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Product DescriptionElectronically controlled, manual-focus 35mm SLR. Out of production.
Submitted by uccemebug a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: October 18, 2008
Strengths: 1. The meter
This camera has a centre-weighted, off-the-film meter that allows for fine control over exposure. It is a strongly consistent meter, and one that rarely fails to please. In fact it sometimes amazes me (especially in using some relatively exacting films such as Ilford's HP5 and FP4) by pulling off accurate exposure in complex environments (like backlit rainforest branches dripping with moss).
I use its centre-weight to ensure that I'm metering an area of the image that I want exposed as 18% grey through the mechanism of metering off of a dark region of the image and then setting the exposure manually.
2. Exposure modes
This camera provides three exposure modes: manual, Aperture-priority and Shutter-priority. This was a big deal when this model was the first to introduce it, but the importance for today's users I think are two-fold:
-familiarity with shooting style from modern DSLR's
-flexibility in day-to-day use
This camera is not laden-down with unnecessary controls. The short list of controls is:
-exposure override (+2/-2)
-adjustable shutter-release timer
-exposure mode selector (A, S, M)
-cable release socket
-film speed dial
-X socket for flash
On the dial for the manual exposure setting are three extra positions
-flash sync shutter speed (1/100s)
-battery-free shutter operation setting (also 1/100s)
All of these controls have an excellent engineered feeling to them. They're made of quality parts with superb action. This is especially true of the manual exposure setting dial and the film advance. These are exactly what they should be!
4. The looks & the lifestyle
Okay, I know this is nonsense but this is a d**n fine-looking camera. Also, it's got a perfect heft to it that further encourages its use. Quite frankly, I feel that the lack of this style and hand-feeling in modern DSLR's is a non-trivial distraction while using the things.
5. Flash sync
I don't know what's going on with the XD and the Minolta flash I've got (a no-frills model) but I am consistently pleased with the results -- and sometimes quite amazed. Gone are the blown-away colours, heavy shadows, and glassy eyes on-body DSLR flashes and the hit-and-miss exposure of the third-party flash I used for years with my X-700. This camera knows how to use a flash.
Weaknesses: 1. Double exposure
In the mid-70's when this camera was designed, double exposure was deemed a good idea. The ability was built into this camera's design and unfortunately it has a tendency to infrequently fail to completely advance the film. I've had both overlapping frames and outright double exposures. This is a small but nagging irritant.
2. Exposure override placement
Mine is an earlier model that has the hook for the +2/-2 exposure override located out at the edge of the ISO dial. This hook occasionally gets caught on something (camera bag, sleeve, etc) and I don't realize that I'm seriously under- or over-exposing the frames. It's something you have to watch while using this camera.
Note that in later models this issue was addressed by moving the hook away from the edge of the camera.
3. Slight fragility
This camera has an overall good built quality. That said, the film door on my camera is slightly warped. It still prevents light leakage and closes properly, but each and every time I load it with film I wonder if it will fail to close properly.
Also, the screws on the base plate suddenly fell out while I was on my first trip to Asia. Happily I was in the middle of Tokyo and could quickly get it repaired with commonly-available screws. But it's not something I've experienced with my other camera bodies.
Disclaimer: mine is a second-hand model and may have been in the hands of a maniac for decades.
This camera is all about the meter. It is not a camera with a lot of bells and whistles, but its meter is far beyond anything else I've used. It excels in low light and remains capable through broad daylight an in tricky conditions of mixed and variable lighting.
It's also a pleasure to use, with nicely designed controls and a bright viewfinder that encourage use of the camera.
This camera is my principle film body, with my X-700's doing backup. I use it on a near-daily basis.
Duration Product Used: 11-20 years
Price Paid: $200.00
Purchased At: Toronto
Similar Products Used: Minolta SRT-101
various point-and-shoot film cameras
6x6 medium format
Type of photography: Outdoor
Submitted by johnr55 a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: November 24, 2005
Strengths: Sensuous body design and execution, a true pleasure just to hold. Multimode--the first to have both aperture and shutter priority. Beautiful construction--has Minolta done anything to match it since? Solid feel combined with relative lightness, perfectly balanced with Minolta lenses. Durability--look how many are still in use! BTW the black models were black chrome, not just paint which defaced almost immediately.
Weaknesses: The glove-soft leather and later, leatherette is badly prone to shrinkage. Look at the used examples and virtually all of them suffer from this. Many have had their covering replaced.
