Minolta SR-T 101
The Minolta SR-T 101 is a 35mm manual focus SLR camera with Through-The-Lens exposure metering - TTL for short, that was launched in 1966 by Minolta Camera Co. Staying in production for ten years with only minor changes, proves the thorough effort being put into the development of the camera before the introduction.
|Type||35 mm SLR|
|Lens mount||Minolta SR - bayonet (Meter Coupled)|
|Focus||Manual, micro prism with Fresnel lens provided in SLR finder|
|Exposure||TTL meter, manually set aperture and shutter speed (Bulb, 1 to 1/1000 sec)|
|Flash||Cold shoe, FP & 1/60 sec X-sync|
|Dimensions||51 x 86 x 136 mm, 560 g|
The design is based on the innovative Minolta SR-7 model V camera of 1962, but the principal design is inherited from the original 1958 Minolta SR-2. The SR-T 101 however, has several significant features apart from the TTL meter. The most significant one is perhaps the full aperture metering facility, automatically compensating for the at any time fitted lens' maximum aperture, a feature it took twelve more years for Nikon to accomplish. Full aperture TTL metering was commercially first realised in the brilliant Tokyo Kogaku Topcon RE Super, a feature first realised in a screw mount camera by the introduction of the Olympus Kogaku Olympus FTL, their first full frame 35mm SLR in 1971, but which was abandoned one year later in favour of the remarkable OM system.
Due to a large pentaprism and double-hinged reflex mirror, the SR-T 101 has an extremely bright finder with a central micro prism focusing aid that in most cases proves to be very convenient, requiring no apparent lines in the motive, since all out of focus objects appear to shimmer. All relevant exposure information is visible in the finder, including a battery check index mark showing the required meter needle deflection for a healthy battery when the ON/OFF meter switch on the camera base is set to BC.
The SR-T 101 was also made available in black. The top cover and the base plate are finished in black enamel while most metal parts are black chromed, but the wind lever is black anodised. The parts still chromed, to name the most obvious ones, include the shutter-release button, the mirror lock-up knob, the depth-of-field preview button and the lens-release button.
The metering circuit was designed for the obsolete 1.35-volt 625 mercury battery, but it may be directly replaced by the easily obtainable zinc-air hearing aid 1.4-volt 675 battery of equal size and style, which is not very expensive in use, even if not lasting very long. This is certainly the best solution from every point of view featuring: stable correct voltage, high capacity, it lasts several months, and there is no risk of acid leakage.
- Zinc Air 675 Hearing aid battery is available single or in a six-pack.
Standard MC Rokkor lenses for the SR-T 101
The normal standard lens for the Minolta SR-T 101 is the MC Rokkor-PF 1:1.4 f=58mm. The MC refers to the aperture meter coupling, required to operate properly on the SR-T 101, and the PF to the lens construction comprising a five group design using six glass elements. Two alternative standard lenses were also made available for the Minolta SR-T 101; the 1:1.7 f=55mm is the economy model, and the 1:1.2 f=58mm the most expensive alternative:
- MC Rokkor-PF 1:1.7 f=55mm - size 52mm filter
- MC Rokkor-PF 1:1.4 f=58mm - size 55mm filter
- MC Rokkor-PG 1:1.2 f=58mm - size 55mm filter
MC Rokkor lenses
The range of Rokkor lenses became quite extensive and included highly respected designs like the Macro Rokkor-QF 1:3.5 f=50mm and the extremely rare MC Rokkor-PF 1:2 f=100mm. A new line of Rokkor lenses were launched with the camera featuring the MC full-aperture metering:
- MC W.Rokkor-SG 1:3.5 f=28mm (67mm filter)
- MC W.Rokkor-HG 1:2.8 f=35mm
- MC Rokkor-PF 1:1.7 f=55mm (new) (52mm filter)
- MC Rokkor-PF 1:1.4 f=58mm
- MC Tele Rokkor-PF 1:2 f=100mm (62mm filter)
- MC Tele Rokkor-QE 1:3.5 f=100mm (52mm filter)
- MC Tele Rokkor-PF 1:2.8 f=135mm
- MC Tele Rokkor-QD 1:3.5 f=135mm (new)
- MC Tele Rokkor-QF 1:3.5 f=200mm
These had 55mm filter threads except where noted. Two new optical designs were introduced in the 55mm 1:1.7 and 135mm 1:3.5; the others were upgrades of the older Auto Rokkor lenses. The SR-T 101 retained compatibility with the earlier lenses with stop-down metering. A range of new MC lenses were introduced between 1966 and 1976, when they were superseded by the MD Rokkor line in 1977.
- Through-the-lens (TTL), full-aperture metering
- Predecessor to the modern matrix metering system, called Contrast Light Compensation (CLC)
- Mirror lock-up (on earlier models)
- Depth-of-field preview
- Shutter speed visible in viewfinder
- Self timer
- Mechanical, horizontal travel, focal-plane shutter
- Minolta MC (Meter Coupled) Lens Mount
Several changes were made to the SR-T 101 during the long production period, both functional improvements and rationalisation of production. Some are easily detected while others are inside the body and not apparent without dismantling, these latter ones are not covered here. New features may have been retrofitted to older cameras due to repair or just being swapped between cameras, including the original lens. Camera body serial numbers has been observed from about 1.000.000, while the 58mm standard lens has been observed from about 5.000.000.
The original camera has a black shutter speed dial with a finely milled pattern at the edge, and the two black plastic covers either side at top of the mirror housing are glued in place. All visible screw heads are single slotted. At the back, either side of the viewfinder window two screws hold the top cover, which are situated at equal distance from viewfinder window either side. The take-up film spool is plain black with one slot. The accessory shoe has a small metal stud stop pin. The standard lens has an intermittent milled focusing ring without scalloping recesses. The lens cap is black anodised stamped aluminium with "Minolta" in brushed metal finish.
The original model soon was changed, possibly after just some 50.000 cameras had been made; the right-hand screw at the back was moved farther away and the two black plastic covers either side at top of the mirror housing became fixed using blackened screws with brass bushings attached inside.
Later on, as body serial numbers approached the two million mark, more easily detectable changes were introduced; the shutter speed dial on chrome cameras became chrome finished with coarse patterned sides. All screws are of the crosshead variety. The take-up film spool got a grey four-tongued plastic moulding for film attachment. The lens got a scalloped focusing ring.
The late cameras, made the last few years, have a modified accessory-shoe with a black plastic ridge stop in front. The standard lens would be of the 50mm focal length.
|This section does not cite any sources. (January 2013)|
- Scheibel, Anni Rita; Scheibel, Josef (1999). 70 Jahre Minolta Kameratechnik - Von der Nifcalette [sic] bis zur Dynax 9 (in German) (3rd ed.). Stuttgart: Verlag der H. Lindemanns Buchhandlung. ISBN 3-89506-191-3. Retrieved 2012-10-16.
- Ivor Matanle (1996). Collecting and using Classic SLRs. Thames & Hudson, London. ISBN 0-500-27901-2.
- * http://www.willegal.net/photo/srt/srt-mercury.htm
- Minolta promotional material