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Minolta XE-7, The Crown Jewel of the SR Line.

Ralf J. , Mar 24, 2009; 01:44 a.m.

The Minolta XE-7 is a truly remarkable camera. It is my favorite camera in my entire collection edging the Voigtlander Bessamatic by a couple of points. The XE-7 is the fruit of the collaboration between two of the camera industry power houses, Leitz and Minolta. It has a birth year of about 1975.
All the XE-7 bodies I have seen, have been black finish, although I have heard that chrome versions do exist. The camera is build like a tank commanding quite a bit of heft, which inspires confidence and reliability in my opinion. It has one of the smoothest film advance mechanisms I have ever handled and it is a pure joy using it.
90% of the camera controls are incorporated on the top housing. These controls include the on/off switch, exposure counter, advance lever, shutter speed dial and shutter release, rewind knob, and a smart disk at the bottom of the rewind knob which controls the ASA settings and exposure compensation(from -2 to +2 stops)
The front of the body includes the self timer lever, the DOF button, lens release, X-sync terminal and flash synchronization selector, while the back contains the very useful film pocket reminder with a table for ASA/DIN conversions.

The Minolta XE-7 can be used in the very useful Aperture Priority mode for those "decisive moment" shots or in full manual mode. The exposure compensation option mentioned above, makes the adjustment to the changing of lighting conditions, a snap. The viewfinder is very bright with a split image micro-prism for those difficult focusing conditions. With the aperture and shutter information clearly visible in the viewfinder, one can continue to take pictures and make the adjustments on the fly without taking the camera away from the eye.

Common maladies of the XE-7 system can include an unstable meter needle or a dead meter system altogether; I have been lucky in that respect and intend to stay that way if I can help it :-). The less privileged sister of the XE-7, my XE-5, is already starting to exhibit the jumping needle condition in the metering system, so service time may be approaching for it.

The Minolta XE-7, with hundreds of rokkors available for it, is not just a remarkable camera, but a remarkable system; I may be nuts about Minoltas in general, but so are so many who favorably review and describe them on their blogs and web sites.
Here are a few pictures of my XE-7 and few images made with it.


Minolta XE-7 Front

Minolta XE-7 Profile

Minolta XE-7 Eyes


Bottom of an Antique Well (Mexico, 2009)


Bottom of the Well
MC Rokkor-PF 58mm/1.4, 1/125s, f/5.6 on AGFA Chrome RSX II 50

A Lamp on the Shore


A   Lamp
Minolta Celtic MD 135mm/2.8, 1/250s, f3.5 on Fuji Reala 100

Kite Surfer


kite surfer2
Minolta Celtic MD 135mm/2.8, 1/500s, f8, polarizer, on Fuji Reala 100

Shell Hunting

These women were so absorbed looking for shells, that I don't think they realized they looked
so comical as I thought, through the optics of my Celtic. It may be in poor taste, but I just could not resist.

Lost
Minolta Celtic MD 135mm/2.8, 1/250s, f16 on Fuji Reala 100

Mayan Sand Temple


Mayan Sand Temple
Minolta Celtic MD 135mm/2.8, 1/500s, f5.6 on Fuji Reala 100

The Bench


Park Bench
MC Rokkor-PF 58mm/1.4, 1/250s, f/2.8 on AGFA Chrome RSX II 50

The Rooster


Rooster
MC Rokkor-PF 58mm/1.4, 1/125s, f/5.6 on AGFA Chrome RSX II 50

An Antique Vase


Framed Pottery
MC W.Rokkor-SG 28mm/3.5, 1/60s, f/8 on AGFA Chrome RSX II 50

Sunset on Little Camp Lake (PA, 2008)


Little Camp
Tokina 35-135mm, 1/125s, f/8 on AGFA Optima 100

Central Park Underpass (NYC, 2008)


Central Park Underpass
MC Rokkor-PF 58mm/1.4, 1/125s, f/8 on Fuji Reala 100

A Wooden Wheel


wheel
Vivitar 28mm/2.5, 1/125s, f/4 on AGFA APX 100


Responses


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Stefan T. , Mar 24, 2009; 05:23 a.m.

