The year was 1970 and Japanese camera manufacturer Minolta was confident that they had met the needs of a particular photography market — one that catered to professional photographers. The company had released the SR-T101 model a few years back and it did well. So well, in fact, that it was in production for almost a decade. Then Minolta decided that it was time to introduce a new camera to consumers — the Minolta SR-M, the successor to the T101.
Minolta released the SR-M in April 1970, and it had an integrated motor drive, meaning that the camera had a non-detachable film advance motor built into the body. Minolta claimed that they chose this design route because the “unitized” motor drive built into the body made the camera more durable and reliable. It was bigger than the usual 35 mm SLR as it had a detachable handgrip that also stored the eight AA batteries needed to power the motor drive. A shutter release button was also built into the handgrip to allow for an additional shooting position.
The camera manufacturer believed that there was a great demand for a motorized film camera when they came up with the SR-M although the small number of cameras in circulation today suggest otherwise. This may be due to the fact that the SR-M system was a bit expensive when it was released some 50 plus years ago. Minolta also marketed the SR-M as a camera for professional use and a wide array of accessories were made to fit the bill.
Aside from being a 35 mm SLR with a built-in motor drive, the Minolta SR-M was also known for a few other things. It didn’t have a light meter, depth of field preview button, nor a self-timer. However, what it lacked in features, it most likely made up for in image quality. The SR-M’s standard lens was the MC-Rokkor-PF 55 mm f/1.7, which produced crisp and clean photos. And unlike its other siblings in the Minolta SLR line, the SR-M only came in a jet black finish. Last but not least, the SR-M was a heavy camera. It tips the scales at 1,560 grams with the Rokkor lens. Imagine the bump in weight when the batteries are tossed in the mix.
Very few people have seen, heard of, or owned a Minolta SR-M. Only real fans and serious Minolta collectors can identify the camera and preach its value. Given its small production quantity, the SR-M is definitely a rare piece. One can only imagine what a mint condition SR-M complete with accessories would go for on the current market.
Photos Taken by Our Community with Minolta SR Cameras
Type: Single-lens reflex camera motorized film advance.
Shutter: Fully mechanical cloth focal plane shutter
Shutter speeds: 1-1/1000 sec plus B, 1-1/60 sec with electronic flash
Film advance: Motorized film advance at up to three frames per second, Motorized rewind with automatic stop
Viewfinder:Visibility 94% of the actual film image
Flash: Synchronization (X and FP)
Weight: 1560 grams with f/1.7 lens (without batteries)
Other features: Mirror lock-up, Ground glass with fine micro prism focusing circle, Automatic reset film counter, Accessory shoe (cold)