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


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CREATIVE CONTROL OF APERTURE AND SHUTTER SPEED

Sometimes you may want to select an aperture to obtain a particular effect, such as rendering a certain range in sharp focus or emphasizing a subject against an out-of-focus background. In either case, use the X-700 in A or M mode, and set the lens at the desired aperture; small f-numbers yield a shallow field of sharp focus, as in photo A above, while large f-numbers, give greater depth of field, as in photo B.

dofillusflw2.jpg dofillusflw1.jpgA
At other times, the subject or effect you want may make the shutter speed more important. In A mode turn the aperture ring until the LED next to the desired shutter speed lights, or use M mode to set the speed.

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

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C
speedillus2.jpgD
Fast shutter speeds such as 1/500 to 1/1000 sec. can "freeze" action, as in photo C above. Slow shutter speeds such as 1/2 to a few seconds can be used to emphasize subject flow or motion. Note: unless you know what you are doing, always use a stand or tripod when operating in slower speeds.

FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY

Besides its pentaprism-mounted silicon photocell for ambient light metering, the X-700 has a second cell located in its mirror compartment to measure through-the-lens (TTL light reflected from the film during flash exposures with PX-series Auto Electro-flashes. Used in program TTL auto flash mode with the X-700 and an MD lens set for P mode, this Minolta Direct Autoflash Metering system allows you to simply compose, focus on a subject in flash range, and shoot. The aperture will be automatically set for You by the camera's flash program.


In any-aperture TTL auto flash mode with the X-700 set at "A", you can open the aperture fully up to obtain maximum flash range, or close it down for greater depth of field. Since light is metered through the lens at the taking aperture during exposure, this mode is ideal for auto flash close-ups, bounce flash, and other creative flash techniques. In both modes, an LED will blink in the viewfinder to indicate if exposure was sufficient, and flash exposures can be lightened or darkened over a wide range by using the camera's exposure-adjustment control. The table that followed summarizes how to use PX and other flash units With the X-700. For specific instructions, see the applicable owner's manual. Naturally, other flash units which includes third party flash models can also be used with the X700 with varying degree of performance.

Connecting flash units

flashmount.jpg
Unlike today's modern AF flash units designed by Minolta for their latest Dynax class AF SLR models which has a proprietary flash mounting feet and accessory shoe, the X-700 employs a more universal type of ISO-type standard accessory and thus it has a greater compatibility with many other flash units which, include third party options.

There is no sync cord required like those SLRs made during the late seventies. Cordless clip-on flash units are attached and electrically connected by simply sliding them into the camera's hot shoe. Sync cords of clip-on or bracket-type units must be Plugged into the camera's sync terminal. Bracket-type flash units attach to the camera's tripod socket.

  PX-series Auto Electro flash X -series Auto Electro flash Others
Camera connection Hot shoe (or off-camera cables)

Hotshoe

Hot shoe or sync cord

Flash modes and aperture setting Controllable by camera's selector:
P: program TTL (camera selects aperture by flash program)
A: any-aperture TTL (user selects aperture to control flash range and depth of field)
1-1000, B: manual flash (aperture determined by distance)
Selected on flash:
Auto: by on-flash sensor at designated aperture(s)
Manual: aperture determined by distance

 

X-sync shutter speed Shutter automatically releases at 1/60 if flash charged (except when camera set at "B") Electronic flash: 1 to 1/60, B
M, MF, or FP bulb: 1 to 1/15, B
Flash-ready signal LED next to "60" blinks at 2 Hz (and "A" or "M" LED goes out in A or M mode); monitor lamp on flash Monitor lamp on flash
If shutter released before flash charged: Photo taken without flash at existing settings Flash may or may not fire
Flash-distance check (FDC) signaling "60" LED blinks at 8Hz (in TTL); FDC lamp on flash FDC lamp on models 320X, 132X only FDC lamp on models 320, 128 only
Exposure-adjustment control Usable in P and A modes (viewfinder +/- LED goes out even when in use)

Not usable

Not usable

Remarks: Auto Electro flash 360PX also has on -flash sensor for auto control at any of 3 apertures depending on film speed. Auto Electroflash CLE is usable for any-aperture TTL flash in A mode or for manual flash.

Minolta Auto Electronic Flash Units: 280PX, 132PX, 360PX, Macro 80PX SET

With one of these flash units attached, the X-700's Direct Auto flash Metering system provides through-the-lens (TTL) off-film flash control in program (P) mode or any-aperture (A) mode. Viewfinder flash-ready signaling, auto sync-speed setting, and sufficient-exposure confirmation are other features that make them extremely simple to use. A good question is, can newer Minolta flash be used with the X-700 ? Yeas and no. The TTL OTF requires some dedicated contacts to mate between flash foot and the accessory shoe to provide proper flash auto control. Many of the newer series of Minolta flash units has different flash mounting foot and dedicated TTL/AF contacts which was a strange move as this has diverted from mainstream ISO-type accessory shoe design.

