Minolta XG-M 35mm MF SLR Film Camera

Film Camera Review: Minolta XG-M

Film Camera Review: Top-of-the-line manual focus autoexposure 35mm SLR film camera from the Minolta XG series.

The Minolta XG-M, introduced in 1981, was the top-of-the-line consumer model of XG-series 35mm SLR film cameras that Minolta produced between 1977 to 1982. The model, with the 'M' designation for its capability of being used with the 3.5 fps Motor Drive 1, was made available throughout the world but not in Japan, where a chrome version of the X-700 was launched instead.

The XG-M is essentially an update of the XG-9 (1979), now outfitted with a stylized new body which is to become the next generation of Minolta's standard manual-focus SLR body, including the X-700, and X-570. External design changes include a different prism cover, a right-hand grip on the front of the body, a new corporate logo, a film memo holder, and a removable back. A new main on-off was placed beneath the shutter speed dial.

Functionally, the XG-M has a shutter speed range from 1 to 1/1000th second, plus B, film ISO speed range is from 25 to 1600, an exposure compensation feature of +/- 2 stops, as well as a DoF (Depth of Preview) button. to cater to the camera's use with the motor drive unit, the metering display, which is turned off on the XG-9 in manual mode, is now active throughout.

The XG bodies are just as capable with their many features which will meet all the needs of an average photographer. Even the lowest 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 XG-M supported aperture-priority autoexposure, with the shutter speed dial set to the A (auto) position and full manual mode. For aperture-priority shooting, the shutter speed selected is displayed on the vertical speed scale bar in the viewfinder, and in manual mode, the bar will display the recommended shutter speed. The film's ISO speed range is from 25 to 1600.

    Minolta XG-M with MD Rokkor 50mm F1.4 and Vivitar 35mm F2.8

    You can buy this camera on eBay via this link: https://www.ebay.de/itm/253838946648 To repair the front part of the Vivitar lens, you will need a filter ring adjustment tool, which I found cheaper on eBay than Amazon. Please feel free to do your research on finding a better offer.

The Acute-Matte screen is Fresnel-field with a central split-image/microprism rangefinder with 93% screen coverage. Metering is powered by 2 x SR44 or LR44 button cells, and the camera body weight is 515 grams without batteries.

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 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 are the combination button-controlled AE mode/shutter speed dial, the electromagnetic shutter release, and Camera On/Off switch lever, the film advance crank, the 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 is 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 multi-pin take-up spool. Film loading is the normal 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-M, Viewfinder readout

The viewfinder readout of the Acute-Matte screen includes a full 1-second to 1/-1000th-second shutter speed scale located vertically on the right of the focusing screen, and a small aperture readout located midway on the bottom frame.

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


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

Camera Bodyweight

The Minolta XG-M weighs 515 grams without batteries.

Affordable, Fun, and Easy to Use

Often overlooked 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 body weight, 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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  1. I had an XG M just after they came out in the early 80s, replacing a stolen (!) SRT-201. I remember it being more plasticky and less robust than that SRT but that thing was built like an anvil. It took perfect pictures with just a little effort on the user's part; focus and shoot. The viewfinder was bright and informative, but could have used a manually selected shutter speed display like its older cousins the XE 7 and XD 11. Unfortunately, many of these cameras from The Plastic Age, even the subsequent X-### series, suffer from stuck shutters, a result of cheaper liquid filled shutter firing capacitors leaking and/or drying out. From what I've read, replacement parts are available and they can be fixed without too much trouble or money.

  2. What film does the xg-m minolta use?


    1. Just any standard 135 film will do ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/135_film ), regards.