In normal lighting conditions the 5D’s AF system is so fast it is effectively instantaneous, and in its default wide-area setting it does seem to have an uncanny knack of focusing on just the right part of the image. One test of this is trying to focus on a bird in flight against a cloudy sky, at which the 5D succeeded consistently. In low light conditions the AF system was fractionally slower, but not by much.
Exposure and colour balance are, as you might expect, also superb. The 5D uses the same CX Process III image engine as the award-winning Dynax 7D, and the results are superb. The 5D has ISO settings ranging from 100 to 3,200, and with its advanced and extremely effective noise reduction system it is capable of turning in a usable picture even at the highest setting. Combined with the anti-shake system and the performance of the AF system, this makes the 5D a good choice for low-light or flash-free photography.
The Dynax 5D is available in a kit with the excellent Konica Minolta AF DT 18-70mm F3.5-5.6 lens, which provides extremely fast and very quiet focusing as well as superb optical performance. It is a lightweight lens specifically designed for use with Konica Minolta’s digital SLRs, and makes a perfect standard zoom, roughly equivalent to 28-105mm on a film SLR. The image quality produced by the camera and lens is outstanding, with excellent contrast and minimal distortion right into the corners of the frame right across the zoom range. For sheer picture quality it is without question the best 6-megapixel digital SLR I have seen so far. Take a look at the accompanying sample shots to see what I mean.
Superb performance, design and handling, fantastic picture quality and a huge range of features and options make the Dynax 5D a very strong contender in the budget D-SLR market. If you are looking for such a camera, this should definitely be on your shortlist. It may lack the 8.0 megapixel performance of the Canon EOS 350D, but it offers a wider range of features and it has the advantage of the excellent Konica Minolta anti-shake system, which is very hard to beat.