Minolta X-1

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The Minolta X-1 is the professional 35mm SLR camera in the Minolta line-up, launched in 1973. It is called XK in North America, and XM in Europe and elsewhere. It took Minolta about ten years to develop X-1, and it initiated the professional era of the Minolta SR system. It is the first Minolta SLR with interchangeable lenses to have an electronically controlled horizontally travelling shutter with titanium foil curtains and capable of a 1/2000s. Manually selectable speeds are from 16 sec. to 1/2000 sec.

Interchangeable finders:

  • AE-Finder: The standard finder with a refined CLC metering system (introduced by the SR-T 101) and aperture priority auto exposure mode.
  • M-Finder: A simpler and cheaper version of the AE-finder, the match-needle finder. It did not show metered shutter times but had only a needle to align. It lacked the automatic mode.
  • P-finder: The plain finder, an unmetered pentaprism finder, which gave the X-1 a much more compact silhouette than the bulky finders above.
  • High-Magnification-Finder: Unmetered finder with 6.2 magnification ratio and diopter adjustment.
  • Waist-Level-Finder: Unmetered with magnifier.
  • AE-S-Finder: Introduced with the Minolta X-1 Motor and equipped with a silicon cell instead of the slower CdS-cell of the AE-Finder. This was necessary for the auto exposure mode with motorized action.

Prism finder. The finder prism is removable and the focusing screen interchangeable. The prism and focusing screen release button is on the back, protected by a chrome or black collar, when pushed the prism housing is released and may be lifted off the top. Use a thumbnail to lift the focusing screen.

  • Before replacing the finder, the aperture-ring follower should be moved over to the red dot in order to mesh with the aperture ring notch when on the camera.
  • The shutter-speed dial is on the right-hand side with AUTO, X, B and 1 sec. to 1/2000sec settings. Just below the dial on the back is a largish black thumb-operated button for continuous ±2 EV exposure compensation.
  • The film speed is set at the top of the finder meter prism. It incorporates a +.5/-3.5 exposure compensation setting. The plus value is green and the minus values yellow. A white dot is the neutral position. This is intended to calibrate the meter for screen - lens combinations requiring compensation.
  • At the back to le left is an exposure meter on/off switch.
  • To finder-window may be closed by a dial to the right, when closed it prevent light entering the finder window and disturb the meter reading when the camera is operated without the eye covering the opening.
  • In the viewfinder is seen to the right outside the image frame a scale repeating the symbols on the main shutter speed dial and a red warning light at the bottom. The lens aperture ring setting is visible just over the frame if sufficiently lit.

And the photographer had the choice among nine (later eleven) interchangeable focussing screens. It further had a socket for a synchronized flash shoe, mirror lock up feature, stop down lever, multi exposure capabillity.

The X-1 was the first of the X-series and so a completely new designed lens line was introduced and labelled with 'MC Rokkor-X' in the north American market (the rest of the world kept the plain 'MC Rokkor' designation). The most striking attribute was the new waffled rubber coating of the focus grip. The X-1 and its export descendents were available in black finish only.

Body controls. The camera operates on a 3V silver battery or two 1.5V SR44 batteries. While gripping the camera the exposure meter is automatically on, indicated by a red LED flashing once in the finder. The touch-sensitive switch is at the right-hand body front. A permanent on-switch is at the back of the finder prism. Most camera controls are conventional and in their usual places, but some are new.

  • A battery check lever with a red LED is on the left-hand side of the body.
  • A dedicated accessory shoe with sync. contact with a tiny release button is under the combined rewind knob and back door release.
  • The shutter-speed dial proper is on the prism finder. Long shutter speeds are selectable at the base of the shutter-speed dial. The speeds are set using a small chrome lever at the front. The lever may be slid sideways when bushed in. The lever sits on a chrome ring with a red dot to the rear, almost hidden behind the wind lever pointing to a scale of a yellow B and 16, 8, 4, 2 (seconds). The scale is active when the normal dial is set to B. Both shutter-speed selectors must be set to B to activate the shutter at B.
  • Shutter operates without battery in X and B positions, else it locks midway. Reset by turning battery cover.

Body front controls.

  • The lens release button is high at the left-hand side of the mirror housing.
  • A PC sync. contact and a X/PF selector switch are also on the left-hand side.
  • A lens diaphragm stop-down button is on right-hand side at the bottom of mirror housing. Normal position is pushed in, for stop down it is pushed and let out. In the out position, a black collar on it may be rotated to lift the mirror, aligning two red dots. The mirror stays up until the button is pushed in.
  • A traditional self-timer with trigger button is to the right of the mirror housing.
  • The main instant on-switch is to the right of the self-release lever, as described initially.

Body base functions.

  • A rather unusual film reminder dial is at the base. Four film types and three lengths may be set: B&W - NEGATIVE - DAYLIGHT - INCADECENT / 12 - 20 - 36.
  • The battery compartment has a coin slot. IMPORTANT: The cover works as a reset feature when the cover is turned. It resets the camera shutter/mirror function which stops mid-way if the shutter is released without battery, unless in X and B positions. Operating the coin-slot resets the camera. Merely turning the shutter dial to X or B does not help.
  • The tripod socket is placed on the optical centreline.
  • The rewind release button is at its usual place.