Tuesday, December 04, 2018

It ain't pretty, but it works

I was thinking it would be nice to find a telephoto lens for my yard-sale Minolta X-700 when I came across an about-to-expire listing on eBay for an XG 1 and a 135 Rokkor for $12.  The "as is" labeling did not inspire great confidence as evidenced by the lack of bids, but it seemed worth a gamble at that price.

The camera turned out to be in pretty good shape.  A couple hearing aid batteries and a few drops of Ronsonal in the motor wind port got everything working properly, including the aperture-priority auto-exposure.  The lens is an MC Tele Rokkor-QD f:3.5/135.  Turning the focus or aperture rings produced no adjustment of those functions.

It seemed there was little to lose by opening up the lens to see what might be fixed.  However, I was brought up short when applying my lens spanner to the faceplate ring as the forward tube had a dent in it.  The thing just wouldn't budge.  Given that, I decided to fall back on the Red Green protocol:  Get a Bigger Hammer.  I got out my electric Skil drill and a small bit and bored a couple holes in the stuck ring.  I then applied a heavy steel pair of dividers and a vice-grip plier to the task.  With considerable grunting and straining and not a few scratches to the ring, I finally got it screwed out.

Yes, yes;  I am aware of the grimaces and eye rolling going on there in the back rows.

Any way, there is a pretty good YouTube video on the disassembly of the lens.  It is fast-paced and I needed to replay parts of it several times in the process to get the lens fully disassembled and then put back together.  I did get the focus ring turning, and the aperture settings and dof preview button work as they should.  Unfortunately, the video left out the details of how to properly set infinity focus and I haven't yet figured that out for myself, so the distance and dof scales on the lens do not match up with the actual focus.  On a rangefinder system that would be a fatal flaw, but with an slr you see what is registered at the focal plane regardless of what the focal index indicates.  So, I decided to take the lens and the camera for a test drive, sans faceplate ring.

I'll likely take the lens apart again and see if I can sort out the focus adjustment, in which case I would also jam the filter ring back in place.  Without the ring installed the camera under-exposes a couple stops.  I'm not sure then how much I would use the lens, but I am impressed by its performance so far.  The lens is very compact compared to more modern telephotos and nicely fits the light-weight XG 1 and the X-700 as well.  I'll keep a lookout for one with a slightly bigger aperture which would improve viewfinder visibilty.  Meanwhile, I think I've gotten my twelve bucks worth.


Jim Grey said...

I hope you enjoy the XG 1. I liked mine, a lot.

Mike said...

People complain about the somewhat flimsy plastic of the XG-1, but I think it meets the company's objectives in producing an affordable camera with advanced performance features for the time. I'd probably be happy to use the XG-1 if not for the X-700 which I have not really worked with yet. Maybe I can trade someone the XG-1 for a lens for the X-700.

Kevin Lane said...

My first real camera was the XG-1. I bought it on the day I got my first teacher paycheck in September 1980. That day (a Friday, as I recall) I drove with my brother, Kelley (who also had just started a new teaching job that year), drove to downtown Atlanta and bought one each from Peachtree Camera. Used them for years.

JR Smith said...

Great use of $12! I can't brag enough about my Minolta XD. Just love that camera!

Unknown said...

I also have a Qd 3.5/135 TeleRokkor the underexposure thing has had me confused for a long time, it exposes perfectly on my Sr7 which it was originally paired too, it works about half a stop under on my Srt 303, a stop under on my Xd11 and Xe 11 and if I use it on an X700 its about two stops under, the only things my brain swaps between is the weight of the original lenses all glass and metal construction is a hell of a lot heavier than the later Mc and Md lenses or that the under exposure becomes worse with progressively more complicated electronics in each camera.

Mike said...

The exposure with a normal lens on the XG 1 is ok, so I'm pretty sure there is some problem with the telephoto when used on the camera. I assumed it was with the missing filter ring, but there could be something else at play. Still a very nice lens though. I haven't found any Minolta lenses that I didn't like, so am hoping to turn up some bargains for the X cams.