Minolta XE1 and Steam Toys

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by john_seaman|2, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. The Minolta XE1 was developed in a joint project with Leica which also resulted in the similar Leica R3. Although it's an aperture priority automatic/manual camera, the whole style, build quality, smoothness and weight are pure classic. I was undecided for a while, whether to put it in the Classic Manual forum, but it's clearly a Modern Film Camera by the accepted definitions. Mine has the MC Rokkor PF 50mm f1.7 lens.
  2. The top of the camera is much the same as that of mechanical cameras of the same era, with a simple shutter speed /A wheel on one side, and a film speed / exposure compensation dial on the other. Beautifully simple.
  3. The back, showing the main switch, eyepiece blind, and battery check on the side. The viewfinder shows the selected shutter speed and aperture, and the measured shutter speed via a needle on the right. The focusing screen has a horizontal split image focusing aid. The whole camera has just enough automation to make photography a pleasure, without any kind of complexity or gimmicks getting in the way.
  4. I loaded it with a Fuji Neopan 400CN C41 black and white film, and took it to Steam Toys in Action, an excellent event at the Abbey Pumping Station Museum, Leicester. Its always nice to have automatic exposure for this type of shooting, where lighting levels are variable, and mostly very low. You can concentrate on composing the pictures without constantly fiddling with the settings.
  5. Number 2 - some of the shots aren't super sharp because of the shooting conditions, but I did my best to capture the atmosphere of the event.
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  6. Number 3
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  7. Number 4
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  8. A few outside shots: steamroller
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  9. Hoskins Truck
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  10. Fire Engine
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  11. Back inside - Number 8
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  12. Number 9
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  13. Number 10
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  14. Last on - Number 11. Thanks for looking.
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  15. John,
    Nice presentation of a very capable camera. The images you made with the Minolta are great.
  16. I have an XE-1 with the 50mm f1.4 lens. I bought it as I couldn't afford prime Nikkor lenses but similarly specified Rokkors were around 1/4 to 1/2 the price.
    I have too much stuff now Including my father's Nikon Fs so I have my XE-1 on ebay at the moment.

    Part of me is hoping it doesn't sell!
  17. Nice presentation, and great "photojournalism" too.
    Thanks very much.
  18. Lovely images as ever Rick. I have a 58mm PF 1.4 that struggles in the sun but works wonderfully in cloudy conditions. I use mine on a A100 though with the mount changed to Sony.
  19. Actually, in the US it was named the XE-7. The XE-1 was the version for Japan and the XE was the European version. The XE-5 was the "smaller brother" also with the CLS shutter but with less features.
  20. My all-time favorite camera! And the pictures are great... wonderful moments captured.
    XE cameras are real beauties and marvel of engineering.
    You may like to see my pictures from Prague taken with XE-5..
    Thanks for a great post.
  21. Great shots. The XE series can still deliver great results. I have an XE-1, XE-7, and XE-5 and use them frequently
  22. Actually, in the US it was named the XE-7. The XE-1 was the version for Japan and the XE was the European version.​
    I thought XE-1 was the European version. I certainly see more mention of XE-1s here than XE-7s and hardly any of XEs.
  23. Thanks to all for the comments Much appreciated.
    I would like an f1.4 lens for it. I've got a fair number of MC/D lenses but tend to use the 50mm most, although I used a 28mm for the Meccano series. I think XE1 is the European designation, having had two of them. Another thought - the black covering over the pentaprism housing reminds me of those vinyl roofed cars which were popular in the 1970's.
  24. I know it's not a good reason to choose a camera but the black prism cover on a chrome camera was one of the reasons I chose the XE-1.
    My ebay sale is finished and I still own the camera. Good news... I think!
  25. Very nice shots from a most wonderful camera, John. I've had several XE-7s and an XE-1 over the years and find them to be one of the nicest of all SLRs to use. Thanks for a great post.
  26. Les its the first time I used Neopan myself, so I can't say whether my results are typical. The prints are very similar to the scans in terms. The negatives don't look particularly contrasty but its hard to tell, it would be interesting to do some darkroom prints from them.
  27. I got my facts from the McBroom Bluebook. The McKeown Price Guide says, however, that the XE-7 is an XE and the XE-5 is an XE-1.
  28. Les, film advance in all my XE-5 cameras IS buttery smooth.
    Best of all cameras I tried. I believe it's the same feel with XE-1 and XE-7... Can't be better ;)
  29. John,
    This is another of your wonderful posts. It looks like the Steam Toys event was great fun for all and you captured it well.
    I just purchased a small collection of the UK magazine 'Photography'. They did have a test of the XE-1. This test is from the Jun. 1975 issue.
    Part 1.
  30. Here is part 2.
  31. Here is part 3.
  32. For myself, I ended up with the USA version XE-7. I actually have 4 of them.
    They are wonderful, silky smooth cameras. The XE-7 comes with an all black finish. I should get a XE-1 just to show the difference.
    It is the Minolta I grab when I want to go out shooting. My SRT-101s just sit there.
  33. Nice presentation and pictures, John.

    Thanks for the scans of the review, Marc. I got my XE-1 last year, saving over £300 on the 1975 prices. To those that wait, etc. I'm rather pleased that I have a black example too, an American in Europe?
  34. I found a 2 page ad for the XE-1. It was in the Sept. 1975 issue of 'Photography' magazine.
    Here is part 1.
  35. Here is part 2 of the Minolta XE-1 ad.
  36. Howard,
    Thanks for posting the picture. I didn't know the XE-1 came in black.

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