Pier to Nowhere.

2016, Favourite, Film, Inspiration, Kodak Tri-X 400, Minolta Autocord CDS III 75mm Rokkor f/3.5, Print, Scanner - Plustek 120

“Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever… it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off–then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.”

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick; or, The Whale.

Pier to Nowhere

Close Connection.

Film, Inspiration, Kodak Tri-X 400, Minolta Autocord CDS III 75mm Rokkor f/3.5, Print, Q&A, Rolleinar 2, Scanner - Plustek 120, Teaching point

There’s another close connection going on here…

I’ve attached a Rolleinar 2 close-up lens kit to the Minolta Autocord to get this shot.

This is the first test image with the combination.  The buttery-smooth bokeh of the Rokkor f/3.5 is impressive, given the concomitant sharpness in the in-focus areas.  It’s one of the reasons I sought out the Autocord in the first place.  It’s rare to find such sharp-but-smooth rendering — often you only get to have one of these attributes in a lens.  The only other lenses I know of that are as well balanced are the Leica 50mm Summilux ASPH and the Mamiya RZ 110/2.8.


Close Connection

The Minolta Autocord (thank you Karl Bryan).

Inspiration, Minolta Autocord CDS III 75mm Rokkor f/3.5, Q&A

Third time the charm?

For those of you following along, I purchased a “recently adjusted” Minolta Autocord one month ago and it was dead on arrival.

Fortunately, Mr. Karl Bryan restored it to its former glory.

After shooting my very first roll of film (which turned out great), I tried to load a second roll and the frame counter stopped working.

Subsequent to some extensive scientific analysis I concluded that this Autocord was cursed.

I was ready to give up on it and I let Karl know, but he wouldn’t have any of it.  He urged me to stick with it.  When I asked him why, he responded:

“Your camera is way too nice of an example to not get it working… I just want you to use [it] and see what a fantastic camera the Minolta Autocord is.”

His enthusiasm convinced me to send it back to him.  Truth be known, I actually didn’t want to disappoint him.  And so, off it went.

Several days later, I received the following message:

“Hi Peter,

I recvd your camera this afternoon and performed the following services on it:

cleaned Fresnel lens (dirt/grit from deteriorating light seal), your ground glass and Fresnel are in better shape than any of my spare parts
installed waist level finder light seal
adjusted tension of frame counter wheel spring
installed leather neck strap”

The charge for all of this work?

$0 (zero).

My Autocord arrived back home today and I am simply giddy with excitement for this little jewel.  I can’t believe how beautifully it is working.  And the leather strap that Karl put on it is just perfect — it would have been exactly what I would have chosen if given the option.

I let Karl know how I felt, and he wrote back immediately:

“Hi Peter,

you made my day! I am so happy that you are again enthused with your Autocord.

Yes, that “old school” camera strap was one of my favorites (used on my Leica 3F, Minolta 35 rangefinders, Nikon rangefinders and on the Minolta Autocord CDS II that a buddy used for my wedding photos). Glad you have it and will enjoy using it.

If you should have any issues with your camera, please feel free to email me. I so want you to enjoy using your Autocord.



yeah, Autocords are my favorite camera and I want other people to appreciate how nice they are, so forgive me if I seem biased”


Mr. Karl Bryanthank you, thank you, thank you.


Minolta Autocord (thank you Karl Bryan)


The return of the Minolta Autocord TLR.

Film, Inspiration, Minolta Autocord CDS III 75mm Rokkor f/3.5, Q&A, Teaching point

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!


*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.