Minolta Autocord
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The old Twin lens reflex cameras are cult classics for a real enthusiast in photography and so am I. After my bad experience with the Seagull I researched the internet for my next trial. My conclusion was quick clear! As an old Minolta fan the Autocord was a must have!

My Minolta Autocord in front view with its lens cap.
 Its a very solid built japanese TLR many say "built like a tank". 
The Rokkor 3.5 f=75mm lens is a Tessar type
with 4 lenses wich is highly praised in the net.
Many think its one of the best Tessar type lenses
 for 6x6cm cameras in the world - absolute comparable 
if not slightly better than the famous 
Carl Zeiss Tessars and the Schneider Xenars 
in the Rolleiflexes and Rolleicords! 

 

Right view of my Autocord.
You can see the winding crank with its lock,
the frame counter, the film advance indicator 
and the double exposure button. 
Focusing is done by moving the lowest button seen on the right side.
This button in conjunction with its helicoil 
moves the front plate away from the body.
   

Left and back view of my Autocord.
By pulling the above knob on the left side you open the back, 
which then immediatly folds downwards.
Against the other TLR's you put the unexposed film roll 
in the upper chamber so avoiding the common film flatness problems
 coming up in the other TLR's because 
the film has to bypass a 90 corner before exporsure.

My Autocord seems to be built around the year 1962. The original booklet tells, that "EACH AUTOCORD WAS TESTED WITH FILM" before shipment. A expensive and time consuming final check but it ensures, more than anything else, the top quality of every sample. The Autocords in the 50ties and 60ties together with the Rolleiflexes and Rolleicords have been the work horses of a whole reporter generation.

There also exists more modern models that can use 220 film too and that also have selenium or CDS light meters. Also there exists other shutter variants like seikosha and citizen instead of the optiper in my model.

The lens seems to have not changed for all the versions with the exception of further improved coatings in the later versions. But do not doubt my 1962 model, stopped down to 8 or 11 is a excellent optical performer! After my Hasselblad its delivers the second best picture quality! 

See also http://medfmt.8k.com/mf/autocord.html which states that "Modern Photography, October 1965, page 68" tested the Autocord Rokkor lens excellent center and corner sharpness at apertures 8 and 11. 

Cook on roof
2004
The focusing was done by me on the highest brick line.
The focal plane is razor sharp even on a 2400dpi scan 
that yields to a more than 25MPixel image.
Minolta Autocord; Rokkor 1:3.5 75mm; f8 1/250s; Fujichrom velvia 50 ASA
 

In my personal tests the Rokkor 3.5 75mm clear outperforms a Kiev 60 with a GDR Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 2.8 80mm and also the Volna and Arsat 2.8 80mm lenses. Also the Yashica Mat 124 seems to me not to be a competitor for the Autocord. 

In Paradies
October 2004
Minolta Autocord; Rokkor 1:3.5 75mm; f8 1/250s; Agfacolor 100 ASA
 

The Minolta Autocord in my opinion has the following advantages:

Stopped down excellent picture quality due to the Rokkor lens.
No film flatness problem due to reversed film loading principle.
Central leaf shutter is extremly quiet and reliable and also produces a absolute minimum of vibration.
Very good handling (film loading, rewinding, focusing and so on)
Very good mechanical built quality and durability.
In the more modern versions 120 and 220 film usable.
Double exposure feature.
Full 1/500s flash synchronisation also due to the central shutters in the lenses (much more important for a 6x6cm than with 35mm cameras).
Needs simply no battery.
Standard Rollei bayonet-1 also called bay-1 for mounting filters and other accessories.
Low prices around 60$-150$ for a complete camera in good working condition.

All in all a nice camera, which is capable of producing excellent picture quality not reachable by any 35mm SLR!

Lying trunk
Dezember 2004
One more example showing the excellent sharpness of the Minolta Autocord Rokkor lens.
Minolta Autocord; Rokkor 1:3.5 75mm; f8 1/250s; Fujichrom velvia 50 ASA
 

Tests to compare my Autocord against the Rolleiflexes and Rolleicords with their Planars, Tessars and Xenars of my friend (he is a inspired TLR collector and has nearly every model in his showcase :-) are planned for the near future!

Watch this site, I think its very exciting!