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★★★★☆

“I owned this Minolta Dynax 505 Super 35mm camera...”

Written on: 06/02/2002 by John Orrell. (1 review written)

Good Points
Good metal lens mount, good features such as autobracketing, high speed syncro flash with dedicated flashgun, good three-point selectable autofocus

Bad Points
Poor kit lens (compared to old primes on manual-focus SLRs), mirky viewfinder, STILL built mainly from plastic, do DOF preview

General Comments
I owned this Minolta Dynax 505 Super 35mm camera before selling it to my dad and buying a manual Olympus OM kit - an unusual step perhaps, but I had my reasons, and to be fair to the camera, few of them were really its fault.

I think this camera is a good buy for its price and a very viable alternative to offerings from 'brand C' and 'brand N'.

Virtually every feature you're ever likely to need is in there; perhaps the only remotely useful ones not on the rota are 2nd curtain sync and DOF preview, but when did you last use them?

Personally, compared to lenses on comparable equipment, I found nothing wrong with the 28-80 zoom that came with it, except

... why oh why do manufacturers these days insist on bundling cameras with dull, slow zooms instead of old-fashioned fast primes? One of the reasons I got rid of the camera is because I only have one hand and on cloudy days with my chosen film (50-100 ISO slide) the camera would either want the flash on or quote me a shutter-speed long enough to see grass grow. F/4.5 at 50mm? Please!

The stupid thing is, the camera's got a really fast top shutter-speed (for its price) of 1/4000th of a second. Shooting on 100 ISO film, I honestly think we'd need to move the Earth nearer to the Sun to ever need that speed with this camera's standard lens!

However, my criticism stands true for virtually all modern budget/mid-price SLR outfits, so it would be unfair to imply this camera is the only offender.

One nice touch that nobody seems to mention is how the viewfinder display darkens when the camera thinks you're shooting in low light; a feature that, I assume, is there to stop you getting dazzled by its brightness at night.

Having said that, it's probably just my eyes but I found the viewfinder display a little on the dark side on really bright summer's days, with the result that I couldn't read the figures. Probably just me...

On the whole, a good camera at least on par with the best of the rest.

But I mourn the passing of the old fast primes...