Minolta AL-F Test and short review

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by maciek_stankiewicz, Sep 5, 2011.

  1. Hi Everybody,
    I'd like to share my first impressions after seeing first roll from this beautiful little rangefinder,
    Minolta AL-F.
    As You probably know I have sweet spot for Minolta cameras. I also love Voigtlanders and Yashica rangefinders but from my early days I remember my Mom's Minolta SRT 101b. Still have over thousand
    of great pictures from childhood from that SRT...
    95% of my photography is a Street Photography so I can't live without shutter priority mode... I heard about AL-F many times and if it appeared for sale on *bay I decided to buy it for it's VG+ condition..
    When it arrived I figured out that it's broken (no power from the batteries).
    After few hours I repaired the electric cable, cleaned and adjusted rangefinder and added some grease/WD40 on mechanical parts. Also some Contact Cleaner where needed.
    O.K, Here are my first Impressions:
    Minolta AL-F is a Very well made small rangefinder, introduced in 1967.
    Light, mad of metal and glass, with very good viewfinder/rangefinder and well designed/well positioned controls.
    Shutter speed ring on the lens barrel is well damped and snappy. Focus ring is loose, I would prefer more damping. Viewfinder have horizontal parallax correction and nice rangefinder patch. On the right side are aperture values together with lightmeter needle. Everything is contrasty and easy to read in this just-cleaned viewfinder. Viewfinder quality is great (all-glass!).
    Film winding lever got nice short action, much better that long action levers in Hi-Matic 7s or 9...
    Shutter is quiet and the shutter release is wonderful, no more motion blur from the shutter release button!
    Lightmeter is VERY responsive... After seeing pictures from the first roll I know I have to be carefull with light or read from the ground/pavement and lock the (automatic) aperture...
    Some images are little bit underexposed... But with other, less-contrasty scenes everything is OK, so light meter is very accurate... It's just very responsive and if You have lot of white sky in the frame, try to read light from the ground, palm of Your hand etc and lock the aperture. It's simple.
    LENS...
    Camera is equipped with great, very versatile Rokkor 38mm f2.7 lens. (4 elements in 3 groups).
    Lens is well corrected, very sharp and contrasty. Almost no barrel distortion. No Chromatic aberrations to speak of. Corner softness by f2.7 is visible only in the very corners, instead of making 1/3 of image soft. Very well done Minolta, I like it!
    BOTTOM LINE:
    Minolta AL-F is a Very well built small rangefinder camera with great lens.
    PROS:
    - Very well built
    - Very good, sharp lens with versatile focal length of 38mm
    - Very nice viewfinder
    - Shutter priority!
    - Quiet shutter / winding
    - Focusing tab on the bottom of the lens
    - Small
    - Beautiful.
    CONS:
    - No manual aperture (without battery lens stays wide open @ f2.7)
    - ASA goes only to 500...
    - Only 1/30 to 1/500... No 1/15 and B shutter... :(
    OK, for Your viewing pleasure, here is a camera and some examples from the first roll of inexpensive Fuji Superia 100 :)

    00ZI0M-395859584.jpg
     
  2. #5 Lens wide-open @ f2.7
    00ZI0e-395867684.jpg
     
  3. Fabulous color with that little Rokkor. #7 especially good!
     
  4. My Minolta al-f is also very nice, as similarly as in your tests.
     
  5. Beautiful pictures. And thank you for the review! I came across your article here while searching for Minolta AL-F... because I'm expecting mine to arrive very soon!
    Thanks again for the posting.
     

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