Minolta SRT 101, three lenses and collectors disease
Minolta SRT 101 – boxed kit review
You know that photography is the most popular hobby in the world, and photo-gear collecting is linked very closely with taking photos – I think that collecting has a chance to take one of the top places by a number of involved contributors among all other collectors directions. Anyone can be cameras or lens collector, independently of income, lifestyle, and place of living. There was a lot of photo gear that has been produced and every collector can choose the object in a huge variety of prices, rareness, and availability. Usually just what is needed – a few bucks, flea-market or postal office, and a little empty space on a bookshelf.
Collecting photographic equipment – as a phenomenon
The idea of this hobby is more important than it seems at first glance – this is the natural registration of our history – collectors work like private museums. Especially if to keep in mind that they tend to collect things which are in good condition and aren’t going to use gear in the future, just keeping… In most of the cases, but not always – some dinosaurs and a few rebels still use film photography today. Even more – many collectors got a right tuned hands and can restore a damaged gear. Of course, this hobby is linked not only with things which can be touched, but all the same can also be said about documentation, data, serial numbers, blueprints, schemes of design, etc.
I’m not a true collector, but I absolutely agree that I got infected too, and now have an idea to keep a few lenses for the future. Additionally, I’ve found a nice place where serious collectors with a clear target can be spotted and my knowledge about this side of life mostly has been got from there.
A good catch
Suddenly I’ve made the unusual purchase – was looking for the lens, but found a set with a few lenses and camera in one bundle. I saw that this bundle is an idea for the article, and bought it just to make a simple story about well-known items from the past.
To be honest, this purchase can’t be named as ‘amazing catch’, because the camera has signs of use, some elements of the pack is absent, and the price wasn’t about two bucks, but at all, it’s very close to the things which are loved by collectors, I think it can be called as ‘good catch’.
Meet the hero:
Minolta SRT 101 film camera
Most of the information about this item can be found on camerapedia – all necessary data is presented, so here is just a little description of feelings about the current box-set. All must known parameters can be listed in one sentence:
– This is a 35mm film, non-autofocused SLR-camera, with the build-in light-meter, A-mode support, and SR-mount. Actually, ‘A-mode support’ is a key feature for me, it means that anyone can use this camera with the convenience and without a mass of specific knowledge about photography.
One point in plus to symbolism: this is the first article with mention of the camera on the lens.ws. Independently of the fact that it isn’t a formal review, this camera is in the collective now and gets a personal avatar. It sounds like a promise for the full review in the future, actually – not soon, because real film photography is required for this, and I still don’t feel that I’m ready for such experiments.
List of items
- Bottom styrofoam part with a sticker with serial numbers of camera and lens
- User Manual
- ‘How to use interchangeable lenses’ booklet
- Camera case (2 parts)
- Camera strap
- Lens cap (front)
- Lens Minolta MC Rokkor PF 58mm 1:1.4
- Camera Minolta SRT 101
- Battery cell AG13
So, as we can see, at least are absent: polyethylene packets, guarantee list, top part of foam, and maybe something another too (I don’t know – papers, back lens cap, body cap, silica-gel little bag, etc.), on the other hand – this set is full enough. Especially I’m glad to see that serial numbers on the foam/box match with body and lens.
All elements are in used condition, even the box. It seems that the camera and lens have worked many in a previous life, but the exterior is very good, it may be because the owner courted for the kit and used a leather case. Just one dent on the top panel on the front right corner (if top view) looks not good, but nothing serious – durability of this model is legendary, and I confirm – everything works great, at least during checking with illuminated film (I’m not going to take photos with real film at the nearest future). Light-meter works fine too and displays the same measurements as the modern digital camera.
A bit of history
I’m not sure, but it looks like the Minolta SRT line is the most presented camera on modern auctions among any other Minolta brands. May possible, that ‘X’-line (X-700, X-300, etc.) is available in the huge amount too, but I haven’t statistics from second-hand markets, so don’t know what is on the first place.
As you already know via Camerapedia, SRT101 sales started from April 1966 up to 1976. Judging by some features of the body and in accordance with the records of collectors (signed by Andrea Arpa), this particular camera was released ‘around or after 1969’, possible July 1969 – March 1970. On collectors slang, it has a ‘B0 top cover model’.
I can describe this camera as a quite big and definitely heavy steel brick. It is easy to understand fans of the SRT line – a brutal design that helps an owner to feel the energy of planet gravitation in the hands. Even for my neutral opinion, this look is attractive, and the owner will get pleasure when operating the camera.
Some additional photos of SRT 101 with mounted Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 1:1.4 f=58mm:
It is very sexy with a half-case:
Other stuff from the box:
And “ready for battle” kit on the scale:
Minolta SRT 101 + Minolta MC Rokkor PF 58mm 1:1.4
Here I have a good point to tell a little about the lens. As you can predict, this lens will be fully reviewed in the dedicated article with tests as it usually happens with classic lenses on this site – with linked anime-avatar of course, so here just a technical data via minolta.eazypix.de:
|Name engraved on the lens||MC ROKKOR-PF|
This is ‘Steel and Glass’ lens from the second generation of Minolta MC lens line with ‘hills and valleys’ focusing ring. It was the final generation of Minolta lenses without any rubber or plastic elements in construction. Technically, the difference with first MC generation is only in the form of focusing ring – quite deep ‘hills and valleys’ instead of previous ‘flat grip’.
A bit about collector’s classifications:
Collectors use a more detailed selection, based not only on the exterior but labeling too, and in collectors classification, this lens is from the MC II group. It doesn’t matter for other people, even for photographers, but for us, it means the exclusion: one lens with rubberized focusing ring is in this selection – quire rare but not popular Minolta MC Rokkor-PF 1:1.9 f=55mm – don’t forget about it if you are going to collect all MCII lenses,.. or all 55mm lenses, or F1.9 lenses, or rubberized lenses, or… you got it. Sometimes it is not easy to be a collector – some things are hidden from the first view.
I believe that photographers have no need to choose between MCI and MCII generations, because optically both are the same, and small differences only in the shape of focusing ring isn’t a point to care. Actually, the other two lenses of the bunch are from MCI generation.
Minolta MC Rokkor SG 28mm 1:3.5
The next one is Minolta MC W. Rokkor-SG 1:3.5 f=28mm:
As you can see this set definitely isn’t full, it contains only:
- Outer box
- Back cap
The yellow filter HOYA can be the collector’s dream too, especially if collectors of HOYA, or it may be junk, .. don’t know, but it is from another story I’m sure.
At least absent: second inside the brown carton box, front cap, polyethylene bags, papers, silica-gel bag.
But again – it is good to see that serial number on the lens matches serial on the box – 1514982. Another good news – the lens is in great condition. Not ‘mint’, but it has much fewer signs of use than the camera and MC 58mm F1.4.
If I were a better collector, then I would have to continue digging on flea-markets and turn this kit into something like this:
Lens shade and cap are added. Papers, brown boxes, polyethylene, and original silica-gel bag are in the queue.
To be honest, the hood and cap were taken by me from another lens for photo-session only. I didn’t spend time to finding the missing elements of the set, as it requires the collector’s honor.
By the way, how it is correct to call – ‘lens hood’ or ‘lens shade’? After a short research, I believe that ‘hood’ is much more common. Even if you type in Wikipedia search string ‘Lens Shade’ – you will be redirected to article ‘Lens Hood’. On the other hand, Minolta marked boxes as ‘Lens Shade’ and it looks like that true Minolta collectors must call it ‘Shade’.
The technical data via minolta.eazypix.de:
|Name engraved on the lens||MC W.ROKKOR-SG|
So we can see MC lens with a ‘flat grip’ focusing ring. MCI group by collectors classification. But such information isn’t enough – even inside one line ‘MCI’ this lens has two incarnations: with filter diameters 67mm and 55mm. And slightly different body sizes. And with 100 gr (!) difference in weight. This particular lens is the second version with a 55mm filter thread.
Of course, it is ‘Steel and Glass’ lens too, and will be reviewed in the nearest future.
One note: minolta.eazypix.de displays the shade for this lens as D55ND, but it looks like that non-coded shade with the text ‘MINOLTA MC28mm F3.5’ was shipped with this lens too.
Minolta MC Rokkor HF 300mm 1:4.5
Finally, the longest among the whole MC series – Minolta MC Tele Rokkor-HF 1:4.5 f=300mm:
This set is better than the previous one at least because of one element more. I’ve got:
- Outer box
- Back cap
- Front cap
And again I had no luck with a brown carton inside the box, papers, gel, etc. But who cares about it if the lens looks like new? OK, OK, collectors should care… Anyway, this is what I can describe as ‘mint condition’. I’m sure that the owner just try it on the camera a couple of times and forgot about for long years.
In fact, this article was born because of this lens – I was looking for Minolta MC Rokkor 300mm F4.5 for one of the next lens-reviews in ‘hills and valley’ exterior, due for that all reviewed lenses would be from one series, and suddenly found this bunch with Minolta SRT 101 announcement of sale… from Moscow – Russia.
I would not be surprised if it was a camera FED in a box with a Jupiter lens. But Minolta did not supply the gear in the ex-USSR countries until the 1990s. So it’s normal to find Dynax-5 even in Siberia, but old stuff in such sets is extremely rare there. Relatives sold this SRT-101 kit after the death of the owner and the only thing I know so far is that he was an officer in the Soviet army (or KGB ?!). They don’t know anything about how to check lenses and cameras so I bought ‘a pig in a poke’ but everything turned out quite well after I opened the package.
