My 'new' Minolta X300s arrived today, complete with Power Winder, Minolta Auto 220x flash, and Minolta 28-70mm f3.5/4.8 lens. Unfortunately, the Power Winder doesn't work with the X300 :-( And the lens has the faint beginnings of fungus spreading from the edges of the front element (inside) :-(
I'm very pleased that the flash is a genuine Minolta, although it's a very basic model. But that also means it's very simple to use. Just set the ISO on the back, and the flash gives you a mid and long range aperture, with appropriate distance scale. There is also a handy 'Flash Distance Check' button that will light if you are within range. To top it off, the head bounces at a 60 or 90 degree angle. And even better, it works! Well, at least it flashes. I haven't actually taken any photos with it yet. I plan to rectify that this weekend.
The camera itself cleaned up nicely - just surface dirt and dust - and the foam seals around the camera door and film window are all still in-tact and light tight. The cloth shutter curtain looks good, shutter seems to function at all speeds, and the viewfinder is nice and clear. It even came with fresh batteries installed and a Fuji 400 film, which I'm very grateful for. That doesn't happen very often.
Initial impressions? It's a reasonably hefty camera, even though there's a lot of plastic covering the body that creaks and groans a little. I'm not sure if it's ergonomically well laid out - even after a very short time holding it my hand started to ache - the first time that's ever happened to me holding a camera!? Maybe I just wasn't holding it right? I'll be able to comment on this more after I've field-tested it this weekend.
It's a very simple, straightforward camera to use - press and turn a knob around the film rewind crank to set the ISO of the film, turn the switch next to this to the 'ON' position, and make sure 'Auto' is selected in the window next to the shutter button. Then turn your aperture dial on your lens to your desired aperture, and the camera choses an appropriate shutter speed in the viewfinder window. Easy peasy.
The X300s has a nice clear split-screen focusing system, and the supplied 28-70mm lens is a two touch design. You zoom with the smaller back ring, and focus with the larger front ring. Most modern zooms are one-touch - you zoom and focus with the one ring. But it doesn't take long to get used to the two touch design. At least it isn't the push-pull type!
The family are going on a walk this weekend to Woods Creek so I can scout it for a shoot I plan on doing there soon (a Trash the Dress shoot). It will be the perfect opportunity to blast a roll through the Minolta to see how it performs. With any luck my 135mm f3.5 will have arrived by then as well.
After all this buying, I'm finally going to do some shooting. Yeah!