The 5 Best Minolta Film Cameras You Can Buy in 2024

Editor’s Key Takeaways: Top Minolta Film Cameras to Buy Today

Best Minolta Film Cameras

Here is a summary of the blog post “Best Minolta Film Cameras in 2024“.

  • The article introduces Minolta as a renowned brand in film photography, noting its significant influence on modern photographic technology.
  • It emphasizes why Minolta cameras are a great choice for photographers, highlighting their historical importance and compatibility with modern Sony lenses.
  • Key innovations pioneered by Minolta, such as autofocus and Shutter Priority mode, are mentioned to underline the brand’s role in camera technology evolution.
  • The article presents a guide to the best Minolta film cameras, including:
  • Minolta X-570
  • Minolta XD-11
  • Minolta Maxxum 600si
  • Minolta X-700
  • Minolta CLE
  • Minolta SRT 101

The Minolta X-570, in particular, is touted as an excellent introduction to Minolta, due to its combination of manual controls and digital features like Shutter and Aperture Priority modes.

Overall, the blog post underscores that Minolta cameras are not only great for operational use but also hold a special place in photographic history.

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Introduction

If you were around during film photography’s prime, then you’re sure to know about Minolta, a leading camera manufacturer that influenced much of our modern photographic technology. Minolta cameras are a gem to use, and so if you’re looking for a great film camera, a Minolta is a fantastic choice!

Here is our guide to the best Minolta film cameras you can still buy in 2024. And trust me: They’re worth the search!

Most Recommended
Our Pick
Minolta X-570 SLR Camera With A 50mm f/1.7 Lens
Minolta X-570

An excellent introduction to Minolta cameras with both manual and automatic features.

Also great
Minolta XD-11
Minolta XD-11

Perfect for serious film shooters, it offers more advanced features than the X-570.

Budget Pick
Minolta Maxxum 600si
Minolta Maxxum 600si

Best for outdoor photography and packed with digital features for a film camera.

Expert Pick
Minolta X-700 35MM SLR Film Camera with MD mount lens System. Included 50mm f/2 Manual Focus Lens (Renewed)
Minolta X-700

A top-of-the-line SLR model from the 1980s, similar to the X-570 but with Program mode.

Why Choose Minolta? 

For photographers looking to delve into film, a Minolta camera is a perfect choice. Not only was Minolta once one of the leading film camera brands, but modern-day Sony lenses can fit on old Minolta mounts! This is because Sony purchased much of Minolta when launching their digital cameras.

Minolta actually pioneered a lot of our digital camera technology used today. From autofocus and Shutter Priority mode to in-body image stabilization, Minolta led the way in innovation. So Minoltas aren’t just great to use; they’re cameras that have a special place in history.  

(This remains true of Minolta’s lens lineup, too. It’s still very sought after!)

The cameras featured below feel like hybrids. On the one hand, they do have some digital technology. On the other hand, they’re primarily pieces of manual equipment. When using a Minolta camera, you make your own exposure and settings adjustments, but digital tools will aid you along the way. That should be especially comforting for photographers who are new to the film photography world.

The Best Minolta Film Cameras

1. Minolta X-570

Our Pick
Minolta X-570
Released in 1983!

If you are lucky, you can still find the Minolta X-570 as a second hand camera.

Pros
User-friendly features for beginners.
High ISO capability for various lighting.
Depth of field preview for creative shots.
Durable and reliable design.
Cons
Manual focus may challenge beginners.
Older technology limits some modern conveniences.
Potential difficulty in finding replacement parts.

Considered the best introduction to Minolta, the Minolta X-570 is a mighty fine piece of imaging equipment. The Minolta X-570 came to fruition in 1983, but it’s still relatively easy to find in 2024. 

The X-570 features Minolta’s Shutter and Aperture Priority modes, which offer a little touch of digital elegance in an otherwise manual camera. They also make film photography less overwhelming. The auto-exposure lock aids in capturing multiple images at a similar exposure, and the 3200 maximum ISO is plenty high for many shooting situations! 

Minolta X-570 SLR Camera With A 50mm f/1.7 Lens
Minolta X-570 SLR Camera With A 50mm f/1.7 Lens (Image from Amazon)

The added depth of field preview button is a great asset for shallow depth of field photographers and will help you create beautifully artistic results. The shutter speed goes up to 1/1000s – quite fast for technology from the 80s.

2. Minolta XD-11

Also Great
Minolta XD-11
Minolta XD-11
Best for serious film shooters

Professionals who need more features than the X-570 offers will appreciate the XD-11.

Pros
All of the features of the X-570 plus many more
Better ISO than other models
Excellent exposure metering
Can be used without a battery
Cons
Not as user friendly
Parts for maintenance can be really hard to find

For the professional shooters out there, the Minolta XD-11 is a masterpiece. The well-constructed metal body is lightweight, so carrying the camera long distances is a breeze, and the camera sports a nice metallic finish for a bit of stylistic flair.

Out of all the Minolta cameras on this list, the XD-11 has the best ISO range. Its metering capabilities are tremendous and will help you achieve perfect exposures with far greater ease than other film cameras. 

The Minolta X line was one of the first camera series to feature Shutter Priority and Aperture Priority modes. All of the automatic modes do require the battery in order to work, but if the battery has died on you or you’ve accidentally misplaced it, you can still use the entire camera if you operate it manually!

