Most desireable Minolta AF film camera pro body?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Vsanzbajo, Jun 30, 2011.

  1. Vsanzbajo

    Vsanzbajo Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    A friend of mine is trying to decide which Minolta Pro body with auto focus to get. Are the AF as good as the MF Minoltas? Recommendations?

    Thanks in advance
     
  2. flashgumby

    flashgumby Member

    Messages:
    76
    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Location:
    Lake Macquar
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I'll answer the last part of your question first - there are a *LOT* of Minolta AF cameras. Some are good, some are not so good, some are brilliant - just like any brand I guess. As good as Minolta MF cameras? Yeah, I reckon so...

    Also, some of the early AF lenses were reportedly based on the optics of their MF brothers, so needless to say they are quite decent - some better than others, and some real gems in there.

    What you need to know is if your friend has any SSM lenses (or has plans to get some) that he wants to use on the Minolta - not all Minoltas support SSM.

    There are five or six series of Minolta AF cameras:
    The first (1985-ish) series had model numbers "x000" - eg 5000, 7000 and 9000.
    The second series were "x000i" - 5000i, etc
    Then came the "xi" series - 5xi, 7xi...
    After that was the "si" series - 600si and so on
    Up til then, there was no SSM support - enter the single-digit series...
    The single-digit series was (IMO) the epitome of Minolta AF camera development - models such as the 7 and 9 were outstanding, and are the pick of an excellent bunch.
    After that we got the Konica-Minolta film bodies - all two of them, known as the Maxxum 50 (aka Dynax 40) and Maxxum 70 (aka Dynax 60). Not bad bodies, but a decent step backwards in my opinion.

    So, if your friend wants SSM, the single-series is where it's at.

    The 5 is a nice, compact, lightweight body that has SSM, high-speed flash sync, decent AF and so on. For me, it's a bit small, so I passed mine to my 12yo son who loves it :smile:

    The 7 is brilliant. Outstanding. Awesome. Go through you thesaurus and find any similar words to these and add them to the list. It really is that good. Bigger than the 5, but still not *big*. A control layout that makes sense! Knobs and buttons instead of menus :smile: The AF is better then the 5, the viewfinder is bigger and better as well. The 7 also boasts an LCD screen on the back that has various displays - absolutely brilliant! It also has SSM, high-speed sync, etc.

    The 9 takes it up another notch - build is on another level, but it is rather heavier than the 7 - bigger too. It does have a huge 100% viewfinder, but loses the rear LCD of the 7, if that matters to your friend.

    The only gotcha with the 9 is SSM - it was released before the 7, so it lacks SSM out of the box, but upgrades were (are still?) available that add full SSM support - many have already had the upgrade and it you can find an upgraded one at a reasonable price, grab it. If you find one that hasn't had the upgrade and think you might want to have it done - it costs several hundred dollars, so that might be a deal breaker for your friend.

    On the other hand, if SSM doesn't matter, and a big chunky camera is OK, the 9 looks pretty good.

    If budget is important, there are a few other well worth looking at. The 600si is another favourite of mine - handling similar to the 7 and 9 (ie brilliant), just a lovely thing to use, but AF is a bit more sluggish than the newer bodies. The 700si and 800si are also great cameras, but lack the control layout that I like - your friend might have different likes than me though.

    Suggested shortlist?
    * 600si / 700si / 800si for excellence within a tight budget (no SSM)
    * 5 for a quick, light, compact performer that's underrated by many
    * 7 for the best of both worlds - beautiful form and brilliant function
    * 9 for the heavyweight champion - a bit simpler than the 7, but wonderfully capable

    Hope my ramblings have helped - you can drop me a PM if you have any more specific questions.

    Regards,
    Gordon
     
  3. polyglot

    polyglot Member

    Messages:
    3,472
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    South Austra
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    mhohner.de is the standard reference.

    7 is most modern, 9 is ruggedest, 5 is tiny and featureful.
     
  4. bobt99silver

    bobt99silver Member

    Messages:
    10
    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2008
    Location:
    Minnesota, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree with the comments above - I'd just add I prefer the 800si to the 700si - it adds rear curtain flash synch, and you don't have to remember to hold the flash button if you have the flash raised and you want fill flash even though the camera doesn't call for it. It also eliminates the extra program cards - which I never used much anyway - you just have to remember that some of the controls are behind the little door on the right.

    The 7 adds mirror lock-up with the 2 second timer
     
  5. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

    Messages:
    832
    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2008
    Location:
    Latte Land,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Good morning, Vsanzbajo;

    Others have already suggested the Minolta Maxxum 9 or Dynax 9 or Alpha 9, depending on which part of the world it was sold. They are names for the same camera. For "professional use," the Minolta 9 is also my recommendation.

    The AF Minolta 9 IC-1 Chip SSM Upgrade is still available from RunTime in Bremen, Germany. ( repairinfo@runtimecontract.biz ) Two boxes of 100 each in each box of the flexible printed circuit board with the SSM upgrade on them were sent to the RunTime people, and they are the one single place in the world now to have this option performed on the early Minolta 9. The price for me was 200 Euros which did include a CLA, plus some taxes and about $500 USD for the shipping both ways with tracking. The RunTime people insisted on the "with tracking" shipping method. This came to just about $900 for me to get the upgrade.

