Published July 7th 2006

Trying to remember


This odessey through my photographic career has made me remember gear that I had long forgotten

Thinking back, I have actually owned quite a lot of gear. Really a lot, actually! Going backwards through my photographic history has brought back some memories about gizmos and gadgets that I bought, used, sold, gave away or was relieved from by some miserable thief.

I will try to list them and write in details about them, but start with this piece, which will serve as my notebook and temporary container.

The spot meter
[Minolta photo]

Minolta spot meter

This was some gadget! It looked like a small flm camera, and was sturdily built with great operation and some nifty features. The function was mechanical, and you used it by pointing it at a subject using a viewfinder and pressing a button to operate it. Let go of the button and it locked.

I bought it out of sheer fascination and because I wanted to fiddle with some zone system pictures.

Some reading on the web brought me a few more details: The precise name is Auto Spot 1 and it was introduced in 1968. It was very expensive at the time, and even though I bought mine used, I did pay a premium price for it.

My spot meter was stolen from me in a break-in in my first apartment. Some burglar has had problem getting a good price for that. Imagine some no-no bidding on this thingamajig and having no idea of its real value... what a shame.

Minolta light meter
[Minolta photo]

Minolta light meter

I still have the remains of this neat light meter. It's an impressing construction, which is mechanical and from way before the age of LCD displays and lightweight electronics.

It's called Auto Meter Professional and appeared on the market in 1971. Its motorized, rotating scale captured me, and the the feeling of the meter in my hand still brings back a lot of memories of manual metering. I used the meter primarily for incident light by just lifting it into the light and pressing the button. Had the ISO (or rather ASA or DIN) been set on the meter, you had an immediate readout of possible shutter speeds and f-values.

I found the instruction manual online (in PDF-format!) and the manual for the first version of this meter too.

Zenith 500mm f8 mirror tele

Zenith 500mm f8 mirror tele

This was some piece of work! A Russian-built mirror tele. It was cheap as far as I remember and not really very good, but great fun to play with. The term built like a tank really applied here. It was indeed built to live up to the industrial strength norms of the eastern block. No room for elegance, smoothness or subtle design here. No, Mam! Just metal and glass, and lots of it.

Mirror teles give these strange, circular highlights because of their construction, and the images are not really that pleasant to look at. Bokeh is not a proper word to use here.

I don't remember what ever happened to this lens.

Berries in the autumn
[Dynax 7D, Minolta 75-300 f4.5-5.6]

Minolta 75-300mm f4.5-5.6

This was a standard telephoto lens, which I bought from new at a very good price. These zoom lenses are excellent optical quality at the price, but fairly slow and not impressing when it comes to build. But they do take fine pictures and I have seen many very good images from this lens -- mine and other's.

I sold it to a friend who also has Minolta since I had both the 70-210 "beer can" and the Tokina 100-300, which are both better lenses in my opinion. I have now written a separate article on this lens.

Here's another self portrait shot with the Minolta XM. Assorted gear can be seen in the forground: Zenith 500mm f8 mirror tele, Minolta 135mm tele, Minolta MD 24mm f2.8 and some extension rings of unknown origin. You can also just barely see the back of an SR-7 to the right.
[Minolta XM, Minolta MD 35mm f2.8, Tri-X 400ASA]


On my to-do-list, which I need to research a bit to get details for, I also have:
A large Vivitar Flash for Minolta AF bodies
A Minolta MD 35mm
A Minolta MD 135mm
A couple of Braun flashes for the old manual cameras
A Minolta ring flash for AF cameras
A Cosina 28-80mm for Minolta AF
A Minolta AF 28mm f2.8
A Minolta MD 50mm macro
A Gitzo tripod
A Lindhof ball head
A Manfrotto 055PROB tripod
A Manfrotto 322RC2 quick grip
Sometime during my photo career I owned one of the above