Minolta 7 or 9?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by winjeel, Mar 21, 2009.

  1. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    I've been into the Minolta series since I was a little grasshopper. My first being a Seagull (Minolta MD mount), and now the AF KM Alpha Sweet digital (forgive me). However, the Seagull internal light meter has given up the ghost, and no-one here is willing to repair it (and I can't figure out how to pull it apart myself).

    Now the twist, the cost of getting a handheld light meter is about the same as getting a nice second hand Minolta Alpha 7 or Alpha 9 (or Dynax / Maxum 7/9), and the price ranges are similar, too. I've had a look at the reviews of both on Photo.Net, and it seems the light metering system on the A7 looks a little more useful, but there's got to be a killer feature of the Alpha 9 (apart from that blistering shutter speed). What's the real difference? Which would you prefer?

    So in short, I am considering getting one of the readily available Alphas or hold out and wait for an affordable (and hopefully look-through) light meter. I think you can guess which way I'm tending anyway.

    Oh, also, I've got a Sony 70-300mm G, with that cyan coloured lens coating, which apparently is good for digital sensors in rendering colour. But, does this make much of a difference on film? (I'm guessing nothing really noticeable).
     
  2. wayne naughton

    wayne naughton Member

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    Go for the 9, it's killer feature is that it is the toughest minolta ever, it's unbreakable.
     
  3. Jeff L

    Jeff L Subscriber

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    I use a Contax RTS III, which I love. I have to admit that when I held a (here) Maxxum 9 my knees went a little weak. The 7 is supposed to be amazing too. No matter what you choose, you can't lose. Two stunning cameras.
     
  4. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Winjeel;

    As previously mentioned, you will probably be happy with either the Dynax 7 or the Dynax 9. For what most people are doing, either will be a good choice. I do have the Minolta Maxxum 9 (the Dynax 9 relabeled for sale in the United States) and so far I have used the 1/12,000 shutter speed only once during a lens test. Most of the time, I am using more normal shutter speeds. I have not tried the Dynax 7, so I cannot comment on it. There is something I can say about the Dynax 9, however. Try it first. I know that you have held it in your hands, but try actually using it. I have found that for my hands, the shutter release switch is actually a little bit back and out of the way for my index finger. It reminds me of my original Nikon F shutter release button; it is a little too far back. I must make a deliberate effort to get to the shutter release switch. But then, considering that it is a bit sensitive, that may be a good thing, as it prevents false shots from just having your finger on the switch.

    Regarding the rest of the camera, yes, it is a true electronic marvel. The auto loading of the film is always an amusing process to watch. Yes, it does have just about every feature that you can think about that is found also on today's digital cameras. Anyone who has a modern digital camera will feel right at home with a Dynax 9.

    I admit that I regard mine as a special purpose camera. If I need that shutter speed, it is there. If I need all of the automation, I have access to it. I still find my Minolta SR and SR-T cameras more fun to use, and the X-700 still seems to fit my hand the best. Finally, I hope that the price of the Dynax 9 is not as high for you as they are here. Currently a good sample is about $ 600 here in the US.
     
  5. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    Thanks for the comments.

    USD$600 is a little higher than what I can find it for, here in Japan. Actually, you reminded me that it has some features that haven't appeared on any digital camera, yet. That flash system where you can organise the strength and sequence of flashes isn't available on the new Sonys, at least yet. Hang on, that's the A7 / Dynax 7.

    The next time I'm in that store, I'll pay attention to the shutter release, thanks for that thought. But I'll also like to confirm that the Sony 70-300mm G will work on it, too.

    Since making this original post, I realised I could replace the Seagull with either the SRT-201 or SRT101 (not familiar with these, actually), especially as I love the 50mm 1.8 that I've got. If I did stay with the AF (full-frame / film) system, I'd have a gap between my 28mm prime and 70-300mm. Hmm... more food for thought.
     
