SRT 100

(1971)  The SRT101 was a fabulous camera, but its advanced features made it very expensive.  This didn't help sales, and for five years, the only other 35mm SLR camera that Minolta was selling was the SR-1s -- a competent shooter, but lacking the TTL metering of the SRT101.  Most cameras of the period from other rmanufacturers had TTL metering, and at a much lower price than the SRT101, even though they were typically of the awkward, stop-down variety.  Minolta was well aware that it had to market a less-costly camera -- with TTL metering -- in order to remain competitive.

But how could they do it?  Five years after the introduction of the SRT101, Minolta dropped the SR-1s, and added the SRT100 to their line-up, which is a scaled-down, less expensive version of the SRT101. It maintained the main attraction of the SRT101, which was it's full-aperture, TTL metering system -- but at significant savings.  Instead of cutting the TTL metering system or using a stop-down system, the top speed on the SRT100 was dropped from 1/1,000 to 1/500, and the shutter speeds were no longer displayed in the viewfinder.  In addition, the SRT100 lacked the mirror lockup device of the SRT101 and the self-timer was removed.  To further cut costs, it was marketed with a slower normal lens.  Minolta marketed it with a new 55mm f1.9 lens, but it could be purchased with the more expensive 55mm f1.7 or 58mm f1.4.  These changes were enough to reduce significantly the costs to manufacture the camera, but still leave its major selling points.  Sure, there were still cheaper TTL cameras, but they were awkward to use.  

Unlike the SRT101 or SRT102 cameras, there was only one version of the SRT100.  Minolta "got it right" from the start and didn't need to make any changes.  If anything, they put too many features into the SRT100.  They could have cut a few more corners and lowered the cost even more -- for example, dropping the DOF button.  Surprisingly, the SRT100 was available in both chrome and black models, but the black version is very hard to find -- for obvious reasons. The SRT100 was replaced by the SRT200 in 1975.  For a comparative look at the major features of the SRT100, check out MINMAN's SLR table -- the world's most complete!

Many consider the SRT100, incorrectly, to be a lower quality camera.  But this is not the case.  Not only is the finish, feel, and response of the camera the equal of the SRT101, the SRT100 actually has a few improvements over the earliest models of the SRT101. For example, the matte focusing screen on the SRT100 shows a less obvious fresnel pattern; the shutter speed dial is more deeply milled and easier to turn with a single finger; some of the conventional screws have been replaced with Phillips-head screws, the pressure plate is bigger; and the take-up spool has been improved. These features showed up on later models of the SRT101 camera, but they are an indication that Minolta took no short-cuts with the SRT100.  Because of this, the SRT100 is the perfect backup camera, starter camera, or the only camera for the more casual amateur.  Most people never use a mirror lock-up nor the 1/1,000 second shutter speed, and many people can get buy without a self-timer and shutter speeds displayed in the viewfinder.  In fact, many people find that they ended up with a camera that has features they never use. It is foolish to spend money for something you won't use and the SRT100 is perfect for many people.  While it was possible to imagine situations in which the features dropped from the SRT101 to produce the SRT 100 would be valuable, you might never encounter them - even in a broad range of shooting.  

Camera Minolta SRT-100
Years made 1971-1975
Type Mechanical 35mm SLR
Shutter Fully mechanical, horizontal, cloth focal plane shutter
Metering Built-in TTL CDS meter coupled to shutter speed, aperture, and film speed
Contrast Light Compensation (CLC) metering method using dual CDS cells in pentaprism
Meter sensitivity EV 3 to 17
Exposure modes Unmetered manual
Metered manual using matched needle method
Automatic exposure
Viewfinder Fixed eye-level pentaprism with over- and under-exposure marks, battery check mark, and two manual exposure match needles
Focusing screen Fresnel-field screen with a micro-prism center
Lens mount Minolta SLR bayonet
Lenses Optimum: MC Rokkor
Usable: Auto Rokkor, Rokkor, MC Rokkor-X, MC Celtic, MD Rokkor, MD Celtic, MD Minolta
Mirror Instant return, oversized mirror
Film speeds ISO 6 - 6400
Shutter speeds Mechanical: 1 - 500; B
Manual: 1 - 500; B
Flash synch X: B; 1 - 1/60
FP: B; 1 - 1/1,000
M: B; 1 - 1/15
MF: B; 1 - 1/30
Flash connection Built-in, cold shoe
X and FP PC contacts
Film counter Automatically resetting type counting upward
Battery one 625 mercury battery
DOF/Stop-down button Yes, locking type
Film Back Non-interchangeable
Multiple exposures No
Film advance Lever type
Self-timer Mechanical, overrideable, non-cancellable, adjustable from 4 to 10 seconds
Film reminder ASA speed selector
Other Cable release connection, tripod socket
Body size 1 7/8 x 3 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches
Body weight One pound nine ounces


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