Published June 28th 2006

Minolta SR-7

My first ever SLR

Minolta SR-7
I inherited this camera from my father, or rather kept it when he moved after his and my mother's divorce. This was my first SLR, and actually my first camera ever except for some toy-style cameras that I played with as a kid. I was in my early teens when I started using it. We're in the 1970's here.

This camera was all manual as cameras were back then, but had a light meter, which was probably quite useful, but which I never really used. I read on the film box what exposures were recommended for sunny days, fog, clouds etc., and took that as a lead. I couldn't afford color-film anyway, so everything was B/W. I used Tri-X quite a lot, and that forgave quite a bit of over- and underexposure. I spooled my own film from bulk spools, developed them myself and made the prints in a makeshift darkroom that I set up in the toilet, which was the only place in my childhood home that could become totally dark. The enlarger literally stood on the closed toilet seat, and I put a board over the bathtub to hold the trays with developer, stop bath and fixer.

I remember the solid, metallic feeling of this camera. The construction was extremely robust as most cameras were back then. I only had one lens, a 50mm f1.7, which was a really excellent lens as it is often the case with the standard lenses that many cameras came with in this pre-zoom era. At one point I got my hands on an equally sturdy 135mm f2.8, and it was a pure luxury to be able to change between two lenses.

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