Tag Archives: Minolta XD-11

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.

XD-11

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

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.

DSC_8846

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.

B&W Flowers from My Garden

OK, I’m a believer.  Photographers were always raving about Ilford HP5.  But I didn’t share the fascination until this past Spring.  On my Journey to Phoenix I wanted to take 35 mm B&W film.  The only thing I had in the fridge was Ilford HP5.  So I grabbed the 5 rolls and headed out………

And I’ve finally discovered the situations where the ‘GRAIN” works for me.  Here is a summary of my HP5 Best Case (all HP5 except where noted):

 

 

(Note: the datura, upper right is T-MAX)

 

(Note:  Yuca Baccata, upper left, is digital IR)

September on my Other Blog is all about B&W in the Garden.

Alternate: Rediscovering My 35 mm Soul…

I asked my self this question very recently: Can one photo make a difference? You Betcha! And here is the photograph that made the difference for me:

Landscape2

For more than a decade I’ve focused on Medium format photography (Mamiya 7, Mamya 6, Mamiya 645). This left my half dozen or so Minolta 35 mm cameras very unloved. Oh, I would occasionally take them out for road trips; my snap shot, on the go cameras. For those time you just want to jump out of the car and take a quick picture, without dragging out the carefully pack ‘real’ camera gear. But I’ve increasingly used my ‘hand me down’ Nikon D-40 for that purpose.

Last Spring I decided to roll with my Minolta XD-11 as the road trip camera. We were on the highway, heading home from a photography workshop. My husband had seen an abandoned bridge he wanted to photograph on our outbound trip, but the light was not ideal. So we stopped on the way back at the same roadside rest area.

While he was setting up his 4X5 view camera, I grabbed my 35 mm and wondered around. And I saw this image across the road. I walked over for a closer look. Took a couple of quick shots, and wondered back to the car.

Later in the year I actually printed this image in my home darkroom and shared it with my photographer friends, and showed it at a friends gallery. The response was so positive that I entered it in an online gallery contest. And Success! It made me re-evaluate my relationship with my Minolta cameras (XD-11, X-700, SRT-201, SRT-101). I also realized that I should not discard 35+ years of experience with this camera format.

So take a second look with those 35 mm cameras that you’ve packed away. Most won’t sell for much on EBay. So use them, or pass them on to the many student film photography programs that are asking for donated cameras. One that comes to mind is the Weston Collective Scholarship Program. And if you know of others, please feel free to leave contact information in the comments.

And I leave you with this thought, generations of photojournalists made a difference with one 35 mm image.

Tech Info: Minolta XD-11 with Tamron 28-200 zoom lens; Kodak T-MAX 400 film.

Read the original Emulsive Article.

Also Part of The Story and Imagining the Image.

Thoughts on Personal Vision

 

Above, three recent but very different images that I had submitted to an online Gallery.  Two are very recent, but the Apache Plume is from about 12+ years ago. So what does that say about my photography skills, style and personal vision.  Keeping in mind that vision and style are not synonymous.  These represent different styles, but I think a similar vision in regards to how I see the light and what attracts my eye.

All of these images received a similar ranking (details here).  That soul destroying ‘Special Merit” category that keeps you wanting more.  So what does “special merit” mean anyway?  Have I not progressed at all in 12 years?  Or are my interests and vision not the current hip and trendy thing? (I think the latter)  So I’ll get recognition, but never actually win a contest?  (One of my recent submissions is going to be published in a book this year.  But that’s another story……..).  And what is winning?

My middling success for a while sent me down “The Rabbit Hole”  as I discussed recently on my photo diary.  So I’m reflecting, reorganizing and redirecting my energies.  At a recent Personal Vision Workshop with Cole Thompson, we discussed how winning can actually be a setback to the progress towards understanding our personal vision; leading us to pursue the WIN rather than the VISION.  Small rewards can seriously sidetrack real goals and personal accomplishments.

Who are you making photographs for?  Yourself or the win?