  6. zk-cessnaguy

    zk-cessnaguy Member

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    Well, before you buy the Dynax 9, make sure it has had the SSM upgrade, otherwise it will not be able to work with your Sony 70-300G. The Dynax 7 will work out of the box with SSM lenses, support ADI flash and do wireless High Speed Synch flash.
     
  7. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    I'm using a Maxxum 7000. Not sure if it's the same as the Dynax 7 but I really like it. It came with a Tamron 28-200 AF lens. The Sony Alpha line uses the same lens mount. $40 for the camera and lens on an ebay auction.
     
  8. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    The 7 is 20 years ahead in technology (just about). I have been looking on and off for one. When ever they come up, I never seem to have the cash.

    For the reasons that ZK mentioned, I would go the 7, purely for the SSM capabilities. This means that even the most modern of lenses will still have AF. There is still a chance of getting a 9 converted, but I believe it has to be done in Europe
     
  9. zk-cessnaguy

    zk-cessnaguy Member

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    Wade, this is a Dynax (Maxxum) 7 (with vertical grip).

    [​IMG]
     
  10. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    As you may have worked out, both cameras are stunning examples of what can be done if the engineers try hard enough!!!

    Both cameras have the brilliant 14-segment, centre-weighted and spot metering. They also have high-speed sync and a bunch of other goodies. Oh yeah, they also offer the about best control layout (in my opinion) ever available on a 35mm camera - and that also goes for the vertical grips with their unequalled design.

    Alpha 7:
    - has SSM and ADI support as standard,
    - stores 'exif' data for every frame of the last 7 rolls,
    - allows the aperture to be changed while using the DOF preview,
    - has the brilliant rear display that can show DOF range and exposure values for each meter segment and heaps more.

    Alpha 9:
    - beautiful 100% viewfinder,
    - NO SSM or ADI unless it has had the upgrade,
    - 1/300 flash sync (the 7 has 1/200) if that makes a differnece to you,
    - can be used to support a car when changing a wheel (just kidding!)

    It appears that unless the 9 you are looking at has had the SSM upgrade, you might not be able to get it done. There is a petition at Dyxum.com where they are trying to get the parts made available to have the 9 upgrades done - you might want to check it out.

    As I said, they're both awesome - only you will know which one to get after deciding what matters most to you, but it's unlikely that you will be disappointed with either one.

    Have fun,
    Gordon
     
  11. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    A lot more sophisticated than the Maxxum 7000 indeed. I tend to upgrade in increments. SRT 101, SRT 201, X-700 and now the 7000. Looks like I may need to upgrade again.
     
  12. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    The "7" was the last of the 7 series (7000, 700, and then the 7... seems like they were counting down). Also, Maxxum / Dynax / Alpha... it's all the same beast, just depends on which country you were in.

    I had a look at them today, and certainly, it's sad that the Alpha 7 seemed to have had the best menu and electronic features, compared to the last Alpha 9 made (before it all went digital). The menu system and all the buttons and bits were all really familiar, and very easy to have confidence in using. Switching between the two cameras can possibly be done without a second thought. But the Alpha 9, shame it didn't have that display system on the back. Also, I couldn't figure out how to adjust the focus zone. I'm sure there is a way, and it'll become second nature later, but that display system on the back of the A7!!!

    Still thinking about it all. "kangaimasu" (Japanese for 'think[ing about]')
     
  13. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    Oh, one more thought. The largest digital files I can get scanned here in this city, is a little more than 4000x3000, which is on par with the current Sony A700 in terms of digital size. So, there must be some extra advantage that film has. I'm very logical in making decisions, as you can perhaps tell. I loved the effects you can get with black and white film, especially with filters (especially red filters on clear skies with some fluffy clouds). There's got to be more than that, I'd imagine.
     
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  15. naaldvoerder

    naaldvoerder Member

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    That's funny.. I too have a RTSIII and I was also impressed by the Dynax 9 of a friend of mine. I think the Dynax 9 is arguably the most impressive 35mm camera ever made. Build to last and razorsharp to use... My friend sold it and went D....l though....

