Minolta made some of the most iconic cameras of the 20th Century including the fantastic Hi-matic series that even made it into space. But is this fixed focal length AF compact from the 80’s (aka as the Freedom 200 in the US) launch ready or space junk.
Sadly the latter IMHO. The original AF-E on which this was stripped down from wasn’t that much better but at least offered full DX coding (the AF-E II will set all DX coded films below 400 ISO as 100 ISO and all films 400 ISO or higher as 400 ISO)
Minolta AF-E II Specs
- Lens: 35mm 1:4.5
- Focus : Infrared Autofocus
- Focus : 0.95m to ∞
- Power : 4 x AAA or 1xDL223A
- Exposure : Auto
- EV 100 : 9.6-16.2
- DX : 100 or 400 asa
User controls are limited to the shutter button and a manual lens cover switch and that’s it. Everything else is automated including the flash which you can’t turn off and if needed will lock the shutter until it charges. Focus lock is possible by half depressing the shutter but there is little feedback. A red warning LED comes on beside the simple brightline viewfinder if flash is going to be used or blinks if needed but charging. And that’s pretty much it – there is no cable release point, no tripod mount and no timer. On a plus you can use either cheap AAA batteries or a lithium cell to power it.
Focus wise it was a tad variable. Like most AF compact worked better in bright conditions and in the closer range. Bit softer compared to later cameras like the Canon Sure Shot AF-7S but that was over a decade later in production. Some very slight vignetting was noted. Flash works well enough in use although slow to charge.
There isn’t much to recommend it in this day and age. The AF-E offered more in the same package and later AF P&S offered more control like the Sure Shot AF-7S. Not Minolta’s finest hour.
Why Buy ?
- It’s a minolta
- Takes AAA batteries
- Not particularly stylistic
- Limited control & Features
What it Cost, came with and what happened to it
- 99p & £2.80 P&P
- Came with Strap & branded case
- Off to Charity shop
- Canon Sure Shot AF-7S – much better basic AF shooter
- Halina Micro 35 – Fixed focus known as the Hong Kong Lomo
- Pentax Espio AF Zoom – High end 90’s AF camera
- Minolta AF-E II at camera-wiki.org (with link to manual)
- Minolta AF-E II at Sylvain Halgand’s site (French)