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An overview of Miranda 35mm SLR camera models

 


 

List of models (excluding sub-types)

The lineage of Miranda models is fairly complex, due to the chronological overlap between different families and related generations of cameras.

Year Families 1 - 4 Families a - d
19561) T 
19571) T II 
19582) A 
19591) S / S II 
 2) B / C
19602) D / DRa) Automex
1962 a) Automex II
19633) F 
19643) FMa) Automex III
19653) G 
1966 b) Sensorex
19673) Fv 
19694) Sensomatb) Sensorex C
19714) Sensomat RE / RSc) Sensorex EE
1972 c) Sensorex II
19744) TM 
19754) TM II / RE II 
1976 c) Sensorex EE-2
  d) dx-3

 

Miranda T1) The first family (1956 to 1959) were the knob winders (comprising the Miranda T, T II, S and S II).

They had no meters, a non-return mirror, and lenses were pre-set (non-auto diaphragm) with a 44mm screw mount. The shutter speed dial spun round when the shutter was released. A major Miranda feature was the interchangeable viewfinder system, and front-of-body shutter release. All these models had tall film advance knobs. These cameras are the rarest of all Mirandas.

 

Miranda D2) The second generation (1958 to 1962) were the lever winders (comprising the Miranda A, A II, B, C, D and DR).

They mainly differed from the previous generation by having a lever operated film advance. The Miranda B introduce an instant return mirror. The shutter release on the front of the camera body allowed the mounting of lenses with an external automatic diaphragm control (known as a Pressure Automatic Diaphragm or PAD), whereby pressing the release button on the lens arm closed-down the diaphragm and then further pressure pushed the camera shutter release. The lens mount was changed to a four-claw bayonet, whilst also retaining the 44mm screw fitting.

 

Miranda Automex IIIa) The second family (1960 to 1964) started with the Automex.

The Automex and Automex II had a built-in, coupled, Selenium meter and a new diaphragm linkage. A new series of lenses has an external small aperture coupling arm, which mates the aperture setting ring on the lens with the camera meter (via a body mounted lever) to provide match needle metering. This was direct measurement (i.e. not TTL) metering, and built into the camera body. The meter cell was placed above the lens on the front of the prism housing, which resulted in this viewfinder system not being interchangeable with other series camera bodies. The range retained the body front shutter release. The Automex III had a CdS cell on the body in place of the selenium cell.

 

Miranda G3) The third generation (1963 to 1968) were the modernised lever winders (comprising the Miranda F, FM, G and Fv).

These cameras supported new lenses with an internal automatic diaphragm coupling, while retention of the front shutter release maintained compatibility with older PAD lenses. A top-plate cable release port accommodated a second, screw-in, alternative shutter release. A fixed shutter speed selector no longer spun when the shutter was tripped, and there where a new selection of metering accessories: the shutter speed coupled clip-on, the direct measuring prism meter, and TTL prism meter.

 

Miranda Sensorexb) The (1966 to 1972) Sensorexes were a line of five models, each very subtlety different (with only the last having a specific designation of the Sensorex C), and were successors to the Automex.

They had full aperture TTL metering, but retained the same viewfinder system as the Automexes, where a distinctive decorative plate covered the cut-out that had once housed the external Selenium cells. These cameras required the maximum aperture of the lens to be dialled-in to the camera to allow open aperture metering.

 

Miranda Sensomat4) The fourth generation (1969 to 1975) were the Sensomats (comprising the Miranda Sensomat, RE, RS and RE II).

These had built-in, stop-down, TTL metering (except for the RS, which had no meter). Sensomats retained the front and top-plate shutter release button options.

The Sensomat RE was slightly modified in 1974 to produce the Miranda TM, Soligor TM, and Pallas TM (produced for the German market), plus a TM II version. The significant change was that these TM cameras had a Praktica M42 lens mount. The cameras also had a top-plate, rather than front mounted, shutter release button.

