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Black Minolta SR-1

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The Black SR-1 was one of Minolta's earliest black production cameras,  and one of the hardest to find Minoltas. Strangely the SR-1 was not Minolta's first SLR,  that honor belongs to the SR-2.  The SR-1 was longer lived however, going though at least five variations from 1959 to 1965.      Unlike the SR-2, at least this variation of the SR-1 has a true automatic diaphragm. Unexpectedly the "automatic" mechanism is in the body, not in the lenses.   If mount a semi-automatic diaphragm SR-2 lens on this SR-1, the lens works automatically!   If you mount the automatic SR-1 lens on the SR-2, it suddenly becomes semi-automatic -- meaning it stops down automatically but the aperture does not re-open until the film is advanced!

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Notice the bar in front of the shutter speed dial.  That is the mount for the clip on accessory meter.  This SR-1 has a top speed of 1/500th, the meter mount, no depth of field preview.  Like the earlier SR-2, this SR-1 has a ratcheted 180 degree advance and a non-rotating shutter speed dial.   This particular example has a bright for its time large central ground glass focusing screen, surrounded by very visible by fresnel rings.  The SR-1 moved the frame counter from the left side as on the SR-2, to the more traditional location near the shutter release.

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The 53/2 Auto Rokkor PF mounted here seems to be one of the rarer SR normals. That's right,  53 mm.  It has a  52mm filter size, a close focus of 24 inches, and weighs in at compact 7 oz.  By this point in time the chrome lever which locked the aperture ring on earlier lenses was used as a stop down lever, allowing the aperture ring to rotate freely.


SR-1 Variations:  Minolta must have liked the SR-1, apparently at least 7 variations were made.  The different models  are confusing, in no small part because official Minolta publications are sometimes incorrect!   Many collectors refer to Cooper & Abbott's "Minolta System Handbook," which erroneously lists the SR-2 and first version SR-1 as having an automatic diaphragm!  

SR-1 Model 1 Tiered Top Plate No Meter Mount Aperture does not open until film advanced 1/500th "SR-1" on advance side, lens did not open to full aperture until film advanced, bottom motor mount lug, like SR-2 7/1959
SR-1 Model 2 Tiered Top Plate No Meter Mount ? 1/500th Cooper & Abbott erroneously lists these models  as the addition of a non-rotating shutter dial and depth of field preview, which makes NO sense since no SR-1 has either feature. The shutter dial did not rotate, the depth of field PV is on the lenses. Nevertheless, one of the these models introduced the true auto diaphragm to the SR-1 lineup. 8/1960
SR-1 Model 3 Tiered Top Plate No Meter Mount ? 1/500th 1961
SR-1 Model 4 Tiered Top Plate Clip on Meter Mount Auto Diaphragm reopens after exposure 1/500th Selenium Meter, LV system, marked "Chiyoda Kogaku," film counter near rewind lever, mount lug for external motor drive 1962
SR-1 Model 4a Tiered Top Plate Clip on Meter Mount Auto Diaphragm 1/500th CDS clip on meter, marked "Minolta Camera Co. LTD," film counter near advance lever, no mount lug for external motor drive.   I invented this designation as I could not find the variation listed elsewhere.  The black SR-1 shown on this page is of this type. 1965
SR-1 Model 5 Square  Top Plate Clip on Meter Mount Auto Diaphragm  1/500th CDS clip on meter, film counter near advance lever 5/1965
SR-1s Square  Top Plate Clip on Meter Mount Auto Diaphragm  1/1000th CDS clip on meter, film counter near advance lever 1967

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Revised: November 25, 2003 Copyright  1998-2002  Stephen Gandy. All rights reserved.    This means you may NOT copy and re-use the text or the pictures in ANY other internet or printed publication of ANY kind.  Information in this document is subject to change without notice.  Other products and companies referred to herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies or mark holders.