Konica Minolta Dynax 5D / Maxxum 5D review with 18-70mm f3.5~5.6 DT lens


When the Dynax 7D was launched, there was no denying the effectiveness of Konica Minolta’s unique Anti-Shake technology. Unfortunately this capability came at a price, with the 7D initially costing the same as Canon’s higher resolution and faster-shooting EOS-20D.

Of course the 20D didn’t come with built-in anti-shake, but for the price of the 7D body alone you could alternatively buy a budget digital SLR sporting the same resolution and still have enough remaining to buy an image stabilised lens. The fact there weren’t any budget wide zooms to go with the 7D further increased its cost of entry for anyone without existing Dynax lenses.

Today though the situation’s changed: Konica Minolta’s reduced the price of the 7D, launched three new affordable lenses designed for the smaller sensor size, and most importantly of all, released the Dynax 5D.

Judged on resolution, basic features and price alone, the Dynax 5D is already comparable to its immediate rivals. At this point you’d normally weigh-up looks, handling and specific features where one may be preferred over another to make a decision, but the 5D of course has one very important advantage: built-in Anti-Shake.

The 5D’s built-in Anti-Shake is a truly valuable feature which genuinely works. Like similar technologies it won’t perform miracles, but you really are looking at a two to three stop advantage when handholding. This allows you to handhold shots at exposures two to three times slower than normal, thereby allowing you to shoot under dimmer conditions without worrying about camera shake or being forced to increase the ISO and compromise quality. The fact you get this built-in for roughly the same price as rival budget digital SLRs is remarkable. The bundled 18-70mm lens also has a longer and more useful range than the usual 18-55mm lenses bundled with its rivals.

It’s not all good news though: the screen may be a generous size at 2.5in, but its resolution is way too low for these dimensions. So while it may match the actual detail of some smaller screens, the images on it look quite coarse in comparison. The body is also heavier and, to our eyes, the design less slick than its rivals, which may or may not be an issue depending on personal taste. The bundled lens we tested was additionally softer than its rivals in the corners with the aperture wide open.

Ultimately you have to weigh up the pros and cons for yourself. Compared to its rivals, the Pentax *istDL has a far superior high resolution 2.5in screen, the Nikon D50’s handling and build quality is exemplary for the price, and of course the Canon 350D still boasts the highest resolution of the pack. None of them have built-in Anti-Shake nor come optionally bundled with an 18-70mm lens though, which at the Dynax 5D’s price makes it one of the most compelling budget digital SLRs on the market. It’s Highly Recommended.

Please visit our Budget DSLR Buyer’s Guide for an update of the best buys around right now.

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