Modern Classic SLR Series
Minolta X-700 SLR camera - Part III

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Taking Pictures and using your X-700

The following sections explain how to use your camera to take pictures. The sections in boxes give additional information on some of the fundamentals of photography.

<<<<<< ------ Troubleshooting and checklist when operating the X-700.

Pre-shooting Check

To make sure your camera is ready for picture taking, it is a good habit to check the items shown here.

If you hold the camera as shown, you can easily operate most controls without removing it from your eye. LEFT HAND Thumb: focusing grip, aperture ring, or preview button Index: Middle finger: aperture ring RIGHT HAND Thumb: film-advance lever Index: main switch, mode/shutter speed selector (and P/A-Lock release), or operating button Middle: AE lock or minimum-aperture lock

Exposure Control with the X-700 Your X-700 can be used in any of three exposure-control modes, as summarized below and explained in more detail in the following sections.

Programmed auto-exposure (AE) mode The X-700's P mode is ideal for general picture taking when all you want to do is compose, focus, and shoot. With the camera set at "P" and an MD lens at its minimum aperture, the X-700's program selects the aperture and fastest practicable shutter speed as light dims, giving audible beeps (if desired) to warn against blur from subject/ camera movement.

Aperture-priority AE mode When you want to control the depth of field by setting a certain aperture, or for auto-exposure control with virtually any Minolta SLR lens or accessory, use the X-700 in A mode. The camera will automatically set the stepless shutter speed to yield proper exposure for the aperture you set.

Metered/Full-manual mode The X-700's M mode can be used when a special photographic effect requires a fixed speed, or in situations where the brightness difference between the subject area and the rest of the frame exceeds the available range of exposure adjustment in P or A mode or where the AE lock cannot be readily used.

Mode / Shutter-Speed Selector and P/A-Lock release The mode/shutter-speed selector can be rotated continuously in either direction but locks at "P" and "A" to prevent accidental movement. Release the selector by pressing the P/A-Lock release, then turn it until it clicks or locks into place at the desired position.

Minimum-Aperture Lock In P mode, it is recommended to lock the lens at its minimum aperture to prevent accidental movement.

expctrl1.jpg expctrl2.jpg
To do so, line up the green f-number Y/16, f/22, or f/32, depending on lens) with the index, then pull the slider toward the camera. To release -the lock for A mode or M mode, push the slider away from the camera body. Reminder:: Only Later-version of MD lenses have this Aperture Lock.

Eyepiece Cap


If the shutter is released without the eyepiece being shielded by your head (such as in remote or self timer operation, etc.) when the camera is used in P or A mode or at "B", slide the eyepiece cap onto the frame around the eyepiece to prevent unwanted light from affecting the meter reading and exposure.

The eyepiece cap can be threaded on the camera strap to keep it handy for use.


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Basic settings

Set mode selector at "P". Set and lock lens at minimum aperture (
Green figure).


Taking pictures in P mode

After you have set the camera as shown at left, it will automatically set the shutter speed and aperture for you. All you need do before releasing the shutter is compose, focus, and check the viewfinder as follows:

Is the over-range LED blinking? If so, use a neutral-density (ND) fitter or reduce the light level if possible
Is an LED on in the danger zone for hand-holding (usually 1/30 sec. or slower ? Or does the slow-shutter-speed warning beep when the main switch is at "ON " and you touch the operating button ? If so, use a suitable camera-support method or a flash. Is an LED on or blinking outside the applicable range ? If so, exposure may be incorrect.

NOTES: * If the lens is not set at minimum aperture, the "P" will blink as a warning. Although exposure will still be correct unless an over- or under-range LED blinks, the program's range will be limited so that it cannot accommodate brighter subjects. * In some situations you may want to use the AE-lock or exposure adjustment control. * If your head is not shielding the eyepiece from light when the picture is taken, use the eyepiece cap.

Viewfinder Shows:

Green "P" = Programmed AE mode in use (Blinks if lens is not set at minimum aperture)
Minimum aperture (
Stepless shutter speed set by camera (If two LEDs light, speed is in between.)