    Do I like the Minolta 9? Yes. I have a few of the accessories for it that make it even more useful for me and insure that I will be able to fit a useable battery into it for continued operation for many more years. And I do like the weight of the camera and the stabilizing effect that has. I just wish that I could also use the many earlier Minolta ROKKOR Manual Focus lenses that I have here.
     
  6. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    2,373
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I would say one of the 9's, 9000, 9000i, 9xi or 9. Personally I like the Maxxum 9 the best.
     
  7. EricO

    EricO Member

    Messages:
    87
    Joined:
    May 17, 2007
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have several but the 7 and 5 are my favorites. The 5 is compact and easy to carry around. The 7? I can't find the words to describe how much I like this camera.
     
  8. zesbaugh

    zesbaugh Member

    Messages:
    62
    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Location:
    Tacoma, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have no experience with the 9, but the 7 is excellent and the 5 ain't bad.
    The 5 is super compact, a blessing for carrying, but a curse in that they had to compromise on interface/controls. A few to many "hold this down while turning that" controls to fiddle with, and easy to forget what those combos are. If you can master them though it is packed with features you wouldn't expect on a consumer grade camera.
    The 7 is a pure joy to use. Intuitive controls placed where they should be, and many are custom controlable should you not like the factory configuration. If you do any tripod work the LCD screen comes in very handy, shows you every setting in one easy to read place so no worries about "did I remember to change X setting". Oh, and it takes great pictures too. I've often read on this site that you should never trust an in-camera meter, that they can't compare to a good handheld, this camera just might be the exception to that rule - at least for me so far. Like it so much I bought 2 of them!
     
  9. zk-cessnaguy

    zk-cessnaguy Member

    Messages:
    137
    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Auckland, Ne
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I think flashgumby hit it on the head. I have the 7 and love it. Had the 5 but found it too small for my hands.
     
  10. albcamp

    albcamp Member

    Messages:
    9
    Joined:
    Sep 26, 2007
    Location:
    Western Aust
    Shooter:
    35mm
    "I just wish that I could also use the many earlier Minolta ROKKOR Manual Focus lenses that I have here."

    I recently purchased an adapter which allows me to use my MC/MD lenses on my 7xi and 9xi ($32 on Ebay). It has a glass element for infinity focus and the results are no different to what I normally achieve (99% of what I do is hand-held). The lens mount being the same on the 9, perhaps the adapter is the answer
     
  11. blockend

    blockend Member

    Messages:
    1,637
    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2010
    Location:
    northern eng
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The 500si and 404si are poor cameras whose only redeeming feature is they're available for small change. The autofocus doesn't, basically and the lenses are expensive because they fit later models. If you have a spare lens and use them on manual focus they are cheaper than a disposable and weigh little more. If you're looking for AF with a kit zoom the batteries will run out before the lens finishes hunting for focus and won't allow you to press the shutter until it has.
     
  12. pityacka

    pityacka Member

    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My first Minolta camera was the 800si. As a result bought the 9000(used)a brilliant solid model, and easy to use; Since then have bought the Dynax 7, and that is a great camera. Managed to get a Dynax 9 in the last few weeks and it came with the VC-9 grip, and what an eye-opener. Have read about it over the years; have seen comparison tests in UK photo magazines; and I have the original Minolta brochure for the camera. Kept looking at it over the years, and eventually my dream came true. One comparison test marked down the 9 due to its heaviness, yet in the same article it was pitted against the Nikon F5, and that was heavier than the 9. I can only assume that Nikon 'heaviness' is not as heavy as Minolta 'heaviness.'!!!!
    Go for the Dynax 9 or 7 and you will not be disappointed.
     
  13. Vsanzbajo

    Vsanzbajo Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    He finally got the Minolta Maxxum 9xi. I played with it this weekend, and in my opinion it is an incredible camera.
    It feels great. Any opinions on the 9xi?
     
  14. pityacka

    pityacka Member

    Messages:
    71
    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2010
    Location:
    Yorkshire, U
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have not got the 9xi, but still keep looking at them to add one to my 'stable' of Minoltas. Probably will go after one, eventually. There were a number of them on ebay last year, but at the moment the 9xi's have disappeared. If your friend starts saving then he wants to aim for the Dynax 9. It is an absolute beauty. I got one (used)last year for £175, and that included the VC9 grip. There was also another 9 with the grip in a charity shop in the UK, for £70, and someone was asking if he should splash out that amount(!!) for a second hand camera. After our postings and comments he went and bought it, and has never regretted it.
     
  15. OliMonster

    OliMonster Member

    Messages:
    11
    Joined:
    Jun 19, 2012
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I'd dispute this. My 500si was the family camera for years and years and then we went APS, so it sat in a cupboard before I found it. (Anyone remember APS?) It's my throw-in-the-bag-with-all-my-other-crap camera, and although I grant you it's a bit basic, the focus isn't all that bad and I've had some really great pics from mine. Also, lenses aren't that costly, I found an AF 28-80 for £10 in a charity shop a little while ago, not a mark on it beneath the dust, and the colours I get from it are great!

