The Minolta XD-7 (XD-11) - Multimode SLR
Basic Camera Operations - Part III

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Exposure Control Fundamental

The two camera exposure control settings are lens opening (aperture) and shutter speed. The size of the aperture determines the amount or volume of light reaching the film from a given subject and lighting. The shutter speed determines the length of time this light acts upon the film. Apertures are expressed in f-numbers, which are larger for small openings and vice versa (e.g., f/16 represents a small opening, f/2 a large one). Shutter speeds are expressed in seconds or fractions thereof, which are generally the reciprocals of the numbers shown on shutter-speed scales (e.g. 60 = 1/60 sec., and 2 = 1/2 sec.). At usual apertures, each f-number setting (e.g., f/8) lets in twice as much light as the next numerically larger one (f/11) and half as much as the next smaller (f/5.6). Similarly, each shutter speed (e.g., 1/60 sec.) allows light to strike the film twice as long as the next higher speed (1/125) and half as long as the next lower one (1/30). The interval between two standard f-numbers (say, f/4 and f/5.6) or shutter speeds (say, 1/15 and 1/30) is one "stop." Total exposure on the film is determined by the combination of aperture and speed. Other things being equal, using the next smaller f-number (i.e., giving one stop more exposure) will balance using the next higher shutter speed (i.e., giving one stop less exposure), and so on. A great range of combinations (e.g., f/5.6 at 1/30, f/4 at 1/60,f/2.8at 1/125, f/2 at 1/250, etc.) will thus yield the same total exposure. The specific combination you choose under given lighting conditions will depend upon the degree to which you want the greater depth of field of smaller apertures and the greater movement-blur preventing ability of faster speeds .

Exposure is determined by the combination of shutter speed and aperture. As the numbers on either the aperture ring or shutter speed dial increase by one increment, the amount of light striking the film is reduced by approximately one half. For example, the amount of light at 1/125 sec. is one half that at 1/60 sec., and the amount of light at f/16 is one half that at f/11. Brighter scenes require either faster speeds or smaller apertures or a combination of both which will give the same amount of exposure; darker scenes require the reverse. For example 1/1000 sec. at f/5.6 is the same as either 1/4000 sec. at f/2.8 or 1/125 sec. at f/16.
Shutter speed (sec.)







Aperture (f/number)







These simple combinations (and other factors relates) have made photography so exciting. As apertures and shutter speeds have their respective effect projects in the final image. With the camera's metering as a guide for an theoretical good exposure, you can alter the combinations to suit the effect that you like it to be. Basically, apertures varies the depth of field and shutter speed spells action or projects movement. Refer here for a separate article as this site will have too many duplicated /repetitive resources.

Note: the XD-7's maximum shutter speed scale is 1/1000 sec. Table above to 1/4000 sec is merely reference with today's modern SLRs.

Metering With the XD-7/XD-11

The center-weighted metering system in your XD-11 employs a silicon photo cell mounted behind the pentaprism so that light from all parts of the view field is measured but most influence is from the central area. Thus the reading should yield satisfactory exposure without adjustment as long as the main subject area occupies a major part of the center of the frame. If the most important subject area to be measured is not centered or occupies too small a part of the central area, move the camera to center it or move toward the subject until it fills the central part of the frame. Note the aperture/shutter-speed reading in this position and use the exposure-adjustment control to set the same value when making the exposure from the original position. Further, if the most important area is very much brighter or darker than the rest of the frame and does not fill most of it, exposure should be decreased or increased with the same control from 1/2 to 2 stops, the exact amount varying with the specific brightness difference and the effect desired.

As with most metering systems, strong sources of direct light or other very bright areas may influence the reading adversely if allowed to dominate the frame.

Though your XD-11's finder is designed to minimize the effect on the meter of light entering through the finder eyepiece under usual conditions, care must be exercised to prevent this especially if you wear eyeglasses. Use of a rubber finder eyecup is further recommended when the subject is in shade and the camera is in sunlight, when bright sidelight falls between eye and eyepiece, or when stop-down metering is used, particularly at small apertures. When viewing is unnecessary, the eyepiece shutter can be used to completely eliminate this problem.

Viewfinder Display and Information

As you look through the viewfinder of your XD-11, you can see:

1. Split-image/microprism focusing spot,
2. Shutter-speed scale,
3. Aperture f-number scale,
Viewfinder.gif (3k)
4. Indicator LED's (show speed be. ing set on "A" mode, aperture being set on "S" mode, and correct exposure in "M" mode when shutter speed indicated agrees with speed manually set),
5. F-number of lens aperture set,
6. Shutter speed set (for "S" or "M" mode), and
7. LED over- or under-range indicators (over-range indicator is also flash -ready and "X," "B," and "O" signal). For operation details, see the sections on exposure control, manual settings and flash operation.

Automatic Exposure (AE) Control

The Minolta XD-7 doesn't provide a program mode this is not hard to understand as during the seventies (Even the beginning of the eighties), people often associated programmed AE as an amateuristic feature. The Minolta's XD-7 are fully capable of providing a programmed AE mode - just like the Canon A-1 later in 1978 - but may be Minolta wanted their top camera distanced from such an image. However, when eventually the X-700 with the 'MPS' (Minolta Program System) was introduced in the

Shutter-speed priority automatic operation (
Only applicable with Minolta MD series lenses)

1. Move the mode-selector switch to align it with the click-stopped "S." This will set the camera's computer system for automatic aperture operation and display the aperture f-number scale at the right of the finder frame.

Lens.jpg (5k)
2. Rotate the aperture ring so that the green f-number is aligned with the index. This number will appear centered below the frame in the finder.

3. Turn the shutter-speed dial to align any step indication from "1000" through "1" with the index. The number of the speed set will appear at the right below the finder frame and f-number settings as indicated by lighted LED's will vary automatically to yield proper exposure for shutter speed and other settings with the light being metered.

