Collection of film cameras including medium format Yashica-Mat and Voigtlander Bessa I, Electro 35 rangefinder, and multiple generations of Minolta SLRs.

Film Cameras: State of the Collection 2022

Collection of film cameras including medium format Yashica-Mat and Voigtlander Bessa I, Electro 35 rangefinder, and multiple generations of Minolta SLRs.

The Film Camera Collection:
5 Minoltas, 2 Yashicas, and 1 Voigtlander

How many film cameras is too many? If you said “More than one,” then you are probably correct. But does it hurt to have seveneight?…(Maybe don’t answer that question.) My collection started with a couple of cameras that just happened to come attached to the vintage lenses that I was actually buying. One of those, the Minolta SR-T 101, has become one of my favorite film cameras. But it was the two Yashicas that I got in 2017, starting with the Yashica-Mat TLR followed a month later by the Electro 35, that got me hooked on film photography. My collection doubled in the spring of 2021 with the addition of three more Minolta SLRs and was completed in March 2022 with the purchase of a Voigtlander Bessa I folder. At this point, I feel that I have a somewhat complete collection of camera bodies based on my goals for the collection.

Although they look great on the shelf, all* of my film cameras are fully functional and hopefully get used at least once a year. I typically keep various types of film loaded in 2 to 3 cameras so I can grab one off the shelf and start shooting. In this post I’d like to share with you a little bit about each camera and why it’s in my collection.

*I have retired the Maxxum 7000 because of a problem with the battery holder in the grip making good contact to supply power. In addition, I noticed that it has a tendency to miss focus quite often so I prefer the Maxxum 5 when I need an autofocus body.

Film Cameras: State of the Collection 2022 6x6, 6x9, Bessa, camera, Electro 35, film, folder, Maxxum, Minolta, photography, rangefinder, Rokkor, SLR, TLR, Voigtlander, Yashica

Yashica-Mat

Type: Medium format (6×6) TLR
Year of manufacture: c1969
Unique Aspects: Yashinon 80mm f/3.5 taking lens


Film Cameras: State of the Collection 2022 6x6, 6x9, Bessa, camera, Electro 35, film, folder, Maxxum, Minolta, photography, rangefinder, Rokkor, SLR, TLR, Voigtlander, Yashica

Yashica Electro 35 GSN (Review)

Type: 35mm Rangefinder
Year of manufacture: c1973
Unique aspects: Aperture-priority automatic exposure, fantastic Color-Yashinon 45mm f/1.7 lens


Film Cameras: State of the Collection 2022 6x6, 6x9, Bessa, camera, Electro 35, film, folder, Maxxum, Minolta, photography, rangefinder, Rokkor, SLR, TLR, Voigtlander, Yashica

Voigtlander Bessa I (First Roll)

Type: Medium format (6×9) folding camera
Year of manufacture: c1950
Unique aspects: 6×9!, Vaskar 105mm f/4.5 lens, bellows


Minolta SLRs

Film Cameras: State of the Collection 2022 6x6, 6x9, Bessa, camera, Electro 35, film, folder, Maxxum, Minolta, photography, rangefinder, Rokkor, SLR, TLR, Voigtlander, Yashica
The Minolta Collection: 35mm SLRs from every decade (1960s through 1990s)

Since my collection started with the SR-T 101 and Maxxum 7000, I was fascinated with the old Minolta film SLRs, and as I started learning more about them, more and more models were added to my wish list. At some point I settled on the goal of having a representative model from each decade starting with the SR-T 101 of the 1960s and ending with the last generation of film SLRs from the 1990s. I have two models from the ‘80s, the X-570 representing the last of the manual focus SLRs and the Maxxum 7000 ushering in the age of autofocus. I am missing a few models, most notably the XE and XM series of the mid-1970s, along with the early SR series and the XG of the early ‘80s. But I’m not trying to have a complete collection of every series of Minolta camera, and so I’m not bothered to not have these in my collection. My goal is to have a collection representing the evolution of the SLR, and I think my cameras showcase each major step along the way.

Film Cameras: State of the Collection 2022 6x6, 6x9, Bessa, camera, Electro 35, film, folder, Maxxum, Minolta, photography, rangefinder, Rokkor, SLR, TLR, Voigtlander, Yashica

Minolta SR-T 101 (Mini review)

Year of manufacture: c1969
Unique aspects: Fully mechanical manual SLR, features Contrast Light Compensation (CLC) weighted metering
Pairs well with: Minolta SR MC Rokkor 58mm f/1.4 lens


Film Cameras: State of the Collection 2022 6x6, 6x9, Bessa, camera, Electro 35, film, folder, Maxxum, Minolta, photography, rangefinder, Rokkor, SLR, TLR, Voigtlander, Yashica

Minolta XD11 (Review)

Year of manufacture: c1977
Unique aspects: World’s first camera with both aperture and shutter priority modes, as well as a fully metered manual mode; considered to be Minolta’s finest manual focus body; developed in conjunction with Leica; compact body; pentaprism with Accumatte focusing screen; fully mechanical and electronically controlled; “Final Check” metering system
Pairs well with: Minolta SR MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4 lens


Film Cameras: State of the Collection 2022 6x6, 6x9, Bessa, camera, Electro 35, film, folder, Maxxum, Minolta, photography, rangefinder, Rokkor, SLR, TLR, Voigtlander, Yashica

Minolta X-570

Year of manufacture: c1983-1987
Unique aspects: Last generation manual focus SLR; viewfinder displays both selected and measured shutter speeds; electronically controlled; no Program mode (that’s a bonus)
Pairs well with: Minolta SR MD Rokkor-X 28mm f/2.8 lens (not shown)


Film Cameras: State of the Collection 2022 6x6, 6x9, Bessa, camera, Electro 35, film, folder, Maxxum, Minolta, photography, rangefinder, Rokkor, SLR, TLR, Voigtlander, Yashica

Minolta Maxxum 7000 (Mini review)

Year of manufacture: 1985
Unique aspects: First SLR with in-body auto-focus; OG Alpha
Pairs well with: Minolta Maxxum AF Zoom 28-135mm f/4-4.5 lens (The “Secret Handshake”)


Film Cameras: State of the Collection 2022 6x6, 6x9, Bessa, camera, Electro 35, film, folder, Maxxum, Minolta, photography, rangefinder, Rokkor, SLR, TLR, Voigtlander, Yashica

Minolta Alpha Sweet II (Maxxum 5) (Review)

Year of manufacture: 2001
Unique aspects: Minolta’s last quality consumer-level film SLR and, according to David Hancock, “the best 90’s entry-to-mid-level camera. Period. End of story.”; includes many features comparable to the prosumer Alpha7 in a smaller and much cheaper (about 1/4 the price in 2022) package (and no, I’m not saying the Maxxum 5 is on par with the exalted 7)
Pairs well with: Minolta Maxxum AF Macro 100mm f/2.8 lens (“Optical Perfection” according to James Tocchio)

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