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B. Minolta , Autocord 1950's

Discussion in 'User Reviews' started by PeteE, Nov 9, 2017.

  1. Andrew Flannigan

    Andrew Flannigan Well-Known Member

    Yes. That's the intermoron for you. I've used both the C33 and the C330, marvelous if bulky cameras with very good lenses. More or less half the price of the SLR 6x6 ranges and tough as old boots. Avoid the chrome lenses if you can because spares are rare but still worth a punt if the price is right. Some samples...

    Librarian at Exeter.jpg


    RAF Black Hawk and Pilot.jpeg

    I'd avoid the Microcord. The wind mechanism is fragile and I've had two specimens fail. Repair will cost far more than it's worth. The Microflex has a good reputation but they're rare. I've never seen one.
  2. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    For me the auto cord is the best bet, and has a fantastic lens, And also has the best film wind of any of them. However although the focus mechanism is also the best of the lot. The focus lever is a zinc casting. The problem is not so much the lever as the age of the grease which like Agfa grease hardens over time. And after all these years needs replacing. If you force one you will break it.

    This is a common problem with all cameras of this age and all will require servicing and the lubrication replaced. To get them back to reasonable condition.

    I used. Rolleflexes and Autocords through out my professional career. Rather more Rolleflexes it is true. But there was little difference in the results.

    I tested but never used Yashicamats, as Autocords were better in every way.
  3. neilt3

    neilt3 Well-Known Member

    Regards the Minolta Autocord focus lever .
    It's not a design flaw .
    Mine works perfectly , the movement is lovely and smooth , requiring no effort .
    What the problem is is that after fifty or sixty years the grease has dried up and become stiff , especially if it's been badly stored and unused .
    If it's like that and you continue to force it , then yes , you'll snap the lever off !
    If you have your gear , tools , car etc serviced when required , they last . neglect them , and they break down .

    The Mamiya TLR's are a good range as well , I have a few of them and the full range of lenses .
    The bodies are all spot on , though at some point I need to get some of the shutters serviced .
    If it's cold or they haven't been used for a while one or two of them stick at slow speeds .

    So if your buying gear over forty years old , factor in a CLA and you won't be disappointed .
    For the cost of a dozen rolls of film ( or less if your paying someone to develop them ) you can save the same amount of money on the film you can waste with a badly adjusted , dirty , sticking camera .
  4. ascu75

    ascu75 Well-Known Member

    I wrote a long reply only to find it had disappeared. I had a great Yashica bought for forty quid only three years back. I put a film through it and sold it for a modest profit. I would love an MPP but cannot justify the price the Mamiya was reconned to be bomb proof as for the Autocord that was my first choice for my TLR but price even three years ago was prohibitive. Good luck finding what you are looking for:):)
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2021
  5. Dick M

    Dick M Member

    Thank you all for your information and advice. It appears that the Autocord is a top choice and perhaps I must get over my fear of the fragile focus lever. I take the point about maintenance but I have also come across claims that if the camera topples forward, the focus lever knob takes the brunt of the impact. A camera is a delicate precision instrument so I suppose it's not surprising that if it gets violent treatment it might not end well.
    As for prices, in the few months that I have been searching, I have noticed a big hike. For instance, just before Christmas, I saw a couple of working Autocords for under £200. Now I can't see any for much under $300. Rolleicords seem to be selling for what Rolleiflexes were fetching not long ago. With interest rates on savings being at rock bottom (we'll soon have to pay to park our money in a bank!!), it might be a sound investment to sink your cash into vintage cameras.
    I note Andrew's comment about the rarity of the MPP Microflex. Curiously I have found a dealer with two of them for sale. I don't know that I'd be brave enough to go for something like that. I'm a user, not a collector, and there's a concern about availability of repair parts.
    Whatever I finally decide, it looks like I need to do so sooner rather than later the way prices are going. With the current Covid restrictions in place, I can't look forward to picking up a bargain at a car boot sale.
  6. Terrywoodenpic

    Terrywoodenpic Well-Known Member

    MPP Microcord and Microflex spares have always been in short supply because they were only made for a very short period. but that is true of many old cameras. However the shutters are suspect and the only way to fix them would be to make parts. For most other camera makes you can scavenge shutter parts quite easily, as they nearly all fitted standard shutters.

    It seems all the better medium format camera prices have shot up recently. as have camera repairs.

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