I used to shoot with the XE-1, the european equivalent to the XE-7, a lot in my youth, because a friend of mine had one (I had the XG-1 at that time). I always loved it. Very nice cam! What I missed was a light meter that worked in manual mode, but that was rare even in later models and could only be found in a practical mode in the OM-2. In Germany the chrome version is found more often. Maybe there were regional preferences. If you want a chrome XE-1 you might to search german ebay.

Peter Blaise Monahon , Mar 24, 2009; 06:01 a.m.

.

Great review. I also found Minolta gear ergonomically inviting and supportive of "decisive moments." My catalog shows the XE starting in November 1974, similar to the Leica R3. What? Leica wanted Minolta quality and affordability but looked down on the Minolta nameplate? Now they're struggling with Panasonic. Zeiss Contax had Pentax then Kyocera then Cosina and Sony, Hasselblad has Fuji, and so on. Your name here. Anyway, yes, the XE was special in it's incorporation of Leica requirements, but ever a Minolta from start to finish. I find my Minolta SR T 101, X-700, and even later 507si and A1 special in similar, ergonomic, photographic ways, too. Joys to hold and reflexive to shoot. Thanks for this, Ralf.

.

Gene M , Mar 24, 2009; 08:41 a.m.

Thanks Ralf.

Andy Collins , Mar 24, 2009; 08:43 a.m.

Excellent write-up, Ralf! The pictures of the camera are very nice, but the pics you took with it are superb. The sharpness and color are incredible and your compos are very nice in typical Ralf-style. Since getting my XE-5 I have enjoyed using it just to experience the smoothness of its operation and the solidity that seems typical of Minolta SLRs. The results are excellent and I look forward to using it for quite some time. I was fortunate to have gotten one that had been refurbished and has had a full CLA, so hopefully I won't see any meter issues for a long time. It's a great camera that I thoroughly enjoy along with my SRTs, fantastic Minolta bodies. Thanks for such a superb write-up...it's great to hear from you again!

Mark O'Brien , Mar 24, 2009; 08:56 a.m.

Excellent review and photos. I had an XE-7 for a few years, and loved it. All I have now is an X700. That 58mm 1.4 lens is a keeper. It really is one of my favorite lenses.

August Horvath , Mar 24, 2009; 09:25 a.m.

Darn. Another one for the shopping list. :(

Jose Guerra , Mar 24, 2009; 10:19 a.m.

I just took out my Dad's old SRT 101 and shot a roll with it. I have been experimenting with Canon and Bessa RFs and their lenses. Well for contrast and clarity the Minolta 50f1.4 just blew my mind. I have been having fun with the RF's and the various lenses but the Minolta is going to be used more.
I had an XE-7 when I found found out it was the same as a Leica R a few years ago. I gave it to my brother and I'll bet he has it in a closet and just shoots Digital now. Maybe I should ask for it back?
My son has a large set of lenses and a X-700 that I gave him and I know that he uses only Digital now also. He said he would bring back the Wide Angle lenses to me to use, great for me.
What really suprised me was Saturday when I went to a local Walmart and their 35 mm film section had shrunk to a 4 foot section and they said they were dropping 35mm? I guess China will have to get into the 35mm film for them to restock?????
Joe

Al V , Mar 24, 2009; 10:19 a.m.

Absolutely outstanding! Thanks for sharing Ralf. I love the bench pic, incredible picture.

Mark O'Brien , Mar 24, 2009; 11:13 a.m.

Jose -- Try some of Kodak's new Ektar 100 in your Minolta. It's a fantastic film. Freestyle Photo, B&H and Adorama are the places to buy film, not Walmart and the like.


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