Minolta XE-7 Comments and Questions

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by FilmOnly, Jul 4, 2010.

  1. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I recently purchased a Minolta XE-7 that is in beautiful condition. After having owned and used many cameras, this camera is near or at the top. I am surprised how good its viewfinder is. Overall, for a camera that was introuced in 1975, it seems quite advanced. It is very well crafted, and handles nicely. The shutter is the quietest I have heard. Currently, the only Minolta lens I have is the MC 50/1.4 (third generation version).

    I have read that the MC 50/1.4 is an excellent lens. How good is it up close--at two feet or even closer?

    Also, does the mirror lock up when the self timer is used?

    So far, I am really enjoying this camera.
     
  2. RMD

    RMD Member

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  3. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    I feel the same way about my Canon EF, it's the smoothest quietest FD camera I own , they don't come any better than this, and mine was made in 1973.
     
  4. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, FilmOnly;

    Yes, the XE-7 with the electronic controlled shutter is nice. Yes, it is also quiet. A nice camera.

    The MC ROKKOR 1:1.4 f=50mm is a good lens. It will focus down to just under 18 inches, but you might like the results better if you get a reversing ring and turn it around, especially if you want to go closer. For more serious macro work, look at the MC MACRO ROKKOR 1:3.5 f=50mm lens. That one will down to about 9 inches and a full 1:1. If you need to go closer, look at the AUTO BELLOWS ROKKOR 1:4 f=100mm bellows lens.

    No, the mirror does not go into a Mirror Lock Up mode if you set the self timer. I do not think that any of the Minolta cameras from the XE series and onward had an MLU. They did bring it back on a couple of models of the AF cameras. If you need that feature, go back to the SR-T series or the SR-7. Many of them, but not all even in the same model designation, had the rotating MLU control on the side of the lens mount just below the shutter speed dial. The SR-T 102 is one model where it may or it may not have the MLU. Look at the camera lens mount on the side.

    One point of the XE-7 are the batteries. The camera does require batteries to work. There are two (2) and you will run them down if you leave the camera on when putting it away. Turn the camera OFF when it is not being used, and you will enjoy normal camera battery life.
     
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  5. st3ve

    st3ve Member

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    The good news is that bulb and flash-sync speeds (1/60 or 1/90 IIRC?) work without batteries in, but with the power switch to "on". Great for extra-long exposures - and something I couldn't do with my Canon AE-1s.

    Love the XE-7. Fantastic camera.

    The 50/1.4 will only be unsharp close up due to focusing error (I notice that often when people have a fast lens, they feel the need to do ultra-macros wide open and have way less DOF than would be desired - I used to do it too), it's a great lens at all apertures and lengths.
     
  6. Mark Layne

    Mark Layne Member

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    The XE-7 shares it's chassis and many components with the Leica R3 and they are the quietest SLR shutters anywhere. One thing to check carefully is the automatic function. While my XE7 and XK still work perfectly, my R3 is erratic on auto(only auto), and this is a shared mechanism between the Leicas and Minoltas. It also seems related to lack of use and is not worth repairing
    Mark
     
  7. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I do not need MLU (at this time, at least); I was just wondering about it, and that is why I asked about the self timer.

    I am glad to hear the good news about the close-up performance of the 50/1.4...and I am not surprised to hear it. I appreciate the tip in regard to turning off the camera. I had been wondering about whether or not there is an auto-shut-off in the circuit.

    I have never owned or used an R3, but I did have an R4s briefly. I did not not this camera's viewfinder. It has the same obstruction (a blacked out panel for the shutter speeds) on the right as the XD-11. I would have bought an XD-11 years ago were is not for this problematic design. I often see the XD-11 touted as Minolta's best, but for me it is the XE-7. The only fault I could find with the XE-7 is that is does not accept a winder or motor.

    With regard to the SRT series: too bad these beautiful cameras take mercury batteries. I know that it is possible to convert them to common 1.5-v types, but I just do not want to deal with the hassle of finding someone I trust to do this, and the time and cost involved in the process. I am so glad the XE-7 takes non-banned cells.
     
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  8. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I have the XE-1 which is the European version in chrome and black rather than all black. It has become one of my favourites.

    Steve.
     

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  9. hoffy

    hoffy Member

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    There are a few of us around. I have an XE-1 as well. Still learning how to use it. At least I have discovered that the meter is out by 1 stop exactly!
     
  10. ath

    ath Member

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    Just buy an adaptor with diode, place an SR44 inside and you are there.
    OTOH with meters this old it is always a good idea to have them checked and adjusted (which could be directly done for a silver cell).
     
  11. mjs

    mjs Member

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    SRT series cameras (and others using the now-unavailable mercury batteries,) can also use Wein cells, which around here anyway are pretty easily available at camera shops (those few left,) and battery stores. As previously noted, there are also adapters which allow use of common alkaline batteries. And even if you find yourself temporarily without a battery, the camera still works fine: the battery just powers the light meter.

    The problem is that the SRT series cameras are still fantastic picture taking machines. Once you start using them, these little battery annoyances just sort of fade into the background. :wink:

    Mike
     
  12. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Hello,

    Great lens. Great camera. That's the setup I keep on mine for walking around. It's not the cult 58mm, f/1.2, but it is the lens that made me fall in love with Rokkor glass. Bought an XK about 10 years ago (a little more now...) and it came with the 58mm, f/1.4 on it. The bokeh was so creamy and the warmth so unique, it blew me away. I'd only used modern (80's era) Minolta lenses prior to this and the Rokkor was astounding. Gave my snapshots an artsy feel.

    Enjoy!

