xd-11 vs ae-1 program (or other cameras for a semi-beginner)

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by jared_leibowitz, Apr 26, 2016.

  1. disclaimer: i am open to other suggestions of cameras, but these two seem to be the most likely for me, so far.
    currently i have the minolta srt-101 and it's great but the pictures aren't exposing correctly. it's not me because i had my dad (it's his camera) test it out and got the same results. nothing looks crisp and the focus is never right. another issue is the mirror would get stuck when taking photos, and not just in the cold. it happened in africa as well. (had a picture of a lion ready to go and it locked up. horrible feeling)
    i want a few features on my next camera that i had on the srt-101:
    -long exposure
    -self timer
    -ability to take double exposure
    -aperture priority
    -shutter priority
    -mirror lock up
    the cameras i had in mind so far are:
    -canon ae-1 program
    -minolta xd-11
    -nikon fm2 (except they go for around $400 on ebay!)
    i would love to know your thoughts on the best one to go with, and which other ones to consider. i do have a minolta so perhaps getting another minolta would be a good idea because i have two lenses for it already.
    i plan on shooting skateboarding from time to time (not my main focus) so if i require a camera that goes past 1000 shutter speed then please let me know.
    i'm trying to spend no more than $150 on a camera with a lens
    thank you!
  2. If you already have some Minolta lenses, I don't see why you wouldn't get an XD11 to go with them. Just be aware that if
    they are of the MC type (the generation of lenses the corresponded to the SRT) and not the MD type, you can only use
    the XD11 in manual and aperture modes. The Canon is also quite good. The Nikon is an excellent camera as well, but
    does not have any autoexposure modes. You might look at the FE line instead of the FM.
  3. Yes, if you own lenses that will work, that is the place to start.
    Otherwise, the FD-Canon cameras and lenses are both relatively cheap and still very good. I love my AE-1 Program, but since I am now shooting with EOS (EF) Canon lenses, I have also picked up some excellent EOS film cameras, of which my favorite is probably my EOS-3.
    Of course, all that is completely separate from my being a near total nutter for old East German cameras :|
  4. SCL


    Hi Jared and welcome to the forum. It seems my earlier post to you got lost, so if you get pretty much a dupe...well..you know. I agree that within your budget another Minolta body makes sense. You could get your SRT101 CLA'd and put back into tip top shape, but some of the newer bodies have other advantages. With many vintage cameras, mirrors sticking, light leaks, inaccurate metering aren't uncommon, as age takes it toll. I routinely replace the foam mirror bumpers and seals, which deteriorate with age, whenever I purchase a vintage camera. About 2 years ago I picked up a Minolta XG-M and a SRT101 both with lenses at a charity shop for under $30 for the lot. I've subsequently sold the SRT, but have used the XG-M as a secondary camera, and have been really impressed with the Rokkor lenses I've acquired to use on it. In case you weren't aware of it, Minolta's reputation as a lens maker is such that years ago Leica asked Minolta to collaborate with them in the development of several zoom lenses for their SLR line. Rokkor lenses are pretty reasonably priced in today's market, although the most desirable ones do go for a princely sum.
    You also mentioned the Canon AE-1, which was a wildly popular camera in its day. Again aging comes into play and you may find that the old servicing issue raises its head. The FD lens line is quite extensive and covers both consumer grade and professional grades. However the FD line was discontinued in the 1990s in favor of the EF line, so using FD lenses on more modern bodies (if you eventually decide to upgrade) either requires a degradation in quality via adapters or the purchase of new lenses (mirrorless micro 4/3 bodies are the exception). I actually much prefer the Canon T90 over the AE-1 due to its vastly superior functionality, and you can periodically find them in good condition with a typical 50/1.8 lens and a good warranty within your price range. Lastly you mention the Nikon FM2. While it is a good camera, I think you would be much better off with something newer, even an F3 or F4 - which offer the capability to use manual focus and automatic focus lenses, and are backwardly compatible with older Nikon lenses. The offerings of Nikon lenses are huge, especially if you include 3rd party manufacturers (same goes for the Canon FD lenses). If you're taking some time to decide, I've included a link to a database of consumer reviews of a wide range of vintage lenses for these cameras which you might find interesting of user reviews of a wide variety of lenses: http://www.photozone.de/active/survey/querylens.jsp Good luck in your decision.
