New Toy Alert: Minolta Autocord CDSIII

Photographers suffer from a disease called Gear Acquisition Syndrome or GAS for short. There is no cure, only temporary remission. I like my Twin Lens Reflex cameras, owning a pair of Rolleicords, a Series E 3.5 Planar Rolleiflex and a Mamiya C220f is testament to that. Now I was always curious about Minolta Autocords because of their reputation for amazing lenses. Well, I found one at Burlington Camera, everything worked except the meter which is no surprise.

Autocords are a different beast than Rollei and Mamiya TLRs. You load the film up top instead of the bottom and you don't have a focus knob on the side but a lever on the bottom. The dreaded lever, if you're to stumble across an Autocord chances are that lever is seized up, don't force it. The engineers at Minolta made the fatal mistake of using "Pot Metal" alloy which is pretty weak. There are a lot of Autocords out there with broken levers. Now I remember one photographer/tinkerer posted on his website how to make a replacement lever in brass, a much sturdier metal. If I find that link I'm posting it for sure as a public service.

How does it handle? Different, the ergonomics take some getting used to if you are used to the world of Rollei. I was brave and decided to use a roll of Kodak Portra 400 as my test roll, my Autocord's speeds are bang on. The results speak for themselves. Now I did have to clean the focusing screen, which requires patience and steady hands. Turns out there was foam between the waist level finder and the dead meter, I replaced that and cleaned the mirror and carefully dusted out all the debris. This camera is a keeper. Unfortunately, I don't have a camera strap for it, again in Minolta's infinite wisdom went with a proprietary lug system which is a pain in the ass. I might improvise a Gordy's Wrist Strap until I can find the OEM neck strap.

The photos were taken on the 7th Anniversary Toronto Photo Walk  mostly in Toronto's east end.

Camera: Minolta Autocord CDSIII
Film: Kodak Portra 400

Front St. on Saturday Morning_

East End Corner On Dundas

East End Row Houses

Small Duplex

Street Car Loading_

Corner of Broadview and Gerrard

Minolta Autocord CDS III


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