Busy Exploring with a New Camera
Oops - looks like I missed posting for the past month. That's because I've been out and about testing and setting up an old 1960s Minolta A5 rangefinder camera.
I've had mixed results with rangefinders; a lot of these mid-60s Japanese cameras come with some electronics which means finding replacement batteries and then dealing with shutter mechanisms that are intimately involved with the light meter. No such problems with the Minolta A5 as it has no light meter and no electronics.
There isn't a lot of info on this camera online as regards making adjustments to get it ready for photography and there were some issues with aligning the rangefinder mechanism on this one. However the top shell comes off fairly easily (once you remove the film winders and a small screw; make sure you don't lose the shutter button which drops out) and then there is a mini optics bench clearly exposed which holds the main mirror of the rangefinder. There are five screws to play with; two adjust the rangefinder distance setting and three support the mirror and can be used to alter the up and down setting.
Once aligned and ready I put some film in and went in search of photographs to take. You need to carry a light meter for exposure (or look at the sky and apply the sunny 16 rules) and the rangefinder mechanism takes care of getting a pin-sharp focus.
The first shots looked good, very sharp and nicely exposed. So it was time to adopt this ideal street photography camera and go and take some real photos.
The nice thing about an old 60s rangefinder is that it is so self-contained. You get the one standard lens that it is permanently fitted with, in this case a Minolta Rokkor 45mm lens with a maximum aperture of f/2.8, and no zoom. So you get yourself into a good position for your shot and snap away. Not having a built-in lightmeter reduces the fuss over exposure. Take a good reading at the start, set up the camera, and get on with composing and taking your shots.
Here are a few shots from the first rolls. I'll post some more later.