James's Camera Collection: Minolta X-700

Minolta X-700 W. Germany 35mm cameras
Minolta X-700
Camera type: Single Lens Reflex (SLR)
Approx. dates of manufacture: 1982 to 1999
Shutter speeds: 1 to 1/1000th, B and X (1/60th)
Lens Mount: Minolta MD
Batteries: two LR44 button types
Approx. original price: $500
Approx. street value: moderate

I've had my eye on one of these for awhile, along with an XD-11, but they were always more than I wanted to pay. This was another thrift shop find, heavily discounted because a former owner etched his name and info on the bottom plate. For $10 I can live with etching. Plus unless you flip it over to open the battery cover, you never see it anyway. But if I come across a cheap winder for it, I'll add it on.

There are a ton of these around. Minolta made them for nearly 20 years, which is an extremely long production for a camera. I was hoping there was a way to get the approximate manufacture date from the serial number (you can do this with some Canon cameras), but no such luck.

The X- series was Minolta's last manual-focus line. After this everything went to Maxxum.

The X-700 was heavy on computing power at the time: it offered program (full-auto), aperture-priority, full manual and TTL flash, including off-the-film metering. This was a system camera, so you got interchangable focusing screens, a choice between a motor drive or auto-winder, dedicated flashes, and the whole catalog of MD-mount lenses. As far as I can tell, the X-700 only came in black; at least I've never seen a chrome-bodied version.

Minolta liked to introduce a lot of models with small differences between them. The X-700 was the first and generally considered the top of the line. The next step down was the X-570, which lacked the 700's program mode, exposure compenstion, depth-of-field preview and the PC flash sync socket; but they gave it both current aperture and shutter settings inside the viewfinder, so you could see your current settings without having to look at the shutter dial. The 700 showed the current ƒ/stop, but the in-viewfinder shutter speed was what the camera's wanted to use; that made the 570 a very popular alternative.

If you wanted save some more money, you could get the X-370 (X-7A in Japan) , which was a 570 without the TTL flash automation and was unable to use the accessory data backs. There's also an X-370n, which was restyled for ergonomics, and finally the X-9, which added a depth-of-field preview lever.

Modern Photography Test: June 1982

Herb Keppler's Preview in Modern Photo: Jan 1982

One of Modern Photography magazine's Top Cameras

Owner's Manual: Orphan Cameras.com

Reference: Wikipedia entry

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