other Miranda cameras in my collection
Miranda/Pallas/Soligor - TM/TM II [1974 - 1976]
Background: the Sensomats
Although this camera abandoned the Sensomat name, it was nevertheless a member of the Sensomat family.
The first 1969 Sensomat updated the previous Fs and Gs by introducing stop-down TTL metering to the Miranda line-up (despite the 1966 Sensorex offering more advanced open aperture TTL metering).
The Sensomat was modestly revised in 1971 to become the Sensomat RE. The key change seems to lie in the stop-down metering control.
- The Sensomat had an
exposure meter activating button(which stopped-down the lens diaphragm) plus a second
exposure meter release buttonwhich re-opened the diaphragm (should refocusing be required after metering).
- The Sensomat RE had a single
exposure meter activating button, which also re-opened the diaphragm when pressed a second time.
The 1974 Miranda TM was essentially the same as the RE, but for a new M42 screw lens mount; adopted in an attempt to increase the popularity of the model. This adaption can be seen in a leatherette covered spacer, which serves to move the M42 lens mount further from the focal plane, and so achieve infinity focus. It's a sad irony that as Miranda embraced M42, Pentax were plotting to abandon it.
Further differences are the RE's front-of-body shutter release button was also removed; probably because the new lens mount made the fitting of older PAD lenses impossible. Additionally, in the TM the RE style meter switch was renamed as the
diaphragm activating button, and its function is to merely close and open the diaphragm. The film wind/shutter release are the meter on/off switches; the advance lever activates the meter, while the shutter release turns the meter off (and re-opens the lens diaphragm).
Not surprisingly, as found on the RE, the TM's meter does not couple across the entire range of shutter speeds, which means the fastest shutter setting cannot be selected with the slowest films, nor the lowest shutter speeds accessed with the fastest films.
The Soligor and Pallas (German version) TMs were both re-badged Mirandas: they differ only by the name embossed into the prism housing.
The April 1975 edition of
Camera User magazine's
monster guide to cameras listed the Soligor TM as having a guide price of £108 with an f/1.8 lens, and £99 with an f/2.8 lens. However, in the June edition, a retailer advertised the Soligor TM for £69.95 (with an f/1.8 50mm lens), or £59.95 (with an f/2.8 50mm lens), when the average UK weekly wage was £73.57. The TM was the least expensive budget TTL metering SLR on the market in 1975, but is arguably as good as the more expensive models in the group.
|Pentax SP1000 + f/2||£105||Petri TTL + f/1.8||£92|
|Canon TLb + f/1.8||£95||Topcon IC-1 + f/2|
|Minolta SR100 + f/2||Praktica LTL + f/1.8 (Pentacon)||£79|
|Fujica ST701 + f/1.8||£92||Yashica TL Electro X + f/1.9|
|Mamiya MSX 500 + f/2||Soligor TM + f/1.8||£70|
The Miranda/Soligor TM-II?
There were clearly early and late versions of the TM, as seen on the two different user manual covers (shown right).
- The first difference between the models is the later TM gained a prism mounted cold shoe, and lost the slot for an accessory shoe attachment at the base of the rewind knob.
- The second difference is the early TM has an RE style external back cover locking system (housing a thumb latch), while the late TM has an internal mechanism operated by a pull on the rewind knob.
- The third change was internal, the indications of which are that the late TM uses a 1.5v battery rather than a 1.35v mercury cell, the highest ASA speed was extended from 1600 to 6400 ASA, and the lowest from 25 to 12 ASA.
- Finally, the frame counter and film speed dials changed colour from black on silver to silver on black.
- From a limited study of images where the serial number is visible, the first version cameras have the number 46xxxxx, while the second version models have the number 56xxxxx. It may be coincidental, but the leading '4' and '5' could represent 1974 and 1975?
There was also a TM-II, which was apparently introduced in 1975. I've seen photos of a Miranda and Soligor TM-II, but not a Pallas (which doesn't necessarily mean there wasn't one). The one image of a Soligor TM-II I've found, where the serial number is readable, shows it to be a 56xxxxx. Other than the stamped name, I can see no differences between the later version TM and the TM-II. I believe Miranda merely altered the model name toward the end of production, and the late TM and TM-II are one and the same. Although the instruction manual was updated to reflect the later TM's external changes, some of the details within are inaccurate. For example, the dials in the manual's illustrations are unaltered, and show black on silver scales. There is a chart and graphic that imply the film speed range is 25 to 1600 ASA, but the text details are otherwise correct.
Specifications (later version)
Lens mount: M42 screw.
Focus: Viewfinder magnification 0.92x with 50mm lens at infinity, field of view 95%, condenser and Fresnel lens combined, focusing screen with micro-prism spot. Interchangeable viewfinders - release switch is the dial at the base of the rewind knob.
Shutter: Cloth focal plane, B. 1-1/1000 sec. No self-timer.
Meter: Stop-down, viewfinder match needle, built-in TTL CdS light sensor within the mirror, cross-coupled to shutter speed and aperture setting. Advancing the film switches on the meter. There is a separate stop-down switch.
Film Speed: ASA 12-64000.
Flash: FP and X sockets, with synch at 1/45th sec.
Film Advance: Winding angle 180°. No off-set angle. The film winds on to the spool emulsion side out.
Frame Counter: Automatic count-up and reset.
Rewind: Via crank and bottom release button.
Size: 144 x 95 x xmm.
Weight: 677g body only (861g with 50mm f/1.8 lens).
Battery: One 1.5v SR44. The meter needle pointer also functions as a battery check, and gives an under-exposure type reading when there is no power.
I am currently hunting for examples of Miranda cameras: I really like them because they are different to other SLRs. This model is branded as a Soligor ... but it's really a Miranda. In looks, and ancestry, it's superficially very similar to my Fv, and RE II, but functionally the three are quite different. There's the no built-in meter Fv, the stop-down TTL TM, and the full aperture TTL RE II, so together the TM completes a representative set.
I got my late version TM in August 2017 for £20.50. It came with the f/1.8 lens. When I started collecting in 2014, the typical price I paid was between £5 and £10, but those days are gone, and now £20 is about average. Anyway, the camera is in FWO and nice condition (except for the perished seals and damper).
My camera is the second version, with the serial number 5612240.
Although a budget sector camera, the TM is actually very nice, and feels no lesser quality than other Mirandas I own. The modern battery and M42 fitting make it very usable today.
The June issue of Camera User magazine also featured a review of the Soligor TM, which concluded that the model performed well and deserved to be a success, despite being a budget model.
Regardless of a short production run time, today the Soligor TM seems to be in reasonably abundant supply, is generally found in good condition, but is not particularly sought-after by collectors (which has kept prices low). The Miranda and Pallas versions are uncommon, and so too are the TM-IIs, but none of these scarce variants have any additional worth. A Swedish seller offered a Pallas TM on eBay (a few weeks after I bought my camera) for about £400. It didn't sell!