First manufactured in 1981, the Minolta X-700 is a single lens reflex camera. It has manual, aperture priority and programmed automatic exposure modes when used with MD lenses. MC lens can be used in aperture priority and manual modes. An immediate commercial success for Minolta, it was awarded the EISA "Camera of the Year" award in 1981 and was continually produced until 1999, well into the autofocus era. The camera is the last manual-focus camera body Minolta produced.
As a mid-range consumer-grade camera, it lacks some of the features of Minolta's higher-end models such as the the earlier XD-11. For example, the X-700 retained Aperture-priority mode but dropped Shutter-priority mode in favour of more mass-market Program mode. Additional tweaks included removing the selected shutter speed from the viewfinder. Similarly, the body is plastic rather than metal, and the shutter is a horizontally-traveling cloth shutter with flash sync speed of 1/60s.
Despite having these relatively slow shutter figures, the camera does support TTL flash metering as befits a mass-market model. In program mode and using a TTL flash designed for the X series, automatic exposure including the flash and aperture/shutter-speed is possible. Such TTL flash support is not universal in modern DSLR cameras.
Further compensating for its humble internal feature set, the X-700 was the center of a "system" of external accessories. Auto-winders, external grips, a set of flashes, extensions tubes and bellows for macro work, an IR remote-control, and two multi-function backs were made.
Today the X-700 is easy to find on the used market at low price; the MC and MD lenses that it supports are for the most part similarly plentiful and inexpensive. With its low price, bright viewfinder, program mode, and automated flash exposure, this is a versatile camera that can serve a newcomer well in exploring film photography.