Monday Mystery Camera: The Minolta X-700 Chrome

minx700c

Chances are you’ve never seen this camera in person. Neither had I until recently. The Minolta X-700 in chrome finish.

THE MINOLTA X-700

Although this is not meant to be a formal review, I feel I should give you at least a little information on the Minolta X-700.

The X-700 is a manual focus SLR introduced by Minolta in 1981. In its time, it was praised for its AE modes, flash automation and ease of use. As a classic camera it is very basic by today’s standards.

The camera offers Aperture Priority and (a much praised at the time) Program mode. You can use it in manual mode as well. Shutter speeds from 4 secs to 1/1000. It runs on two S76 batteries and can accept a motor drive and other accessories.

I actually did a lengthy review on the X-700 many years back on another site and I’ll try to transfer that over here.

I have to admit I have a soft spot for the X-700 as it was my first “real” camera as a kid back in 1985.

THE X-700 CHROME

Cameras have traditionally come in either black, silver, chrome or all of the above. Of course, there are special editions like reptile, ostrich, etc, etc, but we’re not talking about those.

Some cameras were always seen in silver or chrome trim such as the Pentax K-1000. I’m not sure I ever saw a black one. Indeed, I don’t think there ever was a black one made by Pentax.

The X-700 on the other hand is almost always seen in black. I had never seen a silver or chrome (whichever you prefer to call it) version in the flesh. In fact, for many years I never even knew it existed because of the fact that I have only seen the black ones.

But here it is in the flesh! It is real and it is beautiful! Well, to me anyway.

COLLECTIBILITY

Now if you have one of these beauties, take pride that you have a pretty rare thing. However rare does not translate to valuable.

I got this one for $65 and again, I found it when I was not even looking for it. I see a couple now on eBay, and with prices around the $400 mark with lens and other items to entice you.

No disrespect intended, but I highly doubt anyone would pay that much for one unless they really, really, and I mean REALLY wanted a chrome X-700 🙂

When I got mine last year, I checked eBay auctions and found one that sold for $149 I think. That being the case, I would put the fair value on these cameras from $65-150 or $200 tops for the camera body alone.

Keep in mind that the “regular” black versions can be had anywhere from FREE to $100 and regularly averaging on eBay for around $30-60 body only and $60-90 with lens.

BOTTOM LINE

The Minolta X-700 was Minolta’s most advanced model in 1981. I would say that it could very well have been the most successful Minolta SLR ever, although SRT fans will disagree with me. It was the camera that put Minolta on the map for the 80s and within striking distance of taking the top spot from the likes of Canon and Nikon.

Of course we know that did not turn out to be the case. But man, they were close with this camera. The camera, coupled with the “Only From The Mind Of Minolta” campaign were an indelible part of 1980s camera lore for me. Never before or since have I seen a film SLR get that much press and television advertising. It was classic.

The Minolta X-700 may be a very basic camera by today’s standards, but there is no doubt the camera is a Minolta Camera Legend. And if you come across a chrome one, all the better! Take pride and keep it.

11/28/16 ***Cyber Monday Specials***

Special sales, deals, and rebates from Olympus.

$350 off Canon EOS 5D MK III Bundle.

13 thoughts on “Monday Mystery Camera: The Minolta X-700 Chrome

    1. Hi Jim, have to agree with you on the reliability of these cameras. It’s a shame and again, probably one of the reasons why Minolta couldn’t take the top spot in the camera world. Thanks for your comments!!

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  1. The first SLR camera I handled was the SRT-101 which I immediately wanted! Remember that the lower part of the frame meter sensitivity was it’s claim to fame? Supposedly solved the underexposure problem. By the time I talked Mrs B to let me buy one, the camera shop guy talked me into a Canon Pellix….which is where it all began. I sometimes wonder where I would have ended up if I started with that SRT.
    Always enjoy reading your little monographs bro. By the way, nice copy of the camera!

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    1. Hi Jeremie, sorry to hear of the problems you had. The X-700 is well known to develop electronic issues as they age. My first one started developing battery drain after ten years and even though Minolta fixed it, the problem came back. It’s now over thirty years later and my first one still works, but I wouldn’t want to rely on it so she is “retired” these days 🙂

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  2. Capacitor issues are well-known. Inferior capacitors were used in series 25xxxx-27xxxx. Most of the time the top one is dead and replacing is a precise job. But it can be fixed, leaving a wonderful and cheap SLR. I use it mainly in A (Aperture). P is nice if you live in 1986. Best manual settings were kept for the X-500/570, which was introduced in 1983 and was considered a ‘lesser variant’ of the X-700. Nowadays these are more rare and more expensive as a result. Still, $ 30 should give you a good X-700 and a tenner more an equal X-500/570.

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    1. Hi Roel, thanks for your insightful comments on the X-700. I do also use it on A, well when I used to use it! Program mode was indeed its main claim to fame back in the 80s. Believe it or not, I have the X-500! I’ll try to do an article on it in the future. Appreciate you sharing your experiences with our readers!

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      1. Hi Sam, cool! I have a X-500 too, but it needs new seals so I have some work to do. I look forward to reading your thoughts! In the mean time, collecting more X-700’s now they are so dirt cheap..

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  3. I looked at getting a 700 but the capacitor under the top cover looked a pig to fix, i didn’t really need the program mode so i settled for a 500 (European version). Just as well after a couple of weeks the shutter locked, probably was on the way out and why I got it so cheaply. The capacitor (single) in the 500 is the one under the bottom cover and I easily replaced it with an equivalent tantalum one which shouldn’t give problems.

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  4. I’ve just been passed down my father’s x700, pentax grab bag with various diffusers, flash an a few minolta lenses, an zoom. I remember the day this came in the mail, COD of all things… you know it’s the 80s if you got it COD lol. Anyway, ivd always been into photography but knew better touch dads x700, so I had to make do with the cheap AF models of later 80s earlier 90s an was never happy with the turnout. I wanted something better in a photo. Well today is christmas for me bc I can finally lay fingers on his camera lol. I’m seriously ecstatic over it.
    I can remember everyone in our rural town coming to dad for quality photographs of memorable events and he would never charge outside the cost of a cartridge of film. That was probably the real bringer of customers so to speak, but the photos were always high quality in comparison with the alternative of paying a pro for the same work. I’ll never forget the realness you can bring out with this model, and this one is a primo representation of one in perfect working condition.
    My question is where can I begin with lenses or accessories to get that same quality in a tech advanced world of today? Thanks for the write up!!!

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    1. Hi Scott! Nice to know you’ve got your father’s camera gear. It’s always nice to keep it in the family! I’m a sentimental kind of guy, so I can relate to that feeling.

      COD?! Yes, I actually remember COD. “Cash On Delivery.” Wow, I don’t even think companies do that nowadays, right? Definitely something I remember from the 80s!

      If I were you I’d start off with the humble 50mm f/1.7 if it’s not already in your dad’s grab bag. It’ll give you the best quality pics right off the bat. It might not be as convenient as the zoom lenses, but it will provide the images with visual impact, and the lens can be had rather cheap too.

      Hope you have fun with the gear, I’m happy for you! Appreciate your kind comments, thank you! – Sam

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