My Minolta XD5, about a half-year in

Puzzled person. Cathedral Park, 4 May 2022. Minolta XD5/Minolta MD 50mm f/1.7/Kodak Ultramax 400

Back at the end of April I decided to get my second single-lens reflex (SLR) camera. I loved (and still love) my Minolta SR-T 101, but I wanted something different: something smaller, something that had some automatic exposure settings. Since I didn’t feel like investing in a different lens system, I wanted to stick with a Minolta SR/MC/MD mount camera. This steered me to the Minolta XD5, the “junior” camera in the XD line. It took all my SR lenses, was smaller and lighter than the SR-T 101, and offered aperture and shutter priority in addition to manual exposure.

I’ve used the XD5 a lot over the past half year. One of the things I commented on in my initial post was how compact this camera was: at one pound, ten ounces (about 750g) with a standard Minolta MD 50mm f/1.7 lens it was actually an ounce less than my Minolta Hi-Matic 7s rangefinder! (It’s still bigger than my diminutive Olympus 35RD, though.) I only brought my SR-T 101 on my travels when I drove, but now I have a small enough SLR to bring along on a flight, train, or bike tour. And I have done all of the above with it so far. I try to keep the kit minimal, bringing no more than one additional lens. Usually this extra lens is the MD 28-85mm f/3.5-4.5 zoom that Jerome loves so much. These two lenses offer most of the range I need.

The other reason to bring either of these two lenses is both are MD mount. They work on any Minolta that takes the SR bayonet mount, and I’ve used them on my SR-T 101. But the MD mount was specifically designed for the XD series. MD stands for Maximum Diaphragm, the addition of a second tab (the first tab tells the camera what aperture is being selected) communicates what the smallest aperture is on the lens. This means the camera can either do shutter priority (in the case of the XDs) or full program mode (in the case of the later X-700.) Now I gravitated towards the XD5 because of aperture priority, and I thought I’d mostly use the camera in this mode. This is true, but shutter priority does come in handy in certain situations. I often use shutter priority in lower-light situations, when I want to make sure that the shutter doesn’t go slower than 1/30 of a second–any lower I’d risk blur due to camera shake.

I’m hoping to get many years of enjoyment from this camera. I still need to get the camera CLA’d (clean, lubricate, adjust). There’s specks of black noticeable in the viewfinder, most likely due to deterioration of the foam bumper around the mirror. And I feel that the metering in aperture priority might be slightly off, though with print film it doesn’t matter that much. I want to get those issues sorted, and also take care of the gear I own.

Smith Rock, 30 April 2022
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5 thoughts on “My Minolta XD5, about a half-year in

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  1. Hello! Good cameras and great lenses! I’m coming around to the idea that less kit, well looked after and used is much better than a whole heap little used. In my case I just need to put it into practice! Hope you get many happy years out of the Minolta! Cheers Andt

    1. Thanks! I’ve been trying to keep my camera collection to “a reasonable number” so I don’t have a bunch of cameras that I hardly ever or never use. I still have plenty of cameras, nine at last count. But I try to have cameras that fill certain niches, like rangefinders and compacts, so it’s not nine SLRs or nine rangefinders. And I like having some redundancy, like two SLRs and two rangefinders. But I feel like I’m at my limit.

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