Minolta Prod 20 vs FujiFilm X-100

There’s been lots written about the the Fujifilm X-100, that retro-styled darling of the digital set.  In reviews, I was struck by how this fixed lens camera was often compared to a Leica M9, many times favorably so. I’ll leave it to others to fight that battle but would like to compare the X-100 to a camera I actually own and one that’s perfect for Film Friday—the Minolta Prod 20 that was built in 1989 before Minolta’s disastrous Studebaker-Packard-like marriage to Konica. Interestingly that made the new company one that made film, much like Fujifilm is/was a film company. The similarities continue…

Look at ’em. They have the same retro DNA and the Fujiflm X-100 and Minolta Prod 20 both are fixed lens cameras. The Fujifilm’s lens is a 23mm, equivalent to 35mm, f/2.0 while the Prod 20 is a 35mm f/4.5 lens. The X-100 has 12.3 megapixel (23.6x 15.8mm) resolution, while the Prod 20 shoots high resolution 35mm (24 x 36mm) film. Only 20,000 Prod 20’s were built, all for the Japanese market, and featured a combination of aluminum and plastic construction that includes + Add New Category all of the features that made it great back in the DeLorean’s heyday: Automatic DX coding, motor driven film advance, built in flash, and auto exposure mode with shutter speeds from 1/40 to 1/150 seconds. Even the box had a retro look, containing a camera pouch made in faux deerhide, and an imitation leather folder for holding two portraits.

When new, the Prod 20 cost $430; mine was a gift from my loving wife Mary. You you should be able to get one on eBay (updated 20107) with prices in around $100. You can see example photos made (not by me) here and feel free to compare it with any images you find on-line made with the Fujifilm X-100. There’s even a Prod 20 group on Flickr!

After looking at all these images, I think you will have to admit that the Minolta’s a pretty good picture maker. And while I will probably never get to hold a Fujifilm X-100 in my paws or even it’s baby brother the X-10, like Bogey and Bergman, I’ll always have my Minolta Prod 20.

Author: Joe Farace

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