Saturday, 9 July 2016

First Pass on the X-700

New Look Parking 
Minolta X-700, MD 45/2, HP5+

I've now got 5 rolls through the X-700 (out of 9 rolls of film shot so far this year) and have enough time on it to have a decent first impression.

Overall, that impression is very good. I thoroughly understand why the X-700 is beloved by so many Minolta shooters. Simply put, it's the best mid-range consumer manual focus SLR I've shot. It's not perfect, but for an AE manual focus 35mm SLR it's a very good experience.

For starters the handling is excellent. Good finder, good metering readout in P & A modes (it needs selected shutter speed indication in M mode to be ideal there, but if you need that the X-500/X-570 has it). Solid tattletales for Exposure Comp & Manual modes and it's match-LED metering which I greatly prefer to the more common match-needle. The AE-Lock is very well located, falls right under the forefinger on a control shared with the self-timer (pull up for self-timer, press down for AE Lock). Shutter dial locks for P & A modes, and has the on/off switch under it. Exposure compensation is the usual dial under the rewind knob, but one of the better implementations (press button & turn). The finder is bright and easy to focus. Not the largest, but more than acceptable size. Build quality is rather good for a plastic-shell camera. Feels very solid aside from a flexible back (pretty common issue with any plastic-shell camera I've owned)

The downsides come down to the shutter, it's 1/1000 max and 1/60 sync were on the low side even when the X-700 came out, the lack of selected shutter speed readout in the viewfinder and the slightly wonky on/off selection (centre is off, one way is on, the other on with warning beeps. Makes turning the camera on easy, but off fiddly).

Overall I'm very much enjoying the X-700 and it's slipped into the primary film body role for now.

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