My second Maxxum7 arrived in the mail this week. After some fresh batteries, everything seemed to be operational. This one had run 64 rolls of film in it’s lifetime. Supposedly one owner. The battery compartment was clean, but the seller didn’t know for sure it was working. It looked mint in the photos, and it did not disappoint upon arrival. Included in the deal were a couple Sigma lenses, a remote trigger, a bag, a circular polarizer, and best of all a Minolta 3600HS-D wireless flash. With everything else, it was like getting an almost new Maxxum 7 for free.
This one is actually a Maxxum 7, unlike my first one which is a Dynax 7. Same camera, it’s just the Maxxum was the US version and the Dynax was the European version as I understand it. Same feel, same awesome sound, same features. After the first roll, I changed the camera ID to “2” so I’ll be able to identify from the ID code that gets printed on the negs which camera shot a particular roll of film.
I shot a quick roll to make sure the camera was working and also test the wireless flash. It seemed to fire very well. I’m honestly not the type to use flash very often, but maybe having the ability to do some off-camera flash might be pretty cool. The photos are far from great, so I still have some work to do figuring out the flash system, but shooting 100 speed expired Fuji, indoors, at dusk and getting this kind of light opens a whole range of possibilities. Plus, the camera and the wireless flash system works. There’s also a bit of dust and “schmutz” on the scans – I didn’t let the emulsion full dry, so it was still a little tacky.
I was relieved to see the first roll had exposures, especially since the seller was up front saying he didn’t know if it worked. It was sort of nice to go from getting a new to me camera (albeit in unknown operating condition) , to confirming it seems to work, to shooting, then on to developed film in three hours!
Plus, the photos aren’t bad at all regarding color for film that expired 6 years ago, shot with a 70-300mm tele indoors at dusk. I’m very pleased overall with how they turned out from a development perspective. I adjusted my temperature down 2 degrees, from 102 degrees F to 100 F, and this initial roll seems very favorable.
With the two newly acquired Sigma lenses, that gives me 7 lenses for the pair. Two of them are nearly identical Sigma kit zooms. The third Sigma is a 70-300mm, which I used for these photos. All three of them have macro mode, though at roughly 2:1 ratios. I also have a 28mm-105mm Maxxum xi power zoom, a 100-300mm APO tele zoom, a 28mm f2.8, and a 50mm f1.7 lens. I’d like to add a 100mm macro and a long tele eventually, and maybe a more powerful wireless flash (although the 3600 really blows out some highlights!). Let’s add a diffuser to soften the flash now that I see the pictures.
I truly have less in this system than just a camera or even one of the lenses would have cost new, so when paired with home developing and buying film when the price is right, this isn’t all that expensive to shoot film whenever I want. Consider the act of burning off a roll of 12 exposures just screwing around with a new camera and flash. To many, truly wasting film. That could have cost me over $20 if I was buying film at retail and paying for developing and scanning, but in reality it’s like $3. It’s not free, but it’s definitely minimized. As a bonus, I get the pleasure of shooting and developing my own film, and learning what works and what doesn’t.
I guess I have my new 35mm dream team in place. Now it’s about learning how to make the most out of them and getting a consistent development process in place. But the bottom line is I’m having fun. I’m taking pictures and recording the history of this stage of my life. I’m learning about what interests me, where I find beauty, and adding another layer of activity that I can do well into retirement. And every once in a while, I get that image that just makes me say “yeah – that’s exactly how I remember it” or “that’s exactly what I saw in my head when I took the shot.” But you can never get the shot if you don’t load the film and take the picture. And sometimes you just get a bunch of memories, and that ain’t so bad.