Problem is another: I was looking for ‘hills and valleys’ design but this particular lens is ‘flat grip’… hope it enough for the first time, maybe later will found another one.
The technical data via minolta.eazypix.de:
|Name engraved on the lens||MC TELE ROKKOR-HF|
This is not a just ‘Steel and Glass’ construction, it is better to call as ‘A tons of steel and huge glass amount’.
Historically, this MCI version of the lens was in production about one year before it was redesigned with ‘hills and valleys’ ring, but for today it can be easily found on auctions in both versions. Collectors know that both designs – MCI and MCII were in production at the same time, it is regarding other lenses too, not 300mm only, so the total amount of this MC 300/4.5 is enough on markets even for today. The lens is cheap as it can be. The metal of the body can be sold for bigger money than the average price for lens /joke/.
The serial number on the lens is the same as on the box: 3502401
Build-In hood… That’s what I really think one of the main important skills which were lost by lens producers. Just think about it – anyone like Sony or Canon can make a precision lens with 30+ elements in 50+ groups, but so simple thing like a build-in lens hood is too complicated for them. /sarcasm/
That’s all, actually. For today I can’t add anything new about all mentioned items – all are well known and have been described in a lot of resources, it is better to assume that this material – is like a small introduction into the next test-reviews pack – about MCII and sometimes – MCI Minolta lenses, but before I need to take a lot of test-shootouts, will see results this season.
adrian gachewicz · 2019-04-12 at 16:50
Thank you so much for this blog. Great content and there is something about your posts, what makes them really comfortable and easy to read. I bought x-700 + 50mm f/1.4 MD recently and cannot wait to test it<3
Tony · 2019-04-12 at 17:10
Thanks for the kind words ))) By the way – I also have x-700 and consider this camera one of the best in the whole history. And it’s very compact and ergonomic.. I don’t like that for today our full-frame digital cameras look like fat tanks ))
adriangachewicz · 2019-04-12 at 17:50
Omg, this is exactly how I feel! I mean… I take it in my hands and it literally feels so elegance and pure. It’s great and I am already in love with this cam, seriously. I also made an approach to others like Nikon FM2, Canon AE-1 and similar – great cameras though, but… And I don’t know why, but I just did not feel the same after touching minolta! I feel very comfortable with it already. I planned to buy 35mm f.2,8 to make some wider portraits which I prefer to do. Would you like to reccomend me any other rokkor for this purpose?
Tony · 2019-04-12 at 18:11
Yes yes, feeling of this X-generation in hands is incredible – experience is not needed at all to take pictures with this camera – everything works intuitively. About lenses: personally, I’m not a fan of Rokkors (too many people are fans, I’m an extra))), but New-MD (or MDIII) lenses. And 35/2.8 is one of the best, it even sharper than expensive 35/1.8. If you like 35mm focal distance – this is must have. If to exclude overheated and too expensive lenses, I can say that New-MD 28/3.5 – 35/2.8 – 50/1.4 – 85/2 – 135/2.8 – these lenses work better than it can be expected. But of course, the final list depends on the size of pocket )))
adriangachewicz · 2019-04-12 at 19:04
35/2.8… gonna be mine! ^^ Thank you so much, one more time – you helped me a lot with your professional approach and extremely valuable opinion.
jon campo · 2019-04-22 at 04:47
I just spent way too much time laughing myself silly on your site, I like your sense of humor, and that you validate my conclusion that Minolta lenses are great. OK, I will remember to call it lens “Shade”.
Tony · 2019-04-22 at 11:48
Thanks for ‘like’, you are welcome ))
howiedewing · 2021-08-20 at 00:14
My first 35mm SLR was this camera’s replacement, the SR-T 201. As enormous as this camera seems today, it was of average size for the era. Olympus started the change towards more compact designs, and Canon placticized the industry with its AE1, but Minolta kept their “Nimitz Class” camera production going with the SR-T bodies all the way until the early 80s. Their simple and rugged construction means thousands of them still exist in working order, a testament to the “Mind of Minolta” getting it right.
Tony · 2021-08-20 at 00:42
Hello howiedewing, I absolutely agree with your words. And.. occasionally I do some camera repair work and would like to add to the above that SR-T cameras are quite easy to restore. But yes – these cameras a really heavy (“Nimitz Class” – this sounds like a very accurate description. ))
rene r alva · 2022-10-10 at 00:09
You are so awesome! Thanks for the very informative reviews on a brand I still shoot with!!! What a score on the collection!!! Congratulations!
Tony · 2022-10-10 at 11:32
Thank you. This generation of Minolta cameras will be interesting for an ages ))