Minolta XK Repairs: A Bit of Good News

The Minolta XK (XM/X-1) is a storied camera, a fine example of Minolta innovation introduced in 1972 with interchangeable finders and auto-exposure. It was Minolta’s first stab at a professional camera system, offering 8 seconds to 1/2000 shutter speeds, aperture priority shooting with auto exposure, and nine user-interchangeable focus screens. Today, the XK seems like just another vintage camera to the casual onlooker. However, Nikon and Canon did not match the XK’s autoexposure capability until years later—(Nikon in 1980 with F3 and Canon in 1981 with F-1). Unfortunately, for Minolta, the XK was not a success. The camera did not sell in great numbers, making them relatively expensive collector’s items today.

Those of us who own XKs, love them for what they represent of Minolta’s engineering prowess. However, we also dread the idea of having to get one repaired. Few camera technicians will touch a Minolta XK. In speaking to a former technician trained and employed by Minolta for years, I learned that the XK held a special status within the company. XKs had dedicated techs, so not every camera technician at Minolta was allowed to work on XKs. While having a specialized cadre of XK techs may have made good business sense in 1972, it makes life nerve-wracking for current XK owners. XKs are not cheap, nor are they easy to have repaired. Thus, I dreaded a day would come when I pressed the shutter, and nothing would happen.

Since I began keeping the Minolta Camera and Lens Repair page, two of the four shops that accepted XKs have closed, never to reopen. Things were somewhat bleak until last week. I found two shops that accept XKs for CLA and repair, bringing the current number to four!!! All said they did not have spare parts but can do CLAs (and repairs) if replacement parts were not required.

Pictured above are my XK and X-1. The AE finders are accurate, and both cameras function well. These are not lightweight cameras, but they are remarkably well-balanced. Having seen the listed weight, I expected that using an XK would be like carrying around a barbell. However, weight-wise,  shooting the XK is much like using an XE-7 or SR-T.

Finding two shops that will accept XKs has allowed me to utter a sigh of relief. I know other XK owners will feel the same way, so instead of waiting for the regular monthly update, I thought I’d pass on this good news immediately!

9 Comments

  1. Good on you for sharing this info Jerome!

    Some years ago, I got really into these cameras… and own two.

    The first one I got extremely cheap ($30 USD) due to it’s cosmetic condition. It has a lot off brass showing through, maybe 50% of the finish is worn away… but it’s functional.

    I only bought it on price. I already had a bunch of Minolta lenses and an SRT-101 (family stuff.)

    XK was the next level for me, once I’d learned of them.

    My second XK is near mint, but arrived with some shutter issues. I had Mark Hama repair it, and it’s been great since then. This was three or so years ago, and he was the only one who would attempt working on it.

    I have 4 viewfinders for them; M, AE, AES, and H. A handful of focusing screens…. though I’m still looking for a H focus screen, for astrophotography (my other hobby) and those almost never appear in the wild.

    Superb cameras, I need to get mine out again and run a few rolls, it’s been awhile.

    1. Author

      Hi, it’s always great to hear from another XK owner. You have a great finder collection—I have only the two. I haven’t shot mine as much as I’d like. But they are great to use. Happy shooting!

  2. Just have curiosity, are the two shops you found included on your list of repair facilities? If so, can you advise which ones they are? Thanks!

    1. Author

      Yes, they on the list. Shops that repair XKs, Autocords, and CLÉ have red writing under models repaired .

      Factory Camera in Vancouver; Kenmar Camera in Minnesota

  3. Since the late 1970s, the XM has been my dream camera. Never saw one, but I had “The Minolta SRT Manual” to stir my curiosity. I knew they looked ugly to some but I saw beauty in the beast that has never faded. I still never saw or touched one until last year courtesy of eBay! I now have 2 (an XM and XK). I got lucky because both are still working. Amazing after 50 years! Now, just in case the day comes that they start giving trouble, I have your wonderful resource to refer to for help. Many thanks for keeping this together. I too, share your passion for this wonderful camera.

    1. Author

      Hi,
      It’s always good to hear from a like-minded Minolta fan. The repairs list is just my way of trying to put some good into the world. Enjoy your masterpieces! Happy shooting!!!

  4. I’ve been wary of the XK for similar reasons, plus that meter on/off sensor strip on the front seems…fiddly. Love my ready-for-battle XE-7, however.

    Thank you for keeping your repair shop page up to date. It’s a great resource.

    1. Author

      Glad that you find the repair listings page helpful!

      XKs can be fiddly, but shooting with them is a great experience. My X-1 one works fine.

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