The X-700 was a high point in the history of Minolta photographic equipment. Introduced in 1981 it was, and is, a workhorse, which is one reason why Minolta continued to produce the camera until 2001. Quite a run for a basic, manual focus shooter, that features three exposure options; Program, Aperture Priority and Metered Manual using Center-Weighted Averaging. Minolta chose wisely in its decision to offer Aperture Priority instead of Shutter Priority mode which was the mainstay of many other manufacturers at that time. Aperture Priority is a personal preference of mine. There is a dial for +2 to -2 Exposure Compensation, AE Lock switch, Depth-of-Field Preview button, remote trigger cable socket, and a loaded film indicator. The metal body is durable and can take a beating. There are many OEM and third-party lenses available for the Minolta Manual Mount, but with the X-700 you’re better off using the MD lenses instead of MC if you want Program mode to work as it should (exposure may not be correct in Program mode if using MC designated lenses). MC lenses will function with no issue at all in Aperture Priority or Manual modes. This is pre-Maxxum so the flash hotshoe is your standard type with TTL support. One disappointing aspect is that the X-sync is only 1/60 whether using the hotshoe or the PC terminal.
Power is provided by two A-76/S-76 or equivalent batteries, and power options include Off, On and On with audible alerts. If you have the original neck strap, it contains a spare battery holder. There is a 10 sec. electronic self-timer and exposure settings displayed in the viewfinder. One other disappointing aspect is that in Program mode only accurate shutter speed is displayed in the viewfinder. If using an MD lens the minimal aperture setting appears in the viewfinder, and not necessarily the actual setting being used. Because the X-700 just uses the reflection of a small mirror above the aperture setting on the lens barrel as the information in the viewfinder, when in Program mode an MD lens is locked to the minimal aperture setting, so that is what is seen in the viewfinder. When in Program mode the aperture is controlled electronically to achieve correct exposure but the aperture ring on the lens doesn’t move. When in Aperture or Manual mode this information is correct in the viewfinder because the aperture ring is being turned manually in these modes. Viewfinder screens are also interchangeable, I believe there were eight different screens available for the X-700.
There is a small black button in front and to the right of the Program Mode dial on the top of the camera. This must be depressed prior to turning the dial to select a Program Mode. This prevents the accidental switching of exposure modes. The battery compartment, tripod socket and film rewind release are found under the camera, along with contacts for available accessories. Although battery powered, this is a manual camera and rewinding film is a manual process unless using the optional Auto Winder G. Replaceable backs, Wireless IR Controller, and a Motor Drive were also available accessories.
CLEANING AND REPAIR
This can be classified as a modern SLR and should not be repaired by anyone other than a trained professional. Common maintenance such as removing batteries when not in use, keeping the body cap on if a lens is not attached, don’t leave the shutter cocked if not in use, etc., should all be applied to ensure the finely engineered camera continues to function longer then most new digital point and shoots.
If in working order, the X-700 can be found on the ‘bay for as little as 40 dollars for the camera only, but this is rare. Average final auction price for the body and standard 50mm f1.7 lens is usually around 75 dollars. If additional lenses, flash or case is part of the auction expect to pay at least 100 dollars on average. Shipping for camera body alone should only be around 6 to 10 dollars depending on destination and method used. Since the X-700 takes two standard SR44 or equivalent batteries, it shouldn’t be much of a burden on the seller to purchase these in order to fully test the camera prior to post for auction. Always be cautious if a seller claims to know nothing about a camera or hasn’t tested it. It’s far cheaper to buy a used, functional X-700 then to buy a broken one and have it repaired. Another aspect to look for, is if the camera does come with a lens, make sure it is an MD type, not an MC, or the Program mode won’t expose correctly. The X-700 came standard with the very fine 50mm f1.7 MD lens. If additional lenses are part of the auction it should be verified that they are Minolta brand lenses and not third party brands such as Vivitar or JC Penney. Don’t pay a premium for anything other than Minolta MD lenses.