Tag Archives: compact minolta


The Minolta CLE: The bastard son of Leica

Fathered outside of wedlock, it was not until the M7 came along that this camera was bettered
This camera was the result of an unlikely alliance between Minolta and Leica, when Leica was going through a period of suffering from the release of the M5. Leica’s collaboration with Minolta resulted in the stunning CL, followed by the most advanced Leica (cough…Minolta) produced, the CLE.
This camera came with TTL flash, aperture priority, a swing film door and an electronic shutter. Pretty heady stuff considering that this camera came out in 1980. Some of these advances were not seen on an ‘official’ Leica camera until the M7.
Rokkor 40mm lens
But one of the really impressive things about this camera was the lenses. Minolta has always been a bit of a dark horse, producing the outstanding and often overlooked Rokkor lenses. And this camera was designed to work specifically with them. Although the camera sports an M-mount, it is primarily designed for the 28mm, 40mm and 90mm Rokkor multicoated CLE lenses. Which incidentally are some of the best lenses I have ever used in my life. In theory you can actually put most Leica lenses on this camera, but only a few of them will actually fit because of the shallow film plane, and the frame lines are set for the CLE lenses.This is not a problem though, as the Rokkor lenses are more than capable. In all honesty, I could use this camera for the rest of my life and be completely content. It is small (tiny in fact), light fast and very quiet. There is not a lot to fault with this camera. The meter is extremely well balanced and actually meters from the film during the exposure.

The only problems that I can find with this camera are that once the batteries are dead the camera is dead, so you need to make sure you have some spares handy at all times. And the famous spotting problem with the 28mm lenses.
The early 28mm lenses had a fault in their coating, which led to white spots forming on the coating of the lens over time. Although this rarely affected the image quality, it was unsightly and not what you would want from a premium lens. Minolta replaced a lot of these lenses, but not all of them. Which is something you should look out for when you are buying one of these.
Minolta CLE flash
This is a great camera, and the perfect camera for someone new to the rangefinder genre, or even for someone who is very familiar with it. I love this camera and I would compel anyone to own one at least once. I have had a huge amount of fun with mine, and there will always be one in my stable.



A secret gem of a compact camera

The Minolta TC-1, the greatest compact camera that nobody knows
When it comes to compact film cameras, there are a few cameras that all camera geeks and collectors know about…the Ricoh GR1 and GR21, the Contax T2 and T3, the Nikon 35Ti and 28Ti etc. But there is one that barely anyone talks about, which is a shame, because it could quite possibly be the best of all of them.

The Minolta TC-1 came out in the mid nineties, when compact film cameras were reaching their peak in terms of quality. In fact you could say that there was a bit of a race going on, with many of the manufacturers trying to outdo one another in terms of quality. Minolta noticed what was going on and decided to jump into the fray, a little bit late (in typical Minolta fashion). Still, despite this they managed to produce a camera that stands head and shoulders above the rest, and could comfortably stand its ground next to some of the SLR cameras of the day.

The stunning G-Rokkor 28mm 3.5

The TC-1 was supposedly hand assembled by Minolta technicians, with no plastic parts in the lens assembly. Coupled with the outstanding Rokkor glass this made for a super sharp lens which displays beautiful bokeh characteristics. So good was the lens (and the camera itself) that it won the Camera Grand Prix in Japan in 1996 (the year of its release).

One of the really cool things about this camera is the fact that it has two, yes two aspherical elements in the lens, which beats most moderns cameras and makes them look a bit silly. The balance and contrast of this lens are so good that Minolta later released an M mount version of the lens in a limited batch of 2000, good luck getting your hands on one of those.

Perhaps the coolest thing of all about this remarkable camera is the aperture ring selector dial. Minolta managed to make the aperture ring a perfect circle and they put a selector on the front of the camera, giving you the option to select four different aperture settings. This is also a slight drawback, as the camera is basically an aperture priority only camera. But then, Minolta always do manage to make things a bit differently from everyone else.
The circular ring adds to the delightful bokeh effect and is what really sets this camera apart.

So, despite its quirks, this camera is still regarded by people in the know (lens collectors) as the greatest lens ever put into a compact camera. It is a joy to use and looks pretty fantastic too.

This camera is for sale on my ebay site or through me directly. Get in touch for more details.



*Alert* Camera porn Monday cancelled

Breaking news! Camera porn Monday has been changed!¬†Basically, my computer died so I couldn’t post anything for a few days.

But I am back! And I come with camera goodness for you all. It has been a busy week and I have found some really interesting things recently. So, without further ado, lets get to what I know you all want…

The Minolta TC1 compact camera

This is without a doubt the best compact camera ever made, ever ever. The lens in this camera is so good that Leica decided to use the design in one of their own lenses. Each one of these cameras was handmade by Minolta to ensure the absolute highest quality. The lens has an adjustable aperture, which mades for some amazing effects. This really is a camera to die for if there ever was such a thing. I amazed that it was even produced, but then, it is a testament to the lengths the big makers would go to, to outdo each other.

This Rokkor lens is incredible, I cannot get over how sharp it is and how balanced the camera is. But you know what the really odd thing is about this camera is? How come nobody knows about it? It is as if the camera is a complete secret and nobody has ever heard of it, but the people who have absolutely love it.

I sell these cameras and often people ask me why it is so expensive…..DUH! It is the best compact film camera in the world. That is why.

Come and see this camera on e-bay or contact me if you are interested in buying it, you would not regret it.