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New to Me Minolta Autocord
Old 09-27-2019   #1
Nokton48
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New to Me Minolta Autocord

Minolta Autocord by Nokton48, on Flickr

I snagged this for $70 at a local auction a week ago. I've sent it for a CLA replacement of focus knob and lens calibration. Advances and fires very smoothly.

Some light cleaning marks but those add character

Any other Autocord users out there? I am into Minolta SRTs etc bigtime so this camera makes sense to me.
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Old 09-27-2019   #2
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You're so lucky! I've got one in much worse condition, but it works after some diy work. My screen and mirror are very dark, how's yours? It's a fragile camera in some ways. Be very careful to have the focusing lever moved all to way to either side before opening the back or it will break off. I've only recently used it seriously for the first time, and have yet to develop the films...
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Old 09-27-2019   #3
Nokton48
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I'm sure the screen and mirror are dusty, maybe need replacement? It's a matte circular screen and a bit dark but very usuable.

I'm sending the camera to fabled Autocord repair guy Karl Bryan. [email protected]
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Old 09-27-2019   #4
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Loved mine; not sure why I sold it... I really liked the focus lever in use and never had any trouble with it. My camera was solid yet compact; very nice to use. Similar quality to a Rolleicord. Much nicer than my Yashica 124.


Got great negs from it. Enjoy!
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Old 09-27-2019   #5
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Karl did the CLA to my new to me Autocord LMX. There was a lot wrong with mine when I bought it. Front standard was loose. Leatherette was peeling. Shutter was jammed. He smoothed it all out for me. I had a Rick Oleson screen installed and new leather from cameraleather, as well as the the usual CLA stuff. And the meter works. It's one of three TLRs I own and now my favorite.

From Karl:

"The tripod mount had been bent and was preventing the bottom film roller from rotating, easier to replace than to straighten. The aperture/shutter control panel was bent and twisted and the cost for me to straighten it out was way more than a replacement (which is actually nicer looking than what you had on the camera). The shutter when received would not fire, oil on the shutter blades was acting like an adhesive and preventing the blades from moving. I opened up the shutter and cleaned/polished the shutter blades and cleaned the aperture control ring (now the aperture adjusts smoothly). Focus as received was infinity when the focus lever was at 50’, now the focus is correctly set for both the taking and viewing lenses. The front lens board looseness was caused by the screws coming loose."

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Old 09-27-2019   #6
Nokton48
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Nice!

Mine looks just like it, but I don't have the meter

There were seven or eight Rolleis at the auction that went cheap but I didn't want a Rollei.
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Old 09-27-2019   #7
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One of my favorite TLR’s ! Good score for $70. Enjoy it!
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Old 09-27-2019   #8
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I love mine! My favorite camera.
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Old 09-27-2019   #9
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Just got one of these last week. Not had a roll through it yet as I’ve a few half rolls in other cameras to use up yet. A friend and his wife both shoot the Autocord on the street.

Paul
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Old 09-27-2019   #10
Larry H-L
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I have a couple, both CLA'd by Karl. Nice cameras, easy to use with good lenses.

Since I am just around the 270 bend from you, let me know if you want to venture out for an Autocord shoot when you get yours back from the CLA.
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Old 09-27-2019   #11
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I love mine. Terrific lens. I like that the film remains flat when it's in the camera for a while like mine always is. Dan Daniel from this list CLAd mine and put in a new mirror for a reasonable cost.

Enjoy
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Old 09-27-2019   #12
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Yep, an Autocord was my first foray into medium format and it’s still a favourite, even after ‘upgrading’ with a Hasselblad 6x6 kit. Fantastic lens, great ergonomics and nice and compact.

I bought a refurbished example from Dan Daniels (member here and over at Apug) and it’s always worked faultlessly.

Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Be very careful to have the focusing lever moved all to way to either side before opening the back or it will break off.
I’ve heard lots of stories about issues with the Autocord focus lever, but I’ve never heard that story (not experienced it in practice). Can you elaborate?
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Old 09-27-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickthetasmaniac View Post


I’ve heard lots of stories about issues with the Autocord focus lever, but I’ve never heard that story (not experienced it in practice). Can you elaborate?

