Minolta XD-11: The Best Camera That Nobody Wanted

I came across an article on-line regarding “High Water Marks” for various camera brands. It seems to support my statement that the XD-11 was the BEST camera that nobody wanted. Making its appearance in 1977, the XD-11 was part of the late 70’s technology boom in lens development and film quality.


Winning Features:

  • Auto Exposure with both Aperture Priority and Shutter Speed Priority options
  • Programmable override for Shutter Speed Priority
  • Excellent viewing screen (very bright)
  • Great ergonomics
  • Leaf Shutter


The quality of Minolta MD Rokker lenses is also vastly under-rated. This may have been due to mass marketing to amateurs with little attention to attracting the professional photographer. In turn, lack of professional exposure discouraged amateurs, etc, eventually killing the Brand, although their recent technology was purchased by Sony.

I experienced this ‘disdain’ when I returned to college after my Christmas break freshman year with a Minolta SRT-SCII, marked down to discount prices because of the new XD- models. One of my wealthier friends returned with a Canon AE-1, but since my photos were often much better than hers I didn’t let it phase me.

I had already upgraded to the X-700 in the late 1980’s.  Then I heard about this wonderful camera:  The XD-11. I have three XD-Series. My first XD-11 (Shown above) has been sent to the ‘parts’ box due an unfixable film advance problem.  The second one that I acquired is a Japan Market model that is labelled XD, but not Minolta. Number 3 & 4 are both XD-11’s with black bodies.


Regarding the XD-model, I wondered if I had been scammed, but I took it to my local repair shop and he immediately recognized it.  Told me that for a while the Minolta Cameras left off the Japanese manufacturer’s name in hopes of improving market share.  Mine had probably been brought back to the U.S. by an American Serviceman.

Check out my recent Article in 35mmc featuring the XD-11.

5 thoughts on “Minolta XD-11: The Best Camera That Nobody Wanted”

  1. These are great cameras! Didn’t one of the presidential photographers use one? You’ve inspired me to process the film I just put through one of mine to test it. I’m no expert, but a recent spell of unemployment gave me some time to test some of my old MF lenses, and the Rokkors are pretty hard to beat. I would actually call a few of them shocking, at least to me. I took one of my favorite pictures with an X-500 and a 55/1.9 lens I paid $2 for at a junk store. I had a large print made for my friends and it was freakishly sharp.


  2. Thanks Jon. Minolta Cameras and lenses are very under-rated. Sony bought Minolta to get their lens technology. I started out with a Minolta SRT-SCII in 1978 and I’ve stayed with my brand for 35 mm.


  3. The Silver & Black XD11 in the first picture died. Film advance stopped working. But I’m keeping it for parts. How I ended up with three now I can’t explain. But I do love them!


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