Minolta XE/XE-1/XE-7 - best manual focus Minolta?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Huss, May 8, 2018.

  1. Huss

    Huss Member

    Messages:
    741
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Location:
    Venice, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I have a Minolta XK with both the AE and AE-S heads. A physically impressive camera that is a lot of fun to use, but just feels a little ungainly, a little off in the haptics dept.
    I read up on the XE series, and decided to try one out. I actually 'won' two at the same time - one in much nicer cosmetic shape than the other. First off -wow this thing feels so much better designed in hand than my XK. Everything made sense and felt just right. Plus the film wind lever is the best I've ever experienced in an SLR. Better than any of my Nikons including the floppy levered F3s, better than the XK, I dare say better than my Leica Ms...
    All seemed swell until I tested the meters. In both cameras, bought from different people, they showed an overexposure of 3 stops compared to my XK (all using the same lens and ISO setting) and a hand held meter, pointed at an avg grey scene.
    What is interesting is I remembered seeing a couple of XE ads on ebay that mentioned the meters were overexposing by a lot.
    So... is this common (ignoring my experiences)? And does anyone have a perfectly working/fungus free/dent free XE/XE-1/XE-7 they want to sell me?
    :smile:

    (not interested in the XE-5 as I like the multi exposure switch)
     
  2. Pentode

    Pentode Subscriber

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If I’m not mistaken, the electronics used in the XE series were the same as those used in the XK, minus the removable prism. I wonder what’s different about the XE that causes the discrepancy.

    My XK’s meter was pretty dodgy. I suspect it was related to the momentary switch on the front of the body, which I’ve heard is a common issue with XKs but I’ll never know for sure because it was over 20 years ago and I didn’t yet have a repairer I trusted so I ended up selling it.

    If you’re really interested in a manual focus Minolta with great ergonomics I very strongly recommend you take an XD-11 for a test drive. It’s by far my favorite SLR body. I Like my other Minolta and Nikon bodies a lot but the XD-11 is really cozy.

    Sadly, I don’t have a fully working XE-7 to offer you. If I did... well, I’d be out shooting with it! :smile:
     
  3. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,966
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There is no doubt that the XE-7 is a desirable camera to use and I agree that the film advance has to be experienced.

    [​IMG]

    BTW, the XE-7, SRT-101 and the AE viewfinder equipped XK all use the dual CDS metering cel they called CLC (contrast light compensating) system that is considered the earliest form of "matrix" metering. The newer AE-S viewfinder that came later abandoned that in favor of the single silicon cel. I hope you sort out the metering issue on your XE-7 or at least be able to compensate for it to use it successfully.
     
  4. OP
    OP
    Huss

    Huss Member

    Messages:
    741
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Location:
    Venice, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    C'mon Les surely you can spare that gorgeous XE-7?! You must have a spare somewhere... I sent both the ones I had back, as I just got them yesterday and they were covered by the ebay warranty thingy. What was nice is it included post paid return shipping.
    But what wasn't nice is I now want one even more! I prefer the build feel of it over the XD11 (as nice as that camera is). With the XK I feel I have to adapt to it, but the XE just feels 'right'.
     
  5. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,966
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Unfortunately I don't have a spare but you might want to check your local CL listing as I see an XE7.
     
  6. OP
    OP
    Huss

    Huss Member

    Messages:
    741
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Location:
    Venice, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Yeah I think I'm going to try to check that out if it is still around this weekend.
     
  7. M-88

    M-88 Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Location:
    Georgia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Never tried any of XE series, but have generally abysmal experience with Minos. X-570 with sloppy meter which loves to jump around never giving correct exposure, X-700 which turns off randomly and refuses to turn back on, another X-700 which won't stop down the aperture (again, occasionally), third X-700 and Maxxum 9000 with busted shutter magnets which cause the cameras to "fire" with closed curtains. All of the above made me renounce Minolta once and for all, even though my pal has a perfextly working X-700.
     
  8. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,966
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I agree that I would not care for any camera - regardless of brand or model, that is not fully functional and dependable.
     
  9. OP
    OP
    Huss

    Huss Member

    Messages:
    741
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Location:
    Venice, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I bought another one off ebay just after it was posted today. In the pics it has a layer of dust on it, but no dents and the same camera strap patina that all the other ones have. Seller claims it works perfectly but in case it doesnt there is a 14 day return policy.
    Comes with a Minolta 50 1.4 lens, all for just under $60 shipped. The lens itself goes for more than that. My perfect looking XE didn't work properly. The more patina-ed, but clean XE, didn't work properly. So I figured why not try this cheap one?
    I've bought other cameras that just needed a good cleaning. Maybe I'll luck out
     
  10. Jon Buffington

    Jon Buffington Subscriber

    Messages:
    189
    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2014
    Location:
    Tennessee
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Huss, I have always wanted an xe-7 as well as I am a Minolta fan. I almost bought one off craigslist from an older man whom bought it new however the meter was dead so I declined on it. Currently have an xd-11 (love it) and my trusty srt102 which is a beast and doesn't get quite as much use as it should. Have a few xg1's and some xg1's/x370's that aren't working that probably need that capacitor thingy fix that was a common problem with those but have never gotten around to fixing. One day....maybe.
     
