How to Use a Minolta Maxxum 7000

by Scott Shpak

Notable as the first 35mm single-lens reflex camera with body-integrated autofocus, the Minolta Maxxum 7000 is an historic model in the history of SLR cameras. Other manufacturers' attempts at autofocus had sensors and motors housed in the lens which allowed for backward compatibility, but this proved unwieldy as a camera system. The Maxxum 7000's hand grip design became the template for autofocus camera from all manufacturers, continuing into contemporary digital SLR design.

Preparing the Camera

The Maxxum 7000 uses four alkaline AA batteries, housed in a holder that connects to the camera's handgrip. The Maxxum 7000 has a built-in, 10-year lithium battery to retain data when no AA batteries are installed. Camera service is required to change this battery. Lenses attach by matching the red mounting dots on the camera and body, and turning the lens clockwise, as viewed from the front of the camera, until the lens locks. Film is loaded with the camera switched on, the film cartridge loaded on the left, and the film leader extended past the red indicator mark on the right. Closing the cover auto-winds the film onto the take-up spool.

Basic Operations

The main power switch is on the top right side of the camera, with three positions: "LOCK," "ON," and a sound icon, from left to right. The two right-most settings are normal and sound confirmation modes. The camera beeps to confirm operations or give warnings in sound confirmation mode, but otherwise is the same as the "ON" position. The shutter release button senses your finger with or without partial pressing, and touching it will bring the camera out of standby state, activate the meter and focus the lens. Fully depressing this button will release the shutter, exposing the film.

Exposure Modes

Set the Maxxum 7000's exposure mode by pressing and holding the "MODE" key on the top left and either of the arrow keys on the top right to cycle through the modes, indicated on the LCD screen. "PROGRAM" mode is the camera's fully automatic mode, focusing the lens and calculating exposure without user input. Aperture-priority mode is indicated as "A", and enables you to choose a lens aperture, setting the shutter speed to compensate, while shutter-priority, indicated by an "S," permits shutter speed selection, automatically adjusting the aperture. Manual mode, "M," meters the scene, but permits the photographer free access to adjust both the shutter and aperture without constraint.

Maxxum 7000 Tips

PROGRAM mode can also be reset by pressing the "P" button above the power switch. This mode automatically sets certain conditions based on the focal length of the lens in use. Wide-angle lenses prompt the program to set smaller apertures to maximize depth-of-field, while normal-length lenses receive optimally balanced exposure favoring neither aperture or shutter. Telephoto lenses alter exposure toward faster shutter speeds to minimize blur from camera handling. ISO film speed is detected automatically, though pressing the ISO button and either arrow key enables you to override this setting, for use with push processing, for example. Exposure compensation -- to add more or less exposure for a scene -- adjusts the same way, with the "+/-" button.

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