The Minolta x700 is a cheap and easy-to-use 35mm camera. Does the camera capture the perfect photo? No, not even close; but that is what makes this camera so much fun.
Every photographer should own a simple 35mm film camera at some point in their career. Learn how a manual camera works. Make mistakes, and spend time learning from those mistakes. The beauty of film is that errors often turn out beautifully; film has a wonderful way of rendering imperfections. Taking time to understand my manual film camera and the many mistakes made with it has sent my creativity behind a lens in new directions. The Minolta x700 inspired me; an inspiration I hadn't felt in years.
My favorite feature of the x700, and what initially attracted me to the camera, is its large, bright viewfinder. It's exciting to look through and enables you to really see the benefits of a fast, wide open lens.
Its x700 camera is small and unobtrusive. I like that it doesn't draw attention. The shutter is not quiet.
In general, the x700 is a solid camera. It's made of a sturdy plastic with a stainless steal lens mount. The dial that controls the exposure compensation and ISO is prone to breaking. Be careful with this camera's part, and you won't have a problem.
The in-camera metering system meters most of the frame. Some prefer the weight-centered meters of Nikon or Canon 35mms. I like candid shots, and the x700’s meter works well for me. When it doesn’t, the beauty of film and its forgiving nature makes up for that. The metering tends to be on the dark side, but that doesn’t bother me. It often gives my photos more of a mood. The camera's metering does not perform well in low light, night photography.
The quickest shutter speed is 1/1000th of second. I'd recommend buying a fast lens and you won't have a problem with shutter speed at any light reading. I have a 50mm f/1.4 lens on the camera and love it. The Rokkor lenses for this camera are top-notch.
The x700 was one of the first program mode cameras. It is biased towards large apertures and fast shutter speeds. The mode works well for candids and street photography, something I enjoy.
And, best of all, the x700 camera is dirt cheap. Minolta made a lot of these back in the day, 3M+ I'm told. There's plenty of these floating around. I found my body for $75 and a great lens around $100. A standard lens costs no more than $45. No excuses here. Personally, I own three of these cameras. Why? I like to have a roll of color film in one, pushed B&W film in another and regular B&W film in one. With this setup I'm never worried about having the wrong type of film sitting in my camera. I can't afford to have 3 high end film cameras, so the x700 is truly one of the film cameras I use the most.
So grab a roll of film and have fun! Below are a few images I took and processed in the darkroom.