Minolta DiMAGE 5 Review

By Movable Type Admin


Steve's Digicams


Features & Controls






Minolta DiMAGE 5

Perhaps the most impressive and noticeable feature of the DiMAGE 5 is the big 7x Minolta GT zoom lens. It's comprised of 16 elements in 13 groups, including two AD glass elements and two aspheric surfaces. The 7.2mm - 50.8mm (35mm - 250mm in 35mm format), f/2.8-f/3.5 APO lens has an autofocus range of 1.6 feet to infinity in normal mode and as close as 5 inches from the lens in macro mode.

The DiMAGE 5 features a wide-area AF system with Flex Focus Point which changes the extra-wide focus to a cross-hair spot focus point that can be moved to anywhere desired within the image frame.


Minolta DiMAGE 5

Just like a 35mm SLR, the zoom lens is controlled manually by turning a rubberized ring on the barrel. This gives the user total control over the focal length selected and also saves precious battery power. Focus can adjusted manually via a ring near the base of the lens for those times when the photographer wishes to be in complete control.


Minolta DiMAGE 5

Filters and add-on lenses can be attached with the 49mm threads provided on the end of the lens. The included lens shade attaches via a bayonet type mount.



Minolta DiMAGE 5 Minolta DiMAGE 5

The Digital Hyper Viewfinder provides a true through-the-lens view of exactly what the lens is seeing. The shielded EVF gives you a clear view even under bright light using a reflective color LCD with a resolution equivalent to 220,000 pixels. The variable position viewfinder can be tilted upwards to a maximum of 90 degrees. In low-light situations the EVF amplifies the video signal so you can properly frame the shot. The display goes black & white but the image is captured in full color.

Whatever you see on the color LCD can also be viewed on the EVF by simply flipping the display control switch. The Auto-EVF setting will automatically switch the signal from the LCD to the EVF when you put it up to your eye. For those with less than perfect eyesight there is a diopter adjustment knob (-5.0 to +0.5) and a large rubber eyecup works well even when wearing eyeglasses.



Minolta DiMAGE 5 Minolta DiMAGE 5

The builtin pop-up flash offers Fill-flash, Red-eye reduction and Rear flash sync, it recycles in approximately 7 seconds. The DiMAGE 5 features ADI (Advanced Distance Integration) flash exposure or you can select the Pre-flash TTL mode. The flash range in Wideangle is approximately 1.6 - 12.5 feet (0.5-3.8m), in Telephoto it's approximately 1.6 - 9.8 feet (0.5-3m) with camera sensitivity set to auto.


Minolta DiMAGE 5

Using the dedicated hot shoe flash connector you can attach the powerful Minolta Program Flash 5600 HS or 3600 HS which offer versatile functions such as auto power zoom, wireless/remote off-camera flash, and test flash. The Macro Twin Flash 2400 provides flexible lighting for nature macro photography while the Macro Ring Flash 1200 offers shadowless lighting, ideal for medical and scientific use.

7/19/01 update: Minolta has told us that they will be making a flash adapter to allow the Dimage5 (or 7) to be connected to other flash equipment via a standard PC sync port. No firm price or date yet but it should be sometime in the Fall.



Minolta DiMAGE 5 Minolta DiMAGE 5

The DiMAGE 5's main functions are controlled by the Function Dial located on the left side. You turn the knob to the option you wish to change and then push and hold the button while rotating the Control Dial. When you have the value you want you just release the button.

    SIZE - Sets the image size (2048x1536, 1600x1200, 1280x960, 640x480)

    QUAL - Sets the image quality (RAW, Superfine (TIFF), Fine, Standard, Economy)

    PASM - Exposure mode (Program AE, Aperture priority, Shutter speed priority, Manual)

    DRIVE - Change drive mode (Single frame, Continuous, Self-timer, AE Bracketing)

    WB - White balance (Auto, Daylight, Tungsten, Fluorescent, Cloudy, Custom)

    ISO - Sensitivity (Auto [100-400], 100, 200, 400, 800 ISO equivalent)





Minolta DiMAGE 5

The Mode Dial turns the camera on and off, selects Record, Play, Movie, Setup or Connect to PC modes. It has a very positive locking button to prevent it from being turned accidentally. Out on the front is the shutter release and the Control Dial. Across the top of the data LCD are the Digital Subject Program modes for portrait, sports, sunset, night portrait and text, these are selected by pressing the silver button. The big "P" (pro-auto) button returns you to Program AE mode and resets all settings to default with a single push.


Minolta DiMAGE 5

The data LCD lights up for about 5 seconds whenever the shutter release is pressed.


Minolta DiMAGE 5

Data LCD with all possible elements displayed.





Minolta DiMAGE 5

The controls on the rear include the EVF/LCD switch with the Information control button in the center. Over on the right is the Autofocus / Auto Exposure Lock (AF/AEL) button. The MENU button calls up the onscreen menus and the large 5-way selector switch lets you easily navigate menu options and select them by pressing it straight in. Below that is the QuickView button that lets you instantly review the last picture captured. It also serves as the image delete button. On the bottom is the Magnify button which enables the digital zoom.



Minolta DiMAGE 5

Located on the left side is the EFFECT selector switch that lets you adjust the image contrast, exposure compensation and color saturation levels. Like the Function Dial, you select an option and then push and hold the button while turning the Command Dial. Next to that you find the Auto / Manual Focus selector button.



Minolta DiMAGE 5 Minolta DiMAGE 5

Across the back of the camera are the I/O ports for the optional AC power adapter, the Video Out port with selectable NTSC or PAL format. And a connector for the optional RC-1000S/L wired remote code that permits tripping the shutter from up to 16.4 feet away.

At the bottom of the CompactFlash card access area is the USB data port.



Minolta DiMAGE 5

The DiMAGE 5 is equipped with a CompactFlash Type II card slot and is Microdrive compatible (340MB, 512MB and 1GB). The camera ships with a 8x Lexar 16MB JumpSHOT CF card.



Minolta DiMAGE 5

The camera is powered by four AA type batteries, high-capacity NiMH type is highly recommended. The battery access is underneath of the color LCD on the back of the camera.





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