Film Cameras: Minolta Maxxum 9000

So with a few minutes on my hands today I felt like talking briefly about one of the greatest cameras of all time. Yes, of all time!  The Minolta Maxxum 9000, the worlds first PROFESSIONAL auto focus camera.  I believe it was introduced sometime around 1985-86 maybe, and set the stage for every camera company on the planet to play catch up to Minolta again.

The camera features tank like construction, titanium pinned shutter curtains, high-speed flash sync, and shutter speeds of up to 4000th of a second.  Auto Program, Aperture, Shutter and full Manual modes.  Two professional grips were available with battery packs to extend camera life and high speed shooting.  The camera were impervious to dust and moisture.  Though not 'water proof', mine has seen plenty of time in the wet covering events.


The auto focus, slow by today's standards was amazing and made shooting 'grab' shots a breeze.  Minolta had an excellent line of autofocus glass that was lightweight when compared to the competition because Minoltas patented auto focus system brilliantly placed the auto focus motor into the body, and not in the lens like everyone else.  This results in a camera that has superior balance even when using long focal lengths because the only thing in the lens is glass.


I really miss using this camera.  It is very heavy, but feels great in the hands.  The solidity and heft harken back to a time when a Professional camera looked and handled like a serious precision workman's tool.  No one picked this beast  up and thought of it as anything but.


The all metal construction, composite top, paint over brass and rubberized palm grips both front and back made using the 9000 a joy.  Even the motor drives oozed with quality and offered up that wonderful clean razor sharp click when firing off shots in succession.  The 9000 could blast through a 36 exposure roll of film in about 7 seconds.  



Additionally, like any professional camera, the 9000 had an endless array of accessories and backs, including multiple user changeable focusing screens. It also sported the most sophisticated flash system of any camera ever made.


All in all, it was a huge home run for Minolta.  Oh and it was bullet proof.


My 1986 example has gone through countless rolls of film, without ever needing so much as one repair.   I often wish that we could turn the clock back and begin shooting E6 again.  It was so easy and the images were always beautiful.  I don’t ever remember losing a shot with this camera, or it ever delivering a bad one.  Not ever. 


If you're up for a modern classic, seek out a clean 9000.  You won't be disappointed.




1 comment:

  1. J'ai eu la chose d'avoir le 9000 avec le boîtier moteur le flash et quelques bons objectifs. Je n'ai Jamais retrouvé ce type de sensations avec le numérique que j'apprécie pourtant beaucoup. Par contre, je filme avec le numérique et ne reviendrais pas en arrière.