The oil company Exxon considered this a violation of their trademark, as the XX in their logo was linked in a similar fashion. As a result, Minolta was allowed to distribute cameras already produced, but was forced to change the stylistic XX in Maxxum and implement this as a change in new production. All Maxxum cameras to this day have had regularly scripted 'X'. Unfortunately for Minolta, its autofocus design was found to infringe on the patents of Honeywell, a U.
After protracted litigation, Minolta in was ordered to pay Honeywell damages, penalties, trial costs, and other expenses in a final amount of When Pentax and Nikon entered the autofocus segment, both utilized a similar passive array AF system as Minolta, but decided to retain compatibility with their existing manual-focus K and F mounts respectively.
Canon, like Minolta, chose to change their mount completely, introducing the EOS series a few years later, breaking the compatibility with the former FL and FD lens mounts. Like Canon, Minolta's decision to orphan its manual-focus mount cost it the support of some loyal customers, but in so doing, it also gained some new customers. In Minolta presented another pioneering product, the video CCD camera back SB to convert the camera into a The camera back wrote its image data onto special 2" floppy disks.
The camera back worked with a VHS-like analog imaging and recording technology, with a small crop factor 2 video CCD chip. One disk could store 25 or 50 images, depending on the chosen image quality. Camerapedia Explore. Camera types List of companies Glossary Source books. Featured articles Long pages Top categories Top pages Popular pages. About Flickr. Help Blogs New pictures New articles. Explore Wikis Community Central. Register Don't have an account?
Minolta All of my subsequent SLR cameras were manual focus as well, even though the pages of my photography magazines will filled with adverts for autofocus SLRs. Maybe it was the extra expense that kept me from wanting one, but I think also that I was a little biased against the idea of autofocus. Sure, I missed the focus occasionally, but most of the time I got it right.
Fast forward to I was seeking out cameras that had some personal importance or historical significance, usually after having read about them online. One camera I definitely seeking was the Minolta Maxxum I immediately took it to the elementary school where I taught and began using it to shoot photographs for the school yearbook. I put dozens of rolls of film through it and captured moments with students in their classrooms and on the playground. The biggest break from the X and virtually all other previous SLRs was how the camera is operated.
This can be as simple as setting the exposure mode to Program and then shoot away, allowing the camera to choose aperture and shutter speed while it also focuses the lens. In Program mode, the Maxxum becomes a hefty but highly accurate point-and-shoot. If this button-centric user interface seems complicated, remember that you get real-time information as you make these settings in the viewfinder.
This is where the Maxxum is so intriguing. The buttons are so well-placed and the viewfinder so informative that, once your fingers are trained to know what to do which takes very little time you never have to take your eye off the viewfinder. It is very much like touch typing. Your fingers eventually feel at home on the camera, and your eye stays on the subject.
I actually think that the buttons operate faster than traditional camera dials. I think it sound cool. The camera body itself feels solid to hold, and grip feels good in the right hand. At grams 1. And speaking of batteries, the cameras runs on four ever-available fAA batteries. But what about the autofocus? The answer is that it works as advertised, but be advised that this camera was the first of its kind. Its single beam autofocus system has been greatly improved upon both in regard to speed and accuracy since release in With pros, probably yes, but with me probably not.
In certain situations it might be best to turn off the autofocus which is done with a switched easily reached by your left thumb and focus the lens yourself. While the most common lenses are quite obtainable today, some of them are in high demand and command a high price. However you do not have to spend a lot of money on good lenses for the Maxxum if you are willing to use a zoom lens instead of a prime.
I have a mm f
Knowing the history behind the Maxxum , the first 35mm SLR to offer in-body, fully automatic focus with an all new lens mount, I thought it was worth a closer look. The was designed to be used by novices and advanced amateurs alike.
It offers nearly every shooting mode you could possibly want, including full Program auto exposure. If you prefer Shutter Priority, Aperture Priority, or complete manual control, those options are available to you as well.
Loading film into the Maxxum is fully automatic. Simply insert a new cassette and extend the leader out to the red mark next to the take up spool, close the door, and the camera will do the rest. The camera supports full DX detection and can automatically set film speeds from ISO 25 all the way to with manual override if you wish.
At the end of a roll of film, the camera will stop trying to advance the film, but requires that you manually activate the rewinding mode. The film door on the Maxxum is removable by sliding a small pin in the hinge.
This allowed for installation of one of two Programmed data backs that were available at the time. For power, the camera normally uses four AAA batteries for power. There was an optional BHL battery holder which used AA batteries for more overall life between changes. Whether you use the AAA or AA holder, the entire compartment comes off the camera for ease of loading.
