Camera Review Film Photography Lens Review

Local Marketplace Find: Minolta X700, XD11 and Legendary Rokkor Lenses

In a world dominated by digital photography, there’s something undeniably special about shooting with film. The nostalgia, the anticipation, and the timeless charm it brings are unrivaled. Recently, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of vintage photography gear at my local marketplace, and among my finds were two “top-of-the-line” Minolta 35mm film camera bodies: X700 and XD11, and a set of remarkable Minolta Rokkor lenses: 28mm F2.5, 35mm F1.8, 50mm F1.4, 100mm F4 Macro and 200mm F3.5. You’ll notice there is also an interesting Minolta Panorama Head II adapter for seamless panoramic shooting.

Look what I found yesterday from local marketplace!

The Minolta 35mm manual focus film cameras are a true classic. XD11 is the last metal body 35mm manual film camera Minolta produced before switching production to a slightly more advanced but fully plastic X700 in the early 80s. Renowned for its exceptional build quality and reliability, these cameras represent an era when craftsmanship was at its peak. Holding it in my hands, I couldn’t help but admire its solid metal construction, clicky dials, and precise controls. Every click of the shutter feels like a testament to the dedication put into its creation.

One of the highlights of my vintage camera find was the collection of Minolta Rokkor lenses. These lenses are renowned for their exceptional optical quality, rendering images with stunning sharpness, contrast, and vibrant colors. Compared digitally to my previous collection of Olympus OM lenses, the Rokkor lenses provided smooth and beautiful bokeh above all the OM lenses I’ve had in the past. Creamy, balanced color and, of course, that vintage look when shooting wide open.

Among the collection of Minolta Rokkor lenses I acquired, one gem stands out—the 35mm f1.8 MD Minolta lens. This lens has gained legendary status among photographers for its exceptional performance and versatility. The 35mm focal length is often considered the “standard” for many genres of photography. It provides a natural field of view that closely resembles what the human eye sees, making it ideal for street photography, environmental portraits, and capturing everyday moments with a sense of intimacy. With an impressive wide aperture of f1.8, this lens excels in low-light conditions, allowing for stunning shots with minimal noise and beautiful bokeh. The 50mm f1.4 MD, on the other hand, is a true workhorse, the lens can usually be obtained for less than $50 bucks and produces excellent sharpness from F2.8 and beyound. At f1.4 the 50mm is a bit soft, but if you are shooting 35mm film, the softness will add to the “glowy” effect when developed.

Rediscovering the art of film photography allows us to slow down, appreciate the process, and capture moments with a timeless quality. So, if you ever come across a vintage Minolta camera and Rokkor lenses, I urge you to take the plunge and unlock a world of creativity waiting to be explored.

Below, I’ve also included some early “digital” samples that I’ve snapped of our cats, with various lenses mounted on my Sony A7 IV mirrorless camera. The cats oftentimes pose a real challenge to focus, but the Rokkor lenses all performed flawlessly.

Stay tuned for reviews coming out based on this collection!