Thursday, November 7, 2013

Old School Tools ... Film is back !

My new mantra is a simple one " in time everything comes along on Craigslist " !

Some time back I was lucky to find a Konica Minolta 7D, a great leap backwards at a very fair price allowing me to expand into the world of a second lens maker. Over the last few years I have based much of my photography around Olympus gear, always costly but great Zuiko designs. So the addition of the KM 7D allowed me to find the odd specialty lenses that I sometimes enjoy exploring.

Fisheyes, odd telephotos, strange Chinese made lightweight specialty lens..... All things that the limited market of Olympus professional users most often don't get to dabble in due to the small market share. Expanding into the KM 7D automatically opens up the still small but a little more robust Sony " A " mount world, as Sony purchased the system from Konica Minolta and still exploits today.

Two film Minolta XD -11's have served me faithfully from the mid 70's, both are now having issues and need to be serviced ... yet few have the skills to do such and might require hundreds in labor alone. Then when its all said and done it's still old school film gear.

Film teaches every photographer one critical skill ... How to think and make every press of the shutter count.  The only thing a new photographer today needs to know is were to insert the memory card :-(

Sometimes the old warrior in me needs to pick up a film camera and return to battle, it makes me a better photographer.

So why not pick up one of the last great 35 mm auto focus Minolta cameras that share the " A " mount lens ?  So the hunt was on for a Maxxum 7 or 9.  The Max 7 uses about the same body and function layout as the fully digital 7D and has the same sweet " keer-chunk" sound of the shutter / feel, most of these seem to have had some internal issues with the aperture base-plate, requiring a full tear down and finding a now very rare repair part. When found in good order a sweet camera. The Max 9 is a completely different beast, but uses the same lenses. When found Max 9's are coveted by owners and still fetching $300 + in good condition. With the late arrival just before the major jump to digital, Max-9 production numbers were limited.

Maxxum 7 circa 2000
Fate and Craigslist came into alignment yet again and a Maxxum 7 with both a 50 mm f1.7 & 70 ~ 210 zoom f 3.5 + gear bag popped up. By the time I cleaned up the bag and extra lens and resold these, the camera cost me $ 10 :-) A good cleaning and a dab of Spray n' Gloss and zip zap it is like new, aside from a slight tackiness of a rubber surface (common with the wet grip used by Minolta after a decade), everything works fine.

Maxxum 7 cleaned and ready. 

One just never knows about Craigslist ... in time a Maxxum 9 might just come along and tempt me :-)  Yet in the end, how many rolls of film will I ever shoot again ?   

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