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Film Camera Review, Minolta X-300 35mm MF SLR Film Camera

Film Camera Review: Minolta X-300

A manual focus autoexposure 35mm SLR film camera, highly recommended for beginner users.

The success of the award-winning flagship Minolta X-700, one of the most highly regarded 35mm Programmed AE SLR film cameras produced, saw Minolta coming out with lower-cost models for the consumer market, catering to photo enthusiasts who are looking for a simplified version of the X-700.

The first of the follow-ups was the X-500 (X-570 in the US), which was launched in 1983, two years after the X-700. The X-500 was an Aperture-Priority AE model, without the 'MPS' that came with the X-700, but with enhanced electronics that make it a very favorable model as compared to the X-700.

The introduction of the X-300 (X-370 in the US) was a year later, another Aperture-Priority AE camera model with a body design that is nearly identical to the X-500. It is, however, a lower-cost version, with minimal features, and a simplified viewfinder readout. The X-300 does not have OTF flash mode, DoF preview facility, PC connection, or interchangeable screens.

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The X-300 series, which includes the X-370, X-300s, X-370n, X-9, X-7A, and X-370s, continued as the manual-focus series even after the introduction of the auto-focus Maxxum line. These model cameras were popular, economical, easy to use, and do well to provide, even today, for the needs of film camera enthusiasts.

Design and Built

The Minolta X-300 is an Aperture-Priority AE and match-LED full-metered manual 35mm SLR film camera with a quartz-controlled horizontal-traverse focal-plane shutter capable of a speed range from 4 to 1/1000 second, and B. Flash synchronization is at 1/60 second.

Camera operation is switch controlled, the shutter release is two-step electromagnetic, metering is TTL (Through the Lens) center-weighted average, and the film ISO speed range is 12 to 3200. The camera is also equipped with a switch-selectable 10-second delay self-timer and an AE lock switch.

Basic Camera Features

The rather spartan good looker, reminiscent of the MPS X-700, the X-300 is available both in chrome and black.

The front plane of the camera is a plain affair with only the sync terminal and the lens release button located on the right vertical of the lens mount housing. On the left is the finger grip, the electronic self-timer, and the AE lock/ self-timer switch combo, and on the edge of the top plane, integrated with the shutter release button, is the shutter speed dial.

On the far left of the top plate is the film rewind crank, which is also the pull-up film back latch, integrated with the pull-up and turn film ISO speed selector. Slotted between the rewind crank and the pentaprism, where the hot shoe is located, is the On/Off power switch.

On the right of the pentaprism are the Auto mode/shutter speed display, the electromagnetic shutter release button, the film forward crank, the frame counter, and a small elongated window which is the film safe-load indicator.

The back of the camera is plain except for the viewfinder eyepiece, and the film tab holder is located in the middle of the film back.

The bottom plate of the camera carries the film rewind release, battery chamber cover, tripod socket, motor drive coupling, winder guide slots, and electrical contacts.

The film box is a standard film cartridge chamber, shutter window, film advance sprocket, and multi-pin take-up spool. Film loading is the standard 2-blank shots to forward the film to frame 1. The Film Safe Load indicator will show a red indicator if the film is properly loaded.

Viewfinder Readout

The X-300 is fitted with a standard Acute Matte focusing screen with a horizontal split-image/microprism rangefinder surrounded by a microprism band. Screen coverage is 95%. The readout is a simple display of A and M shooting modes, and a shutter speed numerical indicator bar is located vertically on the right of the display.

Metered or manually set shutter speeds are indicated by red LEDs next to the numerical, speeds in between when two LEDs are lit. Over- and under-exposures are indicated by LED arrowheads, and a flash-ready icon makes up the display. Exposure compensation, DoF (Depth of Field) preview, as well as OTF (Off the film) flash mode, are not available on the X-300.

Aperture Priority and Fully Manual Exposures

A gradual transition between aperture priority and fully manual shooting modes is the way to go to get the best out of your film photography experience. With the X-300, which has an excellent metering system that gives you fantastic exposures with its AE mode, match needle metering in manual mode is equally effortless and convenient.

In manual mode operation, which can be done in shutter-priority style, you first set the shutter speed to the speed you want to shoot, and after framing and focusing the image or composition, adjust the aperture of the lens to bring the metered speed LED indicator to match the blinking LED which indicates the shutter speed the camera was set to.

Doing manual mode in aperture priority means that you first pre-set the aperture opening of the lens to the one you want to shoot in and adjust the shutter speed setting to get to the correct exposure setting. The X-300 is equally up to the task here as the shutter speed selector dial is located very conveniently just forward of the shutter release button, and its operation is easily handled with the index finger.

AE Lock

AE locking on the X-300 is a two-fingered operation.

Use your middle finger to press and activate the AE lock button to retain the exposure reading of your subject, and the other (the index finger) to release the shutter after you have reframed the image.

This method compensates for the unavailability of exposure compensation, is easy enough to master, and you will get used to this method soon enough.


The X-300 uses a pair of SR44 or LR44 button cells, a very convenient source are they are easily available.

Camera Body Weight

The X-300 has a body weight of  470 grams without batteries.

Be A User

A final plus for the elegant and almost regal X-300 is, of course, ease of use. With such a light body weight, the X-300 is highly recommended not only for new or beginner users but also for the advanced enthusiast who prefers to shoot in aperture-priority mode.

All you need to do to gain the most out of the depth-of-field style shooting is to set the shutter speed to 'AUTO', preset the lens aperture to want to shoot in, frame, focus and release the shutter. Metering is activated at the first touch of the electromagnetic shutter release.

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