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Minolta AL-E, 40/1.8 Rokkor-QF

Minolta AL-E >> 中文
[English text]

Ever tried a Minolta AL-E before? It seems kind of rare, as mine is only the 2nd one seen throughout a year's "baywatch". I aquired it based on my good impression with the AL-S, which is a real beauty itself.

There're interesting design details, such as the shutter lock, in addition to the fast 40/1.8 Rokkor lens. While the camera could work without battery, it does power up instantly with a Varta 625U (substitute) alkaline battery. I could see aperture read-out pointing when in A mode, but no idea about its accuracy. I'm gonna test shooting tomorrow... hope it works as good as it looks! (to be continued)


AL-S vs AL-E

LV, how fashionable... Just love the dial

OK here come TWO very nice RF cameras from the 1960s! Minolta AL-E is a little bit taller than Minoltina AL-S. Otherwise very similar in size & shape. You may say that AL-E is basically an AL-S with Cds metering, but there're quite a few other changes to be found. For example the unique mode dial on the front, nice aperture readout on top panel, and alas, a more limited shutter speed range of 1/8-1/500 sec...

It'd be fun to compare them side by side in detail, but now I am focusing on the AL-E. My Minoltina AL-S came non-working from the beginning, a pity really.

My first "LV" :-p sounds fashionable huh... Seriously, I'm still not sure what the V mode is for. Perhaps it means self-timer? but I can use self-timer in the auto mode (red dot), too, since there's a clockwork V timer on the lens barrel that works independently. What I've noticed is that, when in V mode, the shutter release would stay depressed even after the shot taken. To release it back to position, I'd have to dial back to the red dot.

As for L, the shutter will be locked in this mode.

So I shot some pics with the AL-E. The viewfinder is bright & clear with extremely bright frame. It even has auto parallax compensation. It's a pity there's no EV scale in viewfinder, though--something I expected in its class. Instead I have to look from top to see the meter readout.

And no Bulb?! Unless I've missed out a hidden B setting somewhere... this is a serious omission. With its beautiful fast lens & shutter-priority AE, it could've been great for low light, but the shutter speed only goes down to 1/8 sec.

To sum up, Minolta AL-E is a beautiful camera with limitation. It's not a total upgrade from its predecessor, Minoltina AL-S. The Cds meter is a major improvement, while its limited shutter speed and ASA range are a step backward.

UPDATE: I noticed Konica C35 actually came out later in the same year (1968), and turned out a smashing hit. Probably Minolta felt the pressure to update for the competition, and so came the popular hi-matic series... anyway, I do find myself more attracted to the elegance of AL-S/AL-E.

[ chinese text ]
60年代,當蘇聯還在拚命生產廉價半格機的時候,日本相機廠已漸漸走出歐系的陰影,打造風格獨具的全幅家族。Minolta AL(1961)儘管仍然又大又重, 卻已實現了內建測光和1/1000秒的高速快門。

1964年推出的Minolta AL-S,一舉成為當時世界最輕便的135全幅RF相機。別名"Minoltina S"的AL-S*,線條優雅、美感纖細,並且在質素與功能性上同樣完備。(奇怪的是似乎並不有名?) Minolta顯然感受到市場的潛力,在AL-S的良好基礎上,繼續推出了ALS(1966)、AL-E(1968),這三款一脈相承的AL系銘機,引起我的興趣。

Minolta AL-E除了配備豪華的大光圈鏡頭之外,造型也頗出眾,那"LV"轉鈕尤其搶眼!然而,網上幾乎看不到相關討論,令人好奇。加上先前AL-S帶來的好印象,我於是隔海買下這台少見的相機。

40/1.8 Rokkor-QF 鏡頭,閃耀著美豔的色彩。 到底成像表現如何呢? (2007/09;待續)

Sunny day in the old town

Palm reading machine. Market interior low light

Colorful corner, late afternoon


Silvermoon, 2007/10

*Minoltina-S和Minolta AL-S是內外銷的雙生機型,除了名字之外一模一樣。ALS和AL-E才是機能有所變革的後繼款型。
*Year of release: Minolta AL-S(1964), ALS(1966), AL-E(1968)
:: Official AL-E info from KonicaMinolta
:: UPDATE 2011/05/19: I just noticed the link above no longer directs to the camera page. I then found the page here. So, under "kenko-tokina" this time?? Oh well...

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i Technical Info:
Lens: 40/1.8 Rokkor-QF
4 groups 6 elements lens
Shutter Speed: 1/8-1/500sec
Focusing Type: split image
Viewfinder magnification ratio: 0.5X
Minimum focusing: 0.8 m
Filter size: 49mm
Exposure control: Shutter-priority AE
Coupled meter EV5~EV17
ASA manual setting 25-500
Powered by One 1.35v mercury (px625)
128mm x 76mm x 60mm , 540g


  • It looks really good!
  • Unique mode dial
  • 40mm f/1.8 lens--fast
  • Beautiful design
  • Automatic parallax compensation
  • Great rangefinder focusing sytem