A New Old Camera – My Minolta X700

I started out in 35mm film photography simply because there wasn’t any digital available back in the 90’s but I was just having fun. When I got really interested in shooting again a few year ago, I bought a couple of DSLRs (and then a mirrorless camera). It didn’t even really dawn on me to shoot film. After all, digital is so convenient and easy to learn on. During the course of my time with the Sony A6000 I bought an adapter to fit old Minolta glass to it. The Sony has focus peaking which makes manual focusing much easier than it is on the average DSLR. In order to get the 50mm 1.4 lens I wanted, I had to buy it with a camera body. A Minolta SRT 101B was what I got and for the heck of it I decided to buy film and take some pictures. Well, as it turned out I took what was arguably the best picture I have ever taken on that old mechanical camera in spite of having shot thousands of digital pictures. I will come back to that in a later post. Anyway, that Minolta was a bit too heavy and I thought it would be nice to have aperture priority. A very useful thing for street photography.

I stumbled upon the Minolta x570. A cute and relatively light camera which had aperture priority and I could fit in my bag for when I was out and about. Unfortunately the camera didn’t work. I can’t remember why, but it didn’t. I needed a replacement so I picked up the more advanced X700. This is a lovely camera. So easy to use. So good in the hands. Just the right size and weight and with just the right amount of useful functions.

I went out on the streets of Prague and shot with this camera. Unfortunately this also had a problem with it. I would advise to buy from more reputable sources than I did unless you are into fixing stuff. I took some nice pictures but many of them came out with a vertical line through the frame. I went to an online camera forum and they explained the problem. They told me it would be cheaper and simpler to just replace the camera.

Cameras came and went over the next year and a half but for some reason I held on to the X700. I don’t know why. I guess I just liked the look of it. It made its way back to Ireland when I moved there and has been sitting on my shelf ever since.

Recently, I decided I would put a roll of film in it again, knowing at least some of the pictures would come out OK and in the meantime I am putting money aside for a replacement. And how much is a replacement? Well that is the beauty of those old 35mm cameras. The replacement is only about 100 bucks.

I also held on to a zoom lens that is regarded as one of the best zoom lenses ever produced by Minolta. The 35-70 3.5 lens which has a wonderful bokeh. I discovered after I had bought it that it was a great lens. I had, in fact, got one of the rarer and better macro versions. Not true macro of course but useful nonetheless. That was two summers ago. I remember going into one of the camera stores in Prague with a couple of hundred and coming out with so many cool lenses. It was such an adventure. I had done very little research and knew very little of what I was getting. I just asked the guy in the shop to show me all the Minolta MD lenses he had. I got lucky.

So I am going to shoot with black and white Fomapan 100 film, which is my custom, and see what I come up with. If there are any decent picture among them I will share them here and on instagram.



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