Classic camerasMinolta X-500

Minolta X-500 camera with the Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm f1.4 lens fitted Minolta X-500 shutter speed dial detail Minolta X-500 logo detail

Minolta launched their enormously successful X series of cameras in 1981 with the top of the range X-700. This camera feature multi-mode operation (with aperture priority, manual and programmed exposure modes), a sophisticated through-the-lens flash metering system and the ability to take the 3.5 fps Minolta Motor Drive 1. It was one of the first advanced cameras to feature a fully automatic programmed exposure mode.

Unfortunately the X-700 features a slightly substandard manual metering mode that displays the suggested shutter speed in the viewfinder, but not the actual set shutter speed. This meant you have to move your eye away from the viewfinder to transfer the suggested shutter speed to the shutter speed dial.

The X-500 (known as the X-570 in some markets), launched two years later in 1983, featured all the same specification as the X-700, except for the lack of a fully automatic programmed exposure mode. But Minolta more than compensated for this with a much better manual mode that displayed both the set and the suggested shutter speed in the viewfinder. This means that in my opinion the X-500 is the superior camera, despite the fact that it was marketed as the X-700's junior brother.

The X series was completed in 1984 by the X-300. This was the bottom of the range camera and it missed out on several of high-tech features of the X-700 and X-500, including the sophisticated flash metering system. But it still had the superior manual metering mode from the X-500, so I think I'd still take the X-300 over the X-700! I always wondered why Minolta never launch a MkII version of the x-700 with a better manual mode.

My Minolta X-500 system

Minolta MD system

Minolta Motor Drive 1

The X-500 and X-700 cameras could both be fitted with this very nice 3.5fps motor drive.

Minolta X-500 camera fitted with the Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm f1.4 lens and Motor Drive 1

Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm f1.4 (1st version with 55mm filter ring)

Here you can see the X-500 fitted with the very nice MD 50mm f1.4 standard lens. This is the first version of the MD 50mm f1.4 with the 55mm filter thread. The later version has a 49mm filter thread and a lock for the smallest aperture setting (used for the programmed exposure mode on the X-700 and shutter speed priority mode on the XD-7).

Minolta X-500 camera with the Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm f1.4 lens fitted

Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8

This is the most common wide angle lens in the Minolta MD system of lenses. You can see the lock for the smallest aperture setting that indicates that indicates the later generation of MD lens.

Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8 lens Minolta X-500 camera with the Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8 lens fitted

Minolta MD W.ROKKOR 35mm f/2.8

This lens is in slightly rough condition and came as an unrequested extra with a bunch of other stuff. It is an earlier MD lens (note the lack of a lock for the smallest aperture setting) with a 55mm filter thread. Particularly now I have the very nice f/1.8 35mm lens, I doubt this one will ever come out of the cupboard again!

Minolta MD W.ROKKOR 35mm f/2.8 lens Minolta X-500 camera with the Minolta MD W.ROKKOR 35mm f/2.8 lens fitted

Minolta MD W.ROKKOR 35mm f/1.8

This is the very nice f/1.8 version of the 35mm lens. It lacks the smallest aperture setting lock which makes it an earlier generation design, but despite the much larger maximum aperture it has a smaller 49mm filter thread compared to the 55mm filter thread on the f/2.0 version above. Despite the very large maximum aperture, it is a very compact and handy lens. This lens has gone on to become one of my favourite lenses. It sees plenty of use on my my Sony A7 MkII and my Minolta film cameras (see below for sample photos).

Minolta MD W.ROKKOR 35mm f/1.8 lens Minolta X-500 camera with the Minolta MD W.ROKKOR 35mm f/1.8 lens fitted

Minolta MD ROKKOR 85mm f/2.0

Another very handy and compact lens, despite the large maximum aperture of f/2.0. Like the 35mm f/1.8 lens, it takes 49mm filters. I'm not as fond of 85mm as a focal length as I am of 35mm, so this lens doesn't see quite so much use as that lens, but this is still a little gem, and a great companion for the 35mm lens!

Minolta MD ROKKOR 85mm f/2.0 lens Minolta X-500 camera with the Minolta MD ROKKOR 85mm f/2.0 lens fitted

Minolta MD 70-210mm f4.0

A very nice telephoto zoom lens from the Minolta MD lens system.

Minolta MD 70-210mm f4.0 lens Minolta X-500 camera with the Minolta MD 70-210mm f4.0 lens fitted

Photographs taken with the x-500

These photographs were shot on Kodak Portra 160 using the 85mm f/2.0 lens. See the Minolta MD W.ROKKOR 35mm f/1.8 article in the Outlandish lenses section of this website for photograph taken with that lens mounted on a Sony A7II.

Minolta X-500 gallery - Image 1 Minolta X-500 gallery - Image 2 Minolta X-500 gallery - Image 3 Minolta X-500 gallery - Image 4

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