It’s a talker! A few weeks ago fellow film shooter Shawn Granton (@urbanadventureleaguepdx) kindly sent me this Minolta AF-S V&D to try out. The camera introduced in 1984 was unique in that it spoke to you. Giving you helpful hints like “Load Film” “Use Flash” etc. All very gimmicky but hey it’s a Minolta with a F2.8 lens! This version also has the Quartz Data pack which gave me the luxury of having it talk in Japanese or English. I found it funny that in English it just barks simple orders at you but in Japanese it politely asks you to do things ☺. Shawn had shared in his report on the camera that it tended to underexpose shots in fact this seems to be a common problem with the camera perhaps even when it was new based on other internet reviews. Knowing this I loaded it with some Fujicolor Superia 400 and set the ISO to 200. I took a selection of photos with and without flash at a friend’s birthday party and out on a hike. All but 5 out of 39 were property exposed. The camera seemed to have the most trouble figuring out exposure in bright sunlight and oddly it was these shots that tended to be underexposed. The auto focus worked well so long as it was focusing more than about 3’ away. Closer than that & the photos were blurred.

Actually the best thing about this Camera isn’t the voice chip but it’s excellent film loading system. It allows you to see that the film is properly loaded before you close the camera back and it makes maximum use of a roll, I got 39 shots out of a 36 roll. Like all these old 1980’s electronic cameras they are operating on borrowed time long past their planned serviceable life. When I finished the roll it did not rewind, I was on the verge of opening up the camera in the dark to take the film out but decided first to give it a sharp tap, well 3 or 4 sharp taps actually after which the rewind motor burst into life! It was a fun little camera to use. I'll definitely put another roll through it then decide if I’ll keep it or pass it on to another lucky recipient to try. If you search Youtube for this camera you will find a couple of fun Japanese commercials for it from the 80’s!