Monday, 28 October 2013

Minolta Autocord. Second Impressions

I put a roll of FP4+ film through the Autocord last week to see how it handled compared with the Rolleicord (and Rolleiflex since it has a lever wind).

First though I replaced the piece of felt on the inside of the door and a circle of leatherette that was missing from the upper spool holder. Milly’s Cameras (order from the eBay site) supplied the materials very quickly indeed. Compared to the Rollei, the back fitting to achieve light tightness is pretty crude.

Arrow shows the replacement felt
I didn’t find the handling so convenient as the Rolleicord. Focusing involves moving one hand (and sometimes two) under the lens board in order to move the lever from side to side. I really found the lack of a concentric depth-of-field scale a hassle. Situated around the lever drive with tiny knobs to move an inner wheel, I gave up on it and used my iPhone depth-of-field app instead. I also found that the position of the shutter did not feel quite right.

Depth of Field Scale
In using a TLR I usually use the magnifier and hold it at eye level with my forehead resting on the hood rather than low down like a box camera. But as I did so the magnifier moved out of the way and so I had to keep my eye a distance from the magnifier. This doesn’t happen to me with the Rolleicord or with any Rolleiflex I have owned.

Magnifier in viewing position
I do like the solid metal lens cap and, once I got used to it, the way it attaches to the bayonet fitting of the viewing lens.

In terms of handling the Rolleicord wins easily. However, when it came to the results, the lens on the Autocord did live up to its reputation. I found it the equal of the Tessar in terms of sharpness. It seemed to have more contrast than the Tessar but I would really need to do a side-by-side comparison to be sure.

This Autocord has certainly lasted well; the mechanisms seem robust and the lens looks and behaves as good as new. I will give it another try soon with infra-red film. I wonder for what wavelength the infra-red focus point was set.