Sunday, May 12, 2013

Skeletons From The Closet Camera For May: The Minolta Autocord TLR!

Minolta Autocord, May's SFTC Camera
This month's camera actually isn't coming out of the closet - it's never been in there yet. It's a Minolta Autocord, with 75mm f3.5 Rokkor lens. This is a twin lens reflex (TLR) camera that shoots twelve square images on a roll of 120 medium format film. It's very similar in design to the Rolleiflex.
This is my first Minolta TLR. In fact, I have not used much Minolta equipment at all, other than the awesome Rokkor 40mm f2 that I shoot on my Leica CL. I also have a Minolta 45mm f3.5 lens in Leica Thread Mount (LTM), which I'll be shooting for my Whole Lotta Leica series sometime soon. Other than that, I don't have much experience with Minolta equipment.
I ended up with this Autocord after seeing it posted on a forum for a very good price. Once I'd agreed and paid, the seller nicely informed me that he just realized the shutter button was intermittently sticking. So, I decided that I would cancel my order; who wants a camera that may or may not expose an image when you press the shutter release? Well, the seller went one step further, and sent the camera off to Karl Bryan, a highly respected repairman in Oregon who specializes in Autocords. Then, he offered me the fully CLA'd camera for only $75 more than the original asking price. So, I got a fully refurbished camera for a great deal!
Let me tell you that almost everyone considers Rollei to be the top of the line in TLRs, and I agree. I have a couple of nice 3.5 Rolleis (have always wanted but never sprung for a Rolleiflex with f2.8 lens), and they are spectacular. HOWEVER, the view on the ground glass of this Autocord is brighter and prettier than any of my Rolleis. If the taking lens is similar, this is going to be one awesome picture taking machine, and the Autocord lenses have a great reputation. So, I'm really looking forward to seeing some results with this camera.
So, wish me luck! May is a great month to get to know such a gorgeous new/old camera.