History Makers: Minolta XD – Giving You a Choice…..1977

As design moved away from manual only to offering Aperture Priority (“Av”) or Shutter Priority (“TV”) as an additional option, the manufacturers of the day were split into two camps.

Pentax, Chinon, Cosina, Fuji, Minolta, Nikon and Yashica all produced Aperture Priority mode cameras, claiming this was because it was a “better” option for users. Canon, Konica, Miranda and others produced Shutter Priority cameras, also claiming because this mode was better than what their rivals were offering.

Of course, they were all talking nonsense. The real reason all the brands rejected one of the modes in favour of the other was because it was easier for them to incorporate their chosen mode into their existing camera designs, saving them a lot of time, money and head scratching in the process.

Minolta were the first company to break ranks, producing the revolutionary XD (sold as the XD-11 in the US and the XD-7 elsewhere). This offered Manual mode, Aperture Priority, and Shutter Priority. 

For various reasons we can never quite fathom, this camera was never really a commercial “hit” but speak to anybody who was serious about photography back in the 70s and they will tell you what a truly great camera it was.

Why force yourself to have to choose between Av and Tv at the point where you are buying your camera, when there is going to be some situations where you need one mode, and others where you need the other!? Well, after 1977, you had to choose no longer. As with all the cameras on this list, other manufacturers had to jump on the bandwagon, or risk serious losses to their business.

Read our previous History Maker posts:
Pentax ME - A helping hand...1976
Olympus OM1 - Smaller is better...1973
Pentax Electro Spotmatic - Aperture priority is born...1971
Pentax Spotmatic - TTL Metering...1963
Asahi Pentax - The Modern SLR is born...1957