    Jaap Jan
     
  16. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning;

    Regarding the Minolta 9 or the Maxxum/Dynax 9 and the SSM/ADI Upgrade program on the IC-1 chip inside the camera:

    As mentioned about the www.dyxum.com specialty group for the Minolta Maxxum Cameras, there is a movement to work with Sony to make this upgrade available as a service to the "legacy Minolta customers" that Sony inherited with the purchase of Konica/Minolta. I have examined my own Maxxum 9, and I am also qualified to receive the upgrade on my camera. I admit that I did have hope that it might have been done already.

    There is hope that this might work, especially if we can show that there is a large group of cameras that have not been upgraded, but their owners would like to buy and use the new Sony SAL lenses. I have added my name to that group.
     
  17. winjeel

    winjeel Member

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    Hmm... I'm still thinking about it. But flashgumby, thanks for the summary. I'm now leaning towards the 7, but then a friends is now dangling an 800si in front of me. I've never held one in my hands (he's in Denmark, and I'm in Japan), but I really like the back on the Alpha / Dynax 7.

    The other thing I need to do now, is to test the quality of the film scanning service that there is locally.
     
  18. Rob Skeoch

    Rob Skeoch Advertiser Advertiser

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    I'm a bit confused... my normal state. So the 9 doesn't work on the SSM lenses without the up-grade.... and we can't get the up-grade at this time.... right.
    The 7 does work with the SSM lenses but isn't as well built as the 9.... right.
    -rob
     
  19. zk-cessnaguy

    zk-cessnaguy Member

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    That's correct. The 9 is a slightly earlier camera, introduced in 1998. The 7 came along in 2000. SSM lenses came out in 2003.
     
  20. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    You are looking at two of the best 35mm bodies ever made. The difference is subtle, but there. I have owned several of both, and many other Maxxums (and Minolta manual focus bodies as well). The 9 is sleek, a film shooter's dream. The viewfinder is gorgeous. The shutter sound is perfect. It is built like a tank and will take some abuse of travel, etc. However, it is large and heavy, along with the grip - more heavy, and therefore may not get as much travel time as your old manual camera would. I find the small LCD at the top not as nice for tripod shots as the large LCD on the back of the 7 - however, I am never concerned about how or where I place the camera as I am with the 7! Also, the custom menus on the 7 show up in words - the 9 menus you must memorize and go off of numbers. Small things, I know - but they can make a difference.

    To be honest, I think I've gotten more "field time" out of the 7, although it's hard to tell. It has ADI/SSM already on board, and handles quite well for its size and weight in comparison to the 9. If it were weather sealed, it would be easy to forgo the 9 and have only the 7. It is that good. What it does is present perhaps the best compromise to a camera I've ever seen. Small enough to take with (while still being "pro featured" enough to shoot anything), light weight, fast AF, bright viewfinder, good shutter speeds, MLU (which the 800si does not have), quite competent metering, and wireless flash.
    AF speed on both is very similar and generally quite fast. The 9 is more silent, as it has a larger motor with more torque. The 7 is louder, and really slams the lens in there - which may make them seem different speeds - but really almost the same. I think the 7 may be a touch faster with lighter lenses (say anything smaller and lighter than the 100mm macro D) and the 9 is a little faster with longer lenses (300mm, etc) due to the increased torque.
    I personally find the interface of the 7 to be better than the 800si and the like. But that's just me - coming from the manual Minolta lineup of XD-11, X-700, etc - the 7 fit my style better than the 800si and older bodies. Not that they're bad either...just different.
    But all that said, on an emotional level as a photographer, you hold a 9 and just *sigh* ... how can anything be better, you ask? :smile: So, I agree with you...what a hard decision!
    Jed
     
  21. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    Another vote for the Dynax 7, I absolutely love this camera (although I still plan to get a 9 once...). The only thing you should be aware of is that I have found that my 7 sometimes can mis-focus in low light conditions (e.g. artificial light in a house at nighttime), but I think this is a more general issue with most autofocus camera's. This does seem to be a point of improvement in the latest d*****l bodies though. I have held the Sony A900, and it did seem to be performing significantly better in this respect... However, under normal daylight conditions, you will be fine with the AF on the Dynax 7.

