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Old Wednesday 22nd November 2017, 22:48   #1
bluespiderweb
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Why do I like the view so much from these older Minoltas?

I have an older Minolta Classic II 8x40 Porro that I keep as my car bin, but most everytime I use them, I am very impressed with the view-especially that it seems to have very much contrast, or richness in the view that I scratch my head and wonder just why this old technology delivers such a pleasant view, when others at 10 times the cost (and more) of it's used price I paid ($50), do not deliver such perceived pleasing views to me? Or is it also the time of day that enhances the view too-most times it is later in the day I notice this effect, I think? Not sure about that one, but it is possible, since I know I have been very impressed with them when the sun is low-and my favorite time of day to be out viewing the natural world. They may be a little darker than some, and I imagine that might affect the contrast, color saturation, or whatever you may call this effect I am seeing.

Am I more focused on color and color enhancement (certain tints, and darker, seemingly more contrasty views for maybe the somewhat dimmer views), than other superior optics that just don't look like this, but probably give more detail in low light, and shadows, etc, and deliver truer colors, along with more actual sharpness (resolution) as well? Am I just a sucker for painter's and photographer's light that just enhances scenes with those rare light encounters? Could well be, since my first love was being in nature hunting and fishing, then with binoculars just observing, then lanscape photography, and later, admiring masterful paintings of nature and landscapes in ideal light and contrast, as painted by the artist or photographer, etc? And now I just view natural scenes with binoculars and sometimes digital camera, where I am just a sucker for those rare lighting views of mostly the natural world I love and miss for not being there more often! But even views taken from near the car, or even out my rear window often make me say-wowee-wow-wow-wow (in Christopher Walken terms). Often I am just awestruck by the lighting when viewing in early mornings or late afternoons, when the lighting is of course, more dramatic. It just puzzles me a bit, though, that these older Minolta Porros can deliver such views that make me grateful to have them to view through at those times!

Anyway, what do you all say about those contrasty views I see with my Minolta Classic II's that make me smile still, whenever I take them out of the car and watch the natural world around me when I am out and about? They shouldn't be that good, I feel, but to my eyes, they are.

By the way, I saw my first Bald Eagle with them a couple of months ago, just near where I live, which was a very great day for me-I never thought I would see one here in Souteast PA! I just wish the local Crows would have given him a wamer reception!

I would like some input from others here who might know what I am talking about, with bins that you wouldn't normally think they would deliver such welcome, contrast rich views. Anyone have any experience with these Minoltas too?

Just so you know what binocular I am talking about, I found the introduction to the model when it was released, with specs, and the separate 8x40 sheet too here:

https://www.ephotozine.com/article/k...-launched-2075

https://www.cnet.com/products/minolt...nocular/specs/

Thanks!
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Last edited by bluespiderweb : Thursday 23rd November 2017 at 01:42. Reason: Corrected bin size to 40
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Old Wednesday 22nd November 2017, 23:18   #2
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Barry:

Good of you to post your experience of the Minolta. Your descriptions and links are very good.

The camera companies, Minolta, Canon and Nikon all put out some of the best older porros.

I suppose this should not surprise. Experience matters.

Jerry

And I suppose we should include Pentax in this list.

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Old Thursday 23rd November 2017, 02:05   #3
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Thanks Jerry,

Yes, that's probably why I trusted to buy them used in the first place (a while back now), knowing the camera end myself, as well as the clean lines and cheap price. Like you said though, the major Japanese camera companies had the experience, and that isn't surprising that their binoculars would have some good ones among them, you're right there.

What I wonder is just why these are so visually pleasing in view-is it just the enhanced coatings to bring out certain colors, or the like (increased contrast), or a combination of that and not being as bright as later binoculars, which might improve color saturation, or the perception of it?