3. Minolta Maxxum 600si

Minolta Maxxum 600si
Minolta Maxxum 600si
Best for outdoor film photography

Looking for a durable film camera? The Maxxum 600si will be your best friend.

Image from eBAy

Pros
Amazing steel body with durable and reliable weather sealing
Lots of digital features packed into a film camera
Whopping 1/12000s shutter speed
Cons
Harder to find than other models
Quite heavy
Very loud

The Minolta Maxxum 600si was first released in 1999, and its design is similar to today’s DSLRs. It also packs some great professional features.

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The body is completely weather proof and exceptionally durable. The chassis is made of steel, so the camera can easily handle some bumps and even rain without issue. Many of the components and buttons have locks to prevent accidental clicking while shooting. And the controls light up in the dark. 

The metering system is superb and offers highly accurate exposure calculations. The shutter speed is no laughing matter, either; it can reach up to 1/12000s. And there are lots of DSLR-esque features packed into the Maxxum 600si, which should make the transition easier for digital users.

4. Minolta X-700

Minolta X-700
An amazing professional camera

Packed to the brim with features, the X-700 is another fantastic introduction to Minolta.

Pros
All of the same feautes as the X-570 but with Program mode included
Offers a depth of field preview button
Uses through-the-lens metering
Includes exposure compensation
Cons
Can be hard to find
Expensive

In 1981, the Minolta X-700 was considered a top-of-the-line SLR model. Note that it’s very similar to the X-570 (listed above), though it does feature a Program mode (which the X-570 lacks).

The reason this model isn’t higher up on the list is that it’s tough to find in 2024 (though it’s certainly not impossible, as our Amazon link shows)! The lack of supply is, however, reflected in the price.

Minolta X-700 35MM SLR Film Camera with MD mount lens System. Included 50mm f/2 Manual Focus Lens (Renewed)
Minolta X-700 35MM SLR Film Camera with MD mount lens System. Included 50mm f/2 Manual Focus Lens (Renewed) (Image from Amazon)

Features include through-the-lens metering, depth of field preview, exposure compensation, a self-timer, an exposure lock, a film safe-load indicator, a frame counter, and so much more. This camera’s compact build makes it very portable and quite inconspicuous compared to larger models.

5. Minolta CLE

Minolta CLE
Image from eBay
Minolta CLE
A Leica-Minolta fusion masterpiece

This stunning rangefinder camera plays beautifully with Leica’s assortment of gear, though it is quite pricey.

Pros
Lots of modes and features to choose from
Leica-style body
Such a great build
Photos look stunning
Cons
Extremely expensive, especially for such an old model
Tough to find a repair shop
1600 maximum ISO

The Minolta CLE is the most expensive film camera on our list, and to be fair, it has quite the reputation. The CLE is a rangefinder camera, which means that the focus will be impressive due to rangefinder technology. 

The camera features fully manual modes as well as digital modes like Aperture and Shutter Priority, so there is no excuse for bad photographs! The viewfinder is very large, making it easy to compose your shots.

As an M-mount camera, the CLE is compatible with a limited selection of older lenses, though the ones it does work with are truly outstanding. Leica produces M-mount lenses, so you’ll certainly find some great options.

6. Minolta SRT 101

Minolta SRT 101 35MM SLR Film Camera
Minolta SRT 101 35MM SLR Film Camera
The perfect manual classic for the purist photographer

Learn photography basics, durable, manual control, timeless, affordable, lens compatibility.

Pros
Fully mechanical operation ensures reliability even without batteries
Compatible with a wide range of high-quality Minolta MD and MC lenses
Built-in light meter aids in manual exposure settings
Durable and rugged design built to last
Cons
Completely manual operation may not appeal to those looking for automatic features
Light meter requires a mercury cell battery, which needs an alternative modern battery or adapter

The Minolta SRT 101, released in the late 1960s, stands as a testament to the golden era of film photography. Esteemed for its sturdy construction and mechanical precision, this camera offers a purely manual experience, from focus to exposure. Its simplicity and reliability make it a favorite among photography enthusiasts who appreciate the tactile feedback and control that come with shooting film.

Unlike the more automated options in the list, the SRT 101 demands a deeper understanding of photography basics, making it an invaluable tool for learners and purists alike. The satisfaction of manually dialing in the perfect exposure is unmatched, providing a hands-on learning experience that modern digital cameras often bypass.

Equipped with a TTL (Through-The-Lens) light meter, the SRT 101 assists photographers in achieving accurate exposures in a variety of lighting conditions. While it does require a battery for the light meter, the camera’s core mechanical functions remain operational without it, ensuring you’re never caught off guard.

Minolta SRT 101 35MM SLR Film Camera with Lens Attached
Minolta SRT 101 (Image from eBay)

For those drawn to the craft of photography, the Minolta SRT 101 is not just a camera but a companion on the journey to mastering the art of film. Its robust design, coupled with the exceptional quality of Minolta lenses, ensures that each shot is not just captured but crafted with intention.

Pick the Right Minolta Film Camera

These days, Minolta cameras are rare. But the five models listed here bring something wonderful to the table. They’re worth both the price and the effort it takes to procure them.

Our overall favorite camera is the Minolta X-570 as it combines accessibility, a decent price, great features, and a lovely design into one amazing package. Our second-place model is the Minolta XD-11; it, too, packs highly advanced features. 


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