    Some top features I like about the 7 and don't know if the 9 supports:

    - Of course the well lit display on the back. Great, I use it for example during long exposure night shots (e.g. several minutes, BULB). It will display the time past since you pressed the shutter, so you can release it again when you've finished the exposure you planned. If you switch-on the displays light during this BULB exposure, it will stay on the whole time, allowing you to easily watch the time passing. No fumbling around with a stop-watch!

    - Mid-film rewind and RELOAD(! :surprised:). This is just fantastic. You can rewind a film half way (e.g. 36 exposure film with only 10 exposures on it), and than RELOAD it and SET the exposure number it needs to wind to. It will than AUTOMATICALLY wind forward to the designated frame number.

    I use this feature all the time!!! It's so great to be able to switch between different ISO film types, or color and BW, without any hassle. It's a killer feature... (just one tip: write the last frame number down on the outside of the film, to avoid double exposures :wink:)

    - Exposure data saving. It will save all the exposure data of the last 7 films used. You can review it on the display on the back and write it down, or, if you still manage to find one second hand: get a Minolta data reader for the Dynax 7 (I have one: it's called the Data Saver DS-100). Unfortunately, the Dynax 7 doesn't yet feature USB to transfer the data to your computer. Shame, since USB was around at the time... The data reader will allow you to write the data to an outdated memory card type (SmartMedia, max 16MB :D) and than read that in a generic card reader. Of course, getting the Data Saver second hand is only useful if it includes a working SmartMedia card as well, because you can't buy them any more. And preferably, it should include a suitable working card reader as well. I don't think the latest card readers support the SmartMedia type any more, but my Sandisk USB 2.0 Multi-Card reader of a few years back still did...
     
  22. Java

    Java Member

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    I keep seeing this thread and the more I read it the more I think "HMMMMMM!!!! Dynax 7?"

    Not owned a Minolta before and this may be my first one (just have to sneak it past the other half:D)

    Oh as a slight off topic but what is the diffence between Minolta Xi and Minolta D lenses?
     
  23. zk-cessnaguy

    zk-cessnaguy Member

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    Xi lenses have power zoom. For full functionality (zoom following etc) they need to be coupled with Xi series cameras. D lenses are distance encoded ones. They communicate the focus distance to the camera, which improved flash exposure when using D series flashes. Also the 7 will display depth of field information on the rear display when the DOF button is pressed when using a D lens.
     
  24. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    Ditto what zk said above, but add that the Xi lenses have the *worst* manual focus I've ever seen - it's kind of a jumpy-incremental thing that always seems to either be just short or just past the point you want. Truly dreadful.

    I don't own any Xi lenses, having gotten a couple for free and I gave them to my young son (he thinks the power zoom is cool!). I do wish more of my lenses were 'D' though - the features are not critical, but worth having.

    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  25. Jedidiah Smith

    Jedidiah Smith Member

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    I'll agree with the two posts above regarding Xi lenses and D lenses. The D lenses were the latest version of Minolta's and are probably worth having if you have a 7 body to go with them...the distance feature is nice, but not necessary, of course. Most of the Sony lenses are D as well - so that's something to think about too, if you can't find a used Minolta lens and want the D feature.
    There are plenty of old, good lenses that do not have the D feature either - but I wouldn't really seek out an Xi version...it was one of those "nice thoughts" to have motorized zoom but didn't pan out so well in practice. Minolta had a whole series of cards that you could attach to the Xi series bodies to take advantage of the Xi lenses with - like for sports or tracking children, etc. Interesting thought, but in practice a skilled photographer is so much better than the computer...you get what I mean, I think.
    What focal lengths are you aiming for? Minolta had some top quality glass that runs with the big boys...you just have to know which model to get. Check out the lens section at www.dyxum.com for good hands-on user reviews, photos, and specs.
    Jed
     
  26. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

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    I forgot to mention that even though the power zoom and manual focus were rather quirky, optically the lenses were pretty good.