Miranda Sensorex.

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by tony_lockerbie, Nov 19, 2013.

  1. Finally found a Miranda that works a treat, even the lightmeter...so I had to put it through it's paces. Mirandas are cameras that I used to avoid, but I really don't know why, that are quite charming to use, and the lenses turned out to be better than average too.
    I won't bore you with history here, maybe Pete in Perth can give some background here,and I'm sure someone will find one of those slightly naughty Miranda ads from the seventies.
    Got to love the name too...Miranda Sensorex...sounds like an exotic dancer!
    Anyway a few pics to look at.
  2. Thanks for looking. The Miranda will be getting much more use from now on, and I have a Miranda 28mm coming soon...good to have a complete outfit.
    Film here was Across and HP5+, both in Pyrocat.
  3. Tony, in their day Miranda cameras were really appealing. They were rich in features and relatively inexpensive. In the late 1960s, Consumer's Union, a highly respected organization dedicated to objective evaluation of consumer goods including autos and cameras, rated them very high.
    Unfortunately they're fragile. One of my friends bought a pair of, IIRC, Sensorexes, around 1971. His Mirandas spent a lot of time in the shop being restored to normal function.
    He later bought a 55/3.5 Miranda Macron, one of the first macro lenses for 35 mm SLRs that reached 1:1 on its own mount and used to tease me about my 55/3.5 Micro-Nikkor that went only to 1:2 on its own mount. The Miranda system was extensive and, again, offered many nice features at reasonable prices.
    I'll never forget a trip we took. He was to give a talk near Toronto, we stopped en route at the Niagara Falls Aquarium to shoot fish. Both of his Mirandas jammed and he was stuck, embarrassed, and quite annoyed. My humble Nikkormat FTN, which didn't have nearly as many nice features as his Mirandas', kept on working. Not long afterwards he gave up on his Mirandas and bought a Nikon FM2n. Not quite as nice as a Miranda, but it kept on working.
    This is not to say that in those days only Nikon made reliable 35 mm SLRs. There were many others. Mirandas' fragility has been discussed at length here and elsewhere.
  4. Nice photos. I considered a Miranda Autosensorex EE in 1971. I was intrigued by the removable finder. It may have been peer pressure or just Miranda's reputation. I got a Konica Autoreflex T2 instead. Years later when I started collecting I accumulated a modest Miranda collection. There are three Autosensorex EE cameras and a number of Miramda and Soligor lenses from 28 to 200 with an 80-200 included. It turned out that Consumer Reports was much better at reviewing washing machines and cars than reviewing cameras. The magazine is very price sensitive and sometimes spending a little more can get you something much better. There is a Miranda Macron which keeps reappearing on my eBay watch list. If it stays there long enough I might just buy it. The one thing I would like to add to my Miranda equipment is a waist level finder. What's the use of having a removable finder if I have nothing different to put on the camera?
  5. My first SLR was a Miranda D with a 50mm f1.9 lens. It had interchangeable finders and screens. Trying out a couple of screens at the camera store lead to my life long preference for plain matte screens. I was too broke to buy any other lenses for about a year (not a bad thing really) but finally bought a 135 f2.8 Soligor preset 'T' mount lens. Still wish I had that camera although I've been very happy with my OM system this past 40 years.
  6. Tony,
    You have done a nice job showcasing the Miranda Sensorex with your set of pictures.
    I believe the Sensorex was first shown at the 1966 Photokina show. I found ads showing up in early 1967. Here is an ad from June 1967 that was in Popular Photography. It isn't one of their slightly naughty ones.
  7. Here is an ad from the same magazine showing Miranda's family of photographic equipment.
  8. Here is the first page of a test of the Sensorex from the Jan 1967 issue of Modern Photography.
  9. Here is page 2 of the test.
  10. Yes Miranda's do have a reputation for breaking down( but interesting cameras never the less.) To consumers Union's credit in subsequent issues it did rate them lower and cited it's poor frequency of repair record. That helped me in 1973, at least, and I bought a Canon FTb instead. Just sorry for the guys ahead of me that bought them on CU's recommendation. I didn't escape entirely from CU's bad recommendations. My 1973 Fiat sedan will forever live in my memory as the worst car I ever owned. Thanks Tony for posting. Great pictures as always.
  11. Lovely images especially Sea and Sky. I've got a nice old Miranda D with a 5cm f2.8 pre-set lens, which is gradually working its way up the list of cameras to put a film through. Its a screw fit lens although the D has the curious double mount, with screw and bayonet fittings.
    Shame we can't see one of the naughty adverts. Sensorex always reminded me of a contraceptive, for some reason.
  12. A friend gave me a couple of Mirandas, one of which still worked. Nice cameras, though not my favorites.
    Your results are very nice, Lake Sunset, probably my favorite.
    Here is an ad I've posted before, together with the Diane Arbus pose I think it pays homage to.
  13. I also had a miranda sensorex and I liked it but I can verify that it was fragile.
  14. Thanks all. Dan, you are quite correct, although the Miranda looks great and has a nice feel, you also feel that it may die at any moment...as have a few other Mirandas that I have.
    I have a few samples of the 50mm 1.9, but decided to try the 1.4 that came with this one. The 1.9 is probably sharper, but the 1.4 looks good!
    Marc, you have come through again...thanks...and JDM, I knew a "naughty" Miranda ad would surface!
