5 frames with...

5 frames with a Minolta Panorama Zoom 28 – by Charles Higham

Another plastic compact from the early 1990s: check.
Not much about it on the internet: check.
28mm to 70mm Minolta zoom lens worth testing: check.

The made-in-Japan Minolta Panorama Zoom 28 is a fairly chunky but well-designed compact with a 28-70mm f/3.5 to f/8.4 lens, autofocus, DX reading and has a decent array of manual settings including macro and landscape, but no ISO manual adjustment. It also has a panorama crop switch by the viewfinder which was one of those features which seemed to be all the rage for a while back then.

This model has a date-back so you have the option of burning the time and date onto your exposure, which of course once done is irreversible but could occasionally be useful. The back needs a CR2025 battery, and as I don’t have one at present I can’t tell you whether it can be programmed with 2018 dates.

When the camera is powered up the flash can be deactivated using two presses on a dedicated button. It needs not one but two CR123A batteries and is comfortable to hold with logically positioned control buttons behind the LCD screen, and a sensibly large and easily manipulated zoom lever. Good marks for ergonomics, although it has to be said the squishy buttons are small.

So the Minolta Panorama Zoom 28 is a reasonably well featured but essentially automated point & shoot camera. I loaded it with some Ilford HP5 Plus to see what it could do.

Outcome? The lens is nicely sharp across the frame and remains so when zoomed to 70mm. There’s not much vignetting, some predictable distortion at the wide end but it’s not excessive, and metering is spot on.

I’m quite impressed, particularly as the camera cost just a few quid.

Westgate Centre, Oxford.

70mm zoom

Westgate roof terrace cafe.

Stall, Gloucester Green Market, Oxford

Souvlaki stall

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