The Minolta Maxxum 600si: I Want to Like This Camera

The 600si was released in 1995. I didn’t know much about this camera until I picked it up a couple of months ago. In the early 90s I was die-hard Canon EOS shooter. I didn’t have Minolta cameras on my radar at the time. I am glad that I have gotten to know the system a little better.

I picked this camera up from a used camera store for $30 but I had acquired the 50mm f1.4 lens from a thrift store for $20, but it was attached to a Minolta Maxxum 400si, unfortunately that camera was was dead. Now I was on the hunt for another camera, when I found this one. It’s in very nice shape, I figured this should work out just fine.

The ergonomics are quite nice. There is a knob on the top with four stops: A, S, M, and PROGRAM. It doesn’t get much simpler than that. This is a dead simple camera to use.

I have found the metering is fine, but it’s center weighted. It is not a complicated system. I am fine with that.

Looking through the viewfinder is a pleasant experience. You do need to pay attention to what the exposure is displaying, because it is easily fooled, not unlike the meters found in an old manual camera. Once you have gotten the hang of that, you’re golden. The exposure compensation dial quickly becomes your friend.

Auto-focus can be problematic. There are three focus points, that are not visible, or controllable. When the subject is clearly in view, it acquires the subject easily and the focus is snappy. It uses the same style of AF as early Nikons. The motor is in the body and drives a little flat slotted screw on the lens. I don’t think this particularly efficient. I bet newer models had improved in the AF department up through the rest of the 90s and early 2000s.

The AF is not great, but flash shoe far more irritating, the flash shoe is proprietary. You either have to have a Minolta flash, or buy a Minolta Flash Shoe Adapter (FS-1100). It’s was a horrible idea, but it’s clear that Minolta was trying to lock people into the system. There is a pop-up flash. It’s not perfect, but it’s nice to have in a pinch.

I took this camera for a few rolls and here are a few pictures I got with it.

Final thoughts

I really want to like this camera. This is decent film camera. There are some shortcomings like the auto-focus and the flash shoe, but it has such great ergonomics. With that said, It’s not my first choice for when I want to use an auto-focus 35mm film camera. I think I’ll stick with the Canon EOS cameras.

Tom Chamberlain

Photographer, videographer, and lover of all things analog.

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