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When you take a picture, light from the subject passes through the lens and open shutter, striking the film to form an image. To obtain correct exposure for the subject's brightness and film being used, the aperture (size of the diaphragm opening) and shutter speed (length of time the shutter curtain is kept open) must be controlled.

As indicated by the aperture diagram next to each f-number in the figure, large f-numbers (e.g., f/16 and f/8) represent small apertures, and small f-numbers (e.g., f/2 and f/1 A) represent large apertures. Each standard f-number setting (e.g., f/8) lets in twice as much light as the next numerically larger one (f/11) and half as much as the next smaller one 0/5.6). This difference in exposure between standard f-numbers is called 'one stop' . Shutter speeds are expressed in fractions of a second (generally the reciprocals of numbers shown on shutter-speed scales) and in seconds. Each standard shutter speed (e.g., 1/60 sec.) allows light to strike the film twice as long as the next faster one (1/125) and half as long as the next slower one (1/30). This difference between standard shutter speeds is also called one "stop".

SUPPLEMENTARY INFO: More information is available at another section in this PIM site:

Total exposure on the film is determined by the combination of aperture and speed. Using the next smaller f-number (i.e., giving one stop more exposure) will balance using the next faster shutter speed (i.e., giving one stop less exposure), and so on. A great range of combinations (e.g., f/5.6 at 1/30, f/4.0 at 1/60, f /2.8 at 1/125, etc., all of which fall on the same diagonal line) will thus yield the same total exposure. The diagonal lines correspond to exposure values (EV); all of the aperture/shutter-speed combinations indicated by a given line will produce the same exposure.

<<<<<<- -----Elevated Highway at midnight, Kuala Lumpur... Copyright-free images collection © 2001 leofooTM.gif

At any specific film speed, the EV increases by one each time the subject brightness doubles, and thus the required exposure will decrease by one stop. On the other hand, when the EV is one unit lower (i.e., when the subject is only half as bright), the exposure must be increased one stop. The film-speed-coupled metering system of the camera measures the brightness of the subject and computes the EV needed for proper exposure, which is then used for setting the combination of aperture and shutter speed.


As shown in the graph at right, the X-700's program is designed to maintain the fastest practicable shutter speed as light dims. The graph gives you a general idea of which aperture is being set for a given LED-indicated shutter speed. For example, if the "125" LED lights, the aperture will be approximately f/2.8 (for a 50mm f/1.4 lens, at ISO 100/21). The accurate working range of shutter-speed and aperture combinations at ISO 100/210 with an f/1.4 lens is EV 10/1.4, 1 sec.) to EV 18 f/16, 1/1000 sec.). At ISO 25/15 the range is EV -1 to 16; at ISO 400/270 it is EV 3 to 18. The maximum EV depends on the minimum aperture of the lens: for f/16 it is EV 18; for f/22, EV 19; for f/32, EV 20.


The accurate working range of shutter speeds of the X-700 depends on the film speed, as shown in the table. If you release the shutter when the LEDs indicate a speed outside the applicable range, exposure may be incorrect.

The table at right shows the usable modes for various types of lenses and accessories. B:cause the X-700 meters while the diaphragm is closing to obtain correct exposure in auto modes, operation may be somewhat different than stated in the lens or accessory manual. Special instructions for specific lenses and accessories are as follows:

Note: Only MD lenses should be used in P mode. If a non-MD lens is used the "P" will blink as a warning that; exposure may be incorrect.

* When using an Auto Rokkor lens, Auto Bellows 1, or Auto Bellows III with the X-700, you need to press the preview button only when you want to check the shutter speed that will be used in A mode or the recommended shutter speed in M mode, not when you actually release the shutter. For Auto Bellows III, press the preview button on the bellows itself.

* Though RF lenses (which have a fixed aperture) can be used with the mode selector at "P", they will function in the same way as when it is at "A".

APERTURE-PRIORITY AUTO-EXPOSURE MODE (A mode) Often regarded as the Portrait AUTO mode as it is much easier to operate by choose and select apertures when control of depth of field is an priority.