It's probably another hard to answer question, given the limitations of such a little known binocular, and my unscientific presentation of what I am questioning. Sorry, but I'm limited in those fine details for making it a more valid and easier question to answer, but maybe someone might have similar experiences to relate at least?
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Old Thursday 23rd November 2017, 16:06   #4
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Hi Barry,
I have one new in the box, unused I think. Maybe 10x50.
Because I used the wider angle Minolta Standard MK 10x50, I never used the Classic.

It gives me an excuse to try it.

The Minolta Activa Porro 12x50? impressed me with high transmision, because of full multicoating.

Minolta made their own glass, 150 types, so maybe it has good glass.

There are some poor Minolta binoculars, such as the Mariners? which are very dim.
But I used the Minolta EWA for ten years as my main binocular.
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Old Thursday 23rd November 2017, 18:21   #5
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Thanks for the reply Binastro. Wow, lucky you-that would be great, to hear what you think of them! Hope it turns out a nice surprise for you. Either way, just hearing that someone else has a Classic II to evaluate is good news.
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Old Thursday 23rd November 2017, 22:10   #6
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Hi Barry,
I found straight away a Minolta Classic Sport WP 10x50 unused boxed.
I'll see if I also have the Classic II. I think I may have one.
Apparently they also made a Classic III.

The Wiki list is incomplete. There are some missing.
I don't know if there is a complete list of Minolta binoculars.

P.S.
It was a sad day for me when Minolta U.K. closed as I have used their equipment since 1967.

But I got some clearance items. Much was just put on the tip, but quite a lot went to Minolta club members.
Some went to dealers in bulk clearances.

I gave 5 new SLRs to a photographic charity helping students. Another to a local photo student.
Some went to friends or relatives.
So I am not sure if I still have a Classic II, but I may have one.

I do wonder if the Minolta binocular factory, if they had one, still makes binoculars under other names.
I have seen Minolta photocopiers advertised well after Minolta supposedly closed.

Last edited by Binastro : Thursday 23rd November 2017 at 22:38.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2017, 08:52   #7
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Thanks Binastro for that info on Minolta, it's interesting about the closing of Minolta UK back in 1967. Yes, sounds like a sad one too, which happens when companies close shop. I wonder why they did so in the UK? Minolta was pretty big in the market back then. I imagine they were just moving operations elsewhere, or consolidating?
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Old Saturday 25th November 2017, 16:51   #8
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Hi Barry.
Konica Minolta stopped making cameras and film in 2006. I used Minoltas since 1967.
The Minolta design team went to Sony and I think are responsible for the successful Sony digital cameras and lenses.

Minolta had a fine showroom in Regents Street, London. Also an excellent servicing and repair department and a large warehouse. These all closed about 2006 although I cannot remember the exact year.

As to the binocular division, I don't know if this still exists in another form. Or indeed what happened to their glass making factory.

The Konica film was good and worked at very low temperatures. I still have Konica 110 film in the fridge. The Minolta zoom Mk II camera has one of the best lenses made.

Konica made the interesting Autoreflex camera.

I can't remember if there were Konica binoculars.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2017, 19:42   #9
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OK, now I understand, I misread your post about 1967 and thought that's when they closed up in the UK.

By the time the Classic II came out (ca 2004 I think), they did call it a Konica-Minolta binocular. Don't know when they started with that designation.

Wow, you still have Konica 110 film! I used to love film, until I stopped developing and printing my own-and then it was just expensive to use. But I still have some film cameras, and may still use them a little one day. Digital is so much nicer not having to worry about buying film, running out of it, and then the printing costs. Of course, being able to see your last picture right away makes it nice too.

The last Minolta camera I used was an old 35mm SRT-101 with a 58 1.2, I believe the lens was. That was a heavy handful, but still nice for low light. Those were the days! ; )
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Old Saturday 25th November 2017, 20:47   #10
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Well, I spent some time outside with some bins today, including the Minolta and Aculon. Bruce suggested in a PM that they were probably pretty close in viewing characteristics and why I probably liked the Minolta too. He was right, they are very similar.