With fresh batteries, the entire holder clips back into the side of the camera, and also doubles as a hand grip. The camera has no built in flash, so you must attach one of three available Minolta flashes for correct TTL flash metering. A standard hot shoe flash can also be used, but without TTL metering.
The Maxxum has a very modern viewfinder with all of the advancements you would see on an advanced SLR today including a bright focusing screen and a full information viewfinder with 8-segment LCD display. Not typical of the price point however, is that the focusing screen was interchangeable with 3 different screens that were made for it. Like all technologies, auto focus took a while to perfect. Earlier models often struggle in a variety of circumstances, including objects with fast motion, low light, shooting through glass, or objects with low contrast or even lots of vertical lines.
With this first roll, my thoughts on the Maxxum are less about the quality of the images it made, but more about the auto focus system and the experience in using it. What impressed me the most was how good Minolta got it on the first try. In terms of accuracy, the Maxxum handled static shots with a clear focus point very well, but when I tried to trick it with angled closeup shots such as the red flower on the wall or a moving child, it got it right every time.
Sure, there was a bit of hunting, but nothing I would deem excessive. I have to think that anyone picking up this camera for the first time in would have been very impressed with how good the technology worked. So, while starting over from scratch with a new lens mount for an established company does have some drawbacks, Minolta chose an ideal time to do it, and both the design and their preparedness for it was very well handled.
The new Maxxum mount is still in use today in Sony DSLR cameras as the alpha mount and is compatible with the earliest Maxxum lenses from Not necessarily. This is still a primitive electronic SLR. Phase detection is easily tricked by moving objects, or in low light. The auto exposure system only supports center weighted average light through a single SPD cell in the viewfinder.
The camera is bulky and relies on AAA or AA with an optional grip batteries with generally poor life. On the other hand, it is capable of capturing the same types of images that a later, and more advanced model could. The Maxxum does everything it should, just a little slower.
I think the overall conclusion I drew from this camera, is that Minolta took a big risk with this model. They changed mounts, and invested heavily in an unproven technology, and they pulled it off. Based on my experience with other cameras of the era, the Maxxum is a home run. Another great read Mike. Yashica in the late 70s had begged Zeiss to allow them to develop an auto-focus camera and lenses, but Zeiss refused; which is how the Contax AX was developed.
So first prize actually goes to the Pentax, with the Minolta coming second by a nose. This is great info Cheyenne. I was away of the Nikon F3 and I actually have a Canon T80 in the queue to be reviewed sooner, but I figured I would just make a passing reference to them. That Chinon lens looks very interesting! Yup, the Maxxum remains a capable and eminently usable camera. If, that is, you can find one still working. This condition leaves the aperture at its smallest setting at all times.
Thankfully, my Maxxum had no such issues and continues to work correctly. Hi Mike, your review is incredible! This is the best review I have seen on the Maxxum in years, probably best ever! No joke, you really put so much into this and I appreciate all the details, fascinating reading! Keep up the great work and many thanks! Sam, thanks for the kind words!
I am glad the review was so informative for you. I always try to include as much information as I can reasonably find for each review. I included your original article in the links section as I enjoyed reading it myself! My Minolta a7 just bit the dust and besides my XE-7 this is my next best film camera.
However, electronically controlled buttons on the camera body now replaced the mechanical aperture ring on the lens, and the setting was electronically displayed on the body and in the viewfinder. The metal housing of older Minolta SLR cameras was replaced with a lighter, cheaper body made of plastics.
Minolta introduced a new lens mount, the A system , breaking compatibility with its earlier manual-focus lenses in the MC and MD system. The A lens mount is still the same today , but some modifications have been made to the electronic contacts to facilitate new functions such as motor zoom xi lenses, now discontinued and a more sophisticated flash metering system ADI.
Konica and Minolta merged their photo and camera businesses in October In January Konica Minolta announced that they were withdrawing from the camera and photo business, transferring their assets to Sony , who since have continued development of the A system through their Alpha series. When Pentax and Nikon entered the autofocus segment, both used a similar passive array AF system as Minolta, but retained compatibility with their existing manual-focus K and F mounts respectively.
Canon , like Minolta, chose to change its mount completely, introducing the EOS series a few years later, breaking compatibility with the former FL and FD lens mounts. Canon's EOS system was the only fully electronic lens mount system, with no mechanical connections between camera body and lens: the autofocus motors were housed in the lens itself, rather than the camera body.
All Maxxum cameras produced thereafter had a regularly scripted double 'X'. Minolta's autofocus design was found to infringe the patents of Honeywell, a U. See also: Minolta A-mount system. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 27 September
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