No really, check her out.
After finally deciding that I wanted to get back in to photography, and the ensuing disaster that was my Yashica Electro 35 GSN, I decided to look deeper into what sort of camera would be best for me. I decided I wanted something largely manual so I can still shoot in our -40 Northland Winters, I wanted something built like a tank so I could carry it daily without fear, I wanted something relatively compact and simple but that would give me options if I want to do more of different types of work (like getting back into macro work or doing some studio work again) in the future. Essentially, I’ve given up on the idea of a rangefinder for right now, and I ended up buying this:
I had narrowed down my selection to the Olympus OM-1 (an absolutely gorgeous camera but typically just outside my price range); the Pentax K-1000 (an excellent camera but I didn’t like the fact that the light meter constantly runs, apparently, and you need to keep a lenscap on it to prevent that if you want to keep a battery in it); or the Minolta SRT-101 (yes I know I ended up getting a 102 instead of a 101). I actually find the SRT Minoltas a bit ugly. The prism reminds me of that hairstyle that’s really popular with women right now that almost looks a bit like a pompadour, where women pull just a few inches of their hair back right along the very top of their head and leave the rest loose. It’s not flattering. However, I’ve heard almost exclusively good things about them aside from the fact that you shouldn’t turn the dials too fast or it can unseat the silk threads that are used in their mechanism. Moreover, and perhaps one of the biggest influences on my decision, I thought it was appropriately sentimental to buy a Minolta since that’s what I first started shooting with so many years ago, and that Maxuum of my Mother’s, despite how incredibly loud it was, remained my favorite camera throughout my time in college.
So here we are. I went out on a limb and won an auction that, while affordable, gave very little information about the camera itself. I lucked out though. I couldn’t be happier. While it seems it hasn’t been shot in a while (I cleaned a fair amount of dust and grime off the top), it seems whoever owned it before actually cared about it. They already replaced the most important light seal at the hinge of the film compartment, it has a working battery and seemingly accurate light meter (I checked it against a light meter app on my phone for what that’s worth…though a big part of the reason I’m going manual is to learn & practice with Sunny 16 so the light meter isn’t super important anyway, but nice to have), it came with a lens cap and the original neck strap (neither of which were mentioned in the auction, so that was a nice surprise), and even had a roll of film in at already (which I didn’t realize at first & wasted a bunch of exposures of while testing the camera).
By golly does that shutter sound silky. Oh I’m sure it’s nothing compared to a Leica but compared to my old cameras it’s a totally different experience. Even the 5D Mark II I used to have sounded clunky in comparison. I love hearing it. It makes me want to go out and shoot.
Now she needs a name, guys! I think I need to get to know her better first to come up with a fitting one.