Published June 28th 2006

Why Minolta?

Why does one select (and stick with) certain camera brand? In my case it was coincidence and growing-fond-of

A kakadu
[Minolta XM, Minolta MD 24mm f2.8, IR-film]

I inherited a Minolta SR-7 from my Dad -- or rather, I took it, used it and kept it. Not took it like in stealing, but when my mother and father were separated he left some stuff in the house, and one item was an SR-7 body and a 50mm f 1.7 .

I was new to photography, but loved the rugged feeling of the camera, the dials and particularly that little eye for measuring the light and that little button on the back for changing the sensitivity.

It took film, and B/W only, because I could develop them myself. I still remember the family's frustration with not being able to use the bathroom when I was in the darkroom. The bathroom was the only room in the house that could be kept completely dark. It had no windows, and was perfectly suited for the purpose. I had the Durst enlarger on the toilet (seat and lid down!) and the trays with developer, fixer and stop bath on a board that I rested on the edge of the bathtub. I had built my own timer with some fancy digital electronics to time the lamp in the Durst.
I still have some prints made in that bathroom, and they're not bad at all.

I may have been around 14-16 years old, and was taking a course in photography in school. I remember the teacher had an Olympus OM1 with a motor winder and compared to that, my SR-7 was an antique. He also had several lenses. I just had one.

So I was soon on the lookout for a new camera. I had grown fond of the Minolta and since I had a lens, I thought that it made sense to buy a Minolta body and reuse that lens. My ambitions weren't small, and when a Minolta XM system camera body appeared in my local photo shop, I bought it.

From manual focus to AF

I managed to own two different XM bodies and an XG-7 too as a supplement before I bought my first AF camera. I was pretty satisfied with the MD lenses and I loved the XM body, but eventually my last XM broke down and I was again on the lookout for a new camera.

This was in the very beginning of autofocus, and there was only one camera on the market with integral body autofocus, namely the Minolta 7000. I wasn't particularly looking for an autofocus camera and I wasn't particularly looking for a Minolta, but I wound up with a 7000 body and an 50mm f1.8 AF anyway. That immediately made all my old MD glass obsolete and stirred a new interest in AF lenses.

The AF era

I managed to get quite a few nice lenses for my 7000 and later updated that to a 7000i, which was much more a camera along the lines I liked. I supplemented that with a small Dynax Minolta 500si, which was a lightweight camera that I really liked. I outgrew those too -- not least because the 7000i took a dip in saltwater, and started acting wierdly -- and when the Dynax 9 and Dynax 7 were marketed I knew I was doomed. The 9 was over my price level, but I ordered a Dynax 7, and I was more than pleased with what I got. This was the camera love of my life.

Icelandic sky
[Dynax 7, Vivitar 19-35mm f3.5-4.5, Provia 100]

Into digital

I bought a small Nikon digital point-and-shoot as a supplement to the film body, and was generally very pleased with the process of shooting digital. A digital SLR at that time meant a Nikon or a Canon, and I ruled that out and took hundreds of rolls of Provia 100 while waiting for Minolta to go digital on the SLR-front.

And they finally did when they introduced the Dynax 7D. I bought one soon after it had been introduced, and even though it didn't carry quite the same impact as the film 7, it was (and is) a nice camera, and I have managed to shoot about 15,000 pictures with it until today.

But since I acquired a Nikon D200 it hasn't been out of the bag many times, and my whole range of Minolta gear will probably soon be up for sale.