  5. I most highly recommend the XD11. It's a solid and very capable camera with a lot of great features, and it's a joy to use. I have two black ones with a small selection of lenses. Like Andy L said, if you're looking at Nikon you might consider the FE/FE2. Both of these are great cameras, with the FE actually being my favorite to use, even though the FE2 is more capable in terms of shutter speeds and flash sync. Since you have Minolta lenses though, I think that you should stick with a Minolta body for the time being, and the XD11 is certainly a superb choice. Many consider it to be Minolta's finest manual focus SLR. The XE-7 is also a great choice (and a stunningly wonderful camera to operate!) but it doesn't have the same shutter and aperture priority choices that the XD11 has.
  6. Your best bet is Minolta X D 11 as they take (2) 357 button batteries dirt cheap on cards at flea markets. Also, can use MC or MD lenses on most shutter preference settings. I have even used program with MC lens even though not recommended. Aperture mode works with MC lenses and they in usual focal lengths, 28,35,55 and 135 are very reasonable in price with great build quality. The short time I used Minolta XD 11, I liked the camera a lot but did not want to build on another system as I am into Canon F-1 and Nikon F-2 systems and optics.
  7. Before rushing out and buying another camera I would determine just why your pictures are out of focus. Are you sure you can see the
    screen clearly? Have you tried other SLR's and been able to focus accurately? When I sold cameras in the 70's, including the SRT and
    customers came back with poor results, especially fuzzy pictures I found the reasons evenly devided between not being able to focus on
    a SLR screen and camera shake. Often an appropriate diopter on the eyepiece would solve the focusing problem (although good luck
    trying to find them to fit older cameras today). Yes, there could be something wrong or out of alignment with your SRT that could cause
    screen focus to not be accurate film plane focus but that failure is fairly rare. So.........I would make doggone sure the problem lies with
    the camera before laying out my hard earned cash for another used camera body.
  8. I agree with the recommendations above of the XD11. It is an excellent camera--solid, handles well and has a great meter.
    I currently shoot Nikon, and the FM2 is the only non-digital camera I still use. If for some reason you decide against the XD11, I can strongly recommend the FM2, which would give you a choice of a huge number of lenses. I've occasionally seen a body+lens offered on Craig's List for close to your budget.
  9. I feel I need to point out that none of the cameras you listed meet your requirements -- or at least your bonus points. Of the cameras you've listed, only the XD-11 (a great camera!) has shutter and aperture priority modes. And none of the cameras you've listed have mirror lock up.
    If you want a camera that has all of the features you've listed, as near as I can determine, the cheapest camera that will work is the Nikon F4. It has everything you've listed, plus Program modes. And a good deal more. But about the cheapest you're gonna find an F4 is around $200 for just the body -- no lens.
    Mirror lock-up is the stickler. Most cameras that have it are manual shooters. The only ones I can think of beside the F4 that have some automation and retain mirror lock-up are the Canon EF (has shutter priority AE), the Olympus OM-4 (aperture priority AE), the Pentax LX (aperture priority AE), and the Nikon F3 (has aperture priority AE). The only one of these cameras that won't bust your $150 budget, that must also include a lens, is the Canon EF.
    If you can get by without mirror lock up, and since you're already shooting Minolta, I think the XD-11 will be the best way for you to go. If you can get by with just aperture priority AE, then I also like the X-570. It's a great camera for shooting in manual mode -- one of Minolta's best -- and much better than the X-700 in that respect.
  10. Nikon FM2 can be found for a lot less than that, but given the background, I'd also focus on Minolta.
    A bit of additional detail on what Stephen wrote:
    While it is a good camera, I think you would be much better off with something newer, even an F3 or F4 - which offer the capability to use manual focus and automatic focus lenses, and are backwardly compatible with older Nikon lenses.