The last model - the 1975 RE II - was similar to the TM, but offered open aperture metering, and was compatible with the newer EC lenses developed for the Auto Sensorex models, and to some degree converged the Sensomat and Sensorex families.

 

Miranda Auto Sensorex EEc) The penultimate cameras were the Auto EEs and II. Whilst they carried forward the Sensorex family name, these cameras were quite different to their predecessors.

The 1971 Auto Sensorex EE offered shutter priority auto exposure, and selectable spot metering, facilitated by the new E lens, which omitted the external arm of the previous Sensorex, and was auto indexing (i.e. there was no need to dial-in the maximum aperture to calibrate the light metering system). The viewfinders were of a new bespoke design. The 1972 Sensorex II was essentially the EE without an automatic exposure facility, and retained some of the features of the original Sensorex (front shutter release, external aperture diaphragm linkage facility). The EE was modestly updated as the 1976 EE2.

 

Miranda dx-3d) Miranda produced one final camera type – the 1975 dx-3 – this followed a radically different design whereby electronics replaced mechanical systems. I have read (in an account apparently written by an employee of the company), that the dx-3 took two years to develop, and was inspired by the Olympus OM1. Sadly, unreliability of the dx-3's electronics (causing many cameras to be returned under warrantee) is rumoured to have contributed to the bankruptcy of the company in December 1976.

 

Miranda lenses

The evolving line of cameras had differing lenses. From the outset, Miranda cameras aimed to provide maximum compatibility with other manufacturer's lenses. Many reviews tie this facility to the dual lens mount, but the flexibility arose from camera bodies having a narrower than average distance between the lens mount and film plane, which allowed space for adapters to connect other common German and Japanese lens systems. Miranda supplied adapters for; M42, Exakta and Topcon, Leica, Nikon and Contax screw mounts. There is a degree of backwards compatibility between older Miranda cameras and newer lenses, although obviously the new lens features (e.g. automatic diaphragms) do not work on older camera bodies.

The major types of lens were:-

  • Preset M44 screw lenses for the T and S.
  • PAD type lenses for the A, B, C, D, F and G, with a four-claw bayonet mount.
  • Automex I & II lenses. These had two new coupling mechanisms: an internal diaphragm closing mechanism, and an aperture setting ring with a small additional arm on the left side, which connected to a matching arm on the camera body and coupled the meter.
  • Automex III & Sensorex lenses. These had an internal fully automatic diaphragm for open aperture metering, but still retained the external meter coupling arm of the first Automex types.
  • Auto-Miranda lenses for the Sensomat and F and G type cameras. These had an automatic diaphragm with no external coupling.
  • E lenses for the Sensorex EE, which had an Auto aperture setting.
  • EC lenses for dx-3, EE-2, RE-II. These were a more compact design and introduced the use of plastics.

More information can be found here.

 

Miranda Viewfinders

Miranda findersThe three types of viewfinder (for normal photography) are:  1) waist level, 2) prism and 3) critical focussing (x5 and x15), and there are three series of viewfinders, which are compatible with specific models.

• The first set - labelled VF-1, VF-2 and VF-3 - fit all the early models up to the Fv, Sensomats, and TMs.
• The second set was for the Automex and Sensorex models, which were also (unhelpfully) labelled VF-1, VF-2 and VF-3.
• The third set was for the Sensorex II, EE and EE-2. These were labelled VFE-1, VFE-2 and VFE-3.

There was also a type 4 viewfinder, but this was specifically designed for microscopy.

 

Miranda modernised lever winder Light Meters

Miranda F light meterThis group of cameras spanned those with and without integral light meters, and had dedicated meter attachments. The F had a rather ungainly direct measurement clip-on. The FM got a direct measurement uncoupled meter neatly incorporated into the prism housing. The G and Fv shared a more compact, shutter speed coupled, direct measurement clip-on, followed by a TTL uncoupled T prism meter.