Published June 28th 2006

Minolta Dynax/Maxxum 7000 AF

The first autofocus camera I owned -- and the first comercially available camera with AF in the body

Tilte the cat in the low winter sun
[Dynax 7, Vivitar 19-35, f4.5-5.6, Provia 100]

This camera was a terrible user experience, but it was one piece of technology! A fantastic move by Minolta, who took the market with storm and started the autofocus revolution. This was the first camera to have the AF built into the body of the camera, enabling all lenses to work in AF-mode, provided they had the new AF bayonet.

It was also my first camera with an integrated film winder, something I had dreamt about ever since my first encounter with my photo teacher's OM1 with a winder. Not having to crank the film was a blessing.

It took some nice pictures too.

But the buttons, the layout and the user interface of this camera was terrible. Someone got the idea that a modern camera needed no dials or switches, but could do with buttons only. Terrible idea! The result was a camera requiring so many simultaneous button operations to control it, that it was impossible to remember or use. Some people may have liked it. I didn't.

Square controls on the 7000

It's hip to be square

All buttons on the 7000 were square or rectangular. I don't know why this was, but remember that this was in the 80's and square stuff was in style. Just think Volvo 740.

Now I don't know about your fingers, but mine are round. And rather soft. Square buttons might look good (or did look good), but they have edges and rims, and on the 7000 they were small, many of them recessed and in my opinion much too difficult to use.

The rest of the camera was also rather hard edged and full of straight lines. It fit fine in the hand, not least thanks to the battery compartment, which formed the handle that we now see on all SLR's, but it was still too geometric and didn't have a touch of the softness found in most modern SLR's and in many Canon's in particular.

My Minolta Dynax 7000 seen face-on without a lens mounted.


Good resources on this camera
Photography in Malaysia

Gear mentioned: