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Minolta SRT 101 Review

This review of Minolta SRT 101 is sponsored by cha boi Dini and his spanking new Youtube channel that needs all the love it can get.  So head on down to it and make sure to subscribe, like, and comment to help a brother out.  The Youtube video of this review can be seen at the bottom of this article or by clicking here.  

Now to the review:

Armored with a titanium shell and an arsenal of Rokkor lenses to choose from, the Minolta SRT 101 is the perfect 35mm camera for photography beginners.  To be more precise, it is not actually a fully analog camera due to its battery operated exposure meter, but the camera functions without it either way.  The exposure meter when working is known to be very accurate however possibly due to its age it is also very common to have its needle stuck.  But worry not, since it’s a very easy fix and most camera shops will be able to fix this under $40.  The meter will continuously meter the light even if your lens cap is on and it’s completely dark, so you will need to make sure to turn it off right away after you’re done shooting or your battery will drain very fast.  An easy solution to go around this exposure meter problem is to use an external light meter or download an app on your smart phone. 

The film load to this camera is slightly different from your usual cameras where you slot in the film cannister in first.  With the Minolta SRT 101, you will have to insert the film into the advance spool first then pull the cannister into the slot.  I’ll make a video on this sometime soon. 

Since it is not battery operated, this means the film advance is also manual -you will need to cock back the lever between each exposure, which is pretty bad ass.  This camera pretty much has everything you want in a 35mm SLR and it comes encased in a titanium shell.  It is very popular within schools and academies as they are readily available and its sturdy build has lasted generations.  All of this, and you can probably find one with a nice Rokkor lens for under $100.  What a bargain!

Minolta SRT 101 PROS:

  • Wide range of Rokkor lenses (prime, zoom, macro, wide angle -you name it!).
  • Accurate battery operated exposure meter -usually an easy fix if broken.
  • Titanium body.
  • Fully analog -minus the exposure meter but the camera can be used without it.
  • Wide shutter range: Bulb mode, 1 second, 1/2th to 1/1000th.
  • Cheap and pretty common in thrift stores.
  • External flash mount available.
  • Self timer mode.
  • Battery check.

Minolta SRT 101 CONS:

  • Manual film advance is cool but also cumbersome.
  • Film loading is slightly different from other analog cameras and may require learning curve.
  • No window to view loaded film stock.
  • Titanium body can be heavy.
  • Battery operated exposure meter will constantly meter light and drain power if left on.  
  • Common problem of exposure meter needle getting stuck -but is an easy fix.
  • Manual focus -depends on your preference but you’re stuck with manual with this camera.

Minolta SRT 101 TRICKS/TIPS:

  • ALWAYS REMEMBER to turn off the light meter after using!  
  • Put paper tape on the back and write down the film stock that’s loaded. 
  • If you’re using a light meter phone app like I am, I would expose the shot a bit brighter (1/2 to full stop) assuming your app meters under exposes.

Overall Impression: The Minolta SRT 101 definitely doesn’t have the full range of control pro-level SLR’s will give you but it is compact, light, and offers affordability and an immense range of lens selection.  I would recommend this to anyone looking to explore analog photography who look forward to manually focusing and advancing each exposure.  On top of that, most likely you will have to anticipate having the light meter either run out of battery at some point or malfunction which will force you to use an external meter.  But there is a real feel to this camera and it’s quite charming.  I personally love it for the patience the camera teaches you as well as the great lenses available.  

Video Review:

Sample Shots:

All shot with Kodak Portra 400


More pics from the shoot with Anjelica can be seen here!

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