Thursday, February 17, 2011

An Old Friend, Revisited



I recently received an e-mail from a neighbor, asking if I might be interested in a camera that he no longer needed. It was a Minolta X-700 that had been given to him about 15 years before by my now-deceased mentor, Bill -- who was also the previous owner of my house. I went over and chatted with my neighbors for a while, and we talked about photography, and also about Bill's generosity of time and equipment. The X-700 looks like new, and in fact, it had been serviced by Dave's Camera Repair in 1999, so there is no bad capacitor and the camera works like a new one. I was very happy to give the camera a new home, but in fact, it was it's old home! I often wonder how many cameras Bill bought at Ann Arbor camera stores -- especially the old Big George's.


This is my second X-700 that came from Bill. He gave me an X-700 with just about every macro attachment in 2001, and I used that gear frequently, and added more lenses, as well as a nice XE-7. The X-700 went to NYC with me in 2004, and was a great camera on that trip. I ended up selling off all my Minolta gear about a year ago, as I wasn't using it all that often. Hey, I already have as much Nikon gear as I need, as well as some Olympus, Pentax, and Canon outfits. But seeing that pretty X-700 made me realize that I was fond of that camera. This one's staying home...
luctuosa
Libellula luctuosa, shot in 2004 with my previous X-700.

Minolta made some great cameras. From those all-metal workhorse SRT-series bodies, to the very well-made XE-7 (which has the guts of a Leica R3 SLR), to the last of the manual bodies, the X-700. The only knock on the X-700 bodies was the problematic capacitor issue which renders the camera useless if it goes bad. The lenses are excellent, and it is a full-featured system that will provide just about anything you would ask from a manual 35mm SLR. When Minolta came out with the Maxxum AF system and introduced a new lens-mount, there was no backwards compatibility (as with the Canon EOS and manual FD-mount cameras). Consequently, you can now buy used manual Minolta bodies and lenses at very good prices.

One last photo from 2005, taken with the previous X-700:
Red and White

5 comments:

Hugo said...

I have 2 X-700 bodies! It's a very nice and confortable camera.
Recently I finished a Kodak Elite Chrome film, expired in 2002.
Here you can see the results:

http://bomvelho35mm.blogspot.com/2011/02/blue-minolta.html

Bests regards,
Hugo

jimgrey said...

I have an X-700 in my collection, and I enjoy shooting with it. Well, I did anyway until the thing locked up tight. Probably the dreaded capacitor problem. But I enjoyed using it enough that I'll get it repaired.

thoughtfulrandomness said...

Nice

Tobias Weisserth said...

Nice.

But if you mention first class Minolta cameras you simply just can't not mention the XD-7/XD-11/XD. That's probably Minolta's best SLR ever produced.

Regarding old Minolta glass: it's easily adaptable for Olympus Four Thirds and Micro Four Thirds (mind the crop factor of 2 though).

I am still buying Minolta gear on Ebay, complementing my collection of working gear. My favorite combination is a XD-7 with a MD 50mm f/1.2.

Christine said...

I have a Minolta x370 that I've had for 10 years--It's still my favorite.