a very digital looking analog camera
If you're one of those people that don't like conversation - say, for instance, you'd rather people didn't ask you about your film camera, then this camera may be for you. Look at it, the Minolta Dynax 303si, it looks like your first DSLR doesn't it?
Fully automatic with some program modes, it doesn't let you do anything about aperture or shutter speed ( or ISO for that matter. It detects it automatically). It basically takes all control away from you. It doesn't even have exposure compensation.
There may be a way out - you could swap out the lens with one with an aperture ring I suppose. I'm not certain how that would work seeing there is no aperture priority mode on the camera.
So you're left with composition, which some people would argue is the most important photographic skill anyway. In the right hands, this camera should give good results.
I took it out for a spin in the park in less than ideal conditions. It's Autumn right now so the colours are delicious, but the light often isn't. The kit lens on this camera is a 35-80mm zoom with maximum apertures of f4 - f5.6. Any camera in its right mind would always chose f4 given the conditions, and the fact that I put a 200 speed film in it. Somehow I felt this camera wasn't always at f4. I suspected this because I could 'feel' the shutter speed, and it felt much slower than 1/250th of a second. More like 1/60 or 1/30, but that could just be the mirror. The Minolta Dynax 303si is super lightweight, so you really do feel the mirror.
Being the first time ever using this camera, I couldn't wait to see the photos so I paid for a 1 hour service to have the photos processed at the lab while I sipped some very black coffee.
Astonishingly enough, the photos weren't so bad. I don't know why I wasn't expecting much - it's a Minolta camera. To be fair, the lens is absolutely nothing to write home about, and it shows in the photos, and the light wasn't ideal either, but even then, the photos weren't bad at all. I will be reviewing this camera on my YouTube Channel "Old Cameras" soon enough.
And, of course, the minute I finished shooting the roll, handing it in for processing and chilled to sip my coffee, the darn clouds cleared and the sun showed it's silly little face in the sky. Typical.