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9000 vs. others

Should I buy a used 9000, with its old technology, or should I buy a newer camera? This document tries to outline advantages and disadvantages with either approach.

9000 vs. a newer beginner-class camera

Most of the time when starting out in "serious" photography and buying a SLR (Single Lens Reflex) camera, one thinks of buying a cheap bottom-of-the-line camera. Examples are Canon's x00- and x000-class (i.e. EOS 300, EOS 5000), Minolta's 5-class (i.e. 505si, Dynax 5), or Nikon's or Pentax' equivalent models. What they may offer is:

So what may the 9000 offer that the cameras above cannot?

9000 vs. a newer "advanced amateur"-class camera

Examples of these cameras are Pentax MZ-5 and SFX, Minolta 7-class (i.e. Dynax 7 and 700si), Canon x0-class (i.e. EOS 10, EOS30), and Nikon 6-8-class (i.e. F601, F80).

This is a hard one. Of course, all advantages for the bottom-of-the-line cameras advantage list also applies here -- but some of the 9000 advantages are lost in comparison, or overshadowed by other useful features on the newer cameras. The main reasons for choosing a 9000 over those other cameras would be the manual wind/rewind and the construction of the camera. The 9000 has a real spot meter, too. A wildlife/nature photographer on a budget will probably love the 9000.

9000 vs. a newer pro-class camera

Examples of these cameras are Pentax MZ-S, Minolta 9-class (i.e. Dynax 9 and 9xi), Canon x-class (i.e. EOS 1, EOS3), and Nikon Fx-class (i.e. F4, F5).

Here almost all advantages for the 9000 are negated. We still have the manual winding and rewinding, but F4 and F5 has manual rewind; all other cameras in this class are built to last; and they all have vertical grips and motor speed to match the 9000. Reasons for choosing a 9000 are:

9000 vs. manual cameras

The 9000 may well be the best manual camera Minolta ever made. Just disengage the autofocus, and you have a sturdy, highly usable camera for manual work. It features both center-weighted and spot metering, it has all four exposure modes (P, A, S, M), and it has a standard flash shoe and a PC-sync contact. The only problems is that it has no mirror lock-up, is not usable without batteries (but take a spare set of AA batteries and get one more month of heavy usage) and thus has no mechanical times, and that it takes Minolta AF lenses not originally made for manual work. However, you may outfit it with a MD-to-AF-adapter and thus use your old Minolta MC/MD lenses on it, or you may even buy an inexpensive M42 adapter to use your old 42mm thread-mounted lenses (i.e. from the Pentax Spotmatic era). As the light metering isn't tied to the AF system as in later Minolta cameras, the 9000 will happily give you correct exposure -- even TTL flash control! -- whichever lens you may manage to put in front of it.

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