Minolta alpha 3xi Panorama

I was unsure whether to buy this junk bin camera given the obvious damage to the side. It was also covered in stickers with a variety of prices. The lowest was $3 and that is what I paid for it. The lens was a bit more, but it looked in better condition though still was covered in masses of price stickers. I hate that. It took ages to clean them all off before I could even begin to think about whether they worked.

This camera is was originally produced in 1991. You can get some more technical data here. When I walked around with it I noticed that when it was turned on and next to my body, it was trying to focus on stuff.  It turns out the two bars on the front of the camera operate the auto eye focusing system. If you cover the dot on the right of the eyepiece, preferably with your eye, and hold the camera covering these two bars with your hand, the camera will automatically focus on the subject. You do not need to press the shutter. You can press the shutter half way to achieve the same results, so it is a bit fancy and superfluous. Pressing the shutter halfway also locks the automatic focusing. The button on the back saying ASZ is for an automatic zoom system, but it only works with certain lenses. I did not have that lens, so have no idea if it would be useful.

I loaded the camera with fresh Fuji 100 film and went for a walk along the Tachikawa river. I find it funny to write that as ‘kawa’ means river, so really I am writing Tachi river river. Anyway, I made a map of the walk. which you can find on my other blog here. This was walk 7 and here are the test shots.

Wow, not bad for $3, every shot is perfectly exposed. The walk was lovely too. The last place is a sake brewery. I bought 3 bottles and had to carry them for the rest of my journey, stupid thing to do given I was also carrying 3 cameras. I was supposed to go to a firefly festival, but with the heat, the walk, and the weight of my bag I decided to give up and go home. BUT, the camera was great. It worked perfectly and was easy to use. It didn’t have many functions, so not much better than a point and shoot. The olympus mju would have served just as well, but not have been as much fun to use. I also tried a very similar camera here, I gave that camera to a friend and always kind of regretted it. Anyway, it seems Minolta do indeed make great cheap SLRs.

Keep or sell: Given the damage to the body I think I will give this one away. Plus along the walk, I saw many cyclists and realised I really missed my bike. I might finish the cameras testing the cameras I have then return to cycling. I think I have about 10 in various places.

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