4. It is then only necessary to confirm focus compose your picture, and release the shutter .

5. The aperture f-number scale was designed to accommodate lenses having apertures as great as f/1.4 to as small as f/32. When steps 1 through 3 are followed, the f-number of the aperture selected by the camera's computer system will be indicated within this range by a lighted LED. When an over- or under-range indicator lights above or below the scale, exposure conditions have exceeded the aperture range of the lens in use. The camera will then automatically select a shutter speed, either higher or lower than the one set on the shutter-speed dial, towards obtaining correct exposure. Actual shutter speed can be confirmed by adjusting the shutter speed or other conditions so that an LED lights within the scales range.


If exposure conditions are below the meter's range, the mirror may remain up when the shutter is released. Should this happen, move the shutter-speed selector to "X" and then back to its previous setting. This will reset the mirror and return the camera to automatic operation.

Be sure to use a proper lens for your XD-7 camera. The Minolta lens which is proper for this camera is the MD lens.
When using MC and other types of lenses, the aperture priority mode and manual mode will work, but the shutter priority mode will not work. Therefore, in order to fully use the multimode operation of the XD-7 (aperture priority, shutter priority and manual) use a proper lens.

Note: If the green f-number has not been aligned with the Index Dot, only the over- under exposure indicators will light. The camera will then automatically vary the aperture between maximum and the one set, overriding the selected shutter speed as needed toward obtaining correct exposure.

Selecting the
shutter speed

For good pictures with a minimum of care where no particular effect is desired, set the shutter speed as suggested in the table at the right. However, there may be times when the subject or effect you may want to create make setting the shutter speed an important factor. High shutter speeds such as 1/500 to 1/1000 sec. can "freeze" fast action. Such slow speeds as 1/2 to 1 sec. can be used to emphasize subject flow or motion. However, there is no distinctive rule by saying freezing action is the best form to illustrate movement, at times, slow shutter speed and combining with technique such as panning can project even a stronger sense of visual effect.

S mode Shutter Speed Setting Guide



Hazy Sun

Heavy Overcast


ASA 25




1/15 *

ASA 80




1/15 *

ASA 100




1/15 *

ASA 200




1/30 - 1/60 *

ASA 400




1/60 *

* with lenses having a maximum aperture of f/2 or greater. (These are only guidelines for average picture taking situations.)

Use of a steady support or an electronic flash is always recommended for use with shutter speeds of 1/30 or slower.

Shutter-speed range

The working shutter-speed range for XD-7 in automatic operation is as indicated at the table below. Be sure not to set the shutter to a speed outside this range as improper exposure may result.

Film Speed

Working Range

ASA 12 to 100

1 sec. to 1/1000sec.

ASA 200

1/2 sec. to 1/1000 sec

ASA 400

1/4 sec. to 1/1000 sec

ASA 800

1/8 sec. to 1/1000 sec

ASA 1600

1/15 sec. to 1/1000 sec

ASA 3200

1/30 sec. to 1/1000 sec

So far, the XD-7 sounds like most of the other electronic SLRs. But the XD-7 demonstrates its originality when you select automatic diaphragm control. Setting the mode selector to "S" (shutter speed preferred) shifts the diaphragm scale into the finder. Now the LED display indicates the diaphragm opening which the camera will automatically program. Also notice that the shutter-speed setting appears in the finder. At the "A" mode, a mechanically controlled mask covers the shutter-speed display the speed-knob setting has no meaning in the aperture preferred mode.

For automatic diaphragm control, turn the diaphragm-setting ring to the smallest f/stop. A tab on the diaphragm-setting ring then comes against the minimum aperture lever. As the tab pushes the minimum-aperture lever from left to right, it programs the metering system for the smallest f/stop of the particular lens.

Only the MD series of lenses has the minimum-aperture tab on the diaphragm setting ring. Although the earlier MC lenses will couple to the diaphragm metering ring, they don't have the tab which positions the minimum-aperture lever. So, if you install an MC lens on the XD-7, the LED display won't indicate an automatically programmed f/stop. You'll only be able to turn on one LED - the over range LED.

You'll also get no diaphragm readout if you forget to set the smallest f/stop on the MD lens. The calibration for the smallest f/stop has a green color code. Since an optical system reflects the selected calibration into the finder, you can quickly set the diaphragm for the "S" mode. Simply rotate the diaphragm setting ring until the green number appears in the finder.

Since the XD-7 already has shutter speed control circuitry, it can go an extra step to make sure you don't get an incorrect exposure. Perhaps the camera can't program the right f/stop for the particular combination of light level and shutter speed. A glance at the LED readout tells you to select a different shutter speed. But, if you fail to make the necessary correction, the camera's "computer" takes over - it automatically changes the shutter speed for you.

The camera lets you know when you're going to get a shutter speed that's different from the one you've selected - it turns on one of the range-limits LEDS as you start depressing the release button. If the over range LED turns on, you'll get an exposure time that's faster than the speed knob setting. If the under range LED turns on, you'll get an exposure time that's slower than the speed-knob setting.

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Credit: Satosh Oka for some of the very high quality images for the Minolta CD-7 and XK Motor used in this site. Oleg Volk, who has offered some help during the initial stage of development of this site; Stephen Schwartz on the few new images of XK; Mark Wasmer for the original Brouche of the few Minolta cameras; Dick Sullivan whom I used some of his info as reference in this site; Mr Poon who has helped me eith some of the images used in this site. Minolta, XD-7, XK, XM, X1, Rokkor, MC lenses are either registered tradenames or trade mark of Milnolta Optical Co. Ltd, Japan. Asite dedicted to all Minolta fans worldwide.