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Flash Performance

A very similar performance to the DiMAGE 7, fairly good flash metering if a little bright on occasions (you can adjust the flash power output through the record menu). The DiMAGE 5's flash unit has a rated range of; at wide angle: 0.5 - 3.8 m (1.6 - 12.5 ft), telephoto: 0.5 - 3 m (1.6 - 9.8 ft).

Images re-saved to sRGB colour space [info]

Skin tone test: Not a bad performance. Good colour for skin tone and wall background (which isn't quite white). Wide angle white wall: At full wide angle (35 mm equiv.) flash doesn't cover whole wide angle. No colour cast. A good performance, if a little too close to over-exposure for my liking. Colours are good after being run through the Minolta Image Viewer.

Night exposures

The DiMAGE 5 allows a maximum exposure of 4 seconds in manual exposure mode, this can be extended to up to 60 seconds in Bulb mode, but of course that means holding the shutter release button down without wobbling the camera. The DiMAGE 5 does seem to be capable of exposures at least up to 16 seconds, I really don't know why Minolta didn't include them. Add a simple dark frame subtraction routine and you'd have fairly nice noiseless night shots straight from the camera.

ISO 100, 4 secs, F3.4
ISO 200, 4 secs, F3.4
ISO 400, 4 secs, F3.4
ISO 100, Bulb (14 secs), F3.4

Barrel and Pincushion Distortion

The DiMAGE 7 faired well, considering you were getting 28 mm equiv. However, 1.3% distortion at wide angle at 35 mm will be noticeable. That said telephoto pincushion distortion is a very respectable 0.5%, considering it's the equivalent of 250 mm on a 35 mm camera.

Barrel Distortion, 1.3% @ Wide Angle Pincushion Distortion, 0.5% @ Full Tele

Purple Fringing (Chromatic Aberrations)

We noted in our review of the DiMAGE 7 that this lens exhibited very few chromatic aberrations, and of course the same applies to the DiMAGE 5. For a lens with this much focal length range (zoom) it performed very well, I had to hunt through our collection of sample images to find an example of chromatic aberrations in a 'every day' shot.

Images re-saved to sRGB colour space [info]

Hard pressed to find evidence of chromatic aberrations in "every day" shots
Our now standard chromatic aberration test shot

Overall Image Quality / Specific Issues

On the whole (working around the camera's caveats) the DiMAGE 5 worked fairly well. Colour balance was on the whole good (after being run through the Image Viewer application), as was its tonal (grayscale) balance and usable dynamic range. Resolution was around the average (or a little less) for a three megapixel, which is a shame because I'm convinced that this is not a problem with the lens. Metering tended to be a little too center weighted so judicious use of exposure compensation (normally negative EV) would sometimes be required.

Samples below are straight from the camera and HAVE NOT been run through the Minolta Image Viewer application.

AF Misses

Just like the DiMAGE 7 and to a certain degree the DiMAGE S304 the DiMAGE 5's AF system wasn't the best, quickest or most accurate I've ever used. On several occasions the camera would insist it had a good AF lock (showing a solid black dot on the LCD monitor) which later turns out to be a bad AF. Examples below are crops from a larger image.

Flat Area / Shadow Noise

Unfortunately the DiMAGE 5 turned out to be a fairly 'noisy' performer, for well exposed 'bright' image areas the detail (signal) generally outweighed the noise and so wasn't as visible, but delve into the shadows or look at an area of blue sky and you'll soon see more noise than I would like (or expect) of a three megapixel prosumer digital camera (certainly at this price point). Below are three 100% crops from the image shown in the first thumbnail.

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