Minolta Dynax 800 si
|with dedicated high-speed sync flashgun|
image by Miguel Mendoza Muñoz (Image rights)
The Minolta Dynax 800si (Minolta Maxxum 800si in the USA, and Minolta alpha 807si in Japan) is an autofocus 35mm SLR, released by Minolta in 1997.
It has a lot more features than its predecessor the Dynax/Maxxum 700si.
Besides the same basic specifications as the 700si, sharing the same shutter and metering system, the 800si had built-in subject programs; portrait, landscape, closeup, sport, night portrait, and three preset modes (the 700si relied on the card system introduced with 7000i in 1988 and only had one preset mode).
The 800si also could set auto-bracket with +-1/3, 1/2, or 1 EV with either 3, 5, or 7 exposures. The built-in flash was more powerful; 14 to 20 GN with zoom functionality between 24 to 80mm and rear sync enabled as well as a flash PC-socket in the camera together with wireless HSS flash. Several autofocus modes were also available, AF-A, AF-S, and AF-C. One advanced function the 800si had was the ability to record and store exposure value for 9 rolls of film with up to 40 exposures per roll.
After Minolta had introduced its fourth generation of AF camera, the first being the 7000, the second the 7000i, the third the 7xi, with the 700si; Minolta wanted to expand the capabilities and features of the 700si and add some semi-professional features like High-Eyepoint viewfinder and picture metadata storage combined with the ease and comfort creatures like a more powerful and zooming built-in flash to make hobby photographers feel equally at home with the camera. Thus creating an enthusiast flagship model inline with the previous 2nd generation 8000i camera and keeping the eight denoting something under a professional camera which is the 9-series (9000, 9xi). As the 800si is backward compatible with all AF lenses, including the functionality of the auto-zooming xi-series, as well as the function cards, the ease of handling with grip sensor that in combination with the eye-start sensor below the viewfinder (function can be turned off) automatically readies and makes the camera focus as well as zoom (with xi-lenses in AZ mode), one would think it would make an attractive buy. Unfortunately, the model is quite rare and it seems it never really caught on, perhaps due to the price or the somewhat unattractive pentaprism housing with the powerful flash built-in on top.
The 800si can still use the expandable chip card system found on previous cameras like 9xi, but a majority of the features are already built into the camera so most of the cards are superfluous. The camera features the Eye-start system which can be activated with a switch toggle on the bottom back of the camera. This allows the camera to set focus and exposure automatically without having to do the usual half-press of the shutter button. It does this by using sensors in the handgrip and viewfinder areas.
The shutter is electronically controlled vertical focal plane shutter with speeds of 8 sec to 1/8000 sec. Flash synchronization is at 1/200 sec or slower.
The autofocus is based on a TTL type phase detection using four CCD sensors with a sensitivity of -1 to 19 EV at (ISO100). It also has an AF illumination with a range of up to 7m to assist in darker situations. An AF button is on the back and easily accessible with the right-hand thumb. Press and hold the AF button and rotate the front knob to change the selective focus. There are two focus release modes. Focus priority mode, which can only trip the shutter when in perfect autofocus, and release priority mode when absolute autofocus is not necessary. The AF/M button is below the lens release button, it allows you to quickly go into manual focus mode.
The metering modes available include a 14 segment honeycomb pattern and center-weighted averaging both with a sensitivity of 0 to 20 EV. Spot metering is also available with a range of 3 to 20 EV (f1.4 lens). Changing the metering mode requires one to open the card door, pressing the meter mode button, and rotating either the front or back dial. The mode used will be displayed on the LCD and finder. A spot button is on the back, which allows you to lock spot meter reading. The meter uses two silicon-based photocells for the metering element with one dedicated to flash.
Exposure modes available include program AE, aperture priority AE, shutter priority AE, and manual exposure mode with bulb. In program exposure mode (P mode) you can also change the shutter (PS mode) or aperture settings (PA mode) by rotating the front dial for shutter and back dial for aperture. Exposure compensation can be enabled by holding a button on the side of the lens mount accessible with the left-hand side. Rotate either the front or back dials to change settings ± 3 EV in ½ stops. Bracketing mode takes three shots, normal exposure, ½ over and ½ under. Press and hold the exposure compensation button and the shutter button simultaneously.
The film transport has a motor drive that automatically advances and rewinds. There are single and continuous drive modes. In single, after exposure the film advances one frame, in continuous mode, with the shutter release button held, the film is advanced up to 3 frames per sec. The film automatically rewinds when the roll is finished. There is a high-speed loading and rewind mode which increases the speed but is a bit more audible. Press the drive mode button in the card door and slide the lock button On.
The film can be DX coded or non-coded. ISO can be manually set on non-coded films. DX film settings are retained so non-DX film will use the previous DX film settings. Automatic DX can also be overridden. To do so press the ISO button in the card door while rotating either the front or back knobs. The camera is powered by a 2CR5 lithium battery which is automatically checked on powerup.
- Type: 35mm Auto-focus SLR with built-in flash, autoexposure and action-predictive autofocus.
- Manufacturer: Minolta
- Lens mount: Minolta AF baynoet mount (Maxxum/Dynax lenses, non-compatible with earlier SR)
- Shutter: vertical focal-plane shutter, electronically controlled, metal
- Shutter speeds: 30s-1/8000s, B.
- Built-in Flash Guide Number: Variable GN 14-20, auto zooming equivalent 24mm - 80 mm focal length coverage.
- Flash sync: Minolta iLSO hot shoe, PC socket for X sync (at 1/200th).
- Exposure: 14-segment honeycomb pattern SPC for ambient light and flash-metering SPC for flash, centre-weighted and spot metering.
- Exposure metering range: 0-20 EV (ISO 100).
- Exposure modes: Aperture priority, Shutter priority, program, manual, bulb.
- Exposure compensation: ±3 EV range, in 1/2 EV steps.
- Exposure auto bracketing: 7 steps in full, 1/2 or 1/3 EV steps.
- Film-speed Setting: 6-6400 ISO/ASA. Automatic setting for DX-coded film from ISO 25 to 6400.
- Multi-exposure: Yes, maximum of 9 exposures per frame.
- Auto Focus: TTL phase detection, EV -1 to 19 (ISO 100), 4 AF zones, (AF-A), continuous (AF-C), single-shot (AF-A)
- AF Illuminator: Built-in LED with range of 0.7 - 7m.
- Viewfinder: Eye-level fixed pentaprism High-Eyepoint approx. 22,9mm from eyepiece with 92% x 94% field of view.
- Viewfinder Magnification: 0.75x (with 50mm at ∞) Diopter: -1 Diopter Adjustment: -2.5 to +0.5 diopter
- Film advance: Automatic, film drive mode single shot advance or continuous advance selectable, max. 3 fps.
- Dimensions: 153.5 x 107 x 71.5mm (WxHxD)
- Weight: 628g (without battery) 640g (with Quartz Data Back, without battery).
- Battery: 2CR5 x 1 Battery
- Battery Performance: 60 rolls with flash 0% (at 20°C) 22 rolls with flash 50% (at 20°C) 13 rolls with flash 100% (at 20°C)
Other functions: Data Panel: Backlit on-body LCD (automatically illuminated in low-light situations)
image by nik.jalopx (Image rights)
|Minolta Dynax 800si, back|
image by Hans Kerensky (Image rights)
|Minolta Classic Cameras|
|Vest (or Best) | V2 | SR-2 | SRT 101 | XE | XD | CLE | 7000 | 9000 | 800 si|