Re: aperture not working smoothly [MINOLTA MAXXUM 7]
Sounds like the aperture control mechanism is bad (Minolta Maxxums are famous for this problem). I would recommend sending the camera to Sony for repair (Sony now owns Minolta's photographic departments). I've been repairing the Minolta Maxxum cameras for over 15 years and I prefer to send the Maxxum 7 in for this repair do to Minolta's difficult design of this camera.
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First, check if you're taking the lens cap off. If you're taking it off, then check your exposure. See if your light meter responds to changes in illumination. If everything seems fine, then check if the aperture of the lens works as intended. Then, without a lens nor film in bulb mode, check for the mirror and shutter to work properly. If the light meter, aperture, mirror or shutter seem to flaw, then get your camera serviced by an experienced camera repair technician.
The problem sounds like the camera did not reset properly after the last exposure. Minolta deigned the camera to keep the aperture fully open except during exposure. During exposure it snaps the aperture down to the selected opening, then opens it again to allow enough light for proper focusing. If it did not fully open the blades after the shot, much less light would pass through the lens. The viewfinder would be darker and look murky. Most likely cause? Dried up lubricants in the camera. Next likely cause? Teeth broken on a plastic gear. Get it to a camera repair place. Get estimates first.
I no the older Minolta's had an aperture problem the pictures when zooming out after they were developed were very dark. But inside and wide angel shots always came out nice I had to have the aperture base plate replaced on my Minolta Maxxum 3000i my point and shooter, I wish this helped but it sounds like something different in your case it also maybe the aperture acting different in your camera than it did in 1 of mines.
Dear Minolta friends,
I have recently bought a second hand Maxxum 7000 and a AF lens, but found the body not ocntrolling the aperture while shooting. I know 7000 has someting special. Is my problem is due to lens and body compatibility or actually the malfunction of the body. I am sure the AF lens is ok since i have tried it working with another minolta af body.
Can give me an advice?
The aperture ring is the right diagnosis. The aperture mechanism has a broken piece that can be repaired by a competent repair shop for under $75. There are no parts available for Konica Minolta cameras since Sony bought them - the part can be rebuilt.