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      14.09.2000 02:52
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      This camera was my first SLR and to be honest it's so good I've never changed it. I've had it for about 5 years now and it's still operating perfectly, not a single hitch. I've never had it serviced either, and it still performs and looks as good as the day I bought it. You can get into a trap with all auto SLRs of choosing really good cameras and really cheap lenses. I opted for some Minolta lenses when I bought it, all of them zooms (75-300 and 28-80). To be honest they were pretty poor, especially the 75-300 zoom. A while went by and I'd been looking at the 50mm fixed length lenses you always see available in second hand shops. They're light, small, have good apetures of around f1.4 and usually cost about £50. Bargain you think, but a lense for £50, where's the catch? Answer - there is none! I bought a f1.4 50mm for £50, it's perfect. The camera shop salesperson said this lense is pretty old, one of the first autofocus lenses, it may be pretty slow. I put it on and it instantly out focused my zooms, very fast in fact. Good brightness, good for close ups and excellently pin sharp. Inspired by this I got rid of both my Minolta zooms and bought a Sigma APO 75-300. The quality is better and it shows that my technique is mainly at fault for slightly fuzzy shots I'd taken, you can see the camera shake better. It is slower focusing, but ultimately better wuality shots come out. I also bought a Cosina 19 - 30mm zoom. This is an excellent lense for this camera, combined with the 50mm and the other zoom. To get the best from this camera you need to read the Hove Foto Book "Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 700si by Damian Dinning". This reveals how much of the camera works. I bought the custom expansion card and leave this in all the time to expand the functionallity of the camera. The only thing I don't like about the camera itself is the slow focusing, which at the time of rele
      ase was pretty fast. The metering is superb though, and I get very good results on programme mode. DOF preview and auto bracketing work very well. The flash system uses Minoltas take on the idea of a hot shoe, so don't expect to be able to use your old flash guns on this camera! The extra grip is also essential, it really makes the camera complete. It also has a pc socket for studio and ring flash. Given the choice though I'd probably go for one of the newer models further up in the range, the 800si or Dynax 9, primarily because they have all the custom card built in.

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