Minolta AF-E II Review – Poundland Challenge Camera No 14

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.

Minolta AF-EII 35mm AF fixed focal length camera
Minolta AF-EII 35mm AF fixed focal length camera

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)

Hot Crossed Sky II
March 2015. Minolta AF-E II with Expired Truprint FG+ 200

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
  • Filter-Thread:N/A

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.

March 2015. Minolta AF-E II with Expired Truprint FG+ 200

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

Why not

  • 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


Helpful links

3 thoughts on “Minolta AF-E II Review – Poundland Challenge Camera No 14”

  1. I have the AF-E which has a redeeming feature to balance its flaws, the AF-E II may be similar. When you press the shutter the film doesn’t advance until you remove your finger.

    While the shutter isn’t silent, it’s a lot quieter without the zap-whirr that accompanies most compacts of the period, and allows you to get in a candid shot and save the noisy film advance for somewhere less obvious.

  2. Hi Alan,

    Came across your blog while I was in search for some answers to fix my “Minolta AF-E” Quartz Date. I was wondering if you have any insight, as my google searches have been bleak.

    When I first loaded the film, it kept making a noise as if it was continuously advancing the film, and never completed its advance. After I took a look into it and tried taking test shots while the back is open, sometimes the guide rails will advance once (normally), and then other times, the guide rail teeth rotater piece just gets stuck rattling back and forth (sometimes longer than 30 seconds, where at that point I try and take out the batteries). Not sure what’s causing this.

    Any insight on if this is fixable?

    I’d really appreciate the help!!


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