Minolta Alpha Sweet 35mm AF SLR

Minolta Alpha Sweet

Minolta Alpha Sweet 35mm AF SLR

Minolta Alpha Sweet
It didn't take me long to decide and clicked the 'Buy Now' button for the near mint AF Minolta Alpha Sweet 35mm SLR (a.k.a Dynax 505si Super, Maxxum XTSI), which was on offer for a dollar below thirty USD.

There was nothing grand or spectacular about the camera though, and not much information about the camera is available on the Internet. The camera is just one of the AF film cameras before Minolta went digital with the introduction of the Maxxum/Dynax 5D and 7D series in 2004.

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Minolta Alpha Sweet
What I see here, however, is a very competent film camera that is good not only for beginners and amateur photographers but what is plausible is that the Alpha Sweet can also be a good choice for amateur digital system photographers who are now toying with the idea of trying it out in the analog environment.

The camera is compatible with all Minolta's A-mount lenses, which was launched with the introduction of the integrated autofocus (AF) and motorized film advance Maxxum SLR series in 1985.

Program Controls

Minolta Alpha Sweet
Much like the controls you find on a beginner level DSLR, the Alpha Sweet has all the trappings of a user-friendly system that comes with:
  • PASM and 5 Subject Program (Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait) modes,
  • a sophisticated 14-segment honeycomb-metering pattern,
  • a three-point Crosscut AF sensor for accurate autofocusing,
  • an eye-start operation,
  • and a rapid subject-program mode selection icon along the top edge of the LCD data panel.

Point-and-Shoot Simplicity

With most of the complications of using a traditional film camera removed, which includes loading and unloading the camera, setting film ISO speed, understanding the elements of exposure settings focusing, shutter and film forward operations, using the Alpha Sweet is down to an almost point-and-shoot simplicity.

Scenes At The Park, Minolta Alpha Sweet, AF 50mm 1,7 01

The motorized film advance mechanism advances the film automatically advances the film to the correct shooting frame, and dutifully rewinds it back into the film canister once all the images have been exposed.

Minolta Alpha Sweet


Shooting Modes

Minolta Alpha Sweet, Shooting Modes
Besides shooting in Programmed automation mode, you will also have access to simple scene mode settings which include Portrait, Landscape, Close-up, Sports, Night Portrait settings.

These will vary the aperture/speed setting of the camera to adjust:
  • to a shallower depth of field for portraits, or the greatest of landscapes,
  • the best aperture/speed setting for macros, fastest possible shutter speed for sports,
  • and the largest aperture with longer shutter speed for night portraits, which will also capture some of the background ambiances of the scene.

Scenes At The Park, Minolta Alpha Sweet, AF 50mm 1,7 02

Data Panel

Minolta Alpha Sweet, Data Panel
You can move to the more creative aspect of your image capture with the Shutter, Aperture, or fully Manual modes.

These are prior settings which are set by pressing the Function Button located in the middle of the PASM dial on the left of the top plate while selecting the A, S, or M mode by rotating the control dial located under the shutter release button on the front part of the camera body.

In full Manual mode, aperture setting is handled by the control dial, while setting the aperture requires you to press and hold the exposure compensation button located on the left of the lens mount housing while rotating the control dial to select the aperture setting.

All information relevant to the settings on the camera, and image capture vitals are available as part of the Data Panel display.

Scenes At The Park, Minolta Alpha Sweet, AF 50mm 1,7 03

Viewfinder Information

Minolta Alpha Sweet, Viewfinder Info
The viewfinder, which is slightly smallish, showing only about 90% of the film frame, comes with a vertical information bar located on the left of the screen. The multitude of information shown in the red and green led display unit includes:

  • Focus signals
  • Focus-area indicator
  • Shutter speed display
  • Exposure-compensation indicator
  • Aperture/Exposure-compensation display
  • Spot/AE-lock indicator
  • High-speed sync indicator, and
  • Flash signal.

The 14-segment honeycomb-metering pattern, normally found on higher priced AF SLR models, uses a sophisticated logic technology that continuously adjusts the metering pattern by weighing each segment according to the scene, subject's position in the frame, and the lighting conditions. The eyepiece sensor on the Alpha Sweet can be customized to work on power-up or be activated with the grip-sensor.

Scenes At The Park, Minolta Alpha Sweet, AF 50mm 1,7 04

Lens Compatibility

Minolta Alpha Sweet, AF lenses

The Alpha Sweet will accept all Minolta's A-mount lenses, which was first released in 1985 with the introduction of Maxxum series SLRs. Generally, all these lenses will also work on Sony Alpha cameras, and the E-mount NEX range, if used with an LA-EA1 or 2 adapters, although there may be restrictions.

Scenes At The Park, Minolta Alpha Sweet, AF 50mm 1,7 05

EndNote

The Alpha Sweet may not on the list of recommended film cameras or SLRs you may want to look at if you are thinking about going into, or back to, film photography. But when compared to other later camera models that do not provide PASM, and scene modes, or customized functions, a top shutter speed of 1/4000 second, and a very lightweight body, a second look at the capabilities of the camera, with prices that low, may be worth the consideration.

I am very pleased with the unit that I have and will not be parting with it too soon.

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