I wasn’t shopping for cameras the day I went to the apple farms near to us in California. But where we parked we found a small antique shop tucked away and we figured it was worth a browse. Before we went in, a man sitting outside admired the camera around my neck and asked about it. The camera in question was a Petri 2.8 Color that I was trying out. He said I should have a look inside, “there’s a camera you might like. It was my Mom’s” he said “and she took it around the world with her”.
I wasn’t sure if this was a dubious sales pitch or fact, but either way I was intrigued enough and made sure I looked for it inside. On the shelf was this camera and it was at a price that was hard to resist. Due to space restrictions (no room for a baby in a pushchair/stroller) my wife had had to wait outside while I browsed and we were then to swap over. I wasn’t familiar with the camera in question and wanted to research the model and market. But, where we were, we were in the middle of nowhere and while I was waiting for my wife to look around I struggled to get any kind of phone signal to look up pricing or anything. Eventually I gave up and decided that at the price and condition it was in (and being a good make), it was probably a safe bet and so after my wife came back out I took the plunge.
My instinct was correct and as I discovered, this is an excellent camera.
The Minolta V2 is a fixed lens rangefinder camera, launched in 1958. It was the first 35mm camera with shutter speeds going to 1/2000 second with a leaf shutter; part of a feature war between manufacturers at the time. To accomplish this, at the two higher speeds (1/1000 and 1/2000) the shutter doesn’t fully open and so these speeds are only available at smaller apertures; max f/4 for 1/1000 and f/8 for 1/2000.
The V2 followed the V1 (which accomplished 1/1000) and was then quickly followed by the V3 which had a different mechanism went even faster and had an exposure meter. This means that despite it being a very good camera, the V2 was only in production for a short time and so they are relatively rare.
On its first outing I used my one of my favourite films; Portra 400. I liked using the camera, it has a decent rangefinder, the shutter is quiet and everything is where you’d expect. It took a while to finish the film (mostly due to COVID) and it sat around for much of the time. Finally though I was able to shoot the last few frames and see the results.
Unfortunately on preparing to rewind the completed roll I accidentally opened the camera back slightly and was sure I had ruined the roll. But when I got the pictures back from Old School Labs they were perfect! Well, I can’t say my photography was perfect but other than the last one or two, they weren’t fogged.
Before I got the images back I had almost convinced myself to sell this camera as I don’t really need it. But I am so pleased with how some of them came out and how the 45mm 1;2 Rokker lens performed, I am second thinking that. Maybe I might need a 1/2000 sec film camera at some point.. maybe another roll will help; a black and white one this time; stay tuned…