Those that know Meghan and I know that we have what appears to be an on going camera acquisition problem. To remedy this but continue to try out ALL of the cameras we have decided to start borrowing cameras from our fellow camera enthusiasts instead of trying to purchase or hoard them all to ourselves. Not all are winners though and some are just easier or more fun to use but you have to shoot with them first to find out! Thus, we decided if we run a roll through every camera we are interested in, not unlike going on a 5 minute date with a bunch of strangers at a singles night, we can quickly see which are worthy of being added to our collection (or put on our list of “must haves.”) Camera speed dating!
Here is most recent camera I had the pleasure of a quick date with…the Minolta X700.
A few quick facts about the Minolta X700…it was released to the world in 1981 as one of the first 35mm electronic/manual hybrids. Like many cameras made then, it has a plastic body – not as light as modern plastic bodied cameras but still not awful to have on ones shoulder an entire weekend. Its shutter and light meter are battery dependent, which is a downfall if you’re the type to forget to turn off your camera or to pack spare batteries. Its highest shutter speed is 1/1000. It also shoots on program mode, where one sets the ISO then puts the shutter and aperture to auto mode.
I borrowed this camera without knowing if it was reliable or not, however as far as I could tell it appeared to be and so I decided to take the chance. I decided to film test the camera on Auto setting on my camping trip. Now, without thinking I added another dodgy variable to the mix by only packing orphaned mystery film, who knows how long expired and it had definitely been stored in a warm apartment for at least five years….upon realizing just what I’d done I did feel instant regret – doubts about whether anything would turn out lurked in the back of my mind the whole weekend. Aside from my trust issues, the camera was a delight to use and I really enjoyed it. It’s small, light weight and sometimes I find it nice to just think about focus and composition, not worrying about constantly changing manual settings when shooting between shade and bright sun. As for the film I had there was a roll of Fuji NPZ 800 which I decided to shoot at 400 ISO instead of 800, a roll of Fuji Reala CS 100 (my old favorite) I shot at 80 ISO instead of 100 and a roll of B&W that behaved strangely. Both lost vibrancy but it’s no surprise to me that the expired Fuji Reala fared better than the expired Fuji NPZ and being pulled a stop.