  15. Tony--as always--outstanding! How did you light the first photo--the one of the camera?
    And is Jack a Jack Russell? If so--cool...:) If not--still a neat pose for a pup! Thanks!
  16. Great images, Tony. And nice looking camera and lens. Great to see an f1.4 as most of the Miranda's I've seen had the f1.8 (or was it f1.9). For Miranda, things didn't get better as cameras became more compact and feature laden during the 1970's. Miranda marketed a compact SLR, the DX-3 which didn't sell well and had its share of mechanical problems.
  17. Great pics, as usual, Tony; "Sea and Sky" would be my favourite, too. The Sensorex is another of those Chrome-Age cameras that looks as if Detroit had a hand in the design, right down to the grille in front of the prism. Despite their reputation for delicacy, the four or five Miranda SLR's that I have are still working beautifully, and the Auto Sensorex EE has one of the most accurate meters and exposure systems I've encountered in cameras of that era. One has to admire the build quality and attention to detail; the Soligor/Miranda lenses were pretty good performers, and I think you'll like the 28mm. Nice post; many thanks.
  18. Paul, I just used indirect window light with a white card for a kicker...Sony NEX6 with a 55mm Micro-Nikkor. Jack has some Jack Russell...somewhere :)
    Yes Mike, the 50mm 1.9 is very common, I think I have three! It is a well rated lens though, and probably sharper than the 1.4, but I do like lots of glass!
    Rick, thanks for that. I have another two Mirandas, one just jammed, the other has a advance lever that won't reset, and neither has a working meter. I still like them though, and will see how the 28 goes, there is a 200mm out there too...does it never end!
  19. Rick Drawbridge wrote:
    "... The Sensorex is another of those Chrome-Age cameras that looks as if Detroit had a hand in the design, right down to the grille in front of the prism ..."
    My thoughts exactly. Most Nikon and Canon SLRs of this era looked like precise and functional photographic tools, as did Leica rangefinders. The earliest Miranda SLRs also had a clean and functional look. But some of the later Miranda SLRs such as the Sensorex incorporated bad 1950s and 1960s design with flashy and nonfunctional elements. Still, Tony Lockerbie's pictures in this thread show that the Miranda Sensorex was capable of making fine photographs.
  20. Just catching up after a few PC and personal health issues. Tony, thanks for some really fine photos taken with your Sensorex, which as somebody has rightfully commented, always sounds more appropriate as the name for a contraceptive. Then again, I guess Miranda had to change from the name of the Sensorex's early relative the 'Automex', which had vaguely derogatory ethnic tones.
    Miranda cameras do have a reputation for problems, mainly with their shutters and lens diaphragms due to oil precipitation, but we should bear in mind that the last genuine Miranda was produced over 35 years ago. I reckon that early Mirandas were better built than the later ones, especially after the US importer AIC took over the company in the early 60s and seemed to have taken a decision that price was the main goal so increased production was needed. Pre-AIC Mirandas were made in much lower numbers, and when inflation is taken into consideration were more expensive. Keeping the Automex/Sensorex thing still in mind, a 1959-ish Automex 1 retailed at slightly more than a Nikon F - so no wonder not many were sold!
    Ah, now moving onto those 'slightly naughty' Miranda adverts done by Hal Rieff, size limitations of picture attachments here on the Forum make it something of a lost cause to post one or two. So, for those interested in seeing the creativity of the same guy who frequently photographed Betty Page (who definitely was more than a bit naughty for her time), here's a link to the Yahoo Miranda Group which has a hell of a lot of useful Miranda information, roadtests, sales brochures, pricelists etc - plus several of those adverts too ..... :
    The Group is a 'Restricted' one but not because of Hal's adverts, it's just to keep the spammers at bay. If you have an interest in all things Miranda, you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how much stuff there is to view. (Pete In A Warm Perth)
  21. Oh, what the hell! Here's a scan of a 1957 'Slightly Naughty' Miranda advert from Hal Rieff, which AFAIK is the first one he ever did for Miranda. Afficianados will note the absence of the 'John Steed' lookalike in bowler hat and with his typically British umbrella, using his Miranda to take a pic of the nubile 'Miranda' lady. Those came later, when the 'Avengers' TV series had become popular ............... (Pete In Perth)
  22. I guess I ought to add that the camera shown at middle right of the, er 'Resting Nude Lady', is a Miranda Model A. It was the second Miranda produced and was quite a 'Leap Forward' compared to the original Miranda T, now featuring great stuff like lever wind and rewind, plus an automatic lens with Exakta-style APD external shutdown. The one thing that it didn't have was an instant return mirror, but that was rectified the following year with the Miranda B and C models, undoubtedly following some kind of closed-door deal between Asahi and Miranda.
    I suppose we tend to laugh at this sort of innovation today, some 55 years down the line. However, back then it was cutting edge stuff and really set the scene for the 35mm SLR to become the serious camera of choice for a professional or dedicated amateur. All it needed now was to incorporate a coupled metering system, which was achieved in 1959 with the first Automex. Ah, memories ...... (Pete)
  23. Thanks Pete, I knew you would come through with the mention of a Miranda. The more I use them, the more I like these cameras.

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