Minolta XK meter coupling question

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by craigd, Mar 11, 2011.

  1. I wasn't going to mention this until I had some camera porn and sample shots, but yesterday, by sheer happenstance, I managed to pick up a beautiful Minolta XK with the Auto-Electro metering viewfinder and the MC Rokkor-X PG 50mm f/1.4 lens. The going price online for this setup seems to be around $500, but I got mine for $45 in an antiques store where knowledge about cameras is apparently somewhat lacking (the XK was right next to one of those fake "Canon SLR" plastic viewfinder cameras with an "optical lens" -- also priced at $45!). The camera and lens are both clean and mostly in excellent working condition. There are only two issues: the light seals need to be replaced (and I'm in touch with Jon Goodman about that), and, more disturbingly, I have to use stop-down metering. If the camera is not in stop-down mode (controlled by the two-position button at the bottom right of the lens mount, which also controls mirror lock-up), the meter ignores changes in aperture. The lens does still stop down to shoot, though.
    I've never used Minolta equipment before, and the owner's manual (downloaded from butkus.org) doesn't discuss how the lens and camera interact to make open-aperture metering work. However, on examination, I see a mechanical setup kind of similar to the way Nikon's manual focus lenses and cameras link up. There is a small tab on the back side of the lens' aperture ring which apparently is supposed to push a small spring-loaded lever that projects downward from behind the front part of the metering viewfinder. I can see the meter's recommendation change if I push the lever by hand, and the lever springs back when I release it, so the basic mechanical functionality appears to be in good order. However, the tab on the lens does not quite touch the lever.
    I know with Nikon's Photomic finders, you can push the lever up out of the way when you want to use stop-down metering, and pull it back down when you want open-aperture metering. So I tried gently tugging on the Minolta's lever to see if it would pop down, but it didn't. Not knowing whether it's supposed to work that way, I didn't want to use much force.
    Neither the lens tab nor the finder lever appears to be damaged, though it's hard to be sure since I don't know exactly what they're supposed to look like. But they don't look bent or broken; their edges are clean, smooth, and even. They come very close to touching, but not quite close enough.
    Do any of our resident Minolta owners have any information or advice that may help? Thanks in advance for any assistance anyone can offer. Recommendations of good Minolta CLA/repair people are also welcome, though I hope I won't need them anytime soon.
    My next experiment will be to stop in at my local camera store, which has a number of Minolta manual-focus cameras and lenses for sale, and see what the same parts look like on those cameras and lenses. They don't have an XK, but I think they have one of the XE or XD models, along with a few X700s and at least one SRT. I'll try one or two of the store's lenses on my camera, and my lens on one of their cameras, to see if I can at least isolate the problem.
    Other than these issues, my initial impression of the XK is highly favorable. I have a roll of Velvia 100 in it at the moment, which I am shooting in stop-down mode. There will probably be a post about it sometime next week.
  2. Gonna hafta call up some long-dormant memory cells on this one. I hope I don't get a brain-sprain.
    This is what I remember about it. Take off the finder (push in the button on the camera back and lift it off), turn it upside down, and look at the coupler lever. It should be all the way to the left, where there is a colored dot (I think it's red) at the end of the slot. If it isn't, slide it all the way over to where it clicks and stays next to the colored dot. Then put the finder back on. I think if this not done it is possible to damage the coupler on the finder or lens (not sure which, or if it's both).
  3. Thanks, Jeff. Having removed the finder, pushed the lever over by the red dot, and remounted it (as described in the owner's manual for re-mounting the finder), I find that the lever and the lens tab now connect, but the finder lever seems not to have very much spring tension. If I turn the aperture ring to, say, f/8 and back to f/1.4, the lever follows the tab back, but slowly and with some variation in speed (it slows down at a certain point, then speeds up again). I've repeated this action several times and it seems to be gradually getting better. Maybe it's just getting used to moving again after a long time in storage, or maybe it needs some lubrication?
  4. Yeah, as I play with it more, it's gradually loosening up. Cool. Thanks again, Jeff. Looks like I won't have to send it out for service, as I had feared I might.
  5. I think a CLA would still be a good idea in general, and you would still have a great bargain!

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