Now that I have a few gear reports under my belt, I’ve become stymied on how to proceed with the Vintage Minolta Love Project. Initially, I laid out a roadmap in chronological order from the SR-2 to the 5D. Well, that is no longer working for me. I have used most of the cameras as intended, some I really like, while I find excuses to avoid others. The Minolta SR-7 is the current stumbling block, and the SR-1 is looming behind it. Having used both cameras, I dread returning to them again. Both work fine—even the meters (both are off by a stop or less)—but using them is not fun for me. For some reason, both feel like a day at the office. My boredom with the SR-7 and SR-1 was mirrored in the Maxxum 7xi, but I forced myself to do that report anyway.
I keep trying to stick to the original plan, but I allow (welcome) a distraction each time. First, the Minolta ER bumped the SR-7 aside, then the snazzy black SR-T 201 Ritz edition insisted on being next, after them a pair of Minolta Freedom Zoom 160s jumped the line, and finally the 7sII. I keep putting the SR-7 back in the queue, but it’s time to stop kidding myself—I really want to try the MC Rokkor 58mm 1.2 on the XK. Since I have limited shooting time, waiting to shoot for fun is getting harder to justify. Meanwhile, my Maxxum 9 is staring at me with an attitude, the 700si and a set of Creative cards await, and I have never used the MD 24-50mm with an X-700. Life is too short to maintain “a foolish consistency.”
I started buying cameras to explore them and to try new lenses and emulsions—to have fun. The Internet can go without my user reports on the SR-7 and SR-1 for a while–the stroll through history will have to respect that decision. From here on, I will be doing reports based on which cameras and lenses have caught my fancy at the time. Eventually, I will review all of them, but for now, it’s playtime!
That being said, here are a few impressions of my Minolta cameras thus far.
Manual Minolta Cameras
- SR-2: Rare find. Very nice feel, but I don’t care for the plain focusing screen. Will likely never leave the house again—it’s too precious to chance losing or damaging it (might be allowed in the yard, though). (Report)
- SR-3: Everything I like about the SR-2 with a better focusing screen—favorite fully manual camera. (Report)
- SR-7: I have taken this camera out and put it back so many times without writing a report. I don’t hate it, but never look forward to using it.
- SR-1 (V). Cute, but not eager to use it—maybe one day when I’m bored. Doesn’t solve a problem or awaken any affection.
- Black SR-T 101: Pristine. I’m afraid I’ll scratch it. For some reason, I have the feeling I should wear a beret when using it. I take it out and admire it from time to time, then return it to storage.
- Black SR-T 201: (Black Ritz edition): Pristine, beautiful. Use with a beret.
- Regular SR-T 101. The first Minolta model I ever owned–so it has an emotional tie. However, a lot has happened since my college days. Nice camera, but the black 101 has my heart, and 102/202 have more useful viewfinder displays and focusing screens.
- SR-T 102, 202. Very nice–will be the go-to SR-Ts unless I’m wearing a beret, in which case I will break out the black SR-T models.
- XK: Big and heavy, and a much better shooting experience than expected. Shutter 1/2000 speed. I love this camera, although I feel slightly uneasy shooting it–like I should apologize to anybody who doesn’t have one. Very nice.
- XE-7: Competes with Minolta XK. Looks as if it has never been used. If I’m wearing a beret, the XE-7 wins on style points. Class act.
- XE-5: Cute, will take it out for a spin on occasion.
- Black XD-11: Reserved for trips to Monte Carlo. Requires a tux.
- Regular XD-11: Nothing but love, baby! I have to force myself NOT to use the XD-11s. (Report)
- XD-5: May have a problem being used now because I got a fully-working XD-11 for $20. Will take it out for a spin on occasion.
- X-700: It will give the XD-11 a hard time when competing for my affections. Beautiful. My copy was bought from an owner who used it one semester for a photography class. It came with a set of lenses and accessories, some still in boxes and original wrapping–right up there with the XD-11.
- X-570: Very nice–eBay bargain in excellent condition. I prefer a different focusing screen, though—a keeper.
- XG-M: This camera does not get much respect in general. Fun to use. I’ve taken great images with its very accurate meter. I wish it came in black–right behind XD-11 and X-700 in love.
- XG-7: I don’t like how it looks and only bought it because it was the first in the XG series and came with three special MD lenses.
- 7sII: Tiny and capable, just what I like! I have a feeling it will be difficult to avoid grabbing this any time I go out to shoot.
Autofocus Minolta Cameras (Maxxum/Dynax)
- 7000, Crossed “XX”: This refrigerator has grown on me. The “XX” versions are collectors’ items. I have three, thanks to Goodwill. All work, no LCD bleeds, and the most expensive was only 17.00. Simple and easy to understand with only minimal reading. An excellent choice for one’s first AF Minolta. (Report)
- 9000: An odd manual/AF mix. Great images. I will use it as long as it works. (Report)
- 7000i: Comfortable and functional–I used it a lot until the 8000i came along.
- 8000i: Better EC access than the 7000i with slightly better AF. (Report)
- 7xi: A good camera with a quirky user interface. You know my mind. (Report)
- 9xi: Excellent camera, but not my cup of tea. Needs more buttons.
- 700si: Vastly underrated–goes well with Minolta’s Creative Cards.
- 600si: Very nice–I don’t know why these sell so cheaply. Clean design and an excellent choice for one’s first AF Minolta.
- 800si: Great specs, but I like the 700si more. Feels bulky.
- XTsi: I bought this because it came with a BP-100 battery pack—something I did not know existed. As a collector’s item, the BP-100 is a rare find. The camera seems to be an earlier iteration of the Maxxum 5 with fewer focus points—a keeper.
- 5: I’ve used this camera too much while skipping over others. Fast AF, lightweight, and loaded with features. A favorite, especially now that I have the battery pack, BP-200.
- 7: Love it—my favorite AF Minolta! I’m pretty sure it came from the future.
- 9: I feel like I need a certificate, license, or something else official when using this. Intimidating, to say the least. After loading a Max 9, a shot of bourbon—neat—is the only acceptable drink before heading out. A lot of camera—a lot…
- 70: A favorite and vastly underrated. It is a Maxxum 5 with better balance and a more understated finish. Perfect walk-around camera.
- Freedom Zoom 160: A lot of tech packed into a little box, such as three focus modes and 125-segment metering. This and my phone are my official tourist cameras. Images are much better than I expected. Sweet.
Writing this post made me wonder: Do any of you have cameras you like using so much that others are neglected?
Well, that’s my lineup. It’s time to grab a camera and have fun!!!