I assume the Minolta had an image overlay system in the LCD screen much like the older Nikon Coolpix cameras? Meaning you would shoot a picture and use a 1/3rd shot left on the screen to line up the next shot via overlay.
Anyway, the bottom line is any camera with any lens can be used to make panoramic images. It is all about shooting images that have a reasonable amount of overlap (30% is a good round figure) The best way to do this regardless of camera and lens is with a specially designed Panohead that sits on your tripod and allows a correctly positioned camera/lens to rotate around the NPP (No Parallax Point). It doesn't matter if you want to shoot part cylindrical, full cylindrical, flat printable images or make immersive 360x180 degree spherical panorama images for virtual tours etc.
So what too buy? How much do you want to spend? What do you want to achieve?
Easypano software is pretty much based around spherical panoramas made using fisheye lenses.
Commonly used sets up include the Nikon Coolpix range fitted with either the FC-E8 or FC-E9 Fisheye lens or for more professional results people now all aim for DSLR with a Fisheye lens like the Sigma 8mm, Sigma 15mm, Peleng 8mm, Tokina 10-17mm Zoom, Canon 15mm or Nikon 10.5mm fisheye's.
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