ELECTRONICS MAVENS: I do need your help concerning Minolta XG7

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by David Lyga, Nov 29, 2011.

  1. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    This has happened several times to me. I buy an electronic Minolta from the 'X' series and the manual works but the Auto meter is all over the place. Now, a different twist. The auto works but the manual is touchy. When I first got the camera a few days ago I fired on manual at, say 1/30, the exposure was 'time', in that the mirror lifted and the curtain exposed the film but then all was locked. On another speed all was fine. And then on 1/30 all was fine. But then on 1/1000 the same 'locking' at 'time'.

    These things have happened sporadically with electronic Minoltas but what strikes me as really interesting is that repeatedly firing the shutter at different speeds seems to slowly 'correct' the problem. After two days of firing often (without film, thank you) the problem is less and less. In fact, the camera has not locked for the past two dozen 'exposures'.

    What I am getting at is this: is there a 'rebooting' taking place for a camera that has not been used for probably a decade? I know little about computers but this has come to mind. Is the memory somewhat like the thrystor in a flash unit (ie, deteriorating with disuse)? I like to think of electronics as 'static' and unchanging but do things 'happen' when such are not used for long periods of time? Thanks. - David Lyga
     
  2. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Possibly bad contact in the pc board connectors, or other contacts somewhere in the camera. I'm not familiar with the XG7.

    Electronics are not exactly static and unchanging, electrolytic capacitors in particular are an electrochemical device, and they don't like disuse. You may be reforming them as you fire the shutter, or just by having a battery in the camera for the first time in years. Be sure all the battery contacts are clean.
     
  3. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Electronic glitches/failures are baked-in problems with the X series, most notoriously with the X-700. Had two, pitched two. There are online DIY fixes if your idea of fun runs to amateur neurosurgery. Mechanical manual Minoltas are bomb-proof but the electronic manual models? Not so much.
     
  4. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    This holds true for makes other than Minolta........moral: if you're investing in an older film camera, make it the all mechanical version.
     
  5. CGW

    CGW Member

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    I'm afraid not. Never a nanosecond of electronic trouble from Nikon bodies--old or new. Besides, few--if any--"older film cameras" in the affordable class represent investments.
     
  6. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    True. Parts can (if neccessary) be fabricated for virtually any mechanical camera. Not so with electronics...... try making a SMD transistor.
     
  7. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    I also use electronic Nikon bodies; F90x's, but they are not as old as the Minoltas highlighted in the previous post. My oldest mechanical models are a Nikkormat (still going strong after approx 35+ years) and FM's. I doubt that many all electronic models would last as long.

    By "investing", I meant investing for pictures, not for resale. Investing for resale, is a bit like investing in wine, you can never use the product since it will devalue.
     
  8. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Seems one of the abiding myths around mechanical cameras, that there will always be obliging munchkins able and willing to crank out parts for a smoked Nikon F. Don't believe that making titanium foil shutters is any more likely than DIY semi-conductors. Just buy good quality back-ups of your favorites if long-term shooting is your goal.
     
  9. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Have several Nikon FEs that are contemporaries of the X-700 which was Minolta's top-of-the-line manual body. They're still going strong for me and many others here. Can't say the same for the Minoltas.
     
  10. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I maintain my own gear, so I'm the only obliging munchkin I have to worry about. Making a quilted titanium foil shutter curtain is much more possible than a silicon junction transistor, although a point-contact germanium transistor is possible.
     
  11. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    Well, I certainly appreciate the speedly responses. I was afraid of this. I have always liked the mechanical cameras because I could fix minor things and also because they would 'tell' you when something was beginning to go wrong. - David Lyga.
     
  12. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Be sure to visit Youtube and post the video of you making that titanium foil or machining the shutter gear train bits. I maintain my own stuff too, but there's a limit to my survivalist urges when it comes to dead film cameras, especially cheap ones when I can get another.
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    I didn't say it was worth the bother, I said it was doable. Since I regularly cut gears (and make my own cutters) and make parts for watches, bits and pieces for shutters would be quite routine.
     
  14. elcabezagrande

    elcabezagrande Subscriber

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    I had an XG-7 that had similar issues. In my case, It was not so much the electronics as much as it is the mechanical parts that control the electronics, particularly the copper contacts that are part of the shutter speed control/auto-manual switch. These can get dirty or tarnished after years of disuse. Sometimes simply rotating the dial through its full range several dozen times can clean them up enough, but you might have to carefully remove the shutter speed dial assembly and clean the contacts more thoroughly, making sure to reassemble the correct way. I eventually had to get a junk body with a good speed assembly and swapped the whole assembly out, as it was a cracked plastic disc that held some of these contacts that was the culprit.
     
  15. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    Some people just aren't into being imaginative, creative or even having a positive attitude....

    Fixing my own cameras is fun! :wink:

    (I too have been catastrophically let down by electronic cameras several times but have had mechanical ones only gradually go off...)
     
  16. fstop

    fstop Member

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    XG series are so cheap just buy one that works
     
  17. rolleiman

    rolleiman Member

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    I too have owned a Nikon FE, and would agree that it is an excellent camera, with a solid all metal body, similar to the FM. The secret of this model's longevity is probably (along with its solid construction) its very simplicity, no multi-modes, flashing lights etc., just a single mode auto- exposure system, based on the centre-weighted meter of the FM and its equally reliable successor the FM2.

    My original post re. the long term reliability of manual v electronic was meant as a general rule rather than all encompassing, there will always be exceptions, and the FE is certainly one.
     
  18. David Lyga

    David Lyga Subscriber

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    In the past year I have seen two Nikon FE bodies whose shutter fired at only one speed: instantaneous. The meter worked fine but the timing chip was done and dead. So it happens with revered Nikon also. Given a choice, I'll take an FM any day. - David Lyga
     
  19. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

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    My FE2 was one of the "sudden death" cameras I previously posted about.
    So *even* electronic Nikons aren't perfect... :wink:

    (And heck, it's even newer and more modern than the FE!)
     
  20. upnorthcyclist

    upnorthcyclist Member

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    A little OT here - I took on the challenge of the Minolta Hi-Matic E a few years back. These are cameras that are kind of hard to love, as they are known for electrical glitches. Fortunately, they aren't very expensive, usually. Long story short, I now have a functional and reasonably reliable shooter. Its "feel" is superb, it has a great lens and its exposure control is very accurate - even for slides.

    What I find extraordinary about this camera is that it functions in much the same fashion as the "P" mode of my DSLR. It has basically the same "algorithm" - the combination of shutter speed and aperture - to produce, steplessly, a correct exposure throughout the range of the camera's capability. Far more sophisticated than the "trap needle" mechanism of most of its contemporaries. It even includes a function that automatically engages the (dedicated) flash when conditions require it. It accomplishes this with nary a circuit board or microprocessor - it's entirely electromechanical.

    But... When you open one of these up for repair or cleaning, it is one dense assembly. Whew. Wires, magnets, sliding contacts, levers, gears. It's kind of a miracle, after 40 or so years, that one can still make them work.

    What I'm getting at is that it takes some dedication to keep these old marvels going - like that old Fiat Spyder as opposed to a new Miata. My plastic blob of a DSLR works perfectly, all the time, but I don't love it.
     
  21. leicarfcam

    leicarfcam Member

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    These cameras were made in the 70's, and 80's. They are in need of a CLA. This is the usual behavior when service is needed. The electrical contacts also get dirty and cause erratic readings etc..

    Find a repair shop and explain what the camera is doing.....
     
  22. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

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    I've got an FE that doesn't work in auto And the meter needle doesn't move.......But the shutter works properly in Manual. =)