I bought a Minolta Dynax 500si second hand a few months ago and have put probably 10 rolls of film through it now. I have two lenses: the standard Minolta 35-70mm f3.5-4.5 AF zoom, and a Sigma 28mm F1.8 AF lens.
I have developed strong opinions about this gear since shooting all these photos and seeing how they turned out, too:
The camera design is superb. It is very, very ergonomic and the controls are perfectly layed out. I especially like the continuously rotateable dial at the front which my index finger falls right onto. The external LCD display is very well laid out too, and very very clear. Not backlit but most aren't, I believe. The internal LCD display is vertical which I'm not so keen about, as all the numbers are one above the other! But it too is otherwise clear and shows all the info you could want - shutter speed & aperture in use, guidance when in manual mode, flash recommendation and AF success.
The body is also quite light.
These are the good points about the body. The only thing I particularly dislike about it is that the AF is noisy and hunts a LOT. This is really annoying. It is ok with people though. With many subjects it focuses easier if you turn it vertically. The AF motor is NOISY!! The AF speed is fairly ok. It would also be nice if it had a Depth of Field preview and a remote release socket. Some of these 500si's aparently have that socket, and some do not.
At least it can be focuses manually. This brings me to the lenses.
I suggest not bothering with the standard Minolta 35-70 zoom unless you're a bit broke at the time. It is a plastic thing, and none of the photos I've taken with it exactly jump out at you. They're a bit disappointing. If that's not enough, the manual focussing ring at the very front is not wide enough really and really seems to be an afterthought. With the subject Dynax SLR's mediocre AF, I find the lovely wide, knurled focusing ring on my Sigma lens a real saviour. Which brings me to that lens.
What an incredible lens this Sigma 28 mm lens is. I bought it second hand on eBay recently for about $US85. It's not the latest of this spec lens from Sigma but the second latest. I am so happy with my purchase of this lens and since the seller usually has lots of lens for sale on eBay I'll tell you who he is! user ID ginotokojapanusa. He described this lens as very sharp and if he describes one you want like that, you should end up as happy as I am. The photos I've taken with it are invariably BEAUTIFUL with ESQUISITE texture showing in the subject, and it is a very fast lens at f1.8. Rubber on bottom always wears away on this model though as its diameter extends past the camera bottom.