Minolta X-700
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Minolta X-700

History: At the time of its release in 1981, the X700 was Minolta's top tier manual focus camera. A market success, it was manufactured continually until 1999 and was also the final manual focus SLR the company made. Stand-out features include TTL flash metering, a bright viewfinder and multiple auto exposure modes. Like the Canon AE-1, the body is made mostly of plastic, which keeps the weight (and manufacturing cost) down. It uses generic drugstore camera batteries.

Why we like it: The X-700 offers both Program auto exposure and Aperture Priority modes as well as full manual mode, making it a good choice for those learning. Plus, Minolta glass is fairly easy to come by on the cheap for this system.

'The X-700 offers both Program auto exposure...as well as full manual mode, making it a good choice for those learning.'

Buy one: You can expect to pay between $75 - $150 on eBay for one of these cameras with a lens. And like the Canon AE-1, it's pretty easy to come across a bundle with camera, extra glass and accessories for around the same price as a single camera and lens.

Photo credit: Retired Electrician