Student cameras – Minolta SRT 101

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Minolta SRT 101

Burly and reliable, this early entry in the SRT line is built like a tank.  One of the most important aspects of this camera is its sheer heft – a very popular choice among those who plan (or don’t, hey accidents happen) to put their camera through heavy use.  While we cannot necessarily recommend this, there is a popular gossip that the camera doubles nicely as a mallet.

The SRT 101 is the oldest camera on our list, having been introduced in 1966.  It adheres to the design philosophy of that time; build it from metal and build it to last.  Four decades later, these cameras are still going strong, with no trace of the planned obsolescence so commonplace today.

As you would expect of each camera on this list, the SRT 101 is simple in design and use.  Metering is as quick and straight-forward as you want it to be via a match needle system.  The SRT 101 is also fully equipped with a self-timer, depth of field preview and even a mirror lock-up.  Early models do lack a hot shoe, but flash photography could still be done via a PC port on the camera body.  In short, Minolta covered all the bases.

Advantages:

  • Simple. Easy to learn and use.
  • Extremely well built. Reliable. Rarely requires maintenance.  Almost entirely metal.
  • All mechanical camera, only the meter requires battery power.
  • Many models include additional features such as mechanical self-timer, depth of field preview and mirror lock-up.

Disadvantages:

  • Big and heavy.
  • Most early SRT 101s have no hot shoe, though the camera has a PC port for flash photography.  A hot shoe was added to later versions of the SRT line.
  • If the camera has not seen a repair shop in a while, it may need to have the meter calibrated for modern 1.5 volt batteries.

Also consider: Minolta SRT 102, SRT 201, SRT 202 and Minolta X700.

Images from the Minolta SRT 101: www.flickr.com/groups/minolta_srt


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