Minolta Maxxum 7000 (Dynax) Film Camera

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The Minolta Maxxum 7000 family

I thrifted my first Minolta Maxxum 7000 with a 28mm 2.8 AF lens for $10. I spotted it at thrift store next to a Minolta SRT101 film camera (also $10). I'd had the SRT101 before and sold it. It was very heavy and I gravitated towards my Canon AE1 film camera instead, so it wasn't interesting to me. But the Minolta Maxxum (or Dynax) 7000 intrigued me. I had been looking for a more modern SLR, thinking I'd run into a Canon EOS or Nikon SLR at some point. 

My $10 thrifted Minolta Maxxum 7000 with 28mm 2.8 lens

I hadn't considered a Minolta and was not even aware of them as a camera brand bar a few digital SLRs I'd seen back in the early 2000s. The camera had several recognizable buttons, ISO, Drive, Mode, and a +/- exposure compensation button. I tested the auto focus - quite snappy although a bit loud - fired a few test shots and the camera focused and fired. For $10 how could I go wrong. The camera even had working batteries - 4 AAAs.

Maxxum 7000 comes with a top LCD screen showing aperture, shutter speed etc.

I later learned the Minolta Maxxum 7000 was the first film SLR to be equipped with auto focus. It was produced in 1985 and interestingly the overlapping XX in the logo was controversial with Exxon suing Minolta for trademark infringement. What a claim to fame! 

Front view. Plastic grip showing some white coating due to age

These types of camera are not terribly popular. Most people getting into film want full manual mode - cameras like the Pentax K-1000, Canon AE1/A1 or the Minolta SRT101/X700. But I have already been down that path. I kept my AE1 as it was the smallest of the SLRs I owned and I had 3 lenses already as well as the power winder. I wasn't quite willing to part with it yet.

Maxxum's Data Back 70. Disappointingly only goes up to 2019.

The Minolta Maxxum 7000 uses an A Mount lens. Wait. I've heard of that before. I am a Sony A6000 owner and I guess am aware of the other Sony line up of DSLRs also using A mount lenses (you have to be careful buying lenses to make sure you buy E Mount for the A6000 and not A mount). So it turns out that Sony bought the rights to the A Mount for their first series of DSLRs like the A99. And even more strange (to me) the lenses are compatible between the two brands.

I checked out the Flickr (yes it's still around) groups for the Minolta 7000 camera. The photos I saw were actually sharp, clear, and really quite good for such an old camera. The photos shot with the 28mm 2.8 lens looked really decent, but I also noticed photos shot with a 50mm 1.7 lens that looked even better. Hmmm, I really wanted to look into that lens. I hopped onto our local buy and sell and spotted the lens for $40. Well that would turn my $10 bargain into a $50 investment. I offered the seller $25 but he turned me down. Did I really need it? Or did I just want it? I hesitated.

A few days later I found myself out thrifting again. I purchased a nice $10 point and shoot Canon Sure Shot Owl AF with an original Canon case for the kids to use (disposables are all the rage but this is better and cheaper). I was pretty much done for the day but in my last thrift store noticed a camera on the bottom shelf of the locked area. On checking it, guess what, another Minolta Maxxum 7000 but this time with two lenses and a flash. $25. Ok lady behind the counter, can I take a closer look?

Minolta Maxxum 7000 #2 with the XX logo and 50mm 1.7 lens

The second Minolta had a 28-85mm 3.5-4.5 lens mounted. A big heavy lens but one with Macro on it. Interesting. But what was the other lens? Oh yes, the coveted 50mm 1.7 lens. You know that feeling you have when you just put it out in the world that you'd find something and then it happened. Yes that. So I found my 50mm 1.7 for $25 (the turned down offer) but with a bonus camera body, 28-85mm lens, half case and a Minolta flash.

Minolta Maxxum #2 with the 28-85 lens

So now I own two Minolta Maxxum 7000s (did I mention that the 2nd one has the famous overlapping XX in the logo - so I know it was produced in the first 3 months of production before they had to change the logo), 3 lenses and a flash for the grand sum of $35. Canadian. Not even American dollars.  

Maxxum with flash and half body case

I'm running my first roll of film through Minolta #1 but the camera is looking good so far. These cameras seem to be quite readily available on Facebook marketplace and if you find one (or two!) at a thrift store, I encourage you to check them out.

Minolta 7000 Flickr Group

Minolta Lens Reviews (coming soon):
50mm 1.7 AF
28mm 2.8 AF
28-85mm AF

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