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  1. #21
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    For an unexpensive and very effective SR mount camera, I suggest a Minolta X-700.
    The more I take picture, the more I get convinced that the most important part of the camera is the viewfinder. People say that a better camera doesn't help you make better picture. False. A good viewfinder, with high magnification and decent coverage, helps you take better pictures. This is probably a part of the specifications that people tend to overlook. I find it much more useful having a better viewfinder than anything else (weatherproof sealing, fast shutter speeds, metering systems which are supposed to make mistakes in my stead, etc.).

    The viewfinder of the X-700 is probably unbeatable. The price is also probably unbeatable.

    This article will clarify what I mean:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/tu...wfinders.shtml

    The X-700 also has a stealth programmable-program mode. If you don't close the aperture ring to its minimum, let's say you keep it at f/8, the diaphragm will not close more than f/8 during operation, and the shutter will "adjust" in any case within its specification.
    So you can take pictures of people playing foot-ball with a setting of say f/8 and P mode, which means that you will have a "fast program mode" with exposure levels until the couple with f/8, and an aperture priority mode for all exposure couples above that exposure level.

    Fabrizio

    PS For comparison, Minolta declares for the X-700 a magnification of 0.9x with a coverage of 95% of the 24x36 picture, with standard 50mm lens focused at infinity. That's VERY good on paper and in the field, too.
    Last edited by Diapositivo; 02-27-2012 at 04:38 AM. Click to view previous post history.
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  2. #22
    sohoza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diapositivo View Post
    For an unexpensive and very effective SR mount camera, I suggest a Minolta X-700.
    I've never understood all the X-700 love, but Diapositivo makes a pretty good case here. Minolta made lots of capable bodies with this mount, so individual preferences usually come down to some pretty specific things. Along these lines, I favor the XE-7 myself, as the weight and stability of that body help me shoot handheld in much lower light than I can with one of the lighter bodies ( the abundance of fast MD glass also helps!). That being said, if getting parts or repairs done is a problem for the OP, I'd suggest one of the earlier "old logo" bodies that doesn't require a battery (or properly working meter) to operate, like an SRT, XE, or XD.

    As I've amassed a collection of Minolta bodies, I've noticed that anything from the XG series forward is likely to have a much shorter lifespan, despite sometimes being a decade (or more) newer than the three I mentioned. I suspect it's the combination of a consumer friendly price point when released, generally cheaper build quality, and the fact that the advance mechanism locks if the battery is low (almost begging for someone to try to force it in the ensuing 30 years).

  3. #23
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    The X-700 looks very ordinary when you look at specifications: shutter speeds limited to 1/1000th, no shutter priority, no whether seals, flash synchro 1/60th, no double exposures.

    It is reputed a very competent high-quality camera because Minolta spent money and brain where it was needed.

    - Very, very good viewfinder;
    - Intelligent "last instant" metering which compensates for discrepancies between real aperture and indicated aperture in automatic exposure modes;
    - TTL flash metering which is something very useful and, at the time, quite rare and expensive (only Nikon F3, Pentax LX and Contax 139 had that when Minolta introduced the X-700).
    - A "finger sensing" switch which senses the conductivity of human skin and turns on the camera instantly when you put the finger on the shutter release (no need to press it). That means the camera can stay "ON" all time and you don't lose a shot, on the other hand, if the finger is not on the shutter release the camera will turn off after some 30 seconds or so and save energy.
    - The little intelligent things: the viewfinder cap is installed in the camera strap and is always with you. The camera strap also has a small container for two spare batteries.

    Overall it is not too heavy, not too small, falls in my hand as if it were custom made, and it is so effective it is a pleasure to use. I also use SRTs, XM but they are heavier, don't fit the hand the same way and don't have the same viewfinder. I find the X-700 viewfinder even better than the XM one and the overall use of the X-700 is more pleasant (ergonomy, softer shutter release).

    Fabrizio
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  4. #24

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    Thanks a lot guys! Ill see if I can find myself a nice X700 on the net.
    If not, there are always lots of other models to choose from.

    Although, one thing I do have to mention, I prefer Minoltas (or rather cameras in general) with the Chromed top fully black or plastic makes me think 80s n 90s, ie the plastic era.
    Even though, from what I read, there was a X700 with a chromed top released in Japan, but only in smaller numbers...

    In any case, thanks for your answers and suggestions!

  5. #25

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    Quote Originally Posted by sohoza View Post
    That being said, if getting parts or repairs done is a problem for the OP, I'd suggest one of the earlier "old logo" bodies that doesn't require a battery (or properly working meter) to operate, like an SRT, XE, or XD.
    Just for clarity, neither the XD nor the XE fully operate without a battery. The XD has an "O" position on the shutter speed dial that will allow the shutter to mechanically operate at 1/100 sec. if the battery dies, and the "B" (bulb) setting also can be used. The XE can use the "X" setting for manual exposures at 1/90 sec. in a pinch, and the "B" setting is also functional.