Anyway, many of the advance features and dedicated new functions that offer by the new AF flash units will not be operative even if you intend to use them on your X-700 and thus, there may not have any significant advantage over older non-AF units such as those within the PX and X-series units. Naturally, you may also choose to use third party alternatives such as those popular, cheaper units from Metz, Sunpak or Vivitar with the X-700. However, as most of these units do not provide dedicated TTL flash function, you can only use these flash in AUTO or in full manual flash mode.

autoflash2.jpg autoflash3.jpg autoflash1.jpg autoflash4.jpg

The compact, lightweight 280PX has energy-saving thyristor circuitry and a power-level selector enabling 2fps winder/motor-drive sync. The inexpensive yet versatile 132PX gives you the option of vertical bounce and automatically turns itself off when disconnected. Among the many handy features of the top-of-the-line 360PX are: horizontal/vertical bounce, variable GN/power control (enabling sync at up to 2 fps), auto power switch off, terminals for off-camera cables and direct auto charge control by the Multi-Function Back in time-lapse photography, and a built-in auto sensor for use with other cameras. The lens-mounted Macro 80PX Set (used in A mode) has four flash tubes that can be independently switched on or off to control lighting of close-up and macro subjects.

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A wide range of accessories for PX flash units expands their usefulness for creative flash photography. Designed for the 280PX and 360PX, the Power Grip 2 features well-balanced handling, sync at up to 3.5 fps, auto power switch off, auto charge control (with Multi-Function Back), and bounce flash at a great range of angles.

<<<<<<<< ----- Download a PDF file (312k) of the system accessories available for X-700 during the early '80

Filter panel sets and a bounce reflector are available for the 360PX and 132PX, and an AC adapter for the 360PX and Macro 80PX Set. Cables and connectors enable simple, accurate TTL auto flash operation for close-up, directional, and multi-flash techniques.

Multi Functions Quartz Data Film Back

filmback.jpg
I remembered the X-700 was the first SLR camera that pioneered the use of the trend setting multifunction film back to supplement more camera functions. There are two versions of databack offered by Minolta specifically designed for the X-700. The standard film back can be easily removed and replaced with the special purpose film back.

The quartz/microcomputer-controlled Multi-Function Back connects cordlessly to the X-700 in place of its regular back to perform a variety of camera control and data-imprinting functions. By simply pressing keys while viewing its liquid-crystal display, you can set it for time-lapse photographs at a huge range of intervals, automatically timed long exposures, and/or multi-frame sequences.

databack1.jpg
The quartz timer and auto calendar enable recording the time accurate to the second, or the year/month/day in any of three orders. Or you can set the imprinter to record any six-digit code number, to consecutively number each frame, or for no imprinting. Manually controlled imprinting before or after taking the picture is also possible, and data exposure can be selected at any of six levels to match the sensitivity of the film in use.

Quartz Data Back 1

A more conventional type of databack film back design is the Quartz Data Back 1 . It replaces the X-700's regular back to record data on film for classifying your pictures. Its highly accurate quartz clock and auto calendar (
Good through 2099) imprint day/hour/minute, or year/month/day in any of three orders.

databack2.jpg
In other modes, any six-digit number or consecutive frame numbers counting up or down from any starting number can be imprinted, with optional dashes or blank spaces. Data is easily set by pushing three keys and referring to a liquid-crystal display, and two film settings let you vary data exposure with film type. The unit's clock and calendar continue operating even when the liquid-crystal imprinter is turned off.

Automatic Film Advance Devices/Accessories

Key element for attaching a motor drive on your camera is responsiveness. Where it always place you ready for the next shot without even have to handle another task of manual film advance. In situation where lighting is tricky, bracketing exposures with variable apertures can't be swifter. Minolta was very well prepared for the X-700 to take on competitions, it has two automatic film advance devices with varying degree of performance and price to meet consumer's needs. You can either select a faster Motor Drive which comes with a handy hand grip and variable film advance speed selection. The Motor Drive 1 is a very well made unit , although the moderate film advance bursting rate is still far from rivaling top performing models but it is still adequate for most photographic assignments that may demand the use of such a handy device. e.g. portraiture, sports, action, news, reportage and wildlife photography.

motor.jpg
With Motor Drive 1 attached, you can capture the action with single-frame or continuous operation at either 2 or 3.5 frames per second. The comfortable hand grip has two operating buttons, each with a Minolta "touch switch", enabling full viewfinder readout for either horizontal or vertical framing.

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SIX fabulous Images of Minolta's Motor Drive 1 and Power Winder G

<<<<<<- ----- Credit: Images of Minolta Motor Drive 1 and Power Winder G Copyright © 2002 Courtesy of Mr. LT Jack B. Nunley <jnunley@insightbb.com>

A more economical alternative is a Power WINDER which has slower film advance rate but serves its objective well for its function to supplement photographic needs.

Winder.jpg
Auto Winder G lets you focus full attention on the creative aspects of photography by freeing you from winding the film after each picture. Continuous sequences up to 2 fps are also possible by holding the camera's operating button down.