Well that's probably how they break, if they break. Look at your specimen. The focusing lever is in the way of the back when focused at mid distances.
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Old 09-27-2019   #14
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To retinax: I've had at least four different Autocords and I have two now. None of them have had broken focusing levers and I have never heard of, or experienced, any problem with the focusing lever and opening the back.

To Nokton48: I'm a Minolta fan, myself, and I currently have two Autocords, five SR-Ts, two X-570s with winders, and three Minolta meters.

I always wanted a Rolleiflex, but my first TLR was a Minolta Autocord CdS-III, and I still have it and treasure it. I had a Maxwell screen installed in mine, though the standard screen is among the better ones of its time. I also have an Autocord I/Standard, and I have had two or three others. I now have ten TLRs, including two Rolleis, and my favorites are the Autocords and the Mamiyas.

I'm always happy to see that someone else has discovered these fine cameras. Get that CLA and enjoy yours!

- Murray

PS. Ask Karl Bryan about the situation referenced by retinax. This is news to me, but Mr Bryan would certainly know if it is a problem. If he says that it is, please let the rest of us know!
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Old 09-27-2019   #15
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Hello Dan


Lets see some photos!
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Old 09-28-2019   #16
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Hello Don

He has a choice of black and chrome replacement focus knobs at the moment, he likes the black and I'll go for that

I might go for a Rick Oleson screen, I saw one in an Autocord at MPX in Columbus. Original screen might also be OK

Also maybe Griptac from cameraleather, there are many different models of Autocords on cameraleather site. Something to think about.
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Old 09-28-2019   #17
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Received this morning:

Do you recall which shutter your camera has? If it is the Seikosha (my favorite and the most reliable) then you have to remember to not go to/from the 1/500 second setting with the shutter cocked. The 1/500 second setting has a booster spring that has to be engaged prior to the shutter being cocked and the shutter cannot be cocked in order to go out of the 1/500 second setting. So, if you find you want to go to/from the 1/500 and the shutter is cocked, cover the lens, fire the shutter, set new shutter speed, use the double exposure lever located behind the film crank, rotate the film crank backwards (counter clock wise), the camera is now ready to take a picture at the new shutter speed setting. The double exposure lever allows the shutter to be cocked without moving the film.

The other thing to avoid is carrying the camera with the camera set at mid focus. The focus knob is protected when the camera is at infinity or at close focus, but at mid focus the focus lever points straight down and is exposed to accidental impacts.
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Old 09-28-2019   #18
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Received later today:

I received your camera this morning and have finished working on it. The following services were performed:

repair broken focus lever $150
clean/lubricate focus helix
reset focus of taking/viewing lens
clean outer surfaces of lens groups
lubricated take up film spool drive gear
lubricated film rollers
checked frame advance
cleaned mirror/ground glass/Fresnel lens
cleaned aperture/shutter control panel $15
cleaned aperture/shutter view window $10
checked shutter
cleaned/polished shutter blades $45
lubricated waist level finder magnifier
installed waist level finder support spring $5
tighten pressure plate screws
installed used front leatherette

subtotal: $225
PayPal fees: $8
Shipping: $19
Total due: $252

I do have a used front lens cap, $5. If you want the lens cap then the total due is $257. Please email me in regards to the lens cap.

What a nice looking camera with a very sharp lens. I think you will have fun taking photos with it. When received the shutter would not open. Upon inspection is what a little bit of oil and rust on the shutter blades that were holding it up. Shutter now works very well.

regards,
karl
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Old 09-28-2019   #19
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Dan, I have the Griptac on my Yashicamat-I think you'd really like it on the Autocord.
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Old 09-28-2019   #20
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I have griptac on many of my 35mm and other cameras and I'm sure I've seen a few others happy with the combo on the Autocord.

Thanks MFM
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Old 09-29-2019   #21
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Hi Dan,

your camera is a Seikosha MX model. I like the griptac leatherette, definitely helps in holding the camera when you have gloves on.

One last thing I forgot to mention. You asked earlier what you can do to keep from having problems with your camera. When you are finished with a roll of film and want to remove the film, please make sure that the film crank is up in the start position (basically where the film crank tab is). If you open the film door with the film crank not in the start position there is a chance that the frame counter won’t reset because the film interlock is riding against the frame counter gear and it will drop down into the frame 12 slot. You haven’t damaged anything, just the frame counter won’t reset and the next roll of film you put in the camera won’t stop, it will just wind all the way through the camera. So, just remember to have the film crank in the start position before you open up the film door and then the frame counter will reset correctly.



regards,

karl
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Autocord history
Old 09-29-2019   #22
randy stewart
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Autocord history

I first used an Autocord around 1968, owned by a roommate. I wasn't impressed, but I was 35mm and fast lens crazy at the time. Skip to around 1995. I was offered a "like new" Autocord by my local shop. I did resolution chart tests on that Autocord, Rolleifles T, Yashicamat 124, and Ricoh Diacord. The common theme was that they all had Tessar or Tessar copy lenses. Autocord was the hands down winner of that comparison, followed by an almost as good Rolleiflex/Tessar, then the Discord. The Yashicamat was less sharp and had lower contrast by a large margin compared to the others. In the early years of its production, the Autocord focus lever was made out of cheap pot metal and would break off if hit. Contra others here, it is not broken off by opening the film back. it's just that it is exposed to breakage if left in a mid-focus position, but protected by the body if at infinity or close focus. Minolta corrected later models by using a piece of spring steel to connect the focus knob to the focus helix, as it could flex if hit but not break. For years, the kiss of death for an Autocord was a broken off focus knob, as no replacements were available. In the last 10 years, we've had a cottage industry revival of after-market focus knobs, so no longer a problem.
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Old 09-29-2019   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by randy stewart View Post
. I did resolution chart tests on that Autocord, Rolleifles T, Yashicamat 124, and Ricoh Diacord. The common theme was that they all had Tessar or Tessar copy lenses. Autocord was the hands down winner of that comparison, followed by an almost as good Rolleiflex/Tessar, then the Discord. The Yashicamat was less sharp and had lower contrast by a large margin compared to the others. .

I do think that the Autocord lens is simply a better Tessar-type formulation (or execution). Still, to be fair to other lens makers, the Autocord has the advantage of a bomb-proof lens mounting. You pretty much have to destroy the camera to get the lens to be out of alignment or go out of sync with the focus screen. All of the other cameras mentioned can have lens mount and focus system go out of alignment and synchronization. Even the Diacord, with a similar helical focus system, has nowhere near the robustness of the Autocord. And the YashicaMats, well, so many have been used hard and the basic mechanics are simply not to the same level as the other cameras you mention.


Nokton, you'll love the Autocord, especially after Karl gets done with it. If only every quality camera had someone like Karl keeping them alive.
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Old 09-29-2019   #24
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Thanks Dan!



Hi Dan,

I don’t know if you have a camera strap but here is one that I like and it works well with the Autocord, https://www.amazon.com/Neoprene-Rele...dDbGljaz10cnVl

regards,
karl
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Old 10-02-2019   #25
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My new to me Autocord should be back in my hands by this evening according to USPS.
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Old 10-02-2019   #26
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That's great. Looking forward to seeing your results.
I just got a new to me Autocord as well, after I foolishly sold mine last year. I bought it from Karl, it is a seikosha import model.
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Old 10-02-2019   #27
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Karl says I also have the seikosha import model. Highly desirable

That's model no 2 on cameraleather website. Might order some Griptac, will have to see.
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Old 10-02-2019   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nokton48 View Post
Karl says I also have the seikosha import model. Highly desirable

That's model no 2 on cameraleather website. Might order some Griptac, will have to see.
Yeah, the Seikosha shutter is very stable. It has a rounded 10-bladed aperture. On later shutters the cocking mechanism was changed which causes some strange stresses both internally and in the external cocking cam action.

And I'm a big fan of Griptac in general, and on Autocords in particular. I also like the Op/Tech pro loop strap system. There are thinner loops that go through the strap lugs. The loops make the rest of the strap fall away from the focus hood, similar to what the Rollei Alligator clips do. You can take the center section out and clip the two connecting parts together and get a nice wrist strap. I can spend a day carrying an Autocord in one hand, and again the Griptac gives such a secure grip.

