I received a Minolta X-700 for Christmas, and have been procrastinating learning how to use it for the past six months. It was daunting to me; I had never used a fully analog camera, and all the nobs and numbers and dials were intimidating. Honestly, I was afraid I’d screw it up. However, I finally bit the bullet yesterday and read the manual and went to work.
For those newbies like me who have done nothing but hold a DSLR, the Minolta X-700 is a manual focus SLR from the early 80s. It has a program mode and an aperture-priority mode, so there are options on it that aren’t fully manual, but I was feeling tenacious and figured I had enough schooling to go all-out on manual mode.
The oldies reading this are probably smiling or shaking their heads at me and my excitement over using an analog camera. But I was practically dancing while taking pictures yesterday because I knew what I was doing. I started laughing with joy yesterday when I was trying to take a picture with my aperture stopped down to f/11, and I was still over-exposed with my shutter speed on the fastest shutter available for the camera. Then, I had an epiphany- I COULD STOP DOWN FURTHER. HOLY COW WHAT A CONCEPT. And then MAYBE- JUST MAYBE- I could find an equivalent exposure so my shutter speed wouldn’t have to be ridiculously high.
I think I take too much advantage of my DSLR. I let it think for me. When I see my light meter, when I see that little white triangle veering towards the -2 or the +2, I absent mindedly adjust my camera settings, not really paying attention to what I’m doing. My camera may be set to manual, but my mind is on automatic. Using my Minolta yesterday made me completely aware of every shot, the light, the exposure. I had to think about what I was doing; was that shutter speed really necessary, or was there an equivalent exposure I should use? Should I over-expose here to get the shadows lighter, or do I leave it? What aperture should I use to get the most out of the clouds during that sunset?
Seeing my developed photos, I see I have a lot of learning to do still. That makes me even more excited. I think working with my Minolta X-700 will make me into an even better photographer: one that is more aware of her camera.
For these pictures I used Revolog brand film, specifically their 600nm. Revolog is an Austria-based film company that makes films that have different color and texture effects. I’ve used their Kolor film (you can find the results of that one under my Travels<Film page) and the 600nm (on the Film Work page, more carnival photos like the one above.) They’re really awesome and fun to work with. They can be developed at home or wherever you can develop film, since all their films are C-41 process. You can check their store out here. Shipping is a bit pricey, so get with a friend and order film together to split the shipping cost!