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Minolta X-300s Film SLR Joins The Crew

Minolta X-300s Film SLR 28-70mm ZoomUntil I can afford a Digital SLR, old film models will have to scratch that itch! Since I got my SRT 101 Film SLR, I'm always on the look-out for other Minolta's at our local car-boot sale every Sunday Morning. I had just passed on a very bashed up SRT 102, which had the film cover hanging off and the aperture ring stuck, when I came across this little beauty.

"We used to use this at the Estate Agents" the lady said as I examined the near-mint looking Minolta, complete with flash and case.

"How much do you want for it?" I asked.

"£4" She replied.

Needless to say the money was in her hand and I was chuffed at picking up another Film SLR....

Minolta X-300s Film SLR With 28-70mm MD Zoom Lens
Minolta X-300s Film SLR 28-70mm Zoom

Ok, so a few weeks ago I picked up a lovely SRT 101 Film SLR, then got a 135mm lens for it - so I guess you could say that I've been bitten by the Film SLR bug. I may still be on my second roll of film, but everything feels so right when using one of these old cameras - like you're really taking photographs, not just snapping away.

I've done a bit of research since I got the SRT 101 - Minolta was probably the biggest player in the Film SLR market from the '60's to the '80's - but they got bought out by Konica and finally both companies went bust in 2006.

What Minolta left behind was a legacy of fantastic cameras and beautiful lenses - yet because the big names are now Nikon and Canon, the used price of bodies and lenses is very reasonable, especially if you go for the old manual focusing models that use MC and MD lenses.

Minolta X-300s Film SLR 28-70mm Zoom

The X-300s came out in about 1990 - its the European version of the X-9 - and its the last of the Minolta Manual-Focusing SLR's. It can take MC or MD lenses, which means I can use the 50mm 1.4 and 135mm Rokkor lenses that I've already got.

Unlike the SRT101, my new X-300s has an automatic exposure mode - aperture priority. Set the shutter speed to "A", then as you change the aperture the camera automatically changes the shutter speed. Brilliant! The fully manual operation of the SRT 101 was easy enough to use, but I can't deny that being able to just set an aperture, then forget about shutter speed is a blessing, and if I want to slow down or have complete creative control, manual controls are just a click away.

The Minolta X-300s has a much better focusing ring - it has the micro-prism (like the SRT 101) but it also has a split-image rangefinder. This is a lot easier to use, if you're out of focus the subject "splits" down the middle, a bit hard to explain, but it works well.

The X-300s is a lot lighter than my SRT - the plastic body explains that - it feels more like a digital, and I think I'll be much more likely to take it along in my camera bag, as the SRT was just a little bit too heavy to lug around with my Digital Camera.

The X-300s comes with a hot-shoe for triggering the flash I got with it, but it doesn't have the mirror lock-up or depth of field preview button of the SRT 101.

Minolta 28-70mm F3.5-4.8 MD Zoom Lens
Minolta 28-70mm F3.5-4.8 MD Zoom Lens

This camera came with a 28-70mm Zoom lens, with macro function too. Its rated at F3.5 at the wide end, and F4.8 when at full telephoto. The filter thread is damaged, so I'm not sure if I'll be able to put a lens cap or Cokin Adapter on it, but to be honest I've already stuck my Rokkor 50mm F1.4 Prime on it!

Minolta X-300s Film SLR 50mm 1.4 Prime

So, am I pleased with my £4 outlay? Too right! The sheer weight difference between the SRT and the X-300s means that I'm more likely to have it with my when I'm out shooting with my Digital, which is always a good thing - more photographers luck!

Thanks, Rob.

Reader Comments (11)

I still hae it though hae not shot with it since my baby started crawling. Gone digital after that for focussing a crawling baby was difficult with it. Six years or so it is in the storage. A beauty indeed. Still with the original lens and a set of filters. The right side grip is a bit cracked else in good condition. Am researching for a DSLR when the fond memories of X300S made me climb up a stool and bring it down from the storage.

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSubs

Hi Subs,

Get some new batteries, a roll of film and shoot some frames - taking film photographs, and getting the prints, is so rewarding!

Cheers, Rob.

November 20, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

I've got one just like that. It's 15 years old and it works perfectly! I really love it.

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterBea

Excellent! They're great cameras!

October 8, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

I had an X-300s - what a great camera, nearly all the pics on my portfolio where shot with it - built like a nuclear bunker, so quick to use and easy to focus (for an autofocus) had to sell it with 2 lenses & converters when I was 24 to pay some bills - I had a tear in my eye that day, i can tell you. Use Nikon gear now, but would love to have my old 300s again.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrich

Hi Rich!

Great photos on the links from your site, truly wonderful colours and images!

Cheers, Rob.

January 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

couple of questions:

1. how much would a x300s sell for today?

2. my x300s has developed white marks and i see the body chipping off - what can be done to avoid more damage?

thx in anticipation.

February 21, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterzona

Hi Zona,

Probably for between £10 to £50, depending on the condition and lens. I'd keep the camera in a bag when you can to protect it, otherwise don't worry, think about the damage as a badge of honor!

Thanks, Rob.

February 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRob_Nunn

I'm using this too! With a very old and blurred out VITACON 28-70mm lens. xD I'm looking for a new len, maybe a converter to other brand would be best.
I don't think someone would tolorate the condition like that but I did! cause I love the feeling of loud shutter noise and the solid feeling unlike the silent DSLR. I use the D-5000 and it claim to be the most silent nikon SLR. Other than that film is what you can change often, and it's solid. You won't lose your shot cause the computer is broken!! That's what film win it.

July 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWora

Hi there,
I am about to purchase a new OLD x300s msyelf. I have still have my old one, but the wind mechanism is kaput, and i figure it will cost the same to buy second hand as to have it fixed.
I absoluttely loved it, and had results I was happy with.
I have had far lesser results with my Pentax k100 DSLR. I am currently looking to upgrade my DSLR...and am stuck between sticking with a Pentax so I have the use of my old lenses and the anti shake, and the simplicity, ...getting a second hand 5D, and saving my pennies for a Sony A900. I may be wrong in figuring this, but if Sony bought out KonixMinolta which was previously Minolta...and they do Zeiss lenses, there must be something good coming out of that!!

What are your thoughts? Any tips/hints?

December 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Hi Andrea,

Sony is a viable option, and the Zeiss glass is reputed to be very good indeed. The 5d mk II is an amazing camera, but again it's the glass that'll make the difference.

It's hard to make a recommendation, there are so many good cameras out there, but I don't think you'd go wrong with either of those cameras.

Thanks, Rob.

December 5, 2010 | Registered CommenterRob_Nunn

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