Minolta Alpha 5 / Dynax 5
I'm in Japan and so it's called "Minolta Alpha Sweet II". However, according the Mhoner.de, it's a Dynax 5 or Maxxum 5, depending on where you are. I'm considering getting one of these. I've had a play with it in the store, and it works fine with the Sony 70-300mm G lens. The buttons and knobs were annoying, but simplistic (took me five minutes to work out how to adjust the aperture when it was set in Manual mode). Otherwise, it looks like it's never been used. Not a mark, no wear, no fading of anything. Other than the stats on Mhoner.de, does anyone have any experiences with it? Any problems to look out for?
It seems to be DX compatible, and I've tried to adjust the iso manually, as I used some newly bought film that didn't have the DX markings on it. So, no prob' there either. Though, using the focus point selection will be frustrating, I'm sure.
Any issues with flash and remote release compatibility? Any issues with anything that I should consider?
The Maxxum 5 is the best of Minolta's remarkable Plastic Fantastics. I have three of them. I bought one as a light weight companion for my Maxxum 9000's. Liked it so much and they were so cheap, I picked up 2 more. They have become the everyday 35mm SLR choice for me and my kids.
The camera is 100% better with the AA battery grip. Rechargeable's are recommended. The IR remote is cheap and does the job.
We have had no issues in the over 4 years we have had them. The camera is highly flexable. The manual is thick and is on line. Picking the focus should be no problem, since you can set it to do whatever you wish. The controls make sense when you get the hang of the logic at work.
The DX is important at turn on, but it defaults to all last used settings. It is as automatic or not so as you tell it to be. Motor speed is 3 frames but don't confuse the ikon with the one for auto bracketing. Rewind is very fast. Back lock is wizardry. The metering is amazing and the features seem to be neverending. The 5 is scary accurate. You really need to read the manual, some exotic things are not so obvious.
This camera was in production when Minolta quit cameras. There was a lot of left over inventory and they were dumped in bulk, very cheap. I Trust them enough to have shot my sons high school graduation in June with one.
This from a guy who otherwise has an irrationally intense dislike for light weight plastic cameras. Get the AA pack.
Thanks for the comments. I'll look out for the AA pack, too (didn't know that there was one).
I agree completely with what Fred DeVan said. I'm primarily a Canon guy, but any time I am going into a situation where I don't want to put one of my more expensive Canons at risk (hiking, fishing, sailing, rowing etc.) I grab one of my two Maxxum 5s. The 28-85 kit lens is quite adequate the 28-100 not too good.
I've had the Maxxum 5 for about five years and it has never failed me once. It is packed full of features that normaly would not be found on an entry level body, that being said actualy using those features can be a bit of a hassle. The body is just too small to be very user friendly (bracketing for example is a total pain).
With the price of film cameras so very low these days might I recommend you look at another of the Maxxum line, specifically the Maxxum 7? It does everything the 5 does, just better, all functions have dedicated controls, added advantage of mirror lock up, and here's the big one - an LCD panel on the back that shows all of your settings at a glance.
If you choose to go with the 5 you will have a very good camera, and they cost next to nothing so not a great loss if you decide it's not for you. It does everything well, its only flaw is the interface - they just put too much into that tiny little body.
I upgraded a couple of years back and the 5 has been sitting as backup ever since (never once needed as such - Minolta really made some great, reliable cameras).
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I have been looking at the Alpha / Dynax / Maxxum 7 as well. What's appealing about the 5, is that it's so small and light, so as a back up camera in a kit full of heavy lenses, it's perhaps less likely to be left home when I really need it. I did leave my back up camera at home on the very first night (shooting fireworks) that my main camera failed. It was FRUSTRATING! But as you say, the 7 is much better, and much more accessible (have tried both in the store).
Thanks for the replies, more food for thought.