Minolta Maxxum 5000i Dynax
The Minolta Maxxum 5000i is a second-generation A-mount camera. It was released in 1989 as a replacement for the Maxxum 5000.
It was discontinued in 1992. The replacement model was the Minolta Maxxum 5xi.
What’s interesting about the camera is that the “i” in 5000i stands for “intelligence.” This is because the camera takes Creative Expansion Cards that add features to the camera.
You can check the Minolta Maxxum 5000i prices on eBay, to see the current market price.
The only place I was able to find Creative Expansion Cards), was on eBay.
However, all of the cards were not available. Unless you get cards included with the 5000i, I don’t see the value in the cards or the camera.
Newer and higher-end Minolta film cameras sell for similar prices to the 5000i. They don’t need the expansion cards, as the features are built into the camera. See the alternative camera section below for my recommendations.
Prices were taken from the B&H Photo price list in the back of a September 1989 Popular Photography magazine.
- Camera Only - $299.95
- Camera w/ 50mm f/1.7 - $359.95
- Camera w/ 50mm f/1.4 - $437.95
Using the BLS inflation calculator, prices in terms of today’s money would be $616.12, $739.36, and $899.58.
Camera Battery - 2CR5
The Minolta Maxxum 5000i uses a 2CR5 battery.
You should be able to find one in a store or online for less than $10. Buying a multi-pack online will lower the price per battery.
It is important to carry a spare battery with you when you go out taking photos. If the battery dies, you’re not going to be able to take any more photos.
The Minolta 5000i has an electronically controlled focal-plane shutter. This type of shutter is generally more accurate and less prone to degrading than mechanically controlled shutters.
Shutter speeds range from 1/2000 of a second to 4 seconds in whole stop increments. The camera also has a bulb mode.
The maximum flash sync speed is 1/90 of a second. There is a built-in flash, as well as a proprietary hot shoe above the viewfinder.
Creative Expansion Cards
The Creative Expansion Cards come off to me as a cash grab gimmick. The cards existed to extract more money out of people who bought the camera.
Without using an expansion card, the camera can only be used in auto and manual modes.
The Canon EOS 650 was released before the Maxxum 5000i and had a similar price. Programmed auto-exposure, shutter priority, aperture priority, and depth-of-field priority were all built into the Canon EOS 650.
There are a total of 26 Creative Expansion Cards. Some of them have a second version of a card. I do not know what any of the differences between the versions are.
- A/S Mode (Aperture & Shutter Priority Modes)
- Automatic Depth Control
- Sports Action, Sports Action 2
- Highlight/Shadow Control
- Multi-Spot Memory
- Multiple Exposure, Multiple Exposure 2
- Background Priority
- Custom, Custom xi
- Automatic Program Shift, Auto-Shift 2
- Data Memory, Data Memory 2
- Exposure Bracketing, Bracketing 2
- Flash Bracketing
- Fantasy, Fantasy 2
Slightly more information can be found on these two sites:
35mm Film to Use
Unless you are going to be taking photos in full sunlight, ISO 400 film is the best choice.
ISO 400 film is going to be fast enough to use indoors and in shade, with shutter speeds that won’t cause blurry photos.
Here are my recommendations for film:
Black & White
ISO Range & Settings
The 5000i can read the DX coding on film. Film speed will be set automatically for ISO 25-5000.
If using TTL flash metering, the ISO range for the film is reduced. You’ll be limited to ISO 25-1000.
ISO can not be manually set. If the film is inserted into the camera without a DX code, the ISO will be set to 100.
Viewfinder / Focusing Screen
The viewfinder is ridiculously small. It is absolutely terrible. The Minolta Maxxum 5000, the camera that the 5000i, has a larger viewfinder.
Also, as previously noted, the Canon EOS 650, also has a larger viewfinder.
Making a broader comparison to the dozens of cameras I have used, it is one of the worst viewfinders I have ever encountered.
The focusing screen has a single center AF point. There are some colored LED lights on the right side to indicate focus.
Minolta A-Mount (Sony A-Mount) Lenses
The Minolta 5000i uses A-mount lenses. The mount was originally created by Minolta to support autofocus.
In 2006, Minolta sold their camera division to Sony. Since then Sony has released many DSLRs that use the A-mount.
However, Sony mirrorless cameras are more popular. They use the Sony E-mount (NEX).
What this means is that A-mount lenses are the least expensive autofocus SLR lenses. The low prices don’t mean low image quality. There are just more of them around than people wanting to use them.
Here are my recommended lenses to take a look at:
- Minolta AF 50mm f/1.7
- Minolta AF 28mm f/2.8
- Minolta AF 70-210mm f/3.5-4.5
- Minolta AF 28-80mm f/3.5-5.6
The camera manual lists the Maxxum Flash 3200i and 2000i as the flashes that are compatible with the camera. Later Minolta flashes will also be usable.
Keep in mind that the camera has a proprietary hot shoe that has been discontinued. Starting in 2012, Sony switched to a standard centerfire pin hot shoe with the introduction of the Sony a99.
As a result, modern flashes can’t be used with the camera unless you buy an FS-1100 flash shoe adapter.
A modern flash is a better choice as you can use the ones you already own. If you have a flash with a wireless trigger, you’ll save yourself the hassle of tracking down sync cables.
Minolta FS-1100 Flash Shoe Adapter
The Minolta FS-1100 is an adapter that changes the proprietary hot shoe into a standard hot shoe.
This would be useful if the adapter was not as expensive as a 5000i camera body.
Minolta DB-5 Data Back
The DB-5 data back allows you to imprint the date and time onto film. It is powered by a 3V button cell watch battery.
Cable Release RC-1000L & RC-1000S
The remote cable releases are useful for long exposures and to reduce camera shake on a tripod. The trigger button has a lock on it for long exposures.
Autofocusing and metering are activated when the shutter release button is pressed on the cable release.
RC-1000L - 16.5 ft (5m)
RC-1000S - 20 in. (0.5m)
You can find a scanned PDF copy of the Minolta Maxxum 5000i manual on Butkus.org. The manual is useful as a reference for some of the more complicated camera functions.
Unfortunately, the manual does not have individual instructions for using each of the Creative Expansion Cards.
Minolta Maxxum 5 / Dynax 5
Not to be confused with the Minolta Maxxum 5xi. The Minolta 5xi is older than the Maxxum 5.
It is the entry-level 5th generation model. It is attractive because it is the same price as the 5000i.
You get 3 generations of improvements and get most of the features the expansions cards provide, without having to buy them.
The other 5th generation models are the Maxxum 7 and Maxxum 9.
Minolta Maxxum 70 / Dynax 60
The Maxxum 70 (Dynax 60) is a 6th, and final, generation mid-level camera.
There’s not anything incredible about the camera. However, they are available for around the same price as the 5000i.
Minolta Maxxum 800si / Dynax 800si
The 800si is a high-end model that can occasionally be found for around the same price as the 5000i.
For a low price, this is a camera worth upgrading to. It is the best camera you can get without a large price jump to the Maxxum 9 or Maxxum 7.