The title of the world's first autofocus SLR camera belongs to Minolta Maxxum 7000, introduced in 1985. Read on to find out more about this beautiful and revolutionary camera that was among the most advanced of its time!
The Maxxum 7000 — 7000 AF in Europe and Alpha 7000 in Japan — was introduced by Japanese camera maker Minolta, a move that cemented its spot among the so-called Big Five 35mm SLR camera makers in Japan. While its competitors were already experimenting with auto-focus systems prior to the Maxxum 7000, Minolta was the first to offer the first true AF SLR system with a body-integrated AF design. This means that the Maxxum 7000 had its AF sensors and focusing drive inside the camera body, which mechanically drives the aperture and focus from the camera body to the lens mount.
Aside from this revolutionary feature, the Minolta Maxxum 7000 also came with a new lens mount (the A-system), motorized film advance, and a lighter and cheaper plastic body.
- Type: Autofocus 35mm SLR with multi-program AE controlled by two 8-bit microcomputers on autofocus, auto multi-program, multimode, auto film transport, and LCD data panels
- Lens mount: Minolta ‘A’ -type bayonet with electrical contacts for integrated lens-camera control; self-lubricating stainless-steel bayonet; accepts all Minolta AF lenses for continuous lens control by automatic electronic-mechanical dedication. (Only Minolta AF lenses can be mounted on the new “A” mount.)
- Autofocus system: Minolta TTL phase-detection type with CCD sensor array and 8-bit microcomputer for direct, digital adjustment
- Sensitivity range: EV 3 to 18* at ISO 100 in ambient light; using Program Flash 2800AF for low-contrast subjects in low light, AF illuminator is triggered; operates with all Minolta AF lenses (*EV 2 to 19 at ISO 100 in ambient light mentioned in the manual)
- Focus signals: Green LED glows and camera beeps when subject is in focus; when focusing manually, red LEDs show which way to turn lens; red LEDs in viewfinder blink when manual focusing is necessary.
- Manual Focusing: By referring to focus signals (LEDs in viewfinder, or visually using Acute-Matte screen
- Controls: Keys to set exposure mode, drive mode, exposure adjustment, and film speed; up/down keys to select speed, aperture and to control program shift; AE lock; program reset returns camera to P mode, S drive, and cancels exposure adjustment.
- Shutter: Vertical-traverse electronically controlled focal-plane type
- Auto Speeds: Stepless 1/2000 to 30 sec. with nearest half-stop setting displayed
- Manual Speed: 1/2000 to 30 sec. in full-stop settings plus “bulb”
- Shutter-speed range: 1/2000 to 30 sec.; stepless in P and A modes; full-stop settings in M or S modes; ’’bulb’’ in M mode
- Film speeds: ISO 25 to 6400 in ambient light, ISO 25 to 1000 for TTL flash metering, both in 1/3-EV steps; auto film-speed setting with DX-coded films
- Metering: Center-weighted averaging; silicon photocell (SPC) on pentaprism for ambient light; range: EV – 1 to 20 with ISO 100 film and 50mm f/1.4 lens (e.g., 4 sec. at f/1.4 to 1/2000 sec. at f/22); second SPC at bottom of mirror box for TTL flash metering
xposure modes: Program (P): Shutter speed and aperture set according to one of three camera-selected
- AE programs: Both shutter speed and aperture set according to AE program automatically selected by camera: Wide program for focal lengths shorter than 35mm, Standard for focal lengths from 35mm to 105mm, Tele for focal lengths longer than 105mm; program changes automatically when zooming from one range to another.
- Aperture-priority AE (A): Available apertures selectable in half-stops, camera sets corresponding stepless shutter speed
- Shutter-priority AE (S): Speeds 1/2000 to 30 sec. selectable in full stops, camera sets aperture from available range on lens
- Metered-manual (M): Manual setting of any speed and aperture; settings and correct exposure indicated in data panel and viewfinder
- TTL flash metering: Operates in all flash modes with dedicated units; viewfinder LED signals flash charge and sufficient exposure
- P: Automatic setting of X-sync to 1/100 sec. (11 /60 below EV 12 at ISO 100) and aperture; automatic fill-in flash with bright subjects
- A: 1/100 X-sync; any available aperture usable; AE lock button enables slower X-sync speeds to balance flash with ambient lighting
- *M: X-sync at 1/100 or slower speeds, any available aperture usable; X-sync speed is reset to 1 /100 if 1/125 or faster speeds are set
- Exposure controls: Exposure adjustment EV +4 to -4 in half-stops; AE lock holds metered AE settings; program shift for temporary selection of other programmed aperture shutter speed settings (in half-stops) for metered EV, shifted settings held as long as meter stays on.
- Operating button: Touch Switch activates metering and LCD displays, which remain on for 10 sec. after finger is lifted from button; pressing halfway activates autofocusing and focus hold; pressing button all the way releases shutter
- Film transport: Automatic with built-in motor drive: auto threading, auto advance to first frame, S mode for single-frame advance, C mode for continuous advance at up to 2 frames per second, power rewinding, auto rewind stop; advancing frame counter in data panel
- Viewfinder: Eye-Level fixed pentaprism shows 94% of 24 × 36mm film frame; magnification 0.85X with 50mm lens at infinity; focusing screen can be changed by user; dioptric correction lenses available
- Top panel LCD: Shows exposure mode, program shift, shutter speed, aperture, exposure adjustment, film speed, frame number, self-timer operation, “bulb” operation, low battery warning, over-/underexposure warning
- Viewfinder LCD: LCDs indicate exposure mode, program shift, shutter speed, aperture, exposure adjustment, film speed, low battery warning, whether light is within metering range, over-/underexposure warning; LEDs indicate focus status, if flash is charged, correct flash exposure; illuminated automatically in low light
- Power: Four AAA-size 1.5v alkaline-manganese batteries power all operations; built-in lithium cell for memory backup has approx. 10-year life; automatic low-power warning; sliding main switch; LOCK, ON, and positions
- Battery Performance: With AAA-size alkalinemanganese (AM) batteries, 25 rolls of 24exposure film; using optional Battery Holder BH-70L and AA-size AM batteries, 65 rolls, AA-size Ni-Cd batteries, 20 rolls.
Audible signals: At position, camera beeps: when subject is in focus; at end of the roll; when using self-timer; as a slow shutter-speed warning in P or A mode, at speeds below: 1/30 sec. with lenses shorter than 35mm, 1/60 sec. with lenses 35mm to 105mm, and 1/125 sec. with lenses longer than 105mm
- Self-timer: Electronic 10-second delay: indicated by 3-stage blinking LED on front of camera with simultaneous beeping, and countdown in data panel; cancelable by pressing drive mode key
- Size and Weight: 52 × 91.5 × 138mm (2-1/16 × 3-5/8 × 5-7/16 in.), 555 g (19-9/16 oz) without lens or batteries