    Jeff M
     
  13. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Mike;

    Yes, the Wein cells do work quite well, and they have a fairly stable voltage right around 1.35 VDC; that is what the circuit was designed to use. The only real criticism I have heard is their relatively short life. Some do report longer life with them if they put a new piece of tape over the little hole to keep air out when they put the camera away.

    The common alkaline batteries may not be a good choice. Their voltage is constantly changing as they discharge and the voltage goes over a wide range doing that. The light meter keeps changing while the battery is doing that. A better choice here is the Silver-oxide battery such as the SR-44. It has a higher voltage, but its discharge curve is almost as flat as the old 1.35 VDC Mercury Cells, but the AgO cells are 1.50 to 1.55 VDC, until they hit the knee, and then they go down very quickly. This constant voltage thing really is not a bad thing. The Schottky Barrier Diode in the MR-9 battery adapter provides just enough voltage drop with the AgO battery so that the camera light meter happily thinks it has a PX13 or PX625 in it again.
     
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  15. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    Another option for the SRT is to use a silver oxide cell but fit a schottky diode in series wiith the cell connection internally.


    Steve.
     
  16. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I appreciate all of the commentary. I had a Rokkor 58/1.4 years ago, but parted with it. I did not use it much, and so I am not very familiar with its performance. I am thinking of getting another Rokkor 58/1.4. Is this a thoriated design (i.e. radioactive)? I do not think it is, but I would like to verify this.
     
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  17. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    Hi FilmOnly,

    I remember as a youngster reading about thoriated lenses, and referring to a few Canon,
    and Yashica lenses. But that was way back in 1978, so the memory could be slightly faded.


    Ron

    From The Long Island Of New York
    .
     
  18. martyryan

    martyryan Member

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    the 58/1.4 is not thoriated.
    Marty
     
  19. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    The XE-7, Is a sturdy beast, and a remarkable instrument.
    Way back in 1977, I went to Manhattan with $300.00 dollars to buy some used equipment.
    Thinking that I would come home with 1 camera and 50mm lens, a wide angle,
    and maybe a Vivitar 135mm. Big mistake, I encountered an XE-7 body,
    and was amazed by it.
    Although the body only was $250.00 at that time. But I had to have it.
    It took another two months before I scraped up enough to buy a lens,
    got lucky with the 58mm 1.2 for $150.00 !
    And a few more weeks before I had enough saved again to buy a few rolls of Kodachrome 25 !!!

    Unfortunately, I destroyed the lens a few weeks later on a camping trip.
    But the XE-7 Is still alive and kicking, and I am still amazed by it !
    It has never needed to be serviced, and it's still a thing of beauty,
    and is still my favourite camera.
    I'm going back to Manhattan next week to find a Minolta Rokkor X 58mm 1.2 .
    I've missed the damn thing for all these years, it's about time for a replacement.

    If Only I Had A Couple More Rolls Of Kodachrome 25 ...
    Don't it always seem to go. That you don't know what you've got. Till it's gone ... Very Sad, Indeed.


    Ron

    From The Long Island Of New York, and the
    Long Island @ Large Format Group, right here on APUG
    .
     
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  20. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    What a story, Ron. I am a native New Yorker (now exiled), and I know exactly what you mean. I have been to Manahattan numerous times, and was always amazed by the camera shops, especially the smaller ones. Back in 1977, I was a little boy. In the late 70s, I would read the large print ads in the Post and Daily News. I would be blown away by the full page ads with all of the best in 35mm gear...never got one then, but I have five nice 35mm cameras today. Indeed, the XE-7 is one of the greats. Too bad it does not take a winder. Enjoy the City...
     
  21. M.A.Longmore

    M.A.Longmore Subscriber

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    There Is The XK Motor, just saying ...

    Enjoy The Weekend !


    Ron
     
  22. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, Marty Ryan and FilmOnly;

    Regarding the Minolta 1.4/58 lens; the question of an internal glass element in the lens having a radioactive (ionizing radiation) characteristic is valid. The early versions of this lens did have glass with that characteristic, but at a very low level, similar to the Pentax 1.4/50 lenses. If you store them in a case for a long time, you might see a yellow cast to the color of the lens when you take it out. Put it in a place where ultraviolet (UV) radiation can pass through it, and the yellow color cast will go away. A southern exposure window sill will do fine.

    And, in spite of the recommendations of Sir Thomas Lehrer, no, you do not need to wear lead BVDs when using this lens.
     
  23. martyryan

    martyryan Member

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    I was aware that some of the 58mm 1.2 lens had the radioactive element but was under the impression that none of the 1.4 lens had this characteristic. But I am hardly an expert on the entire Minolta line.

    Marty
     
  24. KenR

    KenR Member

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    I received my XE-7 as a graduation present in June, 1977. It has needed repairs over the years (most recently to the aperature transfer ring) but it is still going strong. The lenses are fabulous as well. For a 30 year old camera and kit it is still a pleasure to use.
     
  25. FilmOnly

    FilmOnly Member

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    I have no intention of debating the radioactivity issue here. All I would like to verify is if the MC 58/1.4 is actually radioactive. I have heard all of the arguments, and prefer to err on the side of caution, especially since there are many fine 35mm lenses out there.
     
  26. Ralph Javins

    Ralph Javins Member

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    Good morning, FilmOnly;

    I had written a reply to you discussing the amount of ionizing radiation that you will get from a Minolta MC ROKKOR 1:1.4 f=58mm lens, but I realized that there will be no real profit in doing that, so I deleted that reply.

    If you are truly concerned about the lens in that way, send a PM to me and tell me what you want for it and what it will cost to ship it to Washington, ZIP Code 98012.