    The F3 is a manual focus camera but with electronic shutter (so battery dependent); the F4 has autofocus; all can use Ai, AiS and AF/AF-D lenses, but obviously the AF lenses will be manual focus on the F3 and FM2, and the Ai lenses manual on the F4. The FM2 is fully mechanical and only needs a battery for the metering. Personally, I much like that, and find myself using the FM2 a great deal more than my F3 (which is very easy to use for double exposures, btw).
    If you're not very attached to you Minolta lenses, all these bodies are worth considering, but then again, all bodies you listed are worth considering :) Spoilt with good choices :)
  11. The XD-11 (as well as less expensive XD-5) will work mechanically at B and 1/100 second if battery is dead. The XE
    series can also fire its shutter without a battery at B and 1/90 second.
  12. I agree with First, checking, why your photos are fuzzy.
    Some folks cannot see correct focus.
    If you can focus then fault in camera.
    These are old cameras.
    They need servicing..
    Servicing may be easiest answer.
    I have Minolta X set and Canon A-series.
    I prefer the Canons.
    Better built, well designed and fairly easy to service.
    Lenses are very good.
  13. You went to Africa with a~40 year old camera
    that was already malfunctioning? What lens
    were you attempting to shoot the lion with?
  14. If manual focus is difficult owing to eyesight, the Nikon F4 might get a boost because it has a viewfinder diopter along with AF, and also a focus confirmation light which works with MF lenses as well as AF. It's also still pretty easy to get diopter lenses for the F3 and other Nikons, but the F4 has the capability built in. The F4 is big, and it's battery dependent, but uses common AA batteries, and they last well.
    If you're not determined to use the oldest pre-AI lenses, you might also consider the Nikon F100. A more modern and compact design than the F4, it can work with AI and later manual lenses, as well as with modern AF lenses, including those with vibration reduction (not supported by the F4), and more fully functional with G type lenses (work on F4 but not in all modes). It's nice to use, and these days bargain priced. It does lack mirror lock up, though.
  15. the lenses i have for the minolta srt-101 are:
    1. MC W.Rokkor-hg 1:2.8 f=35mm
    2. MC Rokkor-PF 1:1.7 f=55mm
    from what i understand, since these are MC lenses, i can only do aperture-priority mode / manual mode, but not shutter-priority? so if i get a MD lens i could use ALL the cameras functions properly without needing to switch back and fourth between lenses, i assume. and talking about manual mode with the MC lens, this means i could basically use the camera how i use the srt-101... just match the TTL meter and shoot away, correct?
    which 35mm lens should i focus on getting for the XD-11?
    regarding my photos coming out fuzzy.. my dad even used the camera (he would take great photos in the 70s with it!) and the pictures did not come out well. i feel like there might be a light leak in the camera. i paid $120 for it to be serviced in the past and the mirror still will stick when taking a photo. the srt-101 is amazing but it has failed me too many times so i would like to put it on the shelf for a while and test out a new camera. i have decided the Nikons are far to expensive for me as of right now so XD-11 is on radar on ebay. i just pray i do get a fully functioning one.
    i have my eye on this XD-11 from ebay, do you guys think i should snag it?
    thank you soooo much for your help thus far guys, ever reply has really helped me in some way.
  16. another question:
    do you know if the SRT-101 TTL meter is similar to the XD-11 meter? on the the SRT-101 the meter is on the right side of the view finder and you match a needle to the inside of a circle.
  17. that link is dead
  18. On the XD-11 the meter is also on the right side of the viewfinder but it's LED's and not a needle.
  19. Besides type of display other metering differences: The SRT 101 meter uses two CDS cells where one influences the other. Tends to favor bottom part of frame so bright skies less likely to lead to underexposure. Minolta called it CLC metering. The XD-11 has a single silicon cell which provides center weighted metering. An added attraction with the XD: In shutter priority mode the camera takes a final reading at actual shooting aperture as lens stops down when shutter is released. This compensates for a lens that has a sluggish diaphragm. Probably wasn't an issue when new since it only worked with the then new MD lenses. Today, as these lenses have aged, this feature might be useful.