But I think there are two things they differ in-one, is the Minolta seems to enhance greens and tans in nature slightly, and I think its 8x40 field of focus holds my interest more, than the more neutral Aculon and its 10x40 shallower field of focus. Just a guess comparing them today. The Aculon seems sharper overall, and possibly the slightly softer view (edges) of the Minolta in combination with its other attributes, makes my eyes just like the Minolta a bit better. I really don't know if that is so, but what I thought before was that it had more contrast, possibly, but I find they are pretty equal there. It may be that I usually use the Minolta when there is more contrast in the natural lighting-early morning and late afternoon, that I thought that before.

Anyway, both are really nice, and that Porro view is still my favorite, for general viewing. For ID'ing, or reaching out to distant objects, a good roof will do fine too (or better with the larger image scale). I think I just like that strong 3-D view of the Porros specifically and another reason I think that view holds more interest for me. For what it's worth, that's what I have come up with trying to understand it.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2017, 21:21   #11
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Barry,
If you still have the 58mm f/1.2 Rokkor it is quite valuable nowadays as it had the best bokeh of full frame lenses.
People use them now on digital cameras with adapters.

I also quite like the 10x42 Aculon, although I didn't like the earlier 10x40 Nikon Action VII so much. It was nearer 11x40 actually.
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Old Saturday 25th November 2017, 22:47   #12
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Heh, I wish I did still have the 1.2 Rokkor! Sadly, no, I was just trying it out for a few days from my local camera shop back when (and even then, it was expensive used). I just shot a few rolls with it, and couldn't justify the expense at the time. I loved the simplicity of the mechanical SLR's back then, and even some more modern ones, though they became quite complicated later with some of the electronics. Sophisticated for sure, but...I still have a used Nikon F4 I picked up that I haven't begun to learn to use, partly because of it!

Yep, the Aculon is hard to beat for the money, for a NEW binocular even, let alone some of the deals on them lately for refurbished ones some members were fortunate to find.
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Old Sunday 26th November 2017, 00:59   #13
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It seems we are now talking about cameras, so I will continue. I just was given an Argus C3 this
summer, my father picked up at a yard sale. He brought one home from overseas when he was
in the US Army. This was his camera for many years, mostly slides, and some prints, a famous
camera.

I now have looked up how to use this one, I have a roll of film, now I need to get busy and
use it.

Jerry
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Old Sunday 26th November 2017, 07:26   #14
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Hey Jerry, it sounds like it could still make nice pictures-only one way to tell. My dad used to take some really nice slides with a rangefinder like that, and his wasn't even coupled to the lens. He had to put the rangefinder on, and focus that, then set the camera lens and exposure-no meter either! We've come a long way, haven't we?

Go for it! Let us know how they come out. If you can, start with a short roll,
like 12 exposure, just in case it's out of adjustment. Have fun!
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Old Sunday 26th November 2017, 16:01   #15
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The Brick actually takes interchangeable lenses, some possibly by Soligor.
I think one has to lift the centre disc.

Another interesting U.S. camera is the Univex Mercury half frame with a rotary shutter.
Univex also made binoculars.

Another strange beast is the British Purma Plus that has three speeds depending which way up one holds it using a gravity shutter with a weight inside.

The hand wound Williamson aero camera before the Agiflite also had a rotary shutter.

There are strange Russian cameras also. E.g. Kiev 15 and stange half frame cameras.

I still haven't found a Minolta Classic II binocular yet.

What I would like is a De Oude Delft Maksutov type binocular, but I have never seen one.
Just seen mention that this firm made Rayxar 250mm f/0.75 lenses. I have seen half a dozen new 150mm f/0.75, but didn't know they were made larger.
A great firm De Oude Delft.

