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Friday, 31 January 2014


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Dunno - sounds like a gimmick to me.

Probably never catch on.

The problem might be the bio-device you need to couple the two... These are annoyingly slow and of randomly variating precision.

A number of years ago, I was working the counter one evening at my local camera store. Picked up the phone and had a conversation that went something like this:
Customer, "Do you have those automatic Minoltas?"
Me, "Yes, we sell Minolta. Do you know which one you're looking for?"
Customer, "I want one of those automatic ones like I bought in the service, and nobody knows what I'm talking about. I got it in Japan in '68 or '69. I've got all the lenses for it, but no one's got the automatic cameras any more"
Me, "Well, sir, we've got all the XG series automatics, but back in the 60's, Minolta didn't make automatic SLR's."
Customer, "They sure did! All you had to do was look through the lens and turn the f-stop ring until the two little needles lined up, and you automatically had a good picture."
Turned out he had a Minolta SR-T camera with built in match-needle light meter!
Once I figured that out, I told him to come on down, and we'd set him right up.

The heck with the camera. What an interesting example of modernist design in advertising. Angular orientation with embedded triangles, sans serif typefaces jumbled in with old school elements (the silly cherubs, the italic script typeface). Several years ago the museum here acquired and showed a large cache of mostly inter-war Czech modernist design examples headlined by Ladislav Sutnar. Lovely and fascinating to see how graphic design made such a tectonic shift during this period, and how even the nazis adopted it for propaganda during the war.

Re: the Leica...ah, the days when auto-focus really meant Otto-focus.

Thanks for putting this up, Mike and Oren.

Any idea what year that ad ran? Just curious.

Not Cherubs. The Eros statue Piccadilly Circus London

At first glance I thought they were advertising a system whereby small winged creatures would automatically adjust the focus for you.

Not sure if that means I need more coffee, or if I need to lay off the coffee already...

Yes, Mike's right, I was referring to my Summar, made in 1934, and my iiif RD/ST, made in 1954. I was actually going to write "My lens will become...", but the inadvertently resultant tone of such phrasing, as I already used "my" once, reminded me of the annoying woman in an early "Seinfeld" episode who kept repeating "my fiancé." Must remember that clarity is more important than my paranoid associations...still, I can't help but blame the encroaching plutocracy.

My IIIa from 1938 still works perfectly fine, thank you :-)

Dear Mike,


REAL photographers don't need the camera to do their work for them. Any dolt can just turn a dial or push a button. There's no skill or craft in that.

The few "professionals" who will take to this are not really pros, in my opinion.

grumpily yours,


(OK, now how do I get my tongue out of my cheek-- it's developing a cramp)

I have a IIIf and it has been described as "a jewel". Lots of play including cutting the film to fit the spool.

The Summar is a useful lens for portraiture, with nice roundness and softness signatures. Took me a while to hunt one down with no scratches on the inherent soft front element.

Why don't more camera makers make digital rangefinders? Why only Leica and the short-lived Epson (!) RD-1?

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