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Minolta A-2 L favori envoyer Print
Photos by RL text by RL. From the collection of RL
France Version française

Chronology of the Minolta brand  New window

Manufactured in Japon from 1957 until after 1958.
Index of rarity in France : Rare (among non-specialized garage sales)
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Inventory number: 6653

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Minolta A-2

First of all, We need to rectify a mistake that has been perpetuated since at least 1985 and Francesch's book "History of the Minolta Camera from 1929 to 1985" (ISBN 2-249-27685-4), the camera shown here is not an A2-LT! And for good reason, and it is the Code Number List, an internal document of the firm, which confirms it to us: the A2-LT is an "Exchangeable telephoto lens of 0111". To be clear, each device / accessory / lens, since the post-war, receives a unique "Code Number" (in principle, there are some exceptions), which is found in this list. The code 0113 is therefore assigned to the 100 mm / 4.8 lens, the only lens that can be mounted on the code 0111, camera designated as A2 (A2-L), characterized by: Shutter Citizen MVL, Lens 45mm F2. 8. The camera, designated by Francesch, as A2-L and lacking, according to its description a "coupling finger for the rangefinder", does not exist! Only exists the A2-L, code No. 0111, having a coupling finger, not for the rangefinder, but for a second helical essential to the 100 mm lens, referenced under the code No. 0113 and designated alone as A2-LT.

The A2-L is, in the Minolta range, an enigma, almost an incongruity! When it is equipped with its 2.8 / 45 mm, it blends into the mass of different variants of Minolta A2 available from 1955. Only one detail is noticeable: a stem close to the lens, under the sync socket flash ... the plate above the hood does not betray anything, it just says Minolta 'A-2'. But in reality it is an interchangeable lens rangefinder! Simply unscrew the front ring so that the entire lens comes out, revealing the central shutter on the back. The mount is a simple 24 mm thread .

At first, we could conclude that the 'A-2' L is the intermediate link between 'A-2' and Super 'A', another rangefinder of the brand with interchangeable lens derived from the 'A' series. But the two cameras were released the same year ... and the latter had solved in a much more elegant way the question of the focusing with the long focal lengths: the fixed point controlling the second helicoid is inside the bayonet and drives the mechanism specific to the lens, for 8.5 cm, 10 cm and 13.5 cm. The 5 cm and 3.5 cm do not need it.
Why did they release this device a bit bastard? Mystery, especially since its marketting seems to have been more than confidential: even in Japan, with the tools of modern trade and exchange, the Minolta 'A-2' L meets very rarely. And still it is necessary to find the 4.8 / 100 mm which completes it .

In terms of ergonomics, the lens change is quite demanding! The 45 mm must be unscrewed by gripping the front ring, also used to adjust the diaphragm, fortunately knurled. But it is especially the assembly of the 100 mm which calls for the calm and the method: it is necessary to screw a ring, while engaging the control cam on the fixed stem of the camera. At this stage the cam must rotate freely. Then once the lens is tight, we must align two red markers on the lens, the camera set to infinity, and block by means of a reverse threaded ring the cam in connection with the stem: this is that under these conditions that the rear part of the lens, driven by the rotation of the focusing helicoid, controls in turn the rotation of the second helicoid deploying the front part of the lens. Once the operation is completed, the little bird flew away.

This camera is, today a particularly rare device, but that may not be much sought after by photographers and even more by collectors.

Minolta A-2