Still, I recommend that you use the camera without Griptac for a bit and see how it handles. Some of the Autocord coverings were very nice. Some are dried out and so hard and slick that I find them dangerous.

And get a lens hood. A cheap plastic one is better than nothing. The lens is sitting out there so near the front that a lens hood makes a nice bumper.
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Old 10-02-2019   #29
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Lens hood is ordered. Karl says he replaced the front cover, so I'll want to try that for now.
I have a lot of black Domke Gripper Straps so I'll start with that.
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Old 10-02-2019   #30
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Mine was in very good shape when I got it for around $200, and gave perfectly good images like this, with less fuss than the Rolleiflex 2.8D I valued more but used less.

After my wife died (she is writing a cancer treatment update in this portrait), I sold it for a nominal amount to a young woman acquaintance who wanted to take up medium format film. (I did something like this with a couple of other cameras, getting them into the hands of younger women photographers, to honor my dead wife who was well-known as a feminist anthropologist.) I hope she earns the Autocord, in the sense that those posting here will appreciate.

If I sell that 2.8D — now with a Fleenor CLA — I’d replace it with another Autocord.
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Old 10-02-2019   #31
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I also looked at a NICE 2.8 Xenotar Rolleiflex, it went for $400 at the auction.

I also think I will use the Autocord more than any Rollei.
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Old 10-02-2019   #32
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You will find a soft shutter release button will make it nicer to shoot. Without one I am often pressing the shutter speed dial instead of the shutter release, and end up having to look at the front of the camera to find the shutter before taking the pic. With the soft shutter I can find it by touch.

My only problem is the smallest shutter release button is a no name one and it a little too big as it slightly interferes with the shutter speed dial when it is at 1/500 sec.

Does anyone know of one that completely clears the shutter dial?
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Old 10-02-2019   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by j.scooter View Post

Does anyone know of one that completely clears the shutter dial?
The small Match Technical releases-great shape and works great on the Autocord.

The Bee-o or the Bip- 10mm diameter.


https://www.popflash.com/match-technical/
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Old 10-02-2019   #34
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Perfect! Thanks Dan
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Old 10-02-2019   #35
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I have a Bip--I'll have to try that.

Thanks!
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Old 10-03-2019   #36
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Good info about Autocords. Keep it coming! Camera will now be delivered today.
I will reload it with HP5+. Had to take that out and respool it in the dark before sending to Karl.
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Old 10-03-2019   #37
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Originally Posted by Nokton48 View Post
I also looked at a NICE 2.8 Xenotar Rolleiflex, it went for $400 at the auction.

I also think I will use the Autocord more than any Rollei.

This statement caught my attention. I, too, am more inclined to use my Autocord than my Rolleis, for the following reasons (in no particular order):


1. Exceptional Tessar-type lens,
2. Straight path from film roll to film gate, only bent over a roller after exposure,
3. Dead-accrurate built-in zone/semi-spot meter,
4. Admiration of the Minolta brand,
5. Other reasons that don't occur to me at the moment.


Why would you use your Autocord more than a Rollei?

- Murray
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Old 10-04-2019   #38
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I'm onboard with 1 & 2. I've sometime bought of "upgrading". I'm a big Zeiss fan. Also a fan of especially older German build quality.

But my authored lens leaves little be be desired. And sometimes it takes me quite a while to finish a roll so the straight film path is appreciated.

Chip


1. Exceptional Tessar-type lens,
2. Straight path from film roll to film gate, only bent over a roller after exposure,
3

Why would you use your Autocord more than a Rollei?

- Murray[/quote]
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Old 10-04-2019   #39
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Got a nice Autocord myself but just realised I can’t get a strap for it. Mine has the lugs on the side.

Paul
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Old 10-04-2019   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuvvy View Post
Got a nice Autocord myself but just realised I can’t get a strap for it. Mine has the lugs on the side.

Paul

Paul, you have one of the late model Autocords. I have two of them, myself, and fortunately I got the neck strap with each. They are hard to find, but they occasionally show up on eBay.


- Murray
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