Finally, an amazing panoramic camera for a low price. With its 24mm lens, the Minolta Freedom Vista QD takes simply gorgeous panoramic photos.
I’ve always been searching for a panoramic camera that I can actually afford. I was very happy, when I found a camera shop that had some nice analogue cameras on the sellout shelf. The Freedom Vista was the first one that attracted my attention, especially because of the name. “Freedom” and “Vista” made me think that this could be a panoramic camera. And it is. (Still, I have no idea, what the “QD” stands for…)
The Freedom Vista is completely automatic, from top to bottom. As soon as you load a film and close the back, the camera forwards the film automatically. You don’t have to worry about the correct exposure time or aperture, since the camera chooses the best settings for you. When it’s too dark, it will use a flash, unless you press and hold the button to turn the flash off. According to the shop assistant, the camera has even got auto-focus. The shop assistant also told me that the camera was built in 1991 and that it features a 24mm lens. Since I don’t own the manual, I have to trust him.
A great benefit of that camera is the negative format, which is 12mm by 36mm. Thus, it is more likely, that you won’t drive your local photo lab crazy if you show up with that camera. You will only end up with black stripes at the top and the bottom.
You can try asking your lab if they print out real panoramic photos without black stripes. If they do, go for it. It’s worth a try. If they don’t offer panoramic photos, you should start liking black stripes. Personally, I love them.
The photos are crisp and sharp when shot during the day. I would not recommend using the camera during the night. With or without the flash, the photos are just unexcitingly gray.
So far, I’ve only used cheap film, but this camera has already become an all-time-companion.
I can highly recommend this camera to every lomographer who doesn’t care if the whole camera is automatic. Especially, if you are going on a trip, you might end up with gorgeous pictures.