I'm a little confused. (Be kind, I'm the father of a teenager...)
When talking about the Minoltas, and their sharpness, were you speaking to the quality of their lenses or the camera bodies?
I've got two older cameras, an X700 and a 3xi. The X700 came with a 50mm, that I only used once or twice. I immediately put an Ozunon 35-75 onto it. Although not a stellar lens, it has been a faithful servant for years. I bought the 3xi in the 80s from a fast talking salesman (fodder for another tread) with a Sigma zoom. Again, not stellar, but has never failed.
When discussing the cameras, I'd say that the Minoltas a very trustworthy and generally easy to use. I was disappointed by the 3xi's limited manual capabilities, but I put the blame on me for buying the cheaper model of the line. I use it in place of a point and shoot. Both have been to the beach three to four times per year, family weddings, soccer and basketball games and worked tirelessly for me.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not brand loyal to say the least. But once finding these two solid cameras, I've found it difficult to justify going to a different brand. This would require buying new lenses and filters for something I've already got in the bag.
I know this is sounding an aweful lot like, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." but its been my VERY amaturish experience.
Although the newer autos look very interesting, their construction causes me a good deal of concern. I know, plastic doesn't rust. But sheesh, they feel an aweful lot like a disposable camera on steroids....
I hate gettin old.......er.