I got this body in a second hand shop in Japan. I was looking for a Minolta auto focus lens as I seemed to have given all mine away. I thought I might as well look for a cheap body that I hadn’t tried before to keep the lens safe. That turned out to be quite tricky as Minolta cameras are the most common ones to be found in junk shops in Japan. Not because they are bad, but because there are just a lot of them around. Well, I eventually found this one. The body was about $3 which was cheaper than an actual lens cover. It even had a working battery in it already. Bargain! But gosh it was heavy when combined with the lens I found, a Tamron 28-200mm. I wanted a 50mm, but I could only find zoom lenses in the junk section.
In fact, I was so worried about the weight and excess baggage on this trip that I tried the camera straight away to make sure it worked. I didn’t want to bother packing a body that didn’t work. I carried this camera as hand luggage around my neck, but I still had too much luggage and was charged $110 yikes.
The 8700i was produced from around 1990 and was one of their top models. It has the card slot for different programs, but I didn’t have any card. You can find more technical details here. There you will see that the top shutter speed is 1/8000th, wow. Remember this camera is 30 years old and not their top professional model. That is impressive. I have the Nikon F90x which also goes that high, so maybe I will have to compare them.
I used this camera on a day out in Yokohama, visiting my friend and her little boy. Here are the test shots.
I found the camera fairly quiet. So quiet that I told my friend I thought it wasn’t working, but I would finish the film anyway to be sure. The lens was very responsive to touch, quick to focus. I took a couple of shots on a train station platform to try out the zoom on the lens. It captured the boy at top zoom on his bike, though admittedly he wasn’t exactly mr speedy. But the quick focusing at that distance was impressive. The exposure choices are spot on, even in bright sun and shade. There was also a multi exposure feature which I had a play with. What a cracking not so little camera. I think I prefer the Nikon F90x, but this one was much cheaper and a great alternative. I think I might keep this…for a lens cover..plus I absolutely don’t care about it so it will be great to take places it might get damaged. I might not even remove the stickers for posterity.
This is the cheap version of the Minolta Sweet that I have previously tried. It was originally released in 1999. In fact, I used the same lens on both cameras. The sweet had a yellow tint in the viewfinder, this one had the same issue to a lesser extent.
As you can see it has lots of names depending on where it was on sale. You can read all the technical details you want here and here. There are more names than functions available. There is absolutely nothing to this camera, so little that I am struggling to write anything. So this might be the shortest review I have ever given. In fact, here is my test roll.
Well, that’s not too shabby, is it? They are all perfectly exposed, the lens was great. But still, I barely did anything other than press the shutter button. Many people on this review site have written exactly what I felt about this camera, it is a big point and shoot. There are no manual functions at all, just programs. In the end, I felt the resulting photos were a step up from a regular point and shoot, but the bulk of the camera, though not the weight, made it not worth carrying around.
Keep or sell: I gave it to a friend. I kind of wish I had kept the lens, though.
I wouldn’t say this was an accidental buy, but a curiosity based one. I bought two lenses for a Canon camera body I had, both the lenses said Canon and I didn’t look beyond that. They were clean and that was my main concern. It turned out one of the lenses didn’t fit. So now here I was with a lens and no idea which make it belonged to. Of course, I have a few camera bodies lying around and I tried it on all of them, but it didn’t fit any of them. So my last resort was looking through photos of the lens online and checking the mounts similarities. After a bit of looking, I decided it looked like a Minolta. The next time I went wombling I looked for a clean Minolta body and found the alpha sweet from 1999. And just like the glass slipper, it fit.
It was wrapped in plastic so I didn’t get a chance to look in the viewfinder. If I had I might have changed my mind about getting it, there was a serious yellow stain.
That is focused on a white wall. I read on a few forums that it was probably the adhesive used for the pentaprism. As it was not on the lens I figured it probably would not affect the photos. Some forums said to leave the camera in the sun and the UV ray would probably reduce the staining. I might try that…when there is some sun.
It felt light to hold, perfectly fitted my tiny hands, very easy to use, all the settings you might need, just the yellow stain. I wasn’t too worried. If you want more technical details, look here.
This is an entry-level SLR and it is perfectly fine if you are getting into film photography. It does the job, it doesn’t wow.
Here are my test shots…no yellowing 🙂
You can see I tried out the multi-exposure function for fun. I said I would keep the Pentax MZ-30 due it having this function, but the battery lid on that camera was weak. Apart from the yellow issue, this camera is in a much better condition so I think I will keep this one and get rid of the other.