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Old Sunday 26th November 2017, 16:48   #16
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Binastro, post 15,
In the Louwmand telescope and binocular museum in the city of Wassenaar in The Netherlands there is one in the display of binoculars, so if you want to see and to hold it, you have to go there.
By the way the newest version of my PP presentation of Dutch-Belgian binoculars and telescopes between 1608 and now is on the WEB-site of House of Outdoor. Especially the Bleeker history has more information.
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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 13:24   #17
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I'm in Milton Keynes where Minolta had their HQ and service facility for several years. I was very impressed by the service I received from them when a pair of 7x50 bins developed poor collimation. When I collected them after repair, Minolta had retained the old pair, and provided me with a brand new pair, complete in new case & carton.
I too used to have a Minolta 58mm F/1.2 standard lens. Bought it when the 50mm F/1.4 I'd travelled to collect was out of stock! If only Minolta had settled more expediently with whoever invented AF, they might still be making cameras under their own name.
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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 16:33   #18
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I'm in Milton Keynes where Minolta had their HQ and service facility for several years. I was very impressed by the service I received from them when a pair of 7x50 bins developed poor collimation. When I collected them after repair, Minolta had retained the old pair, and provided me with a brand new pair, complete in new case & carton.
I too used to have a Minolta 58mm F/1.2 standard lens. Bought it when the 50mm F/1.4 I'd travelled to collect was out of stock! If only Minolta had settled more expediently with whoever invented AF, they might still be making cameras under their own name.

Hi Malcolm:

I was a Minolta dealer before and after they tried to save their company by merging with Konica. But, as a life-long tech, I would like to offer another piece of the puzzle. There can be no doubt getting a new binocular out of the deal is a good thing. But, that would rightfully come under customer service and not repair service and offering you a new bino was as good for them as you (as explained on pages 59 and 60) in my book.

Collimating a quality Minolta 7x50 was a piece of cake. But, with the purchase price from an OEM being so low, they could cut the expense of keeping a tech on the payroll, give you a new product, and come out financially ahead. I feel confident you got a quality replacement. But, many times a consumer will be excited and appreciative of getting a “brand new pair,” when that replacement might have a shadow of the original product’s quality.

No, I don’t go ‘round pulling the heads off baby chicks at Easter but I just thought you should know.

Cheers,

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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 19:48   #19
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Minolta U.K. had a great tech guy doing both lenses and binoculars. I forget his name.
After Minolta closed he carried on repairing optics, but I didn't keep in touch after a while.
He probably also had others on the repair team.

I dropped my Minolta SRT 101 from 16ft onto concrete photographing the abominable comet Kohoutek I think. The top was smashed and my insurance had it 'repaired' by their own non repairer. It took a year. I bought a replacement straight away.
When the original came back I forced the insurer to send the terrible repair to Minolta, who did a comprehensive full repair, not a replacement.

Minolta, Canon, Nikon and Vivitar and Leica had world class repairers in the U.K. Vivitar U.K. had I think the best optical bench in the U.K.

At head office Mr Pettigrew had an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Minolta.
Minolta club members got free annual checks and servicing.

Yes, sometimes a replacement is the cheapest option, But Minolta were capable of top quality repairs.

The 58mm f/1.2 Rokkor was fast centrally, but only f/2 at the edges. I had published photos of Aurorae and noctilucent clouds that I took with it. 1 second at f/1.2 for NLC, 4 seconds for Aurorae.
I also got a comet and fireball in the same frame at 14 seconds about at f/1.4 with the 50mm f/1.4.
The SRT 303b had the neat trick of moving 1/3rd frame if wound with the bottom button pressed I think. This gave 111 photos of Saturn or Jupiter on one roll of film. 1 second at f/72 with the 317mm DK, i.e. ~ 23,000mm at f/72. High speed Ektachrome 160 ASA. The photos were impressive, at least the best few on a roll.

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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 20:48   #20
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Re. post 19.

Camera Repair Workshop, Milton Keynes maybe still has parts and repairs Minolta cameras.
Dave Boyle and two other techs.

Not sure if they still repair Minolta binoculars.

