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Minolta X-600 favori envoyer Print
Photos by PYP text by PYP. From the collection of PYP
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Manufactured in Japon from 1983 until 0.
Index of rarity in France : Peu courant (among non-specialized garage sales)
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Inventory number: 11521

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Minolta X-600

Traduction de PYP

In the Japan of the 1980s, all camera manufacturers were concentrating on autofocus: some compact cameras had been already produced, but the real challenge wad the autofocus reflex.
As early as 1982, Pentax had opened the market, not with an autofocus reflex but with an autofocus lens (a 35-70mm) for its ME-F. The focusing device was directly mounted on the lens: this system was painful, slow and quite ugly, but it was still a first step! It was soon followed by Canon, Ricoh and other large camera manufacturers which adopted the same technique of autofocus on the lens.
But Minolta had a much more ambitious project: as early as 1981, Minolta's managers were considering a revolutionary camera, in which the autofocus engine would be in the body, as well as a large range of specific lenses. This camera (that would eventually become the Minolta 7000) was very complicated, and therefore it required some time before to be launched.

Minolta thus launched the X-600 in 1983 in order to show that they were still on the race for autofocus, but also to test the market and their AF sensor.
The camera is built on the same body as the X-500, except for the top of the body (which resembles the future X-300 !) and of course for the AF sensor. The latter requires more power than the two button batteries of the X-500 can actually give so Minolta 'grafted' a housing for two AAA batteries in the front of the body.
The X-600 has the same technical features as the X-500 (aperture priority or manual mode, speed from 1s to 1/1000 + B) but the finder does not show any indications on the selected speed or apertures. Indeed, there are two red arrows and a green dot (< O >) in the bottom of the finder that are used for focusing.
When the focusing is not done, one the red arrow points in the direction you should turn the lens focusing ring. When the focusing is ok, the green dot turns on and the body produces a double confirmation sound (bip-bip)! This explains the camera naming (SF stands for 'Speed Focusing'), which isn't a real autofocus camera but a 'hybrid' camera.

The X-600 is the real missing link between the 'all manual' and the 'all autofocus' in Minolta's production. This transitional camera was produced in small quantities, and it was sold only in Japan, and only between late 1983 and 1984.

All lenses designed to fit X-600 were added a little tab on the mount, which purpose was to convey to the body information about the lens wider aperture. Yet, some older lenses will work on the X-600.

Minolta X-600

Minolta X-600