I bought an XD-11 as a companion to an XG-M I already owned in the late 70's. Mine fortunately didn't have the real leather covering but the very soft leatherette. It was probably most sensuous-feeling and acting camera I ever owned, and I've had a bunch! The combination of the soft body covering with silky-smooth controls made so many other cameras I owned seem rough and crude by comparison. Though it was multimode I only used shutter priority very rarely. The centerweighted metering, which I was used to from Nikon, seldom failed to give me perfect slides, and then it was my fault. I enjoy(ed) Minolta MC and MD lenses; they didn't have the snap of Nikkor lenses but had their own character. The lenses were quite light and it was easy to load several in a bag and carry it. I particularly enjoyed the design of the top deck, as some SLR's I've owned seemed to catch on my clothes and anything else--not this one. The camera worked flawlessly for me through many dozens of rolls of film. I'd always found the Olympus OM's and Pentax ME's to be a little too small to hold comfortably; the XD was just that little bit larger and shaped a little differently and felt like it was made just for me. I kept that camera until I switched over to Leica R's for their lenses. It's true, the R series for many years shared the body casting of the XD-11, so it was a comfortable change. Had I been able to use R lenses on the XD I probably would have kept it. I still own two R5's and when I use them, I still remember the sexy little XD that is their cousin.
Duration Product Used: 21+ years
Price Paid: $300.00
Purchased At: Houston
Similar Products Used: Minolta XG-M, multiple Leica SLR's from SL through R5, Nikon and Nikkormats too many to list (still have most of them!), Canon Pellix/FX/F1, several Miranda models, several Praktica models, couple of Exacta's.
Type of photography: People
Submitted by Craigboy a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: December 3, 2004
Strengths: - Affordable
- DOF preview
- MC/MD mount
Weaknesses: - A very slight shutter lag
- Timer lever is slightly poorly placed, takes getting used to
I purchased my black-bodied XD7 after my X-700 sadly ceased to working. Since I'm currently studying a degree in photography, I quickly needed a cheap replacement that would take all the MC/MD lenses I had gathered over the past two years. Does cheap mean compromise? I don't think so. Minolta design and make some top quality cameras (did you know the Lecia R4 was based on the XD7/11?), and in my opinion the optics are among the best any system has to offer.
I've used Nikkor and Carl Zeiss lenses and they don't blow me away in comparison, especially not for the price. Minolta optics are amazing quality and value for money, they also have a much smoother action and are more solid than any other optics I've used. Many other manufactures have also made lenses for the MC/MD mount, including Carl Zeiss Jena and Voigtlander. If saving money is less of an issue you could always try tracking down the illusive MD Rokkor range of lenses, f1.8 35mm MD W.Rokkor-X? f1.2 50mm MD Rokkor-X? f1.7 85mm MD Rokkor-X?...
The XD7 itself? It’s a great looking camera yet I feel very comfortable walking around with it slung over my shoulder. Apart from an OM1, its the smallest SLR i've owned and its a pleaser to use. The viewfinder displays all the information you want and help for making quick adjustments; the camera also has a very smooth and almost ‘soft’ action. It works just like my X-700 and that’s all I wanted, its a camera I can use without knowing I'm using it. I shoot this camera fully manual so the aperture and shutter priority never get used, fortunately these functions are neatly tucked away so you can use this camera without them ever interfering.
If you want a well designed, well built compact SLR that does everything a camera should do and has a large range of cheap, fast and very sharp lenses for pocket money, buy the XD7/11!
Duration Product Used: 2-5 years
Price Paid: $192.00
Purchased At: www.ffordes.com
Similar Products Used: Minolta X-700, Nikon OM2, Praktica BC1, Yashica FX-D, Olympus OM1-MD, Olympus OM2
Type of photography: Other
Submitted by Kenshin a Intermediate
Date Reviewed: February 19, 2004
Strengths: Full Manual and durability.
Weaknesses: Film can get caught sometimes, but fairly easily corrected.
This camera is stunning, I defy anyone to say otherwise. Full manual or auto or semi-auto depending on your needs. Absolutely amazing, I have only had it for about two and half months now, but I have already had the photos developed and published in a Formula One magazine. This is truly a world class camera and one of the best I have ever had the pleasure to use! Buy it if you haven't got one.
Duration Product Used: 6-10 years
Price Paid: $70.00
Purchased At: Capricorn Cameras, N
Similar Products Used: Minolta XD's, Leica lenses, md lenses, olympus IS series.
Type of photography: Sports
Submitted by brent robinson a Intermediate from paris, ky
Date Reviewed: July 11, 2003
Strengths: Flexibility and ease of use.
Weaknesses: Durability, considering the age
The XD-11 has shutter priority, aperature priority, and manual. It can be used without battery. It is an excellent camera for the price.
Duration Product Used: 6-10 years
Price Paid: $90.00
Similar Products Used: Nikon Nikkormat
Type of photography: People
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