other Miranda cameras in my collection
1961 Miranda DR
1968 Miranda FvT
1974 Miranda (Soligor) TM
1975 Miranda RE II
Miranda Sensorex [1967 - 1972]
The Sensorex (rumoured to be a combination of Sensor & ex-posure) was the successor to the Automex (Autom-atic & ex-posure) series - first introduced in 1960. Indeed, a question published a 1966 edition of
Modern Photography asked whether Miranda would introduce a camera with a behind the lens sensor, and the answer said the planned Automex IV would be called the Sensorex.
The Automexes (I, II & III) had direct measurement external meters (initially Selenium in I and II, then CdS in III), while the Sensorex has more advanced open aperture TTL metering, which uses a CdS cell (or cells) placed behind slots in the mirror.
The Automexes were a design departure from other Miranda models, and the Sensorex retained a very similar look and shape with a bespoke finder fitting. The front of prism-housing ... car-radiator-grill-styled ... decorative feature is a legacy and consequence of the old selenium meter light collection window placement on the first and second Automexes.
Early Sensorexes had spot metering with a *5° angle of view (with a 50mm lens), measuring *12% of the total picture area. The spot metering area is *slightly larger than the viewfinder central mirco-prism circle (* according to a review in the January 1967 issue of Modern Photography). Later variants had a partial, bottom-weighted, averaging pattern using three cells. The partial metering system performs better than the spot meter - hence the specification change. Metering is the match-needle-type, and the user manual says that the difference between aligning the centre of the match needle O, and the outside edge is one stop over or under exposure.
An external meter has no need to accommodate the maximum aperture of the lens, but this becomes necessary with a TTL meter; because the amount of light registered depends on the size of the maximum aperture of the lens fitted. As with other early TTL metering cameras, the Sensorex has an adjustment control to let the user dial-in the maximum aperture of the mounted lens (the big dial on the front right ... that resembles a white-wall tyre). The Sensorex also supported a new series of lenses with an external aperture dial coupling arm, which mates with an aperture setting lever on the camera body (a pin on the body arm inserts into a cup on the lens diaphragm arm). The arm on the camera body registers against an aperture scale on the mirror box housing. The Sensorex dedicated lenses did not have a click-stopped aperture dial, to allow for more precise exposure control.
There were four variations of the Sensorex. The final version was known as the Sensorex C, but the name appears only in the user manual, and not on the camera. Most sources say there were seven versions, because they count the black finished cameras as separate models (but that just makes things more complicated than they need to be).
|The Five Miranda Sensorex variants|
|1||705,xxx||Open C||Spot||f/1.9 50mm||Chrome||Removable||Yes||None|
|† The maximum aperture selection dial/scale range on early examples was limited to that of the standard lens specification (e.g. early cameras lack the ability to set f/1.4). My version 2 camera includes f/1.9 and f/1.4 settings.|
‡ Earlier versions of the Sensorex had a green alignment line marked on the lens mount housing for fitting Focabell bellows units. Images of black cameras with this mark can be found on the Net, so it appears that the feature was only lacking in the C version.
The Sensorex was something of a landmark model for Miranda. In 1967, there were few cameras offering full aperture TTL metering; the Minolta SRT 101, Nikkormat FT/FTn, Topcon RE Super, and Topcon Uni. According to a dealer advert in a 1968 edition of Amateur Photographer, the UK cost of a Miranda Sensorex was £119 - 19s - 6d. The same dealer offered a Minolta SRT 101 with an f/1.7 lens for £139 - 19s - 6d. A Nikkormat FTN with an f/2 lens was £149 - 10s - 0d. In 1968, the average UK monthly pay was £124.
Lens mount: Miranda mount - duel 4-claw bayonet and 44mm screw thread.
Focus: Viewfinder magnification 0.92x with 50mm lens at infinity. Condenser and Fresnel lens combined focusing screen with micro-prism centre spot. Interchangeable viewfinders. DOF preview switch on Auto-Miranda lenses.
Shutter: Horizontal travel cloth focal plane with speeds of 1 sec., to 1/1000th sec., +B. Approx 10 sec., self-timer.
Meter: Cross coupled TTL CdS spot metering (later models with three cell partial metering), with separate on/off switch (where pushed away from user in
on and pulled towards is
Exposure: Manual viewfinder match needle.
Film Advance: Winding angle 180°. An indictor, which is also the shutter speed setting mark, changes from white to red when the film is wound. The film winds on to the spool emulsion side out.
Frame Counter: Automatic count-up and reset.
Rewind: Via crank and bottom release button.
Flash: Common FP/X terminal with sync type selection dial at the base of the rewind knob. X synch at 1/60 sec.
Size: 146 x 94 x 52mm (W x H x D).
Weight: 650g (body only).
Battery: Mallory 1.35v PX625 mercury cell.
There was a time when I thought this was a very ugly camera, mainly due to its pointless radiator grill, and my expectations were it would be giantic, but in reality it's only a tiny bit bigger than a Spotmatic. But ... it's grown on me to the extent of becoming desirable. In the scheme of things, the Sensorex was one of the most advanced cameras of its day. Anyway, I bought this Sensorex, with an f/1.9 50mm lens, for £11.50 in November 2017. It's the second version (serial number 718,223), with spot metering, which doesn't actually work (but I'm OK with that). The camera is otherwise in very nice condition. It arrived with a film inserted, which is DX coded, indicating that the camera was last used post 1983.
In recent times, my collecting has become very focused; at first it was simply scattergun, but now I tend to seek-out one or two specific cameras at a time. My present focus is Miranda, and this is my forth in succession. I want just one more - a DR - with a PAD lens.