In my last post I mentioned that I collect vintage cameras. I thought I'd share one of them with you. It's the one that really got me started on this kick.
When I was in college, my dad gave me his old Miranda G outfit. A fully mechanical 35mm SLR, with a 50 f1.9 lens, a 135 f3.5 lens and a 2x teleconverter. Having only used Kodak Instamatics up to this point, I was eager to try it out. He also gave me a small hand-held light meter...a necessity with this camera, since it had no meter built in.
I would point the meter at the palm of my hand in bright sunlight (or the brightest part of a room), then again in the shadows (or the darkest part of a room) and that would give me my range of F-stops and shutter speeds. Then I'd tuck the light meter in the back pocket of my jeans and wouldn't need to take it out again unless the light changed. Shooting this way forced me to be aware of how the light fell on my subject...or didn't...and adjust my settings accordingly. Of course, back then, I wouldn't know if I'd done it right until days later when I'd get my prints back from the lab. That was before the invention of the 1-hour labs!
I discovered that those old Miranda lenses were pretty sharp. Later when I decided it would be nice if I could get another lens or two to add to this outfit, I started doing some research about Miranda cameras. No internet access then, so I got most of my information from Shutterbug magazine. I found out that the Miranda camera company had been out of business for awhile, but back in the 1960's they had a good reputation and were used by some pros. They were one of the camera companies, along with Nikon, to come out of Japan and catch the attention of the working pros of the time.
But the camera I had, the Miranda G, was a professional model. It had mirror lock-up, a feature considered a necessity for doing good copy work. It also had a removable pentaprism with several different versions available, including a couple with light meters, one with a flip up viewer (like you'd find on the Rolleiflex), and one with a flip-up magnifying viewfinder. It also had interchangeable focusing screens so you could pick your preference.
But what really set the Miranda apart was the lens mount. It was a dual mount, with an external bayonet and and internal screw mount. With these two mounts and a variety of adapters Miranda made, you could use your Miranda SLR with just about any lens on the market, including Nikon, Pentax, and even Leica lenses.
I always thought this was a very elegant looking camera, with some distinctive features. The front-mounted shutter release was one of them. I found that I could easily take pictures at slower shutter speeds with this camera that with others because the placement of the shutter release allowed me to gently squeeze it between my finger on the front of the camera and my thumb on the back, making camera-shake much less likely.
You can read more about Miranda Cameras here.
Now here are a few photos of my Miranda G: