Minolta Dynax 5

Discussion in 'Minolta' started by techie, Dec 28, 2003.

  1. techie

    techie Guest

    This camera was awarded TIPA Best SLR Camera for 2002-2003.

    Its priced at £229.90 at Jessops which is just perfect for me. How good is
    it?

    The main disadvantage with this camera is that the lens doesn't have focus
    distance scale printed on it. Without this is this camera meant mainly for
    autofocus use? I would like to use manual features too.

    How do you change the aperture? Having used a Pentax ME Super for years I
    am used to changing the aperture manually on the lens but I notice on this
    camera there is no aperture dial. Is it done by one of the digital button
    on the top or is it set automatically? I'm also confused by how to select
    one of the modes (P, S, A, M).

    Finally, is it worth buying this camera?
     
    techie, Dec 28, 2003
    #1
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  2. techie

    Alan Browne Guest

    ..the 'focus distance scale' is not used to set focus, but as an aid to
    figuring depth-of-field. You can live without it for both manual and
    auto focus.... the camera has a DOF preview button allowing you to
    previsualize the DOF for a selected aperture setting.

    Turn the function wheel to select PASM mode... hold down the "FUNC"
    button and turn the wheel (near your right hand index finger) until "A"
    is displayed...(or M or S if you need those), let go of FUNC button Now
    that same wheel (right index) controls aperture and the metering system
    will select speed.

    Had you selected "S" then the wheel would control shutter speed (and the
    metering system would set aperture).

    For the price mentioned (I assume with a 28-80 lens), it seems a bit
    expensive, but I'm used to North American pricing. It is quite a
    capable camera with a few weaknesses such as in "M" mode you select
    speed with the wheel, and aperture with the same wheel while holding
    down the exp-comp button. Exposure interval is 1/2 stops which is less
    than ideal for shooting slide films. You can "cheat" this with ISO
    settings in a pinch.

    I'd refuse the kit lens and go for the 24-105 [D] lens. Which is a bit
    expensive compared to the kit you're buying, but the lens is the most
    important part of the package and the 24-105 [D} is very good for the price.

    Add a 3600HS or the 5600HS flash according to your needs and budget.
    The built in flash is only strong enough for subjects up to about 4
    metres away with 400 film at f/5.6

    Download the manuals from Minolta (pdf) and browse that to see if it
    meets your needs.

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 28, 2003
    #2
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  3. techie

    techie Guest

    Thanks Alan for the information.

    The lens is 28-100mm. Looking at the spec on the Minolta site the camera is
    just about what I'm looking for. I am disappointed that the built-in flash
    is only strong enough for subjects up to 4m away. I suppose that is
    sufficient for most photos in the house but it would be nice to have a
    greater range for larger rooms or halls. The 3600HS flash is too expensive
    for me. Can I avoid using this flash?

    So the control dial sets the aperture. That's fine by me. I doubt I will
    ever use "M" mode. I probably would only use "A" or AF mode so having to
    adjust both aperture and speed using one wheel is no problem.

    I'm not sure if really should buy this considering the price of the Minolta
    flashes.


    in message

    ...the 'focus distance scale' is not used to set focus, but as an aid to
    figuring depth-of-field. You can live without it for both manual and
    auto focus.... the camera has a DOF preview button allowing you to
    previsualize the DOF for a selected aperture setting.

    Turn the function wheel to select PASM mode... hold down the "FUNC"
    button and turn the wheel (near your right hand index finger) until "A"
    is displayed...(or M or S if you need those), let go of FUNC button Now
    that same wheel (right index) controls aperture and the metering system
    will select speed.

    Had you selected "S" then the wheel would control shutter speed (and the
    metering system would set aperture).

    For the price mentioned (I assume with a 28-80 lens), it seems a bit
    expensive, but I'm used to North American pricing. It is quite a
    capable camera with a few weaknesses such as in "M" mode you select
    speed with the wheel, and aperture with the same wheel while holding
    down the exp-comp button. Exposure interval is 1/2 stops which is less
    than ideal for shooting slide films. You can "cheat" this with ISO
    settings in a pinch.

    I'd refuse the kit lens and go for the 24-105 [D] lens. Which is a bit
    expensive compared to the kit you're buying, but the lens is the most
    important part of the package and the 24-105 [D} is very good for the price.

    Add a 3600HS or the 5600HS flash according to your needs and budget.
    The built in flash is only strong enough for subjects up to about 4
    metres away with 400 film at f/5.6

    Download the manuals from Minolta (pdf) and browse that to see if it
    meets your needs.

    Cheers,
    Alan
     
    techie, Dec 28, 2003
    #3
  4. Alan Browne gave a pretty fair report on the Maxxum/Dynax 5, but I thought
    I'd throw in a few extras, since I picked up one of these around 3 months
    ago, and have put it through quite a bit of use (around 80 rolls so far).

    I came from using a Minolta X-700 (borrowed) and X-370 (RIP), for almost 20
    years now (X-370 was an X-Mas when I was 12, X-700 is my parents', which
    sat unused the past few years), so I understand what you mean about being
    used to setting aperture on the lens - I'd gotten very used to it, myself.
    At first, I found the interface on the Maxxum 5 to be a bit weird (Alan
    gives a pretty good description of it, BTW), but got used to it pretty
    rapidly, and find myself not having to think about working with it, now.
    Note, also, I have yet to see an autofocus camera with aperture settings on
    the lens - my friend's Canon setup doesn't, though I understand some Nikons
    do.

    OK, as for the kit lens, well, it's a kit lens. Personally, I got mine with
    a 50mm f/1.7 lens, which was waaaaay more useful for astrophotography, which
    is my primary area of photography. Ya might want to talk to them about
    going with a different lens, as kit lenses, irregardless of the
    manufacturer, often are pretty weak. Alan's also right about picking up one
    of the aforementioned flashes (the 3600 or 5600). Note that the internal
    flash, while somewhat limited, is pretty handy, and also functions as a
    "semaphore" for controlling an external flash wirelessly - set up one of
    those two flashes on a stand, and the built-in flash will send the signals
    to control it. Kinda neat, and something I'll be taking advantage of once I
    start to do portraiture more frequently.

    For some odd reason, a lot of people bitch about the lens selection for
    Minolta. Personally, I always felt that all the manufacturers had more
    glass available than anyone could possibly need, and there're always
    third-party manufacturers, as well (Tamron jumps to mind). Hell, with
    astrophotography, I found that with whatever manufacturer's camera body I
    got, I'd end up with the exact same set of glass - a 50mm, a portrait lens
    with large aperture, then a telescope, or lens that can double as a
    telescope, such as the bigger Rubinars, out of Russia).

    Note, though, that if you have a lot of investment in glass for your Pentax,
    there are adapters that'd let you use Pentax manual lenses on an Maxxum
    body. For example, Rubinar, a Russian company, made all their lenses in the
    M42 screw mount, and there're several companies selling these lenses over
    the Internet with the adapters to major brands, including Minolta AF
    adapters. B&H Photo sells several lens-to-body adapters for the Maxxums
    that'd allow you to use various manual-focus lenses, including the Pentax K
    mount, or Minolta's own MD mount (ordering one of these later today), among
    others. There's a custom function you'll need to turn on, though, because
    the Dynax's AI won't be able to detect a manual-focus lens. It's well
    detailed in the manual, though - just turn on the feature to allow the
    shutter to open with no lens attached, and flip the MF/AF switch once.

    Lastly, is the Maxxum/Dynax 5 worth buying? I thought so when I picked it
    up, and still think so today. Are there features on other cameras that're
    pretty neat? Sure, there are. The eye control on the Canon Elan 7e is
    nice, and I really, really like the exposure recording information and
    ability to move to any frame on the roll of the Minolta Maxxum 7. In fact,
    I'll undoubtedly pick up a Maxxum/Dynax 7 one of these days. But, when
    buying this camera, I gave thought to all the other stuff I was going to
    need to buy - a good-quality lens or telescope with a long focal length
    (Rubinar 500mm f/5.6 or 1000mm f/10 maksutov-cassegrain lenses are in the
    lead), a German Equatorial mount on a solid tripod, with drive motor (for
    tracking the relative movement of stars as the Earth rotates), either a
    guiding CCD system, or off-axis guider (to make sure the mount's not going
    off-course), then.....gah! Well, you get the picture. The Maxxum/Dynax 5
    proved a good, low-cost, yet full-featured camera, that could work as an
    astrocam, yet still had a wide array of features available for more
    conventional photography (DOF preview, AF, autowinding of the film,
    shutter-priority mode, good light metering, etc).

    So, yeah, I'd recommend the Dynax 5. It's a good camera, and I think you'd
    be pretty happy with it. If you do pick it up, may I recommend the battery
    pack, so you can use AA batteries? For those of us who have yeti paws for
    hands, it's a good addition as well, since the camera's really, really
    compact. Also, note that I have a bit more flexible fingers than most. My
    Canon-using friend, with less flexible fingers, finds it a bit irritating to
    use, but, then, he doesn't use mine every day, either.

    --Jason
     
    Jason Donahue, Dec 28, 2003
    #4
  5. You'll have a hard time finding any model which does much more. The
    guide number for built-in flashes is usually 12 (in metres, or 39 in
    feet) - if you're getting a 50/1.7, 50/1.4 or 35/2 lens, that's less of
    a problem at full aperture that with a typical (slower) zoom lens.
    Get a used one, or get a Metz mecablitz with SCA3000 support and
    preferably with SCA3302 adaptor, or if that's still too expensive, one
    with SCA300 support (although these have really ugly adaptors, with own
    battery slots and AF helper lamp).

    You don't need to go for HS, the xi will also do.
    I've found the "S" mode rather useful for flash photography.
    Minolta flash prices are indeed a bit bold at times.

    Please read and follow
    <URL:http://www.netmeister.org/news/learn2quote.html> so your postings
    are easier to read.
     
    Matthias Andree, Dec 29, 2003
    #5
  6. techie

    Joseph Kewfi Guest

    This camera was awarded TIPA Best SLR Camera for 2002-2003.
    is it?

    Look here: Minolta Dynax 5 with 28-100 AFD lens @ £189.90 delivered.
    http://www.jessops.com/search/viewproduct.cfm?Product=MIND528100K

    At this price I'd say it's a good buy - basing my opinion solely on specs,
    I'm a Nikon user myself.
    Don't be afraid of the kit lens, use the kit lens until your photography
    improves and or you recoup your savings.
    Kit lenses are not all that bad , I use a Nikon 28-80G lens when I go
    fishing on a boat, it produces decent print results up to 7"x5", and if it
    gets damaged I can junk it as the cost of these lenses makes them near
    disposable.
     
    Joseph Kewfi, Dec 29, 2003
    #6
  7. techie

    Alan Browne Guest

    There are 3rd party flashes that are far cheaper and more than adequate
    .... at the expense of some integrated features. Be wary. Or wait until
    your bank acount recharges a little. The 3600 (GN 12 metres) is about
    the least you should get as an add on flash.
    The "brand" flashes of other main manufs are similar. Again the 3rd
    party flashes are more than adequate for most situations.

    Cheers,
    Alan.
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 29, 2003
    #7
  8. techie

    techie Guest

    The Minolta 2000xi flash is within my budget. Am I right in thinking it can
    be used with the Dynax 5 without any adaptor? Will it be good enough for
    general use?
     
    techie, Dec 29, 2003
    #8
  9. Um, yeah, that'll work with the Dynax 5 without an adaptor. Don't know how
    well it works for general use, though - I've been debating between that and
    the 3600HS(D) myself. The 3600 has the high-speed synch, which I don't
    think the 2000xi does, and also works as an off-camera flash, which the
    2000xi won't do.

    --Jason
     
    Jason Donahue, Dec 29, 2003
    #9
  10. techie

    techie Guest

    I was thinking of buying the Pentax MZ-6, after using an ME Super for years,
    but wasn't overly impressed by it. The Dynax 5 had better reviews. I also
    considered the Nikon F65. The Dynax 5 seems better value for money.

    What about Minolta's reliability and service in the UK? As I'm thinking of
    buying a Minolta I'm also buying into the system.
     
    techie, Dec 29, 2003
    #10
  11. techie

    Magnus W Guest

    The 2000xi has no special features and can neither tilt nor swivel. Most
    third party flashes are recommended over that one.
     
    Magnus W, Dec 29, 2003
    #11
  12. techie

    Alan Browne Guest

    er, that is 36 metres GN, sorry.
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 29, 2003
    #12
  13. techie

    Alan Browne Guest

    Yes, the 2000xi should work with the 5. You will not have distance
    integration, but that is not so big a deal.

    The 2000xi does not tilt, and that IS a big deal as you won't be able to
    'ceiling' bounce the light for fill.

    It is a bit on the low side of the power curve. Stick to higher speed
    films when using it...

    Cheers,
    Alan.
     
    Alan Browne, Dec 29, 2003
    #13
  14. I beg to differ. 12 is the GN of the Maxxum built-in flashes with few
    exceptions (800si for instance).

    The GN for the 3600HS(D) is 29 at 50 mm and 36 at 85 mm, for "m", and
    that isn't ample given the high price for the Minolta flash. The GN for
    5600HS(D) is 44 at 50 mm and 56 at 85 mm (I wonder what moron started
    giving the GN for the tele position instead of the standard 50 mm).
     
    Matthias Andree, Dec 30, 2003
    #14
  15. (To our American friends: All GN for metric distances.)

    Personally, I'd avoid the 2000xi. It doesn't allow the reflector to be
    tilted upwards, and the GN of 16 for 28mm or 20 for 35mm isn't exactly
    overwhelming. Your prospected Dynax 5 built-in flash has a GN of 12 for
    28mm - the 2000xi doesn't add too much value here. For 35mm and longer,
    it's a slight improvement, but for serious use, I'd get a flash with
    tilt reflector.
     
    Matthias Andree, Dec 30, 2003
    #15
  16. techie

    Deathwalker Guest

    dynax 5 with 28-100 now going for £189 at jessops.
     
    Deathwalker, Jan 4, 2004
    #16
  17. techie

    Alan Browne Guest

    you missed my "correction" posting 29 Dec @10:13 EST.
     
    Alan Browne, Jan 4, 2004
    #17
  18. I saw it after sending off my post and didn't bother to cancel
    mine. Sorry, such things happen with unsynchronized individuals :)
     
    Matthias Andree, Jan 6, 2004
    #18
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