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Condition. Cosmetically the camera has some areas of brassing and small pitting. Covering is very good. Glass in lenses looks good with some dust in the 135mm lens. Shutter fires and shutter speeds vary appropriately. Aperture works. Viewfinder and rangefinder reasonably clean. Rangefinder works but is very faint. Accessories in good condition. As I look at it in the enlarged photo above, I can tell I also need to take a Q-tip to it to clean many of the nooks and crannies.

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I would welcome any comments about my Minolta 35. In particular, I'm interested confirmation that it is the original Model A, why the film gate seems to be 24mm x 36mm, what the modifications to the base of the lens might have been for, ideas as to its rarity and value, and any thoughts as to whether it would be worth getting repaired, and if so recommendations for a repair person.

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Lenses. What remained consistent from the Nikonos I through V were the simple, yet innovative lenses. To take off a lens, pull out slightly and turn clockwise a quarter turn. Remarkably simple. You have to take off the lens in the Nikonos I through III in order to load the film. The lenses always remained entirely mechanical. There are no electronic connections between the lens and the camera. You have to focus by measuring or estimation. (Obviously, most of the time you will use estimation.) The top of the lens has the distance with a silver background. The bottom of the lens has the aperture with a black background. On my newer lenses the black (left while facing the lens) knob sets the aperture and the silver (right while facing the lens) knob sets the distance. (The lenses can be mounted rotated 180 degrees in which case the left-right directions above would need to be reversed. Also, the lens on my Nikonos I has the color of the knobs reversed.) The newer lenses actually have curved lines going from the knob to the setting to make things clear. What is wonderful about the lenses is the very clear depth of field scale. On the distance scale there are two red marks. Looking at the lens with the distance scale on top, the left red mark shows the distance of the closest things that will be in focus. The right red mark shows the distance of the furthest things that will be in focus. At the smallest aperture (largest f number) these two marks will be furthest apart indicating the greatest depth of field. At the largest aperture (smallest f number), the two marks will be closest indicating the shallowest depth of field. As a practical matter, you zone focus underwater. Let's say you want to use f8 with the 28mm f3.5 lens. You move the aperture knob until the arrow is f8 in the aperture scale. If I set the focus to about 4 feet, the depth of field scale shows that everything from about 3 feet to 7 feet will be in reasonable focus. If I am taking a photo of a fish, I wait until it looks like the fish is with 3 to 7 feet of the camera and press the shutter button. If I am taking a picture of coral, I swim about 3 to 7 feet in front of the coral and press the shutter button. The smaller the aperture (larger f number), the more leeway I have. Of course, I also need a sufficiently fast shutter speed to stop the action. I can of course modify the settings under water, but its hard to do that too much with gloves on, a mask that may be fogging up, and air and depth gauges that need to be monitored.

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I purchased a second working XA2 for $5 at an estate sale in the Mt. Helix area of San Diego on 6-28-08. The cosmetic condition is good except for a large spot on the camera back below the rewind knob with no paint. The spot looks to be caused by resting one's thumb there while taking a photo and an indication of a well used, although well cared for, camera. It comes with an A11 flash in good cosmetic and working condition. The flash, which takes a 1.5 volt AA battery, turns on using a switch on the camera just below the ASA setting under the lens.

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I purchased mine on October 24, 2009 at an estate sale in the Fletcher Hills area of El Cajon, CA. The camera belonged to a physician who lived in a modest Fletcher Hills area house. The camera was under a pile of other things and sold for $5. I also purchased wooden slide cases that appear to be hand made and showing excellent workmanship. There were hundreds of mainly Kodachrome slides in the cases from the late 1940s to the early 1960s. The majority were from the early 1950s and I suspect were taken with this camera. The Kodachrome slides are in excellent condition with the colors remaining true and vibrant. In contrast, the few Ektachrome slides have turned larely monochrome. The slides are mainly of scenic, natural places in the Western United States including Death Valley, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, Petrified Forest, Crater Lake, Painted Desert, Anza Borrego and Colorado. The photographic quality is quite good, although it appears the photographer was limited to his single 50mm lens. Most of the photos could have been taken today. The few with cars or people, appear quite dated. My camera is in very good cosmetic condition. There is a slight amount of green oxidation on the metal trim in front. Optically it looks excellent with perhaps a slight amount of dust inside the lens. The lens is clear with no evidence of mold. The viewfinder is bright. The rangefinder works well. It seems to focus accurately, although the focus is very stiff. Unfortunately, the shutter will not fire. I'm aware the Retina IIa will not fire when the film counter gets to zero. I believe I have set things correctly and that it should fire. I may take it somewhere to see how much it would cost to get it fixed. It is a gorgeous camera, and once repaired, will capable of taking gorgeous photos of the beauty of nature today just as it did well over 50 years ago. Several sites discuss the Kodak Retina IIa including: , , , , (pictured with a rotary phone and an Olympia typewriter), (repair), (owner's manual), , .

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This section contains over 70 still cameras from A to Z (Agfa to Zeiss Ikon) using 35mm film but not having single lens reflex viewing and focusing. There are four primary ways these cameras focus. First, some are fixed focus. There is no focus adjustment. The lenses are usually small aperture and will provide a clear depth of field from perhaps five feet to infinity. Second, some have zone focusing. The lens focuses, but the user has to estimate the distance. Often there are two, three or four distance zones often represented by icons to help the user. The third way is rangefinder focusing which provides precise focusing. Rangefinder cameras have at least two windows which produce two images. There is usually a yellow square or diamond seen in the viewfinder with two overlapping images. You rotate the focusing ring until the two images merge together. For further information see and . Rangefinder focusing became common in the 1950s and remained popular until being largely replaced by the fourth focusing method, autofocus which begin with the Konica C35 AF in November 1977. With autofocus, you just point at the subject and the camera focuses automatically. See for more information. With all of these cameras the photographer views the image through a viewfinder which is not connected to the lens. The view through this viewfinder or window can hence be slightly different from the image that hits the film.