  20. The FM2 should be lots less than $400. There is one now on eBay for $125 + $20 shipping, buy it now, though body only. AI lenses are easily available, and AF lenses not all that hard to find, for good prices, except for special lenses with unusual value.
    AI lenses aren't hard to find for low prices. I suggest either shop goodwill.com, or the eBay site for your local Goodwill. Local pick up saves on shipping, though for cameras and lenses it isn't all that much. I bought an FE2 for $61 from Goodwill. Seems to work fine. Just keep bidding low, and eventually you will get one.
    Nothing against Minolta, but you can find Nikon for good prices.
  21. Since the OP like automation, double exposure, mirror lock up ext... so If he would spend $400 I would recommend the Nikon F5.
  22. I'd second the advice to stay with Minolta so that your existing lenses are still useful. Since you have a 35 mm and a 55 mm in MC mounts, you can avoid apportioning any of your budget to that. You might try to find an XD-11 under $150 with an MD lens of some other length included in the auction (say, a 135 mm or the 35-70 zoom), then muddle through with your MC lenses in aperture mode for now. (It's not that much of a hardship anyway and they are nice glass.) Then later as funding permits, replace those MC ones with MD 35 mm and 50/55/58 mm, if after further use you do find MC limiting.
  23. hey everyone i decided to get the XD-11 with a MD 50/2.0 LENS from ebay for about $100 i think i got a great deal.
    i'm very excited to start shooting with this camera and my only question now is what 35mm MD lens should i focus on getting and what is the average price i should pay for one? technically i do not need one since i have a 35mm MC lens, but i would like to use shutter-priority mode with a 35mm lens
  24. I actually like the MD Rokkor 50/1.4 better, but it costs more than the 50/2. One of my favorite Minolta lenses is the MD 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom. It's an amazing performer and is very sharp. The 35-105 is also a great performer. Both of these are great walk-around lenses. The 28-85 was compared on rokkorfiles.com to the Minolta 35mm primes and at its 35mm setting performed surprisingly well compared to the primes! Check out that site for the comparison and all things Minolta. For a longer zoom, I use a Vivitar Series 1 70-210/3.5 and also get stunning results on the XD11 and the XE-7.
  25. whats the difference between MD 50/2.0 Lens vs MD Rokkor 50/1.4 other than the aperture? the guy who sold me the camera also has that lens for sale
  26. Another great performer is the Minolta 35-135 MD. It was introduced around the same time as the 28-85.
  27. SCL


    This link will give you some info re physical differences in Minolta Rokkor Lenses, but no opinions on performance http://minolta.eazypix.de/lenses/ . This link will give you some info re the history of development of the Rokkor lenses highlighting some of the improvements made over time http://www.rokkorfiles.com/Lens%20History.html . This link gives the results of some lenses tested in photography magazines http://www.paulfvs.dds.nl/lenstest.html. There are some opinionated comparative reviews of specific lenses here and there on the web, but most are quite old, and frankly, the most meaningful ones seem to have disappeared in the last 2 years.
  28. My suggestion is to keep the 35mm MC for now and replace it with an MD as time/opportunity permits. In the mean time, the above suggestions about the 28-85 MD zoom are great ones. This a very useful "walking around" focal length.
    Another zoom worth considering in this same focal range is the Vivitar Series 1 28-90mm f/2.8-3.5. This is an oustanding zoom, at least as good as the Minolta, although it might be a bit heavier cuz it's built like a tank. This was my main walkiing around zoom for years and I've got hundreds of keeper slides to prove it.
    Manhattan Beach Pier, Canon F-1, Vivitar S1 28-90, Fujichrome 100
    Santa Barbara Pier, Canon A-1, Vivitar S1 28-90, Kodachrome 64
  29. Shoot with the 55mm f1.7! It's one of the best
    lenses Minolta ever made. On an XD-11 that
    is a great match, both are compact but still all

    Shutter-priority mode is over-rated, especially
    if you are just getting started. Aperture priority
    is far more useful, but manual mode is the
    best way to learn

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