Minolta Freedom Vista


It was very popular for a time to include a panoramic mode on film point and shoot cameras. Whether using it was as popular I’m not so sure. The way it worked was that when the user selected the panoramic mode part of the film was masked off at the top and bottom leaving a wide aspect ratio image. The thing is this did nothing to change the actual angle of view so if the camera had its widest focal length of 38mm then that was how the image was shot. In fact the result is really to just waste possible film capture area.  This camera does this as well but with a slight difference which I will explain in a moment.  The Minolta Freedom Vista creates an image on the negative of 36mm X 13mm which is a 2.77 apect ratio. This is even wider than movie formats like CinemaScope or Panavision and is getting close to a 3 to 1 ratio.  It’s enough of a dramatic change from normal film shooting that you need to modify your compositions.


For the crop mode on the point and shoots I mentioned the viewfinder typically showed the frame lines for a panoramic shot or blocked out the top and bottom of the viewfinder making it easier to compose in the wide format. Where the Minolta Freedom Vista differs and has an advantage over these implementations is that it has a fixed panoramic mode and has a 24mm wide-angle lens which produces images that look much more like they should be panoramic. In addition the viewfinder was built from the ground up to for the format and so shows a nice bright wide frame which is far superior to the ‘me too’ masking mode of other cameras.

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