The Minolta XK | XM SLR
Basic Camera Operations: Part III

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Auto Film-Advance Lock

Your XK camera is equipped with a device to lock the film-advance lever and to warn you and prevent much waste film in case battery voltage becomes insufficient while the shutter-speed selector dial is at an electronic setting (i.e., any one other than "B" or "X").

Top View.jpg

Credit: The XK | XM Motor Top view, courtesy of Satosh Oka.
If film has not been advanced when voltage falls too low, it will be possible to advance film once and release the shutter once. If film has been advanced, it will also be possible to release the shutter once. In either case, however, the film will receive no exposure, and the mirror will stay up so that viewing is impossible thereafter. At the same time, the film advance lever will lock and cannot be operated further. Inserting batteries having sufficient voltage will restore normal operation immediately. For mechanical operation at "X" or "B" settings without serviceable batteries.

Note: There is space for two extra batteries is provided in the shoulder pad of the camera strap.

Loading and Advancing Film


1. Pull out on the back-cover release knob until the camera back springs open.
2. Leaving the knob pulled out, position a film cartridge in the chamber with the projecting spool end toward the bottom of the camera. Then push the back-cover release knob all the way in, rotating it slightly to do so if necessary.
3. Insert the end of the film leader into one of the slots in the take-up spool so that the tooth is engaged in the fourth or fifth sprockets hole from the end.


4. Operate the film-advance lever in several short strokes until the film has begun to wind firmly around the take-up spool and the sprocket teeth are engaged with the holes on both edges of the film. If the advance lever locks at the end of a full stroke during this procedure, release the shutter and continue.
5. Press down firmly on the film with the fingers between the sprocket holes and one edge of the film so that it cannot move. While doing this, take up any slack in the cartridge by folding out the rewind crank and turning it in the direction of the arrow until resistance is felt.
6. Close the camera back and push in on it until it clicks locked.
7. While watching the rewind crank, release the shutter and advance film until the index points to "1" on the exposure counter dial. Rotation of the crank during the full stroke in the direction opposite that of the arrow indicates that the film is advancing properly. If the crank rotates during only a small part of the stroke or not at all, make sure of proper film loading and alignment by repeating steps from 3 above onward:

Caution: Film should be handled and loading done in subdued light at least shaded from direct sunlight by the body.

Loaded-Film Reminder

Another very considerate feature is the film reminder at the base of the camera. I thought at least it is more functional than a memo holder.

The dial on the bottom of the camera may be turned so that one of its symbols is aligned with one of the numbered dots beside it to serve as a reminder that a cartridge of. 12, 20, or 36 exposures of black-and-white, color negative, or daylight- or tungsten-type color reversal film is loaded in the camera.

Film-Advance Lever and Exposure Counter

Film is advanced, the shutter cocked, and the exposure counter advanced by operating the film-advance lever in one or more strokes through its 110° engaged angle until it springs back. The film-advance lever has 20 un-engaged play before the beginning of its engaged stroke to allow offsetting it from the body so that the right thumb will fit comfortably behind it.

Shutterrelease.jpg Nikon F3's.jpg

What are the differences other than cosmetic ? The Nikon F3 (right pix) has a more refined shutter speed scales from 1/2000 to 8 seconds with an additional 'T' (Time exposure) and a more conveniently placed multiple exposure lever The frame counter in the XK is far more superior in human engineering. Look at the shutter release button design - But the XK was introduced a few years a head of the Nikon.

If the film-advance lever remains locked between exposures even though the shutter has been released, battery voltage is insufficient for electronic operation. If the advance lever stops in mid-stroke and resists further movement, film is exhausted. The film-advance lever should never be forced when it locks or cannot be operated normally.

The exposure counter is of the advancing type and is numbered to more than 36/38 to number 40, past which point it will not move regardless of the number of exposures made. This exposure counter automatically resets (The pin hide inside the railing of the film cover did the trick) for film loading when the camera back is opened.

Metering with CLC

Minolta's developed its own exclusive CLC ("Contrast Light Compensator") metering system which employs two CdS cells mounted on the pentaprism to take separate, overlapping light readings. These cells are wired so that the reading of each affects that of the other to automatically yield optimum exposure in both normal and most high-contrast lighting situations (Sounds very familiar with matrix multi-pattern metering, right ?). For best results, the photographer should thus generally not make compensatory adjustment for such differences. One exception is that the lens should generally be stopped down from half (1/2) to 1 F-stop if the most important subject area is much brighter than the rest of the picture (e.g., is in a spotlight or shaft of sunlight). Some photographers also prefer to open a half to a full stop with a backlighted subject or one whose most important area is considerably darker than the area surrounding it.

With MC Rokkor-X and the MD lenses in general, metering is done at full aperture, for greatest sensitivity and accuracy. The viewfinder thus remains at maximum brightness for utmost ease of composing and focusing, and the automatic diaphragm closes down to the preset aperture only at the moment of exposure.

Stop-down metering is used for other than MC Lenses.

The metering method is changed by means of the stop-down/Lock-up button. This has two positions: Inner for full-aperture metering and outer for stop-down metering (or depth-of-field preview). Pushing the button once will set it at one of these positions; pushing it again will set it at the other.

Though the CLC system and finder are designed to minimize the effect on the meter of light entering through the 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.

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Basic Camera Operations XK/XM/X-1: 5 Parts
Specification for XK/XM/X-1:
Main Reference Map for XK/XM/X-1:
HTML | PDF (250k)
Additional info on
XK | XM Motor - by Satosh Oka
More images on XK Motor By : Stephen Schwartz (New)
XK USA fold-out Product brochure in HTML files
and a huge
PDF (1.3MB) copy. Contributed by : Mark Wasmer

Some fabulous views of the Internal Structures that made up of a Minolta XM by Gino Mancini (New);Three great images of a Minolta XM/XM Motor scanned by Hervé Prigent of France (New)

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Credit: Satosh Oka for his superp imagery of the XK Motor and XD-7; ® Stephen Schwartz, for his images of the XK Motor appearing in this site. Mark Wasmer, for his collection of the original marketing brochure. Oleg Volk, who has given me some help; Dick Sullivan whom I had used some references in his site; Hervé Prigent <>of France for his great scanned images from brochure of Minolta XM/XM Motor; Gino Mancini <> for his images of the internal structure of the XM; CYLeow ® , photo editor of the Star newspaper, Malaysia, Mr Poon from Poon photo for their input on Minolta older SLR bodies. Minolta, XD-7, XK, XM, X1, Rokkor, MC lenses are either registered tradenames or trade mark of Milnolta Optical Co. Ltd, Japan. A site dedicted to all Minolta fans worldwide. Made with an Imac.