Minolta SR-T201 Camera Review

Guest Blog By Keith Derickson

The Minolta SR-T series is less well known than other Minolta 35mm cameras but is no less capable.  Minolta first introduced the SR-T series in 1966 with the 101 and various models were in production until 1981.  The SR-T201 was introduced in 1975 and is a fully mechanical camera and therefore the battery is for metering only.  The camera has shutter speeds up to 1/1000th of a second, plus Bulb, and an ASA range of 6-6400.  The camera also features a depth of field preview button, a hot shoe, self-timer, and a PC socket with flash sync at 1/60th of a second.  As an added bonus the selected shutter speed is visible in the viewfinder.

The metering system is of the match-needle variety were the goal is to match up the hoop over the needle by adjusting the shutter speed and aperture.  What makes the meter special is Minolta’s through-the-lens Contrast Light Compensator system.  The CLC meter consists of two photocells in series to help give accurate exposure in high contrast scenes.  In practice I find that this system gives better exposures than both my Canon AE-1 Program and my Pentax K1000.

Appropriate lenses for this camera are Minolta’s Rokkor lenses. These came in a wide variety of focal lengths ranging from wide angle to telephoto.  My particular camera has a MC Rokkor-X PF 50mm f/1.7.  The Minolta lenses are very well made and have excellent picture quality.  I have no quantitative analysis to back this up but I find my images very satisfactory.  Lenses were also produced by various third party manufactures.

The overall build quality of these cameras is excellent.  Its all-metal construction makes it very durable and therefore a little on the heavy end of the scale.  This camera may not be a great choice if you are looking for something small to tuck away in a pocket but I carry mine around in my shoulder bag with no complaints.

I can recommend this camera to anyone looking for a great manual SLR camera.  Having a majority of the features sought out buy any photographer there is no reason not to include the SR-T201 on the short list of first choices.  However, production variations did occur over the years so look carefully before buying.  Pick one up and I know you won’t be disappointed.

Thank you and happy shooting!

Special thanks to the Rokkor Files - http://www.rokkorfiles.com/

Keith Derickson is a long-time Film Photography Podcast listener. When not listening to the FPP, Keith is busy with his wife and two children.  Keith has been shooting film for ten years and considers himself a hobbyist, enjoying the tactile process of shooting film.  He works at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and his New Years resolution is to find a common voice in his photography.
 
All images by Keith Derickson / http://www.flickr.com/photos/keithderickson/
 

Comments

Charles Hohenstein's picture
Does this camera have mirror lockup? I know that some of the SRT series had it, and some didn't. Also, does it take a mercury battery?
kderickson's picture

The 201 does not have mirror lockup but I know the first generation 102 does.  They do indeed take mercury batteries but I use the hearing aid batteries and it seems to work fine.   One nicety is that the compartment cover is narled instead of a coin slit.  This allows you to spin off the cover with your thumb.  It also has a battery on/off/check on the bottom.   Head over to the Rokkor Files.  The author has loads of info on every model in the SR-T line up.

jim's picture
The mirror lock-up feature went away with the SRT 102 series. Minolta decided that it wasn't necessary with the advent of several of their newer lenses and updated Rokkor models. Shame! What a great series of workhorse cameras and lens in this lne. Yes on the battery, a 1.35 V. Most models have been reworked to accept the 1.5 V now. It appears to be a pretty simple task in repair shops.
Anonymous's picture
I have a 102 with lockup. Not all of them have lockup, but the earlier serial numbers do. When you buy one, be sure to get an earlier one (I'm not sure what the range is, but I believe rokkor files has it).
DuaneO's picture

Thank you for writing this article; well writen.

I started to use Minolta back in the early 70's.   At that time I was starting out in photography and went with the Minolta line.  A friend had told me their equipent was first rate and I haven't been disapointed since.

Today I use both film and digital camera systems of different brands.  But I still fall back to the original SRT101 that I purchased back in the 70's and it works great!!  I have in my collection of Minolta equipment approx 30 lenses and 7 various bodies, plus the various support items for these cameras (macro, spot meter etc).

The good news for the digital folks out there, the Rokkor lenses (SR, MC/MD mounts) are very usable for the Micro Four Third users.  This would include Olympus and Pansonic Lumix G system cameras.  They will not do auto focus or anti shake; they are full on manual.  But the fun is to use a hybrid digital system

You would have to purchase an enexpensive adapter (MFT to MC/MD) ($30) for these to mount, but these lenses will make excellent photographs.  For more details check out the Internet regarding using legacy lenses on MFT systems. 

To answer the Charles question, they did use mercury batteries, there are conversion kits and web instructions allowing you to continue using these cameras with todays batteries.

As for mirror locks, Minolta had various versions with locks.  Not all cameras had that option.  Visit the Rokkor Files and view the camera systems , look for the control dial on the upper left side of the camera mount (you facing the mount hole).

Anonymous's picture
ASA really goes to 6400? Sort of unheard of at that time. I have the x700 and it only goes to 1600.
kderickson's picture

It does indeed go to ASA 6400.  This is most likely possible because of its above average metering system.

Anonymous's picture
ASA really goes to 6400? Sort of unheard of at that time. I have the x700 and it only goes to 1600.
Rich Klein's picture
Great review but now I have another camera that I must have! (LOL)
Brian Moss's picture
Hey got my grandpa's srt 102 and many of the photos he took. Many a rolls of kodachrome has passed through that camera. So that's what that little leaver is for, the mirror lock up. Cool I have a roll of legacy pro from Freestyle (echo) hope to take many more photos, and keep that camera in the famaly for many more years.
Rimages's picture
What fun! This was my first "real" 35mm camera!! I still have and love it.. I had it rehabbed several years ago and it purrs wonderfully. In fact, I'd rather use this camera than my Nikon 6006! (If anyone is interested in buying this Nikon from me...please get in touch!!)
cyclingfan's picture
I bought the SRT 101 & had it refurbished for a film class this winter to see what I'd missed having only shot digital. What a wonderful piece of machinery! While I'm very fond of my dSLR, I love the Minolta. It's an almost irrational emotional attachment. What is it about solid feel, nice heft, good sounding clicks & satisfying mechanical operation that trumps digital beeps & button controls? My digital can do more, but I'd rather use the Minolta.
Lowfingaja baba's picture
I bought the SRT 101 & had it refurbished for a film class this winter to see what I'd missed having only shot digital. What a wonderful piece of machinery! While I'm very fond of my dSLR, I love the Minolta. It's an almost irrational emotional attachment. What is it about solid feel, nice heft, good sounding clicks & satisfying mechanical operation that trumps digital beeps & button controls? My digital can do more, but I'd rather use the Minolta.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
By submitting this form, you accept the Mollom privacy policy.