Minolta DiMAGE 5 Review
Features & Controls
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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)
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.
The data LCD lights up for about 5 seconds whenever the shutter release is pressed.
Data LCD with all possible elements displayed.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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