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Minolta XG-1 35mm MF SLR Film Camera

Film Camera Review: Minolta XG-1

Film Camera Review: A starter camera from the Minolta XG series of 35mm manual focus autoexposure SLR film cameras.

The Minolta XG-1, introduced in 1978, was the second autoexposure camera model of the XG series of 35mm SLR film cameras produced by Minolta. Launched one year after the more sophisticated XG-7, the XG-1 was a lower-priced alternative. The model, however, is still fitted with the 'Touch Switch' system, which puts the camera's electronics on stand-by when powered up and activated by a touch of the shutter button.

The camera has a less informative viewfinder than the XG-7. Shutter speeds between 1/2 to 1/15th seconds are displayed by a line of single dots and come with a non-removable film back with no film tab holder. Otherwise, most features found on the XG-7, including the metering display that is turned off in manual mode, are also replicated on the XG-1.

Minolta XG-1, Minolta MD 50mm F2

Like the XG-7, the XG-1 is equally a capable camera with a lightweight body. It is still an excellent pedigree not only for the enthusiast who wants to shoot mainly in automatic exposure mode but is equally adept for those who want a camera that has a full manual mode capability, and adaptability to motorized film advance.

Minolta XG-1, Minolta MD 50mm F2

Operationally, the XG-1 has a horizontal-travel focal plane shutter with a speed range from 1 to 1/1000th second, plus B, with flash synchronization at 1/60 second, and accepts film ISO speed range from 25 to 1600. The shutter is step-less in automatic mode and in-step in manual mode. Exposure compensation is +/- 2 stops at 1/2 stop clicks, and the film wind system is compatible with the Minolta AutoWinder G.

    shooting film: FIRST TIME (Minolta XG-1)

    Film camera: Minolta XG-1 & 50MM F/1.7 This was my very first time shooting 35mm film! You see me take the pictures, and my reaction when I see them for the first time. It was so fun and I had to learn a lot. I plan on shooting more with film in the future!

Basic Camera Features

The XG-1 is fitted with a matte Fresnel-field screen with a central split-image/microprism rangefinder with 93% screen coverage. The XG-1, however, is not fitted with DoF (Depth of Field) capability as found on later XG-series models.

Minolta XG-1, Front

The front plane of the camera is a plain affair with only the self-timer/battery check LED on the left front panel of the camera body, and on the right vertical of the lens mount housing, the lens release button, shutter release socket, and the X-sync terminal.

Minolta XG-1, Top

On the top plane, to the left, is the film rewind crank, which is also the pull-up film back latch, integrated with a selector dial for Self-Timer, Power ON, Power OFF, and battery check functions. A hot shoe is fitted on top of the pentaprism.

To the right is the combination of the shutter release button, button-released AE mode/shutter speed dial, exposure compensation dial which can be set when the camera is set to 'A' mode operation, and the film ISO speed selector dial which is set by pulling up and turning the crown of combination dial.

Complementing the top plane is the single-stroke film forward crank, film frame counter, and a small elongated film safe-load indicator window.

Minolta XG-1, Back

The XG-1 has a very plain non-removable film back with an ASA/DIN scale indicator, aside from the viewfinder eyepiece located on the back of the top plane.

Minolta XG-1, Bottom

On the bottom plate, the tripod socket, film rewind release button, battery chamber cover, and auto-winder coupler. The XG-1 can be fitted with the Minolta Auto-Winder G.

Minolta XG-1, Film box

The film box is a standard film cartridge chamber, shutter window, film advance sprocket, and the 4-slot 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

Minolta XG-1 Viewfinder readout

The viewfinder readout of the XG-1 is complemented with a vertical display of the shutter speed scale with speeds between 1 to 1/15th second denoted by a single line of dots.

Metered shutter speed is indicated by red LEDs next to the numerals, with the intermediate speed shown by a pair of LEDs. Over- and under-exposures are indicated by LED arrowheads at the top and bottom of the vertical bar, and a flash-ready indicator LED when the camera is used with a compatible flash unit.

Film Rewinding and Unloading

Film rewind on the XG-1 (the same as most other manual film load cameras) is a two-step process. First press the film rewind release located on the bottom plate of the camera, next, pull the film rewind crank handle out from its rest position and use the lever as the handle to turn the crank clockwise until the film roll is rewound completely into its canister.

Next pull the rewind crank assembly up to release the film back latch, and remove the film roll.


The XG-1 requires a pair of 1,5 volt SR44 or LR44 button cells to operate the electronic shutter and metering system. The camera will not work once the batteries are depleted or exhausted. Convenient enough, these cells are as easily available.

Camera Body Weight

The XG-1 weighs 490 grams without batteries.

Lens Compatibility

Minolta MD Lens Chart
Minolta MD lenses. Image source:

All XG-series cameras are generally compatible with all Minolta SR-mount lenses, which include lenses from the SR (1958-1966), MC (1966-1977), MD (1977-2001), and MD X-600 (1983-1998) series. The XG-series cameras were in production in tandem with MD-series lenses and I believe (as I do not have the whole lens collection) that the lenses will be completely compatible and will work flawlessly with XG-series cameras.

Minolta XG-1, Minolta MD 50mm F2

A lens option that should be a good match for the XG-1 is the Minolta MD 50mm F2, a low-cost, and very affordable option for you to try the camera with. You may find this lens in the form of the Minolta MC Rokkor 50mm F2 (1973), Minolta MD Rokkor 50mm F2 (1977), both with 55mm filter thread, or the Minolta MD 50mm F2 (1981), which comes with a 49mm filter thread.

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