My Grandfather’s Cameras

Part 6: Minolta SRT 101

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This is part 6 of an on-going series titled "My Grandfather's
Cameras." I never met my paternal grandfather, Robert
Diefenbach. He passed away in 1969.
His small collection of cameras sat in a basement for 45 years
until they were handed down to me in the spring of 2014,
still loaded with film. Read more in Part 1: Argus C4,
Part 2: Argus C3, Part 3: Kodak Retina, Part 4: Kodak Tourist,
and Part 5: Polaroid 150.

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This camera is not one of my Grandfather’s Cameras. This 1970’s Minolta SRT 101 was actually my father’s camera and was my first real one (after a brief stint with a Polaroid 600 in high school.)

In college, I shot all my 35mm with this camera and despite having an infuriating focus system, it is a great camera. Supposedly, it is the first SLR to have TTL meeting at any f-stop. Fancy!

My father also used this camera when he was in college. While at a Detroit Tigers baseball game, Bill tired to casually photograph the Tiger Stadium police. He was greeted with some punches to the gut, and a destroyed camera. A lawsuit brought a little money to pay for repairs to the camera, a new lens, and a gift for his then girlfriend, my mom.

I limited my film choice to some uber-expired 3200 speed T-Max. Also, to complicate things, I started developing my own black and white film. The old film came out very flat. So in the process of toning the images, the increased contrast brought out some intense grain.

Unlike with the Polaroid 150, I didn’t have some major, once-in-lifetime opportunity like the NBA Finals to bring this film camera to. So instead, it has been on my hip with me everywhere for the past couple months. Family trips, nights out, or just portraits of Sarah, this camera went everywhere with me.

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