Basic settings

aposition.jpg lensturn.jpg
Set mode selector at "A". Set lens at desired aperture.

Taking pictures in A mode

After you have set the mode elector and desired aperture as shown at left, the camera will automatically select the stepless shutter speed needed for proper exposure. All you need do before releasing the shutter is compose, focus, and check the viewfinder as follows:

* Is the over-range LED blinking? If so, turn the aperture ring towards f/22 until the LED stops blinking. If it does not stop, use a neutral density (ND) filter or reduce the light level if possible. * Is an LED on in the danger zone for hand-holding (usually 1/30 sec. or slower)? Or does the slow-shutter-speed warning beep when the main switch is at "ON " and you touch the operating button? If so, turn the aperture ring towards f/1.7 until an LED outside the danger zone lights. If impossible, use a suitable camera-support method or a flash. * Is an LED on or blinking outside the applicable range ? If so, exposure may be incorrect.

NOTES: In some situations you may want to use the AE lock or exposure adjustment control. a If your head is not shielding the eyepiece from light when the picture is taken, use the eyepiece cap. a Almost all Minolta lenses and close-up accessories can be used in aperture-priority AE mode.

Viewfinder shows:
Red "A" = Aperture-priority AE mode in use
Aperture you selected (equals taking aperture)
Stepless shutter speed set by camera for that aperture (If two LEDs light, speed is in between.)

Selecting an aperture

In aperture-priority AE mode, your X-700 will set the precise shutter speed for proper exposure automatically. Even so, you have considerable control over the exposure by mnaul adjusting the aperture and shutter speed over a considerable range to suit the conditions and yourself. For good pictures with a minimum of care where no particular effect is desired, simply set the aperture as indicated in the table.

These guide settings will provide as much depth of field as possible while producing a shutter speed fast enough to stop the motion of most subjects and guard against blur from camera movement. Note: These are only guidelines for typical picture-taking situations.

Metering with Minolta X-700

Your X-700's center-weighted averaging meter system is designed so that light from all parts of the view field (picture area) is measured by the silicon photocell but influence from a broad central area is greatest. Thus the reading should give satisfactory exposure without adjustment as long as the main subject area occupies a major part of the center of the frame. When it does not, you may want to use the AE lock to take a close-up reading or the exposure adjustment control to increase or decrease exposure by up to two stops. As with most metering systems, strong sources of direct light or other very bright areas may adversely influence the reading if allowed to dominate the frame. Though the X-700's viewfinder is designed to minimize the effect on the meter of light entering through the eyepiece under usual conditions, you should be careful to shield the eyepiece - especially if you wear glasses - in the following situations:

* When the subject is in shade and the camera is in sunlight
* When bright sidelight falls between eye and eyepiece
* When stop-down metering is used

To shield the eyepiece, use a rubber eyecup or place your thumb so that it blocks sidelight. When viewing is unnecessary, the eyepiece cap can be used to completely eliminate the problem.

Previous | NEXT | 3/6 Some info on Depth of Field and its effect on photography, system accessories, Auto Electronic Flash Units, Quartz Data backs, Wireless Remote Control, Motor Drive, Power Winder, Focusing Screens and some guide on storage and maintenance of SLR camera.


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Credit: Mr. LT Jack B. Nunley <> for his images of the Minolta Motor Drive 1 and Power Winder G; Mr. Antony Hands Melbourne Australia <>for two of his fabulous images of the Minolta X-700 and Motor Drive 1; Certain content and images appeared in this site were either scanned from official marketing leaflets, Instruction Manual(s) & brochures published by Minolta and/or contribution from surfers who claimed originality of their work for educational purposes. The creator of the site will not be responsible for may discrepancies arise from such dispute except rectifying them after verification. "Minolta", "Rokkor", "X-700", "Dynax" & "Maxxum" are registered trade names of Minolta Optical Inc., Japan. A site dedicated to all Minolta fans worldwide. Site made with an Apple IMac.