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...
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


Anonymous 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:

Bests regards,

Anonymous 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.

Anonymous said...


Tobias Weisserth said...


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.