Minolta Maxxum 7

5 Land of the Dead frames with Portra 400 at EI1600 with a Maxxum 7 and a 85mm f/1.4 lens – By Victor Lopez

Hi all! I am a Software Engineer from Mexico, I like to capture things that catch my eye, especially if the capturing part is made with a device that will force me to focus on it, whilst preventing me from looking at yet another screen for the day.

Last Fall, I attended a local Day of the Death theme Park that has taken place for the last couple of years in Guadalajara, Jalisco. Knowing that It’d offer some interesting subjects, within some distance and all whilst on a low light environment, I took out the most reliable metered camera I have, the Minolta Maxxum 7, the brightest lens that I could, the Minolta 85mm f1.4 AF, and a roll of fresh Kodak Portra ISO 400… and set the ISO to 1600. I went for the whole deal knowing in advance that the local lab (Hilitos Lab), would be able to handle the push with a good development and scan job.

The Minolta Maxxum 7 really lends itself to trusting the exposure and focus to be spot on. The center-weighted metering was great for the mood, and the AF didn’t fail once, even in the low light environment and with the AF illuminator disabled. I find it too intrusive so I tend to switch it off when photographing subject matter like this.

I was quite happy with the results. I shot most of them wide open at f/1.4. The 85mm delivered as it usually does – it’s really good, even at f/1.4. If light allowed it or the performers allowed it, (as with the Jaguar shot), I stopped it down even only to f/2 and used the Maxxum’s 7 built in flash. At f/2 it is tremendously sharp!

Portra 400, pushed 2 stops is great. It really unlocks nighttime photography, even in these really low light conditions.

Thank you for taking a moment to read this and see the pictures, you can find more (super-random) shots, including some others from the same event at my Flickr here

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16 thoughts on “5 Land of the Dead frames with Portra 400 at EI1600 with a Maxxum 7 and a 85mm f/1.4 lens – By Victor Lopez”

  1. Castelli Daniel

    Beautiful images. Clearly a labor of love.
    The 85 was always my fav. focal length with my Nikon F2.

  2. Gorgeous photos! The first in particular is my favourite.

    I’m not that experienced with film so am surprised it’s even possible to get low light photos so good with film. Great work.

    1. Thank you! It depends a lot on the push by the lab, but it also helps that Portra 400 is famous for it’s tolerance to the whole process.

  3. Matthias Steck

    Great fotos, especially the second. I think I’d never try to shoot people at night on film, but you did very well..
    And your fotos make me want a Minolta Dynax 7 (= Maxxum 7) even more, as I have a nice set of Minolta AF glass, but they are quite rare in Germany

    1. Thank you Matthias! Is indeed challenging, however the theme being day (night, actually) of the dead, spot center weighted metering yielded a nice mix of shadows and details.

      Get a 7, Minolta started shop as “Japanese-German camera shop”, imagine that. It’s truly a marvel of a machine.

      1. Did you use spot metering as you stated in your comment, or did you use center-weighted metering as you stated in the text with your images? I’m guessing you probably used spot metering as that seems to be most sensible, given the lighting conditions you were shooting in. Thanks.

        1. Hey Lee! I Dont have the camera right now with me, but Im pretty sure I used center weighted, not that I’m the most sensible or experienced photographer. I did tried to keep the compositions centered to get the detail that I wanted, exposed. Will get back to you!

        2. Yep, center weighted, its a marvelous thing that the 7 stores all the exposure information, this was still in memory. I was wrong on the comment where I said spot metering.
          The center weighted metering on the 7 supposedly emphasizes the center, left and right metering zones. I recall focusing on centered compositions to get the details out. Do you think having it set to spot would have helped more? Thanks!

    2. stefano natalucci

      Yes, Minolta Dynax 7 (= Maxxum 7) is really one of the best SLR ever produced, buy one as soon as you find it. Best regardss

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