross-hair sensor).
Focus Area:
Wide focus area; any local focus area can be selected from the 7-point sensors
Predictive Focus Control::
Multi-dimensional Predictive Focus Control for moving subjects
AF Modes:
Single-shot, Continuous, Automatic Autofocus
Focus Modes:
Auto/manual focus can be selected
AF Sensitivity:
EV -1 to 18 (at ISO 100)
AF Illuminator:
Built-in flash automatically activated to aid focusing in low light and low-contrast situation.Range: approximately 3.3 - 16/4 feet (1 - 5m) with 50mm lens.
Manual Focusing:
By visually monitoring the focus on the viewfinder screen and/or by observing the focus signals in the viewfinder data panel
Metering System:
14-segment Honeycomb-Pattern and Spot
Flash Metering:
Direct TTL OTF (ADI or TTL multi-segment can be selected with a custom function.)
Metering Cell:
14-segment honeycomb-pattern SPC (silicon photo cell), 4-segment flash-metering SPC
Metering Range:
14-segment Honeycomb-Pattern: EV 1-20 Spot: EV 4-20 (ISO 100, f/1.4 lens)
Exposure Modes:
Programmed AE (with PA/PS Creative Program Control), Aperture priority, Shutter priority, Manual
Subject program selection:
5 user-selectable programs tailored to specific subject or scene characteristics - Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports action, Night portrait
Shutter and aperture control:
In 0.5 EV increments
AE Lock:
Exposure is automatically locked when focus is locked. Exposure within the spot metering area is locked with the spot AE-lock button.
Electronically-controlled, vertical-traverse, focal-plane type; range: 1/4,000 - 30 sec. plus BULB (approximately 7 hours with fresh battery); Flash sync: 1/125 sec. or slower. Syncs at all speeds in HSS mode (only available with Program Flash 5400HS, 5600HS(D) and 3600HS(D).
Built-in Flash:
Guide Number:
39.4 (in feet at ISO 100); flash coverage for 28mm lens
Flash Modes:
In programmed AE and subject program selection modes: autoflash. Fill flash and flash cancel can be selected.

In aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual modes: fill flash is manually selected.

Red-eye reduction (using pre-flash).

Wireless/remote off-camera flash (including ratio flash function).

ISO Setting:
Automatic setting for DX-coded films, ISO 25-5000 (in 1/3 EV increments)non DX-coded film is set to the previous ISO
DX-coded ISO Range with Flash:
ISO 25 - 1000;
Manual ISO Setting:
ISO 6-6400 (in 1/3 EV increments)
Film Transport:
Automatic with built-in motor drive; auto threading, auto advance to first frame, auto rewind (approximately 8 seconds with 24-exposure film), manual start of rewind
Drive Modes:
Single-frame advance, continuous advance 3.0 frames/sec., (Maximum)

Film Chamber Lock: Automatically locks the back cover when the film is loaded

Electronic with approx. 10-sec. delay, cancelable.
Eye-level fixed pentaprism
Focusing Screen:
Spherical acute matte
Field of View:
Approx. 90% x 90% of film frame
0.75X (with 50mm lens at infinity)
Eye Relief:
0.6 inches (16mm) from the eyepiece, 0.5 inches (13mm) from the eyepiece frame
Special Features:
Remote control terminal, 14 Custom Functions, depth-of-field preview, Multiple Exposure mode.
Tone indicates focus lock, IR remote-control operation, and self-timer countdown. Audio signal can be disabled.
Power Source:
Two 3-volt CR2 lithium batteries

Battery-condition: 3-stage indicator appears when the camera is turned on.

Battery Performance
(with new batteries):

  24 exposure rolls 36 exposure rolls

Flash use

(+68° F)

(14° F)

(+68° F)

(14° F)

0 %
50 %
45 rolls
18 rolls
11 rolls
24 rolls
11 rolls
7 rolls
45 rolls
18 rolls
11 rolls
35 rolls
14 rolls
9 rolls
5 x 3.4 x 2.4 inches (127 x 87 x 60.5mm)
11.8 ounces (335g) without batteries
Minolta Maxxum 5 SLR

Specifications are supplied by the manufacturer and are based on the latest information available at the time of posting.

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