The Minolta 700si

Perhaps just to confirm my wife doesn’t think I have too severe of a camera addiction, when she discovered a Minolta Maxxum SLR kit at an estate sale, she brought it to my attention.  She takes the time to look in bags that look like camera bags, and in this case she recognized the Maxxum name and figured maybe I’d be interested.

The new camera all cleaned up

Initially I dismissed the camera, but when I started looking in the other little bags inside the main camera bag, I first found a Maxxum 3500xi flash.   I know it’s wireless, but I’m not sure how well it works with the 3600HS.  The next black bag contained a Minolta 70-210mm “beercan” lens.  Attached to the camera was a 28-80mm macro Maxxum lens – the old-school version that was all metal and pretty rugged.  Also included was the original receipt – the outfit without the lenses cost $998 back in 1995.

$998 – and check out the $1.69 film!

The camera takes a weird looking battery – it almost looks like a modern digital battery.  I was concerned that the battery would cost more than the camera was worth.  But for the two lenses and the flash, the asking price of $65 was a good deal.  I just don’t see Maxxum systems for sale very often.  I figured this kit lens would allow me to get rid of both Sigma 28-80/90mm zooms, allowing me to offer each Maxxum 5 and the 700si (if it works) with a lens to find them new homes.

The beercan lens looked like it was in phenomenal shape as far the optics are concerned, and it alone is worth the $65 we paid for the set-up.  She didn’t flinch at the price –  and I think she was surprised when I said I didn’t want to keep the camera itself.  She was even more surprised when i said I was getting rid of two other lenses to make room for these two new ones.

Minolta Maxxum “beercan” lens – very clean.

So now I have at least five new-to-me Maxxum lenses I haven’t really used.  I know my 100-300mm APO and my 50mm f1.7 are solid performers; they’ve traveled the world with me.  I just developed a roll that was mostly my 50mm prime on one of the Maxxum 7’s.  I think I need to shoot each of these new lenses on the Maxxum 7 duo in the next week or two to assess their performance.   I have 7 rolls of the expired Fuji 100 left, and since I’ve been pleased with the results from it so far, I think I’ll shoot a roll with each lens, and run one through the 700si with one of the Sigma lenses.  I don’t really know much about testing lenses, but I’ll know if I like the results or not.

If I’m happy with these lenses, then I’ve got everything other than the extremes covered, and then any specialty lenses I’d want.  Maybe three more lenses will cover everything I’d like to do.  (I’d love to have a 135 STF, but that’s probably pushing it….plus the Maxxum 7 has an STF mode.  Not quite the same, I’m sure. No somethign I ever wanted until I learned about it recently.)  The 100mm macro is on my list, an extreme tele for wildlife and events, and a wide angle lens – something around 16-20mm.  Mrs. Outspoken has already agreed to the extreme tele once I have the cash, so maybe by the end of the month I’ll run that last roll of Fuji 100 through it if I find what I’m looking for at the right price.

The odd looking 2CR5 battery ($6.53) should be here on Monday, so I’ll have an update eventually on the 700si. Aside from that,  I’ve still got about 10 rolls of film to develop: one from the Bronica, one from the Hasselblad, one from a Holga that has since departed, one from the Hannimex Amphibian, one or two other C-41 and B&W rolls, two rolls of Kodak Plus-X Pan found film, plus 4 rolls of slide film that were all shot in the various Maxxum cameras.    I’ll work those in as I have time, and while I’m doing that I’ll be listening to the 250 or so albums in “need to listen to” queue.

The recently acquired vinyl queue 


I must say, I’m finding a little more joy in my life now that I’m shooting more.   Sure, the amount I spend on film and vinyl delays my retirement maybe 1 day every month.  Maybe.  Because for the most part, the hobbies pay for themselves.   Perhaps you could argue I could put an extra few bucks into savings each month, but I probably wouldn’t be generating money from the hobbies if I wasn’t actively taking pictures and buying records.  Plus, learning how to generate revenue from my hobbies might actually decrease the length of time I stay employed.  The IRS already considers my hobbies a business, and so far we’ve claimed a profit every year since we started buying and selling “toys” in 2012.  It started with books, then musical gear, then camera gear, and then added vinyl.

Retirement isn’t worth depriving ourselves now of all joy and delaying life until age 65.  If I retire at 55 instead of 54 because of my hobbies, who cares? That’s if things don’t go pretty well.  It might be the difference between retiring at age 49 and retiring at 49 yrs and 2 mos if things go well.   If I have to work a few extra months because I shot 100 rolls of film a year, so what?  We still have our early retirement dreams, but we get our enjoyment on a budget.

We spent about $120 this weekend on the camera and records (and a few other little things) while hitting various sales.  The albums I sell will cover that amount.  So everything else is sort of free.  I would have eventually bought a beercan lens, so maybe this isn’t extra money spent, anyway.  At least that’s how it feels, and that’s part of what motivates me as we continue to work towards retirement.  We also budget this spending cash every month.  If we run out of cash, we stop going to sales and spending until the next month.    In the end, we truly don’t know how much time we have, so we’ll plan for the future, but still try to enjoy today, albeit responsibly.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s