5 October 2009

Minolta AL-F

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.

  • The last of the summer sunflowers in St Mary’s churchyard, Shinfield, Berkshire
  • All Saints churchyard, Swallowfield, Berkshire
  • Timbers, bricks and holes in the wall of the adjoining property at Shinfield
  • The River Loddon at Shinfield


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.



  1. hello
    i am happened to fall here in your blog via googling for Minolta AL-F info
    can you please answer me: do you use ExposureLock and is it handy in this camera? i use several Minoltas and know about old exposure systems as being good enough. but i am buying this small rangefinder for ‘pocket’ use and i am trying to collect as much info as possible via the net.
    thank you

    Comment by ian green — 27 February 2010 @ 1:05 am

    • Yes, I have used it. It seems to work by half-depressing the shutter and locking the exposure reading. So, if I am composing a picture with a lot of sky, and there’s a risk of underexposing the subject, I’ll take a reading with less sky in it, lock the setting, re-compose, and take the picture.

      Comment by Howard — 27 February 2010 @ 7:21 am

  2. Hi Howard,

    I write you from Spain… I have arrived here lookong for some information about Minolta AL-F.

    Maybe you can help me… I hope so…

    I feel my camera is not working properly… because when I push the button, the “black line” that shows level of exposure do not move. This black line is allways in the top (red area close to 2.7 label).

    About the battery I’m using a Alkaline 1.5V.

    Any advice?

    Thank you for your information and for writing about photo! That’s great!

    Comment by Raul — 24 April 2011 @ 4:53 pm

    • I’m not that much of an expert, but it could be that your meter needle (the black line) is broken or no longer properly working. Also, try reversing the battery (in case you have it in the wrong way round). The battery you use should be a PX625 replacement/equivalent (see here).

      Comment by Howard — 24 April 2011 @ 7:53 pm

    • also check the contacts in battery hole – corrosion can disable the current flow

      Comment by ian green — 25 April 2011 @ 3:41 am

    • Raul, if you see this post, (and you still have the problem with the needle (black line). Then it’s very possible due to at dosconnected battery cable. Remove the two screws and pull the bottom cover off. Then you can see the red cable. It proably just need to re-soldered. use a low temperature when doing this !

      Comment by Andes — 30 April 2012 @ 3:03 pm

  3. Wonderful pictures! I recently bought an AL-F and put some Agfa APX 100 in it. I shot many pictures at the Reichstag in Berlin and was extremely satisfied with the sharpness of the pictures and the exposure. It’s a little gem. I prefer it over my Canon Canonet 28.

    Comment by Frank — 30 December 2011 @ 10:57 am

  4. Hi, I just got this camera from a family member and I wanted to know if you are able to remove the lenses? Is it possible to do so n put other lenses? You’re pictures are great by the way.

    Comment by Bianca — 14 January 2012 @ 7:11 am

    • Just spotted your post. The lens on the Minolta AL-F is fixed therefore it is not interchangeable.

      Comment by Robin Parkes — 18 August 2012 @ 12:35 pm

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