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  1. #1

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    Most desireable Minolta AF film camera pro body?

    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. #2
    flashgumby's Avatar
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    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

    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 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
    *Minolta Maxxum 7 *Minolta Dynax 600si Classic *Minolta Dynax 5 *Minolta X-300
    *Minolta 28-105 RS, Minolta 50/1.7 (AF & MD), Minolta 50/2.8 Macro, Tamron 70-300
    *A passion to capture God's awesome creation

  3. #3
    polyglot's Avatar
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    mhohner.de is the standard reference.

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

  4. #4

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    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. #5
    Ralph Javins's Avatar
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    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.
    Enjoy;

    Ralph Javins, Latte Land, Washington

    When they ask you; "How many Mega Pixels you got in your camera?"
    just tell them; "I use activated silver bromide crystals tor my image storage media."

  6. #6

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    I would say one of the 9's, 9000, 9000i, 9xi or 9. Personally I like the Maxxum 9 the best.

  7. #7

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    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. #8

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    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. #9
    zk-cessnaguy's Avatar
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    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.
    Mamiya 645 Super | Nikon F4/F100/FM2n | Minolta Maxxum 9/Dynax 7/X-700/X-500/XD7/SRT-101 | Pentax Spotmatic | Canonet QL 19 (GII) | and a whole bunch of glass

  10. #10

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    "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

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