The maker is stamped on the base-plate “Chiyoda Kogaku” and the camera was made in Japan. Chiyoda Kogaku made Minolta cameras from the mid 1930s but only changed their company name to Minolta in 1962. In North America, Minolta cameras were known as Ansco through a trading agreement with the USA company of that name , and the Minolta Uniomat was sold as the Ansco Anscoset.
Setting the exposure is simplicity itself. First you need to set the ASA rating of your film (no DIN option) by lifting the inner ring on the lens and moving the red dot on the inner right of the lens to the correct ASA number (there are FOUR red dots on this ring for different purposes but it is fairly clear which one you need to use at a given moment). You then move the inner ring on the lens until the needles in the exposure window are superimposed. That is it. This sets both shutter speed and aperture – you have no control over either. There is a scale on the lens of standard EV numbers and a red dot indicating which one is in use, but you cannot influence the setting other than to move to a different EV if you want to increase or decrease the exposure.
Wallace Koopmans has produced a chart to show the aperture and shutter speed you get for each EV value. You can see the original and read Wallace’s comments on the Uniomat at Wallace Koopmans Artlog. My thanks to Wallace for his permission to use his chart.
|Copyright Wallace Koopmans|
There are other controls on the lens that are not obvious. First is the depth of field scale. It is always nice to have one of these but this one is different. Because you cannot set the aperture, the depth of field scale does not use f numbers but EV numbers. In use it is much the same but slightly confusing to start with. Maximum depth of field is at EV18 and the depth of filed scale goes down to EV9. Below EV9, the aperture is always f2.8. The are two scales to make using flash easy – one for electronic flash (x) and one for flash bulbs (M). to use these, you line up the distance to the subject (taken from the focussing ring) against one of five letters (A, B, C, D and E). This sets an appropriate EV and thus both shutter speed and aperture. There is also a red dot that will tell you if you are too far away to use flash.
Other controls on the lens barrel are a flash selector – X (electronic) or M (bulb). the difference between these (as on all cameras) is the timing of the flash and shutter. With X, the flash fires as soon as the shutter is completely open and will synchronise at a speed somewhere between 1/250 and 1/500 seconds which is quite fast; faster than you will get with a focal plane shutter. With M, the flash fires just before the shutter opens to allow the bulb to reach maximum intensity as the shutter is fully open. In this case the flash will synchronise at 1/1,000 seconds which is extremely fast. The last control here is the delayed action lever marked V (Vorlaufwerk, the German for ‘delay’).
The lens is a Rokkor 1:2.8 45mm lens about which I know nothing as yet – I will share when I do.
Just got the test film back from the lab. Fairly impressed with the results. Only downside is that I managed to get flare on a very overcast day. Some examples:
|Busker, Lincoln city centre|
|Path in Lincoln’s Arboretum|