    Don't get me wrong, if the money's there I'd go with a Dynax 7 in a heartbeat, I just don't think the humble 500si deserves that much of a bashing.
     
  16. Vsanzbajo

    Vsanzbajo Member

    Messages:
    97
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2011
    Location:
    Berkeley, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I am still extremely impressed with the 9xi. It is an amazing camera. I might get one myself.
     
  17. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,207
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My experience with the Minolta 9000i in 1987-1988 was good (took it with me bushwalking to many places) but it didn't really go well with my small hands. It was a bit fiddly to use but got the job done and often started conversations with its "future look". The lenses of that era seemed mediocre with none of the images standing up to later records shot on Nikon or Canon. An old friend in the country still has and uses a Minolta SRT101, which he first used in the 1970s to shoot Trooping the Colour in the UK (and still has Kodachrome 25 slides of the parade). Goodness knows how old the camera is but he will not part with it.
     
  18. hoffy

    hoffy Member

    Messages:
    2,333
    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Location:
    Adelaide, Au
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I can't believe I haven't posted on this thread!

    Ever since I sold my Ricoh KR5 Super in the early 90's I have used Minolta AF SLR's. At the moment, I have 6 AF bodies in my possession - Actually, all I need is a 7xi and I would have a full house of the 7 series.

    In all honesty, the only one I don't really feel a lot of love for is my 7000. This was gifted to me around 12 months ago and I put one roll of film through it. Exposures were inconsistent, but then again, that could be due to a fault (& age!).

    As for the others (of the 7 series) - they all hold a place in my heart. My 7000i I bought when travelling in the UK (I bought it second hand from a shop around the Finchley area in London) as my 303 broke. I loved that camera - its what I would call 'solid'. I was gifted a 700si a few years ago - this was the camera I couldn't afford to buy when I bought my 303...and someone gave it to me for the cost of postage! As for the newest one in the stable, the 7 - well, it was as good as modern film SLR's ever got - a lot of the convenience of digital (as well as the ability to take the modern SSM lenses), but it shoots film - actually, if I had to recommend a Minolta AF camera - seriously, get the 7. Its a killa!

    Cheers
     
  19. jeff786

    jeff786 Member

    Messages:
    17
    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    The 5 is so underrated. can easily buy for <$20 Tiny tiny with good bright view finder. easy to carry. Brackets which is a big thing for me.

    7 is I think the best as far as traditional measures go. Very modern terrific feel can take ssm lenses which sony is making now.
     
  20. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

    Messages:
    494
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    Figueira da
    Shooter:
    35mm
    With a ride from this thread, I ask, what is the closest minolta to the dynax 7? I am also on the look for a pro model af body, but the dynax 7 is expensive for me.
     
  21. polyglot

    polyglot Member

    Messages:
    3,472
    Joined:
    Jun 12, 2009
    Location:
    South Austra
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    The closest to the 7 is a 7.

    If you want most of the features of the 7 without the price, buy a 5. Should be under $20, still does wireless TTL flash, SSM, etc. Nowhere near the focus speed or ruggedness though, it's not a pro body.

    If you want ruggedness but not modern features, get an older 8 or 9 series body.

    Table of all Alpha/Dynax/Maxxum bodies.
     
  22. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

    Messages:
    494
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    Figueira da
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Manage to get one dynax 7 for 100€, body only. Since I have a few good lens m42, should I god for the m42/sony alpha (minolta af) adapter? And in the field of af, a good normal zoom to start a 28-70, f/3.5?
     
  23. David Brown

    David Brown Subscriber

    Messages:
    3,597
    Joined:
    Feb 16, 2004
    Location:
    DFW, Texas
    Shooter:
    Multi Format

    You'll want the Minolta 28-80. (f/3.5) :smile:

    http://www.keh.com/camera/Minolta-Maxxum-Zoom-Lenses/1/sku-MA07999077622N?r=FE

    Yes, even KEH sells the 7 for < $200 (US) when they have one. I've coveted one for years, but now I don't really shoot 35mm anymore and I do have a 650si. So even $200 seems unnecessary. :blink:
     
  24. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,149
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Maxxum 7

    I've just, this year, pretty much completed my Minolta AF body collection. The Maxxum 7 was both "first and last" for me because I had one years ago, which I sold, and now have one in even better condition than the one I had. The 7 is probably the pinnacle of all 35mm SLRs ever made. That said, it does suffer from one weird quirk - the rubberized coating on the body, which makes the camera easy to hold, is fragile. It comes off - my original one started peeling after contact with some fruit juice I had on my hand. It doesn't hurt anything of course, just makes the camera look "ugly" or worn. It's kinda the equivalent of brassing.

    Start with the 50mm f1.7 lens and a 28mm and you'll be good for a while.
     
  25. Rhodes

    Rhodes Member

    Messages:
    494
    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Location:
    Figueira da
    Shooter:
    35mm