  11. CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,920
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Location:
    USA CA 94585
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Sounds like you had, several, 25-40 year old cameras and they were all in need of "normal" repairs.
     
  12. M-88

    M-88 Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Location:
    Georgia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    None of my Nikons or Olympus cameras needed any "normal" repair, which is by the way, unavailable in my country.
     
  13. Chan Tran

    Chan Tran Member

    Messages:
    3,195
    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Location:
    Aurora, IL
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Les has way too many cameras to have a spare. If people who have one camera and get another they have a spare but once you get past 10 you don't have a spare any more and in fact you need more.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,966
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    It is simply a luck of the draw but as someone who has worked on countless electro-mechanical devices - only a handful of cameras todate, I can guarantee that all of our beloved cameras will eventually need them. BTW, I too have been very lucky - and selective, in my acquisitions but even some of them are beginning to show some failures. I will eventually have to get into them.
     
  16. CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,920
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Location:
    USA CA 94585
    Shooter:
    35mm
    There may not be anybody in your country to repair them. But that is not the fault of the camera, and does not reflect badly on any brand. Over these many years, It is normal for Any Device to need repair, to break, to wear out, etc etc.
    If nobody in your country repairs Honda Cars, that does not make them a bad item, especially if they are an older car.
    Good Luck
     
  17. Kevin Green

    Kevin Green Member

    Messages:
    2
    Joined:
    May 11, 2018
    Location:
    New Westminster
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have both an XE7 and XD11, the XD is by far my favorite. Really smooth in all aspects. Meter seems accurate, very compact.
     
  18. M-88

    M-88 Member

    Messages:
    63
    Joined:
    May 2, 2018
    Location:
    Georgia
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Yeah, sure. Only my other four OM system cameras arrived in full working order and still alive and kicking. For me it's beyond coincidence.
     
  19. OP
    OP
    Huss

    Huss Member

    Messages:
    741
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Location:
    Venice, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My Nikon FE-2 started to get a flaky shutter where it would occasionally lock open. One of my Nikkormat FT2s started to get a jumpy meter needle. My Nikon F2AS needed Sover Wong to repair the meter as it had the notorious ring failure. My Nikon EM's shutter would not correspond to the meter reading. My Nikon F4 would not meter correctly in shutter priority.
    Sold off the FE-2, the EM, F4, repaired the others.

    Stuff gets old...
     
  20. CMoore

    CMoore Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,920
    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2015
    Location:
    USA CA 94585
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Wow, Nikons are Pieces Of Junk.
    Thanks for the warning :smile:
     
  21. OP
    OP
    Huss

    Huss Member

    Messages:
    741
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Location:
    Venice, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I know you're kidding cuz I still have and use a bunch. Point is old stuff is old...

    FYI I recently had to have the focus on my F6 repaired. It began to front focus badly. Aaaand in another thread on rff same thing happened to someone else's F6.
    I can't make an excuse for that because it is not an old camera. And was never abused.
    :wink:
     
  22. OP
    OP
    Huss

    Huss Member

    Messages:
    741
    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2016
    Location:
    Venice, CA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Pulled the trigger on another XE-7 that just popped up on ebay. this one is in such good cosmetic shape it doesn't even have strap marks. Seller claims it all works... but it also has a 14 day return policy.
    So right now I have two incoming, after having sent back two. If I can't get one decent (properly working!) camera out of 4 attempts, I'm tapping out! If both work, I'll sell one of them.
     
  23. Pentode

    Pentode Subscriber

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    If they do, and you do, PM me!
    :wink:
     
  24. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

    Messages:
    1,523
    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2012
    Location:
    County Durham, UK
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have both the XM (European named XK) and an XE1.

    The XM is by far the quietest SLR I have ever used. The shutter release is so smooth and shake free, although I find the wind on a little stiff. The exposure has always been spot on so who needs matrix metering? It is a bit 'quirky' when it comes to the slow shutter speeds, but the 1/2000th top speed is worth having. The only thing I find missing is a hot shoe or even a simple accessory shoe where a flash could be attached.

    The XE1 is by far the easiest of the two to use. Again shutter speeds are spot on although a little noisier than the XM. The shutter release, apparently a normal design, is also very smooth and does not increase the risk of shake at lower speeds. The wind on is by comparison, silky smooth, probably the best I have ever known.

    Focusing on both is really easy.

    There is an excellent camera repairer in UK who bought up all the spares available for Minolta models when the company lost it's identity. So when I sent the XM to him for a clean and a small repair to the exposure compensation dial, he also calibrated the shutter which had probably never had a service all it's life. Being made of titanium foil it is a masterpiece. (Like a Nikon F2). In my experience Minolta as a brand, did not deserve to go under like it did. With a superb line up of lenses and design of their later cameras, they were as good as any other. Although perhaps a little less innovative than some manufacturers which resulted in their untimely demise.
     
    Last edited: May 12, 2018
  25. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,966
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    That's why I prefer to get a guaranteed one from KEH or buy from here or locally from CL.
     
  26. Pentode

    Pentode Subscriber

    Messages:
    143
    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2017
    Location:
    Brooklyn, NY
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Actually, Minolta was extremely innovative and they were first with a number of technologies. It was bad marketing, bad timing and, to a lesser degree, bad luck that did them in.
     
,