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Saturday, 24 September 2011


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I used to have a Yashica Mat 124G many years ago that took stupendously good quality photos. Why I got rid of it I'll never know (oh yes, needed some quick money). Wish I still had it though!

Ah, my first decent camera. I had the non meter one. Lens was sharp as a tack. As good as the Rollie's back in the early 60's.

The Autocord was a great camera. I used one once that I borrowed from a friend and have been tempted several times lately to buy one on ebay. I may yet.

Heh, thanks mate!
Crank reversing button? Did I ever know that was there and what it's for?

Carl wrote "...Lens was sharp as a tack. As good as the Rollie's back in the early 60's."

Clicking the link to an Autocord instruction book at Butkus.org will illustrate why it was/is *sharper* than a Rollie, in the early 60s or any time. In this Minolta, film feeds straight from the supply spool across the gate, not making its right turn until after exposure, when it bends 90 degrees to reach the take up spool. Most other twin lens cameras, including Rolleis, have paths that bend the film before exposure. Acetate-based film takes a "set" if left on a roller; my tests have shown this to occur in 15 seconds under some ambient conditions. Then, when advanced to make the next exposure, that kink will cause the film to bulge away from the lens. Reverse-curl paths in medium format SLR backs can take an even greater toll on sharpness.

Film flatness is absolutely critical for sharpness. I'm convinced that a straight-across path is just as responsible for the Mamiya 7's outstanding resolution as are its lenses.

I have a Yashica A here. It's a seriously no frills camera, but the results are lovely.

Loved my Yashica Mat. Got a Fuji GF670 to replace it only when the winder mechanism got so flaky I could no longer rely on it taking a picture. The jury is still out on whether the Fuji was a better choice than another TLR - a rangefinder handles very differently from a WLF - but I do love the compact size and the quality of the shots I get.

Still using my Yashica A. Great photos with Ektar 100.

Wow, I never knew Minolta made TLRs. Thanks for sharing. My dad used to shoot family pics with the Yashicamat. I used it few times myself as a little boy. Recently, I found a good used Rollieflex. I am loving it ....takes me back in time. Cheers!!

Wow. I have a Mamiya C220 downstairs that I haven't touched since 1995. Gets me to thinkin'…

If this is the same Lazy Aussie I'm thinking of - and I mean, how many lazy Aussies could there be in Perth? - he also has an excellent blog called The Worst of Perth showcasing some of the architectural and cultural lowlights of our fine city: http://theworstofperth.com/

Well I'm glad if some others dust off their medium formats too after this. I'm not going to unearth the old Nikon 35mm because my digital does it better, but the medium format is still holding up very well.

The kick off was finally getting a scanner that took 120 film. I actually only meant to scan my old medium format archives, but the scans were looking so good I decided to shoot some.

Sniff, I love the Minolta Autocord. At one point, I had 5 of them, and then someone talked me into selling them on the advent of digital photography, but I kept one of them; still wish I had the five! Still shoot with it at least once every few months, still amazed at the quality, still loved the handling and ergonomics: Rollei's had to be juggled between two hands to use all the functions when shooting, you had to have both hands working, Autocords could be held in one hand, and everything else could be controlled with the other...perfect...especially for a left hander...

BTW, there was a little camera store in Wauwatosa Wisconsin, around 88th and North or so, called Colony Camera, out of business now, but the guy was sort of a Minolta aficianado, and had ALL the Autocord permutations up on a shelf, from the very early, to the 120-220 Cds cell version. I remember them distinctly, wish I knew where they were now...back in the early 90's, I was picking them up for about 80 bucks a pop from old wedding photographers, when I could find a clean copy, now they're too too much on eBay!

I still keep my Minolta Autocord TLR (non-meter, circa 1958). I have owned more than a dozen film and digital cameras. Almost all of them are now sold but the Autocord is the only one that I cannot be parted with. Someday people may grab it from my cold dead hand, but until then ...

Chiangrai, Thailand. 2010.

I had a Yashica D that I picked up new in 1969 at the old Baker's Photo in Washington DC. for $70. (Mike, you will likely remember that amazing place and Proctor, God rest his cranky soul).

I loved that camera and it took the nicest sharp photos. Sadly, it met its end against the rocks of the Maine coast in 1993 when I slipped and it was either it or me in the drink. I can still remember the clunky sound it made in death...

I learned to shoot on Yashica D's in High School, lugging the metal monsters to Yearbook shoots for two years. A year or so ago, I (tipsily--never drink and visit the vintage photography section on ebay!) purchased a 124G on ebay and am absolutely in love with it. Aside from it's wonderful technical qualities, it is a sure conversations starter leading to some great street portraits.

I have a meterless ca. 1965 Autocord. It's what I get out of the closet when I feel like I'm in the old photographic rut. I should do more 6x6, but the costs are just too big to swallow right now; maybe I'll eventually get a Panasonic MFT camera and get "native" square format that way. I'm pretty much a small format guy anyway, even if I have massive appreciation for larger formats.

Anyway, I live in Sweden – home of Hasselblad! – and when I take my Autocord out I often get asked if it's an old Hasselblad. I'm not aware of Hasselblad ever having made TLR cameras, but eventually I guess I'll get tired of explaining and just answer yes.

"(Mike, you will likely remember that amazing place and Proctor, God rest his cranky soul)"

I do, I do. I am still using the tripod that I got from Mr. Baker. He allowed me to trade in my Konica Varifocal for it, a very early "zoom."


I feel like I should chime in on this one. After having purchased a used Leica film camera about a year ago, I stumbled upon your site. I loved shooting with my Leica and was amazed by the images. Well this activity of shooting film again caused me to dust off my old Roleiflex TLR. My grandfather gave it to me back in '88 or so. I really do love the glass and the 6x6 format. I will continue to shoot medium format as long as there will be film to put into it.

My father bought a Yashica A in the 1960's and after he moved on to a Konica C35 I used it as a kid and made tiny contact prints in an improvised darkroom in the attic! Nostalgic, but the quality of the camera and of the negatives was superb. I still have it and maybe I will put a roll of film through it!

About ten years ago I was itching to try medium format and after doing some web searching I decided to try an Autocord. I couldn't believe it the day I stopped at a local camera shop in Seneca Falls, NY (a simply great camera shop that I would drop into a couple of times a year) and there sat an Autocord on the counter top. I purchased it immediately! I used it for a year or so but finally Canon came out with the d Rebel and it's been digital ever since. What I loved about the Autocord and what it taught me was an appreciation of bokeh. My impression at the time was that I had never seen such a smooth transition from in focus to blur. That lens came as close to giving a 3D feel as anything I had seen. I'd love to be able to mount that Rokkor lens on my DSLR today.

The camera I like the most and use the least is an old Rollei 2.8f that has been on the shelf for about a decade. Time to go buy some Ektar 100 and get busy!

@ Jeff S.:

I know what you mean about the Autocord lens giving a "3D feel." Here's a thread from over a decade ago where I was looking for a view camera lens that evinced a similar look as the one on my Autocord:


FYI, I never did find one that produced a similar look and I'm now shooting digital with an SLR, so it's moot.

Jeffery Goggin,
So, what lenses are you using on your SLR, then? Inquiring minds want to know!

Will Frostmill

@ Will:

I'm using a Contax 645 with Contax-made Zeiss lenses. I do have a modified Mamiya 50mm/f4 shift lens that I use with it as well and I'm also working on a shift adapter that will allow me to use various Hasselblad V-series lenses, but for the most part, I'm happy with the Contax lenses. They don't have the "3D" look the Autocord lens has, but I like the look they do have!

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