SRT 101

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by coryammerman, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. Back in the spring, I bought a decent sized lot of camera gear from an eBay seller that included A Mamiya MSX 1000, a Minolta SRT 101 with 58/1.4 and 35/2.8 lenses, and some other odds and ends from various brands and manufacturers (some of which led to additional camera purchases, funny how that happens). Contrary to my normal practice of buying a camera and letting it sit around for a few months before using it. I ran a roll through the Mamiya in record time, for me anyway (you can see that post here, if you're interested) and started a roll in the Minolta... and got halfway through and set it on the shelf for a few months.
    Anyway, the SRT was working perfectly from the word go. The lenses were a different story. Both had oily aperture blades. After a bit of research, I decided to open them up and clean the blades myself. Unfortunately though, I tried to take the easy way out by just cleaning the blades without removing the entire diaphragm from the lens. I'm sad to report that, as of this writing, both lenses have returned to their sluggish ways. Oh well. Live and learn, as they say. I'll get around to cleaning them again one of these days and I'll do it right this time.
    I managed to get half a roll in with the lenses working correctly. In the intervening downtime I picked up a Komine-made Vivitar 80-200 f4.5 lens. I also recently picked up a Vivitar 28/2.5 (Kiron) for no other reason that KEH was selling it for $2.49.
    I finally got around to finishing the roll yesterday, so that I could process it with the roll from my last post on the Petri. Most of the shots on the roll were, admittedly, not very good. It was more of a get-to-know-you session than any attempt at serious photography. There were a few OK shots that I felt like sharing.
    This first one is from yesterday with the Vivitar 28. First impressions with this lens are good. Seems to be both sharp and contrasty. The shot itself is nothing special, other than our neighbor two doors down has a sculpture of a giant hand in their front yard. I'm not sure what that hand signal is that it's making.
    Stupid Giant Hand Sculpture
    I didn't get much use out of the 35/2.8, but initial impressions are good on that one as well.
    I was really impressed with the 58/1.4, though. Most comments regarding this lens seem to say that it's not Minolta's sharpest. Hard to tell by my copy. It also focuses pretty closely, down to just under 2 feet.
    Old and New
    Weed by the River
    The Vivitar 80-200 also seems to be a pretty decent performer. It's not one of the close focusing varieties that Vivitar seems to favor. Minimum focusing distance on this version is right at 2 meters.
    Two Trumpets
    Evening Light
    River Traffic
    Film was again Kentmere 100, developed in T-max for 7 mins @ 69F. Thanks for looking.
  2. Looks like a great camera, and the lenses are sure doing a nice job too. I like the barge boat picture the best. We visit the Mississippi river 20 or so times every year but our favorite time is Fall with all that Iowa grain headed downriver.
    Vivitar made a lot of that range zoom lenses from average to pretty darn good. Looks like yours is one of the better ones.
  3. Cory what lovely stuff Minolta used to make. I do hope you get the Minolta lenses working properly, especially the 58mm. The Nikon lenses are very good but they seem to lack something of the sheer beauty of the Minoltas. Fine set of images from the SRT too.
  4. Minolta used to be a camera that less well funded folks could afford without sacrificing much if anything in image quality, I
    used it for years. Now Sony is demonstrating what Minolta could have done with infinite funding! Pretty impressive. The
    SR-T-101 was the first camera I actually bought. Before that I used my Dad's Konica I fixed lens rangefinder. Great
    camera. Don't have it anymore but I have the XE-5 that replaced it.
  5. I used some Minoltas of this generation in the field on occasion, and they always worked well. I always found Vivitar to provide excellent results as well, tho' mine were in Nikon mount.
    Nice results from them all. Are your neighbors of the hand Wiccan, by any chance? Hmm. What was it? the Hand of Glory?
    I have a few of those KEH clearance lenses (I presume that's what is happening). I've learned to be cautious about browsing through the web offerings. Probably only saved by the weakness of their web layout from even more.
  6. Excellent series of cameras, Cory, and I have a very similar kit. There is something rather beautiful about Minolta gear, a sense of style lacking in the offerings from the Big Boys, and the lenses are uniformly very good indeed. Likewise, the Vivitar lenses can be very good, rather depending on the manufacturer, and your purchases look to be among the better examples. Very nice crisp images, and the Kentmere shows a great range of tones. I look forward to your next offerings from this kit.
  7. Thanks for this Cory. I am just using a recently acquired SRT101 kit, my first experience with this cmera,and this was very positive.
    I also have the 58mm 1.4 and 35mm 2.8, no oil thank goodness, and I found them really impressive indeed. Your shots look excellent, as you would expect from Minolta gear...I will have a post on this very soon...bit busy at the moment!
  8. I think you have got some fine results. The Vivitar does perform well. I too have one of this vintage and I'm very pleased. I loved the river shot and that one of the flower bed with the Vivitar. I do hope you find the time and courage to tackle the minolta lenses again. They are some nice performers when they're working and you will not be disappointed.
  9. Cory,
    Another nice post. You put these lenses to good use.
    I am a fan of the SRT-101. I have two. I also have a Minolta 28mm f/2.8, several 50mm F/1.7s, and a 135mm f/2.8. I also have a Vivitar 50mm f/1.8 in Minolta MD mount. Minolta had a very consistent line of lenses.
    I found a test of the SRT-101 in a Nov. 1966 issue of Modern Photography. It is a pretty good test.
    Here is part 1.
  10. Here is part 2.
  11. Here is part 3.
  12. I forgot the file.
  13. In Feb. 1970 Modern Photography tested a number of Minolta lenses. They were surprised by the improved performance of the 58mm f/1.4 lens.
    Here is the test.
  14. Nice. Very nice!
    The SRTs are tanks. Rokkor lenses are excellent, as are the Kiron, Komine, and Vivitar lenses, especially the earlier Vivitar Series 1 lenses. The early Vivitar S1 70-210 macro lenses are cult classics -- the Kiron-made version (which I have) is a f/3.5 and the Komine-made version is a f/2.8-4.0. (IMO, the later Cosina versions weren't up to same quality.)
    I bought my first SRT-101 back in 1969 and I still use it regularly. These days, I still shoot nothing but film (mostly B&W) with Minolta SRTs. (That is, for 35mm. I also shoot 4x5, but that's a different story.)
    Get yourself over to the Rokkor Files and see what Antony has put together. There's a history of the SRTs (and other Minolta manual-focus cameras) and tests of various Rokkor lenses. I had the pleasure of joining him and many other Minolta manual shooters for a day in NYC a few years back.
  15. Thanks for the responses everyone. I wish I had time to reply to everyone individually, but I'm a bit pressed for time today. I'll just say that I agree with everyone that Minolta did make gear that was both good looking and good performers. I'll get around to fixing the lenses soon and give it another go. Thanks again everyone for the responses. And thanks Marc for the reviews, interesting reading.
  16. Nice results. I like the hand sculpture one especially. The SRT's are great way to enjoy CMC photography: bodies are inexpensive and lenses are excellent and a good value except for the more exotic ones (like the 250mm Reflex, 50mm f1.2, etc.) Thanks for posting.
  17. Nice outfit Cory, Srt cameras were wonderfully designed and easy to repair, I also have the 1.4 58mm and find it is just great stopped down to f8 to 16, would like to see what the f 1.2 is like but prices are still too steep for my beer budget.

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