Minolta A5

This is quite a large and extremely well made compact rangefinder camera of about 1960 vintage.  They were available with various combinations of lens and shutter. There was an f2.0 maximum aperture lens with a shutter equipped with a top speed of 1000th of a second or an f2.8 maximum aperture lens with a top speed shutter of 1/500 second.  This particular example ease the latter type which was more common but is nevertheless an interesting and usable camera.

The shutter speeds range from 1 second to 1/500 second in the usually expected steps.  The aperture settings are also conventionally arranged from f2.8 to f22 with detents provided only for the full stop settings.  The aperture and shutter speed setting rings are placed next one another around the lens barrel so that they may be linked through an EV scale (printed in red) should a user wish to use this system when transferring exposures from a hand-held light meter onto the camera.  There is also an X or M lever in red to set the flash synchronization delay dependent on whether the user is employing an electronic or bulb flash. (X for electronic flash). There is a PC connection provided for the flash on the other side of the lens barrel and a cold accessory shoe on the top plate of the camera body. On the top of the lens barrel is a small green lever which is the self-timer and works in a very similar fashion to German cameras of the period, indeed, it is labeled “V” as was common practice on German manufactured cameras at the time. 

The lens is a Minolta Rokkor 1:2.8, 45mm which performs well.  The viewfinder is quite large and bright with a projected bright line marker fitted with parallax compensation indications rather than a fully correcting viewfinder frame.  The rangefinder square is reasonably easy to see in the centre of the viewfinder and links to the focus ring at the base of the lens barrel, close up against the camera body.  The focusing action is fairly quick and positive and in typical Japanese style is very smooth.  

Film loading is a straightforward procedure as the camera back is fully hinged and is opened by a slider catch on the left-hand side of the camera body.  The slider is not spring-loaded and so must be manually pushed shut when the camera back is closed.  Film wind on is by a lever in the conventional position on the right-hand end of the top plate.  This is a single or multistroke lever which works very smoothly and efficiently.  Alongside the film advance lever is the frame counter which is a circular additive counter which must be manually set to 0 at the beginning of the new film.  On the film-loading door at the back of the camera is a useful film speed reminder dial similar to those used by Minolta on their SLRs of the period.  There is no light meter fitted.  

The other feature worthy of note are the two large flat strap attachments on either end of the body, designed for direct attachment of a camera strap without any split rings between the camera body and the shoulder strap.  In some ways this is quite a good idea because it avoids the possibility of damage occurring as a result of rubbing between the split rings and the camera body. Overall, it is a beautifully made camera which is a pleasure to use.


None required.  It all works perfectly despite being nearly 50 years old.  Certainly, it helps not needing to worry about batteries.


Specifications Minolta A5 Made in Japan
Camera Type 35mm rangefinder focusing camera with between-the-lens shutter
Film Format 24x36mm
Lens Minolta Rokkor 45mm f/2,8 
Filter Size 40.5 mm
Focusing Range 0.9 m to infinity
Shutter Speeds 1 second to 1/500th second + B. Manual aperture & speed selection
Exposure Meter Type None
Film Speed Range ISO 10 (DIN 11) to ISO 1600 (DIN 33) on film reminder
Viewfinder Information Brightline frame, Parallax correction marks
Focusing System Rangefinder focusing in viewfinder
Synchronization Flash Built-in "X" and "M" synchronization - PC socket
Loading Film Standard 35mm 135 loading
Advance Film Single or multi-stroke, Built-in double exposure prevention
Self Timer  Yes
Battery None
Dimensions 140 X 90 X 70 mm
Weight 700 g


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