The return of the Minolta Autocord TLR.

Minolta Autocord Prosophos (crop)

That’s my actual Autocord ↑

As many of you know, I recently purchased a Minolta Autocord.

Unfortunately, I quickly realized (well, not so quickly… I ruined two rolls of film in realizing) that the shutter was not releasing.  I had a dead camera.  This despite the fact that it had been advertised as “fully repaired and fully functioning” by the seller in Japan (for the record, I’ve dealt with many Japanese dealers over the years, and have always found them to be reliable and honest, so this experience was an exception).

After getting over the initial disappointment , I started searching on the ‘net for someone who could fix it.

Fortunately, it didn’t take long to find the name of a highly recommended serviceman:  Karl Bryan.

I contacted Mr. Bryan, and he responded immediately; after several email exchanges he confirmed that it needed to be sent in.

So off it went and now I’m happy to report that my camera is back.

In the interest of sharing, here is the itemized list of inspections/adjustments/repairs performed, as communicated to me by Karl:

“Hi Peter,

I recvd your camera today and have performed the following services on it:

  • checked shutter, made/installed cocking lever pin
  • checked flash
  • checked film advance
  • checked frame counter
  • cleaned/lubricated focus helix
  • reset focus of taking and viewing lens
  • cleaned outer surfaces of lens groups
  • cleaned mirror/ground glass/Fresnel lens
  • installed Fresnel lens correctly
  • straightened waist level finder so magnifier pops up properly
  • replaced aperture/shutter viewing window
  • lubricated film rollers and film advance drive gear
  • tightened pressure plate screws
  • replaced shutter control lever
  • installed missing grub screw on focus lever
  • installed missing grub screw on meter on/off switch
  • replaced waist level finder lift button
  • installed battery and battery adapter in battery housing

 

…I have included a CD of Autocord information in the box with your camera.

The camera shutter had been CLA’d, but the camera tech forgot to put lacquer on the shutter cocking lever pin. Without the lacquer the pin will fall out. I made a new pin and installed it. I lacquered the pin and the 2 aperture control plate screws (camera tech also forgot to lacquer the screws). It was a real pleasure to work on your camera, a very clean camera. As recvd the focus was very very stiff (temp was 1 C) and infinity focus was when the focus lever was set to 50’ (camera tech probably didn’t have an autocollimator for setting focus). I cleaned/lubricated the focus helix and then I reset the focus, a very sharp lens. I also straightened the waist level finder so that it would open smoothly and the magnifier would not droop (can’t focus if the magnifier isn’t parallel to the ground glass). I also replaced the damaged rear waist level finder lifting button and the badly damaged aperture/shutter viewing window. You will find the old parts in the upper film spool area of the camera.

I tested your meter, the CDS meter works and appears to be accurate. To use the meter…”

 

As you can see, Karl took care of everything an now my Autocord has been restored to its former glory.

It is operating beautifully.

Suffice it to say, if any of you reading this are interested in having a Minolta Autocord skillfully serviced, do not hesitate to contact Karl (he is located in the USA and can be found easily via an internet search — or you can contact me and I’ll forward you his email) and you will be taken care of by a true gentleman.*

Thank you Karl!

—Peter.

*NOTE:  As always, the recommendations I make on my site are based on my experiences as a paying customer.  I am not affiliated with, nor do I earn any money (advertising or otherwise) from any third party photography-related products, services, or website links.

7 thoughts on “The return of the Minolta Autocord TLR.

  1. I can’t wait to see the photos you take with it. Lovely camera. TLRs are under-appreciated these days, I think.

  2. That’s a lovely camera, and it sounds like it ill be good for many years to come now. I think mine must be an earlier one as it doesn’t have a meter. I love it, specially since I discovered that putting it on a monopod helps me enormously with the difficulties of framing using the WLF (I don’t have any other MF cameras other than my fathers last Ikonta folder). It is a fabulous lens.

    • Thanks Chris. The meter is not coupled to the aperture/shutter and although functioning only provides EV values. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ll be using it much. Too bad, since Karl confirmed it is working properly. The non-metered Autocords such as yours are very handsome looking with cleaner/simpler profiles, to my eye.

  3. greg g49 says:

    I’m with KDG on this, it’s a lovely, elegant piece of industrial design (with all due respect, I find the Mamiya a bit of an ungainly beast). It’s also kind of interesting how much he seems to have fixed on a “very clean” camera.

    I, too, am anxious to hear how you fare with it and see some results.

    • The RZ67 looks plain ugly, but it creates beautiful images… it therefore looks very beautiful to me 🙂

      This Autocord goes against the grain of my shooting style but I want to see where it takes me.

      Thanks Greg.

  4. That sounds like a great repairer, well worth the effort as it lives again

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