One of our neighbours had been to the house and noticed that I collect old cameras. She mentioned that she had some old cameras lying around somewhere and that she would try to find them. A little later I bumped into her and she mentioned that she had found one and was looking for the other. Last Friday she passed by to drop of the camera she had found.
It’s a Minolta SrT 201. As you can see from the pictures it’s not in great shape. There are a number of dents and the the leatherette is coming off in places. More significantly the shutter won’t fire. It came in a worn bag with a number of other items: what looks like a 75mm f4.5 Kodak Anastigmat (completely corroded and with a tube of some sort crookedly attached to the base); something labelled a Kevtar 20-32mm f14 zoom lens that seems to have lost it’s base entirely (the focussing helical is exposed); A handle, which looks as if it was attached to a bracket or a winder at some point; A Hoya 49mm +4 filter; a Minolta SR-meter-2, which might work if I put a new battery in. Finally there is a Certificate of Registration for Personal Effects Taken Abroad dated 8/24/82 and signed by a Mr. Louis Bernstein so I guess he must have left the US (perhaps on vacation, perhaps on business – who knows?) and taken the camera with him.
It also came with two lenses. The first is a Telesar 37-105mm f3.5 macro zoom -two touch with zoom and focus separated. It’s a very heavy lens with a 72mm Spiralite coated skylight filter attached. Something is loose and it’s quite hard to focus. With a little effort, however, it can be focused. From my research I find that Telesar lenses were not considered to be very good. This one is very soft wide open, but quite a bit sharper as you stop down. It also seems very prone to flare. You’d definitely need a lens hood. I don’t really see myself using it much.
The second lens is a different story. It’s a Minolta MD Rokkor-x, 50mm f1.7 (with Vivitar 55mm Skylight filter and slightly beat up Minolta lens cap). It works perfectly.
I already have an adaptor for using Minolta MD lenses on my NEX 5n so I tried them out (I didn’t go far with the heavy Telesar though). As mentioned above I wasn’t too happy with the results from the Telesar. I was much more impressed with the Minolta. Pictures can be found in two other posts: Around Canopus Lake and On Pelton Pond.
I have a weakness for Minolta cameras. My first serious camera was a Minolta Hi-matic 7sii (I still have it) given to me as a present by my wife. My first digital SLR was a Konica-Minolta 5D and my current digital SLR is the Konica-Minolta derived Sony Alpha 500. I had been thinking about getting an SrT and this prompted me to spend a few enjoyable hours researching older Minoltas. It’s a pity the shutter doesn’t work on this one as I could have lived with the dents and the worn leatherette. I might still get an SrT and I now have a much better ideas of which one I would want. I also got a nice lens I can use on older Minolta bodies and on my Sony NEX. So thanks to our neighbour Muriel for the gift.