  6. #26
    Ralph Javins's Avatar
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    Good morning, gentlemen;

    Wade, thank you for the response, and for the comments about the XD-11.

    UpNorthCyclist, I have a comment and a question: First, thank you for your checking and reporting on the XD-11 capabilities.

    And, what do you mean with this comment about "too much coffee today" that you mentioned? I do not understand that. What is it? How do you do that? Please explain.
    Enjoy;

    Ralph Javins, Latte Land, Washington

    When they ask you; "How many Mega Pixels you got in your camera?"
    just tell them; "I use activated silver bromide crystals tor my image storage media."

  7. #27
    Ralph Javins's Avatar
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    Good morning, Nikolaa;

    Yes, sir. Indeed there was a chrome top Minolta X-700 body, and it was produced mainly for the Japanese domestic market, but that was not the intent of the Minolta Camera Company Limited. The MinoltaUSA people chose to import to the USA only the black body version of the X-700 (it looked more "professional"), so the more durable finish chrome version really is not common in North America. My sample was bought in the middle 1980s in a US Air Force PX in Japan by a man I worked with on some projects back in Washington, D. C. during the 1960s. I had not realized at that time that he had a great interest in photography. I bought that chrome X-700 from his estate through his son, and it is one of my treasured cameras.
    Enjoy;

    Ralph Javins, Latte Land, Washington

    When they ask you; "How many Mega Pixels you got in your camera?"
    just tell them; "I use activated silver bromide crystals tor my image storage media."

  8. #28
    sohoza's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by upnorthcyclist View Post
    Just for clarity, neither the XD nor the XE fully operate without a battery. The XD has an "O" position on the shutter speed dial that will allow the shutter to mechanically operate at 1/100 sec. if the battery dies, and the "B" (bulb) setting also can be used. The XE can use the "X" setting for manual exposures at 1/90 sec. in a pinch, and the "B" setting is also functional.

    Thanks for catching that. As I mostly hunt thrift shops and yard sales, I tend to group these by "ones I can test beforehand" and "pay and pray". =)

  9. #29
    Diapositivo's Avatar
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    Regarding chrome and black finish, at the time typically cameras of the top tip of the range were always black only. May I mention Pentax LX in the Pentax offering, or Nikon F3, Canon F1 (and A1), Rolleiflex SL2000, Contax RTS (the Contax case is different as 139 and 137 were black as well).

    Minolta competed in the "professional" camera arena with the XM (XK or whatever was called in other markets). It went against the Nikon F2 and the first series of Canon F1 when it appeared on the market (I go by memory). The XM was, again, black only.

    Sadly, Minolta decided not to follow with a "professional" camera to compete with LX, F3, and F1new. The X-700 was, therefore, the top of the line. I think this is the reason why most importers (the Italian one as well) chose to only import the black one, because the top of the catalogue had to be black. Black = Professional.

    The reason why black equals "professional" is more or less clear: less beautiful (for the majority, I guess), less conspicuous (very important with animals unless you are inside a tent or other hide), more prone to scratches. Non-pro users would prefer the chrome version: shinier and somehow more beautiful, and more scratch-resistant. Possibly cheaper. Black meant "specialized instrument" somehow.

    When Olympus launched their OM-3 and OM-4 they were only black, as well (the OM-3Ti and OM-4Ti were obviously not black as you had to see the Ti ).
    Fabrizio Ruggeri fine art photography site: http://fabrizio-ruggeri.artistwebsites.com
    Stock images at Imagebroker: http://www.imagebroker.com/#/search/ib_fbr

  10. #30
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    I had an SRT-101B for many years, replaced by an X-370, which still resides in the family with my grandson. The X-370 lacks some of the features of the X-700, but is otherwise a very competent replacement.

    I currently use my Minolta MD lenses on a Lumix G1 micro-4/3 digital camera body, which was the first of the mirrorless digital cameras, and is now about 3.5 years outdated, but can be had on the used market for good prices. There are also a good selection of other micro-4/3 cameras released in the intervening years by both Panasonic in their Lumix models and also Olympus in their Pen series.

    You need to be aware that, when used on such cameras via the appropriate micro-4/3 to Minolta MD adapter, the angle of view of such lenses will be equivalent to a lens of 2x the focal length, because the micro-4/3 sensor is half the size of a 135-format film frame. Thus, a 50mm f/1.2 lens, for instance, will be equivalent to a 100mm lens in angle of view, yet will retain the lenses original maximum focal ratio, making for very compact short telephoto lenses, useful for portrait work, for instance.

    ~Joe

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