Minolta Dynax 505 Super / Maxxum HTSi Review

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John Orrell.'s review of Minolta Dynax 505 Super / Maxxum HTSi

★★★★☆

“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...

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42137_Pete.'s Response to 12001_John Orrell.'s Review

Written on: 06/10/2002

Concur in most aspects 'cept that the 28-80 lens stinks. If you use transparency film you will quickly find that the lens can't cut it: it is soft even at optimum arp. What you want with this camera is a good set of primes: then the sophisticated exposure system comes into its own.Granted the lens is a budget affair...at around £60 or so..if you still are determined to use zooms, you are probably better with the Sigma Ex range.

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43218_Pete.'s Response to 12001_John Orrell.'s Review

Written on: 11/10/2002

Thanks for pointing me in the way of your olympus reviews..I am seriously considering purchase of and OM2sp. I understand that there are problems relating to battery drain, but I wondered if fitting this camera with a winder might obviate this problem.OM4ti is a bit expensive for me and OM1 is a bit like going back to the steam age! I have used the Om2 and liked it.Favorite lenses are 28mmf2 and 35mmf2. If I purchase the OM2sp I will probably opt for the 50mm 1.2 as my starter lens, but will definitely be looking out for a 28mmf2 in mint condition. As for my Minolta 505si super QD...I think that I will simply keep it for snap shots..and certainly not using positive film such as Velvia. Minolta would have been much better cutting out some of the frills on this camera and offering a better lens.Meantime I have to find a decent "low mileage" OM2sp that hasn't been knocked around....Can't wait to see sharp slides again!

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42950_John Orrell.'s Response to 12001_John Orrell.'s Review

Written on: 10/10/2002

Pete,
<br>
<br>Can't fault your views. As an aside, I can highly recommend the Olympus OM system which matches quality bodies and lenses with readily-available used accessories.
<br>
<br>In fact, I've written a review of the OM1 and OM4Ti on this site.
<br>
<br>HTH

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42794_Pete.'s Response to 12001_John Orrell.'s Review

Written on: 09/10/2002

I concur with all that you say. All my slides have to be digitally enhanced using this camera lens, which is rather annoying. I am now thinking seriously about buying a pre-owned Contax RTS2 for my slide shots or possibly an Olympus OM system as the Olympus lenses compare favourably with the Contax/Zeiss system. As for my Minolta, I now use it only for shots using negative film. I had thought of buying the Minolta 28mm lens (prime) but I do not think that it may yield the kind of quality results comparable to the Contax/ Olympus systems. For me, nothing is worse than gazing at your slides and finding that the lens has let you down yet again. The problem with Contax is that the lenses pre-owned remain very expensive (around £300 over here) whereas I can pick up a Zukiu Olympus lens for arounf £80. That is quite a difference. Apparently, the qualitative difference for some of the lenses is marginal. The Zukiu 35mm F2 is especially good. My son uses Olympus system (OM2n) and the results speak for themselves. Contax lens resolution is fabulous..Then there is Leica...But that is quite out of my price range...Still, the M6 with 28mm Elmarit ever beckons. Perhaps I should cut my wife's shopping allowance<s>

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42381_John Orrell.'s Response to 12001_John Orrell.'s Review

Written on: 08/10/2002

Pete:
<br>
<br>I agree with most of your comments, including the use of prime lenses to get the most out of the exposure system. Note that what I actually said was "Personally, compared to lenses on comparable equipment, I found nothing wrong with the 28-80 zoom that came with it" - with the emphasis on "comparable equipment", e.g.: budget Nikon and Canon offerings; their budget zooms are no better.

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