This is how the focus mechanism look like
If your focus knob broke, perhaps you can try this method:
Some tips on possible quick-fix for the focus level stuck / jam problem
If you want to loosen up the focus, you can:
1) Open the back. Maybe remove one of the door hinges to remove the back completley.
2) See that black cup around the lens? It simply presses in to place. Insert two fingers, spread apart, and twist. It should release after a few tries. Lift out.
3) See that large brass piece? On its outer side, it is threaded. It is this part that moves in and out as you focus, moving the lens panel with it.
4) Well, you can’t really see the threads, but if you can drip Naphtha at the joint between the body and the brass piece, do it. An eyedropper, syrige, or draftsman’ inking pen. Lightly, let it sit, a bit more, etc. Give it a few hours. The naphtha should be able to wick in and start loosening the grease.
5) Be patient, try not to flood it. Small applications over time will be safer for other mechanisms.
6) When (if?) it loosens up, exercise it. Then drip just a few drops of light oil into the same area from the back when the focus is set to infinity (brass block pulled back into the body). The basic idea is to dissolve the old grease in the fresh oil.
I did this with my first Autocord and it still works well, 6 months later. Since then I have completely disassembled the mechanism for cleaning on other Autocords.
Also, you’ll see two screws holding the focus scale in place, one on each side of the camera. Remove these, remove the focus scale, and you’ll have a much better hold on what remains of the focus lever. Might even be able to scab something on, superglue a block or such. With the scale out of the way, it’ll be clearer what the options are. You’ll also get a peek at the same focus mechanism and brass block. Another place to attack the old grease.
A third place to attack the old grease is from inside the viewing lens chamber. Remove the hood (4 small screws) and you’ll get another peek at the brass block.
Both of these places, be careful not to flood the camera with oil or solvent. Light, precise applications.
Great lenses, great design. I think only a Planar 2.8 will get me away from the Autocord and have me go back to a focus knob rather than the lever on the Autocord.”
About Minolta Autocord
Twin-lens reflexes bearing the Minolta name had been offered as early as 1937, starting with the Minoltaflex (I). However, by the mid-1950s, the Japanese TLR market had become quite crowded. The Minolta Autocord series was an effort by Chiyoda Kogaku Seiko, K.K. to compete in the premium-quality segment of the TLR market.
The Autocord series went through a large number of minor variations during its lifespan between 1955 and 1966—at least 17, by one count.
All shared a number of desirable features: crank film advance with automatic shutter cocking and frame counting; a highly regarded Tessar-type 4-element Rokkor f/3.5 lens; self-timer; slow shutter speeds, down to 1 second; and an override button, allowing the advance crank to rotate backwards and cock the shutter without advancing the film, permitting double exposures. Early Optiper shutters only had speeds to 1/400 sec., but this was increased to 1/500 in later versions.
These features compared well with a Tessar-equipped Rolleiflexof the day, yet Autocords sold at a subtantially lower price. Both meterless models and ones including a light meter (originally selenium; later, CdS) were offered in parallel throughout the series.
Many versions of the Autocord feature some form of EV number scale around the taking lens to assist with exposure settings. Some metered models use a quirky system where the shutter and aperture indicators each point to a different row of integers; the photographer was intended to mentally add these two numbers until they equaled the EV indicated on the light meter. A 1957 magazine ad proclaimed, “Your wife or child could have done it—even without looking at the f/stop or shutter speed numbers.” Despite this appeal to the male ego, the system was never adopted by any other camera maker, and no doubt perplexes Autocord purchasers today who are missing the original manual.
Autocords use a focus lever that protrudes from below the lensboard. Some photographers have noted the ergonomic advantage of this design compared to knob-focusing TLRs such as the Rolleiflex, as it is not necessary to shift the camera between hands for focusing versus winding. But the metal of the Autocord lever is brittle and vulnerable to breakage—the one notable weak link in these otherwise excellent cameras. This focusing mechanism is also found on all postwar Flexarets, beginning in 1945, according to McKeown.
This Minolta Autocord I is a late model among the popular Autocord series of TLR (Twin Lens Reflex) medium-format cameras. It was first introduced in 1965. This meterless camera is equipped with a Citizen-MVL shutter and a Minolta Rokkor 1:3.5 f=75mm taking lens.
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Price: SGD 375.00