dante stella stories photographs technical guestbook
"Spock - Military capabilities?"
Overview - Virtually unknown 6x6 twin lens reflex. Made in several models, which can include variously the LVS exposure system, selenium manual meter, CDS meter, Seiko and Optiper shutters. Japanese TLRs are a dime a dozen, but the Minolta Autocord is the only variety that steadily increases in value (on every rare occasion you see one on the resale market). Why? Because it outdid the Rollei 3.5MX and Rolleicords it was designed to emulate (if you doubt this as a purpose, you will notice that the striping around the wind lever and the tripod socket are identical; you will also notice "Chiyoko" where you would expect to see F&H). These are the principal models.
In sum, I have discovered that the Autocord has better optics, easier focusing, and a more logical control layout than any other TLR. Too bad mine sat in a closet for 15 years before I learned how to use it. This article will discuss the common features of all of the Autocords. Someone has a listing of all the models, but frankly, I couldn't tell you what the name of mine is - the first model.
Left: myautocord.com; right, deadly sharpness with pleasant bokeh
Main Lens - The Autocord has two lenses: the taking Rokkor, which is a 75mm f/3.5 lens; and the viewing Rokkor, which is a 75mm f/3.2 lens. Both take Rollei Bayonet-1 filters. Spacing between the lenses is normal, and the Minolta Autopole accessory fits over them (this is a set of geared, synchronized polarizers that shows you in the viewfinder what the effect will be on film).
Viewfinder - the viewfinder is a plain ground glass with hairlines to show the frame. There is a pop-down magnifier and sportfinder. I have found this quite a bit easier to focus than the laminated-glass Rollei 3.5MX finders, despite the fact that the viewing lens is slower. Spiratone once made a split-screen groundglass, and you can certainly have a brighter screen cut (Beattie, etc) if you want. I would recommend cutting a piece of the Office Max fresnel bookmark magnifier and dropping it into the finder. Works wonders for this or any other TLR.
Autopole - where would we be without this accessory? A geared dual polarizer that shows you the polarization effect, exactly as it will be on film. Works with Rolleiflex 3.5MX, too.
Special features and burdens - definitely a different animal than the Rolleiflex.
In my opinion, the tradeoffs are well worth the results.
Ever wonder what a party at my house looks like? (Original Autocord on TMY)