martedì 9 giugno 2015

One take, one frame, one camera: Minolta A5

When I choose a classic camera to bring with me for a photo session, or just to have something in my bag for any eventuality, I would like to have with me a solid, reliable, nice instrument, capable of producing good results.
I'm not a collector, but an user, so I select some cameras could still give good photographic results and make me want to expose some film.
I'm not crazy for rangefinder cameras because I'm a shot maniac that loves to study very precisely the right image composition and the impossibility to know exactly what is happening on the frame drives me quite mad. I recognize the utility of this category of photo cameras and the advantages to photographing with a light and quiet camera, so I decided to get me a Minolta A 5.

Minolta A5, year 1968

General appearance
Heavy, made of metal, simple, a bit squared, the Minolta A5 has a good quality Rokkor 40mm f 2,8 and a between the lens shutter made by Seiko SLV.
It doesn't need battery because there is not any lightmeter inside.
It is a camera for purist and i like it for this reason. No electronic, no electrical garbage, just mechanical gear and optics: this is all I need.
The shape is quite essential, the controls are in the right place and easy to use; everybody can understand this is a serious camera, not a toy.

The shooting
Margot, the model, has been very brave to follow me inside an abandoned industrial area in Milan; we climbed a wall and we took the photograph after we overcame a barbed wire. Margot, in this picture, is holding her left hand just at the iron line (not framed).
I had a big backpack with other 2 cameras and a couple of lens, but I wanted to make understand how carrying a small, strong, simple camera during these excursions could be a good idea. 
It was the first film I exposed with this camera, so framing correctly the subject hasn't been too intuitive, also using the frames in the viewfinder for parallax correction. If the eye is not perfecly at the center and perpendicular to the frame, it is easy to cut a part of our subject. This is the limit of this camera. 
The telemeter is not extremely clear, but it is precise in the focusing.
To determine the exposure I used a separate digital light meter: a Gossen Digisix.

The result
I like the bokeh, the central shutter and the focal lenght of the Rokkor 40 mm f 2,8; also micro-contrast, lens coating and colour rendering are very good. 
I'm really very happy of this camera and I think to bring it with me instead of my Rollei 35S that is a spectacular camera, but misses the telemeter.

Margot in the leaves
Minolta A5, Fujicolor C 200, Iso 200 1/60 sec. f4
Scanner Agfa D-Lab 1

Why to choose this camera?
If you don't need to change lens, this is the perfect camera to have always with you.

Commercial value Vs. real value
How much would you pay for a camera that makes very well its job, lasts 50 years, or maybe the double, without any problem?
I think you can buy a Minolta A5 for a price between 50 or 100 euros. Pratically nothing.
I payed mine nearly the same price (5 euros more) I payed for the Nikkorrmat FTN I tested last time.
It would be interesting to compare the images obtained with this camera with the images obtained with a Minolta-Leica CL. I have no doubts that the results would be very, very interesting and the shuttur of the A5 could also be more accurate of the shutter of the CL. Tony Graffio

The film rewind knob, the rapid wind lever and the exposer counter are different from the first version of the Minolta A5 made in the 1960

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