Tag Archives: Minolta

Posts about Minolta photographic equipment

Lucky … no, not my cat.

“Luck, that’s when preparation and opportunity meet” – Pierre Trudeau

… yeah, I have a cat named Lucky … cause he is.

Sooooo, in my current hunt for broken stuff I decided to go back to a risky comfort zone item. This is the Minolta-35 LTM rangefinder camera.

The risk part is the high probability of finding one that has a degraded shutter, and replacing shutters is not something I like to do … I’ve attempted it a couple of times and it ain’t easy.

The comfort part … well, I’ve probably worked on about a half a dozen of these.

Anyway, I took a chance on an auction and got a body with a lens at a pretty low price … and luck was on my side, the shutter is in almost working condition !!! Woo Hooo !! Bonus !! The rest of the camera I really did not care about as I have two parts bodies sitting on my desk.

… and after I restore it, someone will be lucky to be a new owner of a working Minolta-35.

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Cleaning the cat … 500mm reflex

I wanted to try out this oddity of a lens. I shoot a lot of wildlife, so a long focal length lens is handy. Even handier is a physically short and lightweight lens. I snagged this lens for a bit less than normal because there was obvious dust/stuff inside.

I first thought of just removing the front element by unscrewing the ring … but it would not budge. I checked the web, and others show a disassembly … Ok, doesn’t look that hard.

Tools – philiips screwdriver, cleaning stuff, and painters tape

First thing to do is get the tape out, set the lens to infinity focus and place a tape reference on the outside between outer focus ring and body.

TIP: try not to rotate anything during disassembly.

Next you need to take off the PCB board with the contacts. There are two screw holding it on and there is a spring underneath one side.

Next remove the screws from the mounting ring.

Pull off the mounting ring a bid and then maneuver the PCB through the hole to separate them.

The outer body is held on by the four screws.

Note that the PCB and chip are attached to this part, so try not to damage it … and it sits in a slotted area.

At this point you might want to get the tape out again and make more reference marks on any rotatable parts.

In order to remove this rotating focus collar you will need to remove some gears … make a tape reference to its position.

Tip: pull the lens while slowly unscrewing, and as soon as the two release place a tape marker. You’ll thank me when you put it back together.

Two screws hold the gears on.

Try not to lose any parts when you remove it … and also try to keep the lube.

Pull off the column.

Then just unscrew the two parts.

Clean up, and try not to scratch the mirrors.

Those tape marks will come in handy to make sure you correctly get the correct position of everything.

Holy Schmidt-Spiegel Batman … its the Minolta 500mm reflex !!!

The Minolta Maxxum AF 500mm f/8 Relex lens was brought out in 1989, and is a Schmidt-Cassegrain catadioptric lens.

In 1672, Laurent Cassegrain designed a telescope using two mirrors to reflect incoming light to the eyepiece. This design corrected spherical aberrations and also made the telescope shorter. Later on the Catadioptric system was created, and his utilized both refraction and reflection … corrective lenses and mirrors.  In 1930 Bernhard Schmidt redesigned the mirror shape and added an aspherical lens to correct for coma, and astigmatism aberrations. The Schmidt-Cassegrain design is currently one of the most popular telescope design used today … and it also caused many camera lens manufacturers to use that also. Almost everybody made one (well not really), but Minolta was the only one to incorporate it into their Auto Focus system.

The Maxxum 500mm reflex is a stubby barrel of a lens. Due to the way it is designed it can produce donut or crescent shaped bokeh … which probably explains why this lens is not more popular. As I mentioned before, this is an AF lens which can support centre point focus … and since this is a gear driven lens, the body has a direct influence on AF speed. You’ve got one aperture size of f8 so it can cause the AF to hunt … IQ is pretty good on this lens … you just have to know how to work the bokeh … overall I really like this small handful lens.

eBay … Autocord.

Hmm, was just hunting eBay for Minolta Autocords … I don’t know why I keep looking for these cameras … and I notice that the price has been really jacked up.

I just saw one that commented on a fugly one that it has great patina ? Really ? It really is need of a thorough CLA … and it has the classic bent focus knob … way too much $$$ for a starting price.

I wonder if this has anything to do with my blog … hmmm, maybe I am thinking too highly of myself … but I do constantly see that my Autocord posts are still the most actively viewed ones.

Yes, it is a great camera … but not worth that much (that some of these people are asking), its almost like Rollei prices.

FYI: for those that want a great TLR, you should hunt for a Ricoh Ricohmatic 225 … it has a great lens and can still be found cheap (most of the time). I still keep my eye out for one with the Color-Back 225 35mm film adapter kit.

The living dead

“It is not more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection.” ― Voltaire

I thought I would post an image with all three of the cameras that I have worked on so far.

All three are now in working condition. Actually I have gone through four Autocords, three 35’s, and two chrome 50mm’s … these just happen to be the last ones that I have now off the bench.

The Minolta Autocord has new grey Griptac leatherette from Cameraleather.com. The Minolta-35 has some nice brown leatherette, from eBay seller camera-shop-pl, that I custom cut. The Canon IIF didn’t need a recovering.

I will say that restoring/repairing is quite satisfying … cameras are supposed to take pictures, so having one that is just a broken mantel piece does not fit well with me. I would like to restore all the cameras that I have, but sometimes you just can’t … some things are just broken beyond repair or replacement parts no longer exist (though that leads to buying more cameras).