5other Miranda cameras in my collection

 

JapanMiranda DR [1961 - 1963*]

 

Background

Miranda DR advertBetween 1958 and 1962, Miranda produced their second generation of cameras; the lever winders, comprising the Miranda A, A II, B, C, D (two versions) and DR (also two versions). These cameras initially differed from the previous generation - the knob winders (hehe ... I confess to having just childishly sniggered) - by having a lever operated film advance, with an inset frame counter. Briefly, the Miranda A II added some styling changes. The B introduced an instant return mirror. The C added a self-timer, plus an optional split-image spot. The D separated and relocated the frame counter from the wind lever post. The DR added more styling changes, with the most obvious being the viewfinder gained a micro-prism spot, and the frame counter got .. a central red cap - Woohoo!

Features the family had in common were a dual range shutter speed dial (i.e. fast and slow), which spun-around when the shutter was tripped, and a shutter release button on the front of the camera body to allow the mounting of lenses with an external automatic diaphragm control (known as a Pressure Automatic Diaphragm or PAD, and shown in the illustration below), 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 also changed to a four-claw bayonet, whilst retaining the original 44mm screw fitting of the knob winders. Lenses for this camera have a nice little mount locking latch.

Click here for an overview of Miranda 35mm SLR camera models.

 

 

Overview

Miranda DR shutter speed dialI've written about common Miranda features elsewhere, so to avoid repetition, I'll simply focus on the peculiarities of the DR and other lever winders.

In early FP shutter cameras like this generation of Mirandas, the shutter speed dial rotates with the first curtain because a pin on the speed dial trips a lever, which in turn releases the second curtain. The shutter speed setting is changed by lifting and rotating the dial, which moves the pin causing the first curtain to travel a longer or shorter distance before the second curtain is released. Slow speeds required the second curtain to remain stationary for some time after the first curtain completed its travel, necessitating a separate slow-speed selector dial, where the associated mechanism holds the second curtain for a pre-set length of time before releasing it. For this reason, the DR (and kin) has a dual speed dial control.

For speeds from 1/30th to 1/500th, the high speed dial ❶ has to be lifted and turned so that the desired speed aligns with an index mark ❷ on the central post. Additionally, a black mark on the low speed dial ❸ has to be aligned with the slow shutter speed index ❹.

To select a slow speed - from 1 sec to 1/15th - the slow speed dial ❸ simply needs to be turned to align the required speed to the slow shutter speed index ❹. When a slow speed has been selected, the high speed dial setting becomes irrelevant.

The arrow on the high shutter speed index ❷ rotates when the film is advanced (as does the frame counter dial), and provides the secondary function of indicating whether the shutter is cocked. When it points directly to the left (9 o'clock), the camera is ready to fire; when it points to 11 o'clock, the film is unwound.

Based on a visual inspection, the only obvious difference between the first and second (1962) DR is the change of branding to all capital letters. I assume DR production ceased in *1963 - when the Miranda F was launched.

According to the December 1962 advertisement reproduced at the top of the page, the original cost of the DR with lens and a waist-level finder was £69 - 19s - 9d. The camera depicted is a first version DR, which has an f/1.8 lens. In 1962, the average UK monthly wage was £86.85 (in new money).

 

Specifications

Lens mount: Miranda mount - 4-claw bayonet and 44mm screw mount.

Focus: Viewfinder magnification unspecified. Field of view unspecified. Condenser and Fresnel lens combined. Micro-prism spot. Interchangeable viewfinders.

Shutter: Cloth focal plane, B. 1-1/500 sec. No self-timer.

Meter: None.

Exposure: Manual.

Flash: FP and X sockets. X-synch at 1/45th sec.

Film Advance: Winding angle 180°. The film winds on to the spool emulsion side out.

Frame Counter: Count-up with manual reset.

Rewind: Via crank and bottom release button.

Size: 144 x 95 x 82mm (with f1.8 lens).

Weight: 661g body only.

 

My camera

I have been looking for an affordable DR for a long time - as a representative of the lever winders generation. It's not a rare model, but good examples with a correct lens don't become available very often, and those that do tend to be priced beyond my means. I knowingly seized the opportunity to buy this slightly broken DR in September 2018: it had stuck aperture blades (which I found to be caused by detachment of a diaphragm blade - not an easy fix and a fault that seems to be quite common (see Simon Hawketts' Miranda/Soligor 50mm PAD lens strip-down)), and a missing prism release lever. Nevertheless, I was happy to click the buy-it-now button for a seemingly reasonable £24.99 ... and my quest was over.

However, within a week or so, another appeared with buy-it-now of only £10.00, so I bought another (October 2018). This second camera and lens is in great condition and FWO. It has been photographed with the correct VF-1 finder fitted, which I picked up as a free extra almost a year ago.

 

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Miranda DR

Miranda DR

Miranda DR

The introduction of the non-spinning, single range, shutter speed selector dial seems to have become common place without being documented as a significant event in camera design evolution. While the 1959 Nikon F is often credited as the first SLR to introduce a non-rotating, single range shutter speed selector dial, the 1949 Contax S achieved this first. The shutter timing of the Contax S is totally separate from the curtain springs, clockwork, driven by its own spring, and did not involve switching gear trains (a more technical explanation can be found here). Miranda introduced their first non-spinning, single range, shutter speed dial in the 1960 Automex.

Miranda DR