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I have been into photography for over 10 years now, but only really used little compact cameras until recently. I bought the Minolta X-300 SLR camera when I started my A-level in photography last year. I have been very happy with the results it has given me in that time, despite the fact that it is rather limited in features compared to some other SLRs...
Admittedly, the features of this camera are limited in terms of what is available on the market now, but if you're not really into all the fancy stuff, the camera could be quite ideal for you.BAD POINTS:
There is no built-in flash, which can sometimes be rather annoying when it comes to low light photography, but there is a hot-shoe and to buy a seperate flash would not cost much (I got one for £20).
There is no LCD panel to tell you information such as exposure and film left etc. The camera does tell you this information by other means however.
The camera only has manual focus. This is good in some situations, but having to focus every time you take a picture does slow down the picture taking process.
There is no support for multiple exposures on a frame or autowind (unless you buy a seperate accessory to allow this).
The camera has a manual exposure settings option as well as the auto option. This is handy in many situations, for example, when taking pictures of high contrast objects which could trick the exposure meter.
Manual focus can be a helpful feature. Some AF cameras can focus on subjects you do not want to focus on. Manual focus does give a lot of control.
Overall, I would say despite there being a lot of features missing from this SLR that most have these days, this camera is good when it comes to basics. If you want something that is going to be simple to use and easy to get to grips with, the X-300 is probably a good choice. I have found that it has been a great camera to use to learn about how to use SLRs, and having limited fancy features does make the camera very cheap.PICTURE QUALITY:
I have found that the results I get from this camera are very good. My photos have always been sharp and there are no noticable problems. I have no complaints in this area.
When it comes to accessories, the camera doesn't really create any problems. There is a hot-shoe for a seperate flash and you can also buy an accessory which allows you to make the camera into an autowind. It is also easy to buy filters for your lenses. When it comes to buying lenses, there may be one or two problems due to how old this model now is. I have found that many of the lenses now produced are not suitable for the X-300, but I'm sure that if you shop around or pop into a specialist camera store, that they will be able to give good advice.
The camera is a little bigger and heavier than your average modern SLR camera, but that is to be expected as this model is very old. I find that the slight extra weight and size doesn't bother me much though, and I don't think it would cause anybody else any bother. It's slightly bulkier design also makes the camera more durable.
The main thing which attracted me to the Minolta X-300 was the price. Being a rather old and simple camera, it is very cheap. Lenses that are available for the camera are cheap too. I bought my X-300 with a standard 50mm lens for £100 from a local camera store. It was second hand however, so it's more likely to be around £200 when purchased new probably. Still a great deal when you consider that your average, good SLR will cost you around £400.