I have not sent anything in for about ten years.

They repaired other cameras and lenses also with over 40 years experience. Not sure about binoculars.
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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 21:21   #21
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Minolta U.K. had a great tech guy doing both lenses and binoculars. I forget his name.
After Minolta closed he carried on repairing optics, but I didn't keep in touch after a while.
He probably also had others on the repair team.

I dropped my Minolta SRT 101 from 16ft onto concrete photographing the abominable comet Kohoutek I think. The top was smashed and my insurance had it 'repaired' by their own non repairer. It took a year. I bought a replacement straight away.
When the original came back I forced the insurer to send the terrible repair to Minolta, who did a comprehensive full repair, not a replacement.

Minolta, Canon, Nikon and Vivitar and Leica had world class repairers in the U.K. Vivitar U.K. had I think the best optical bench in the U.K.

At head office Mr Pettigrew had an encyclopedic knowledge of all things Minolta.
Minolta club members got free annual checks and servicing.

Yes, sometimes a replacement is the cheapest option, But Minolta were capable of top quality repairs.

The 58mm f/1.2 Rokkor was fast centrally, but only f/2 at the edges. I had published photos of Aurorae and noctilucent clouds that I took with it. 1 second at f/1.2 for NLC, 4 seconds for Aurorae.
I also got a comet and fireball in the same frame at 14 seconds about at f/1.4 with the 50mm f/1.4.
The SRT 303b had the neat trick of moving 1/3rd frame if wound with the bottom button pressed I think. This gave 111 photos of Saturn or Jupiter on one roll of film. 1 second at f/72 with the 317mm DK, i.e. ~ 23,000mm at f/72. High speed Ektachrome 160 ASA. The photos were impressive, at least the best few on a roll.
In the era your talking about I'm pretty sure Samuelson Film Services had the best optical bench. They had a complete stranglehold on movie rental equipment in the UK which is built and maintained to exacting standards. Now incorporated into Panavision
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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 21:37   #22
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... Samuelson Film Services ... Now incorporated into Panavision
Wow!
That brings back memories, from the 1960s! I was working in radar research, and specifically portable radar for the Army. What we were offering suffered from vibration effects, and so we hired a gyro cine camera stabiliser unit from Samuelsons. Their place at Cricklewood was like an Aladdin's cave for me! Can't remember if attaching the stabiliser to the radar solved the problem, but the necessary lead-acid battery was so heavy, it was rather impractical. (Our small portable radar did go into Service.)
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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 22:49   #23
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I did visit Samuelsons.
They had a great museum collection.

But there was also another quite large movie rental outfit that I also personally visited.
Can't remember the name at the moment.

Technicolor lenses were also rented out not sold. Made by TTH. But 1930s onwards.
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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 23:01   #24
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I did visit Samuelsons.
They had a great museum collection.

But there was also another quite large movie rental outfit that I also personally visited.
Can't remember the name at the moment.

Technicolor lenses were also rented out not sold. Made by TTH. But 1930s onwards.
Joe Dunton cameras was the other large one, and favoured by Stanley Kubrick and a host of Oscar winning DOP's. I used to work there. Latter renamed Panavision UK.
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Old Wednesday 29th November 2017, 23:05   #25
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Thanks maico.
I met the boss.

And indirectly I got to meet someone who sold me an incomplete Zoomar 180mm f/1.3 in a large trunk that I promptly got working on my Minolta.
I also got many Kilfitt adapters for Alpa, Contarex, Minolta and numerous other makes for very little money from another source. They fitted the Zoomars.
The lens cost £25.
The Zoomar man was pretty angry when I showed him the photos.
The six complete ones were £600 plus used.
Difficult to handhold.

I never saw the 240mm f/1.2 or 250mm f/1.3 Zoomars for medium format.

Apparently the De Oude Delft Rayxar was made in 250mm f/0.75. I have seen many 150mm f/0.75s.

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