Both units are designed to attach quickly and easily without access caps to remove or store. Their film-advance mechanisms stop automatically at the end of the roll, and film can be easily loaded and unloaded without removing the units.

Wireless Controller IR-1 SET
Remoteset.jpg
The IR-1 infrared transmitter/receiver set lets you trigger the X-700 from up to 60m (about 200 ft.) away for remote-controlled single-frame exposures, continuous sequences, or time exposures. When used with extra receivers, the three-channel transmitter enables independent operation of up to three cameras or groups of cameras, or simultaneous operation of an unlimited number of cameras.

Optional Interchangeable Focusing Screens The X-700's standard focusing screen can be replaced by any of eight optional Acute Matte screens. Although it is still possible that user may interchange the screen himself but Minolta suggested it should be handle at authorized Minolta service facilities. Well, since there is no support whatsoever now for this camera, you will have to handle this task yourself. But a word of caution, firstly - never use excessive force when deal with any parts inside this section of the camera and next, avoid leaving smudges on the focusing screen especially in the split image rangefinder section because, believe me, it can be very tedious process to remove any alien object when got stuck there. This area of the X-700 was not being designed to friendly and if you are picky, this is one section you can considered as a major drawback of the camera design.

Types and usage are as follows:

PM: horizontal split/microprism band; standard type (not shown); general photography

screnM.gifscrenP1.gifscrenP2.gif

P1: Horizontal split; general photography
P2: Horizontal split; general photography with f/2.8 or larger max. aperture lenses
Pd: diagonal split; general photography
M: microprism spot; general photography
G: matte field only; general, close-up, and telephoto photography
L: matte field with grid; general photography
S: Horizontal and vertical measuring scales; general, macro-, micro-, and astrophotography
H: clear spot with engraved double cross; macro-,micro-, and astrophotography

screnG.gifscrenS.gifscrenL.gifscrenH.gif

Interchangeable lenses and other SLR system Accessories are shown in the system guidebook included in the camera box.

STORAGE & Maintenance

* If the camera is not to be used for more than two weeks, the batteries should be removed. 9 It is advisable to operate the film-advance lever and release the shutter once or twice from time to time during extended storage. ** If the camera is to be stored for a long period of time, the body and lens should be returned to their original packing and kept in a cool, dry place away from dust or chemicals, preferably in an airtight container with a drying agent such as silica gel.

Summary: Is the X-700 a worthy camera to look at as your first SLR camera ?

Yes. I would like to give this trend setting camera a classic rating but equally, I don't like to mislead anyone who may think this camera is the ultimate imaging machine. Nothing personal, but rather it is very much due to its lack of technical support by its creator now. But if you were to ask me does it worth investing a new set of equipment based on this camera, my answer can be much depends on what kind of entry price do you intend to allocate. This is because the camera is a obsolete model in the Minolta product series and that apply to its various system components as well.

shutter curtain.jpg (15k) Loading ..
Although overall, the X-700 presents a very designed and made structure and I would like to believe it was build to last (even if it was polycarbonated all over its exterior. But internally when you intend to prepare a purchase, it is always at your interest check if there is any rusted film guiding rails or deformed shutter curtain. Like most cameras available during the seventies and early eighties, Minolta X-700 employs a fabric shutter curtain which is horizontal-traverse focal-plane type and can be more reactive to humidity.

It may not be wise to build an entire system from scratch if you intend to do a lot of photography on a weekly basis. But of you need a camera for casual photography or a cheap sturdy camera for home use applications, this may well be the model that suits such needs. Fortunately, some of this negative thoughts can well be offset by the emergence of the Internet with new level of convenience on self support such as public auction houses like Ebay.com or even | my very own version | can be of good source to locate parts and supplies of older equipment.

I am not a expert with the Minolta 35mm photographic system, If you need more references in relation to X-700 and/or its system accessories, there are a couple Minolta web resources with varying degree of technical details or topics which you may be able to fulfill your needs but please don't mail me (but you are always welcome to contribute pictures to replace some of the terrible works appeared in this site, naturally, appropriate credit will also be given for such effort).

http://www.cs.ubc.ca/spider/boritz/photo/xmain.html
http://www.photo.net/ezshop/product?product_id=446
http://www.photographyreview.com/PRD_84484_3105crx.aspx
http://met.open.ac.uk/group/cpv/Photo/backs.html
http://met.open.ac.uk/group/cpv/Photo/mfb_tab.html
http://met.open.ac.uk/group/cpv/Photo/mfb.html
http://met.open.ac.uk/group/cpv/Photo/280PX.htmlhttp://met.open.ac.uk/group/cpv/Photo/360PX.html
http://met.open.ac.uk/group/cpv/Photo/p_grip2.html

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Credit: Mr. LT Jack B. Nunley <jnunley@insightbb.com> for his images of the Minolta Motor Drive 1 and Power Winder G; Mr. Antony Hands Melbourne Australia <aj_sarah@bigpond.net.au>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.