A few weeks ago I managed to win a Minolta AL-F on eBay, and it seems to be in working order – a clean body, a working rangefinder and an exposure meter that seems to be on target.
The camera, a compact rangefinder model, was launched in 1967. I love its sleek metal finish and the simple controls. Only the AL-F name on the top panel seems out of scale.
The lens is a four element 38mm f/2.7 Rokkor. The camera uses a shutter-priority automatic exposure system, with shutter speeds from 1/30 to 1/500 s and a separate flash setting. The viewfinder shows the aperture determined by the CdS CLC ‘Electric Eye’ exposure meter (the window is in the top of the lens barrel), and an exposure lock is available if the shutter is half-depressed when taking pictures. The meter can be set for film speeds from 25 to 500 ASA, 15 to 28 DIN.
Here’s the view through the viewfinder:
The yellow diamond is the rangefinder spot and the yellow line is for parallax correction in close-up shots, though I’m not sure from what distance you’re better off using it.
I’ve put just one film through the camera so far, a cheap roll of Fujicolor C200.
Perhaps best of all, this monument in the churchyard at All Saints, Swallowfield shows off the sharpness of the Rokkor lens.
I enjoyed using the camera. The rangefinder took a little getting used to as the ghost alignment image wasn’t always easy to pick out. The camera is missing a depth of focus scale on the lens barrel (the markings that are there seem to be more about using the flash, I think). Next, I think I’ll run a black and white film through it one day, especially when I have restored my own developing set up to working order again, a good winter project.
Workflow for these pictures was to scan negatives using an Epson V500 to TIF file; open this in Adobe Camera Raw, adjust, and make further minor adjustments in Photoshop Elements 7 before outputting to JPG.