My Minolta A2 review won't be published for another week or two, but here is a relevant quote from it...
The manufacturers won't admit it, and neither will many users, but the reality is that the current generation of 8Mp digicams are moderately noisy. Certainly this is the case in comparison with current 6MP DSLRs and even the better 5MP digicams. The reason for this is the smaller photosites. Indeed, even at ISO 64, which is the lowest speed that the A2 offers, there is some slight noise visible. But where technology creates a problem it often is able to correct it as well.
If you are working in RAW mode with Camera RAW, the raw file processing part of Photoshop CS, then you need to experiment with the appropriate Luminance Smoothing and Color Noise Reduction settings under the Details tab. I find that a setting for both of 50 does a very nice job of reducing any noise. Of course you may also want to use a competent noise reduction program such as Noise Ninja.
This noise elimination has a tendency to reduce accutance (edge sharpness) and so appropriate Sharpening is necessary. For this I highly recommend Photokit Sharpener Pro.
Many newcomers are frustrated by the fact that cameras like the A2 produce images that are not as sharp straight out of the camera as they expect them to be. Of course this has nothing to do with any lack of resolution, but rather with the fact that these particular files need an appropriate amount of USM to look their best, and the amount they need tends to be at least 50% higher than one might be used to from other cameras. When properly sharpened and noise reduced these files are excellent, but it does take some work to get them to that state. As a consequence, beginners and those not familiar and comfortable with image post-processing may become frustrated with their initial results, and so cameras like the A2 may not be the best choice for someone new to digital or unwilling to make the effort.