Minolta XG-M 35mm SLR Camera

Minolta XG-M 35mm SLR Film Camera

Minolta XG-M 35mm SLR Camera

'Film Camera Review - A quick look at the Minolta XG-M 35mm SLR camera, a model often overlooked by Minolta SLR film camera photo enthusiasts'

Introduction and Overview

While interest in the X-series 35mm SLR film cameras from Minolta, namely the X-700, X-500 (X-570 in the US), and X-300 (X-370 in the US) continues unabated among film camera enthusiasts, one tends to overlook that Minolta also produces a lightweight and easy-to-use AE SLR series under the XG nomenclature.

Built to the same standard and robustness as a precedent to later X-series cameras, the XG's (which are available at much lower cost than the X-series) is fitted with an electronically governed shutter speed range from 1 to 1/1000 second in AE mode and stepped from 1 to 1/1000 second in manual mode.

The series, produced between 1977 and 1984, ranges from the XG-7 / XG-E / XG2 (1977), XG-1 (1978), XG-SE (1978), XG9 / XG-S (1979), XG-A (1981), XG-M (1981), X70 (1981), X-7 (1980, 1982), and XG-1n (1982). All XG-series models are also fitted with a ±2 EV exposure compensation mode dial.

Key features common to all XG bodies includes an over-sized mirror which eliminates telephoto cut-off, an electronic shutter release with a touch-switch shutter button that turned on the LED metering display (i.e. at a touch of a finger), a shutter release socket which accepted both electronic release or traditional cable releases, and an electronic self-timer.

Minolta XG-M | Top Of The Range Camera.

Minolta XG-M 35mm Analog Film SLR. From rant to LOVE.
The XG bodies are just as capable with its many many features which will meed all the needs of an average photographer. Even the lowliest XG-A is capable of capturing stunning photographs while staying a true companion to your photographic adventures. The ease of use of the XG Series is an excellent choice not only for the beginner but for the advanced enthusiast as well.

The top model of the XG-series was the XG-M (X-70 in Japan). Released in 1981, the M denotes a 3.5fps motor drive mounting capability. The metering remains active when the camera is in manual mode, and there is a depth of field preview button. Shutter speed and aperture information are displayed in the viewfinder via a series of LED display for shutter speed and an aperture readout window.

Minolta XG-M 35mm SLR Film Camera

The Minolta XG-M is an Aperture-Priority AE 35mm SLR film camera with an electronically controlled horizontal-traverse focal-plane shutter capable of a stepless speed range from 1 to 1/1000 second in AE mode, stepped 1 to 1/1000 second in manual mode, and B. Flash synchronization is at 1/60 second.

Camera operation is switch controlled, the shutter release is two-step electromagnetic, metering is full-aperture TTL (Through the Lens) center-weighted average, and film ISO speed range is from 25 to 1600. The camera is also equipped with a switch selectable 10-second delay self-timer and a ±2 EV exposure compensation capability.

Standard focusing screen is Fresnel-field with a central split-image/microprism rangefinder with 93% screen coverage. Metering is powered by 2xSR44 of LR44 button cells. Camera body weight is 515 grams without lens or battery.

Basic Camera Features

A handsome lass no less, the XG-M is only available in chrome.

The front plane of the camera is a plain affair with only the action grip and the self-timer/battery check LED on the left front panel of the camera body. The self-timer switch and X-sync terminal are located on the left vertical of the lens mount housing, while on the right vertical, arranged top down, are the lens release button, shutter release socket, and the stop-down button.

On the 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, and the button-control exposure compensation dial. A hot-shoe sits on top of the pentaprism.

On the right of the top plate pentaprism is the combination button-controlled AE mode/shutter speed dial, the electromagnetic shutter release, and Camera On/Off switch lever, film advance crank, film frame counter, and a small elongated film safe-load indicator window.

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

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

The film box is a standard film-cartridge chamber, shutter window, film advance sprocket, and the 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 viewfinder readout of the XG-M is a simple display of shutter speed numerical located vertically on the right, and a small aperture readout located midway on the bottom frame of the focusing screen.

Both metered or manually set shutter speed are indicated by red LEDs next to the numerical, speeds are in between when two LEDs are lighted in 'A' mode. Over- and under-exposures are indicated by LED arrowheads at the top and bottom of the vertical bar. A and flash-ready sign is indicated by a blinking LED when the shutter speed is set to 1/60 second for a compatible flash unit.

A Gradual Transition

A great learning curve for the new enthusiast is a gradual transition between aperture priority and fully manual shooting modes and advances in using the exposure compensation method for images with extreme lighting situation. You do not have to go far here, the XG-M will do you fine as it is fitted with an excellent metering system that will give you spot-on exposures in AUTO mode as well as an equally effortless and convenient 'match needle' metering in manual mode.

For manual mode exposures, which can be done in shutter-priority style, you first set the shutter speed to the speed you want to shoot in, and after framing and focusing the image or composition, adjusts 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 it in aperture-priority means that you first pre-set the aperture opening of the lens to the one you want to shoot in, and adjusts the shutter speed setting to get to the correct exposure setting. The XG-M is equally up to the task here as both the shutter speed and aperture setting are shown in the viewfinder.

Another feature available on the XG-M is the DoF (Depth of Preview) button, a feature much sought after by photo enthusiasts who are into close-ups or portrait photography. On the later X-series cameras, the DoF preview is only available on the X-500 (X-570 in the US) and the 'MPS' X-700 model.


The XG-M requires a pair of SR44 or LR44 button cells for its operation and metering system, and will not work if the batteries are depleted or exhausted. Convenient enough, these cells are as easily available.

Affordable, Fun, and Easy to Use

Often over-looked by Minolta enthusiasts, the Minolta XG-series, at price points far below the later X-series on the auction sites, is a 35mm SLR camera with as many features as the average photographer needs, and of course, they take all Minolta manual focus lenses.

A final plus for the elegant and almost regal XG-M is, of course, ease of use. With such a light bodyweight, the XG-M is highly recommended not only for new or beginner users but also for the advanced enthusiast who prefers the challenges of fully-manual scripts and DoF studies.

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