Week Thirty Five, Miranda MS-3

July 4, 2017

Week 35 - Miranda MS-3

This week ended up being one of the most challenging so far. The chosen weeks camera, an Ensign Rollfilm Reflex had, after much testing, cleaning and reading up on failed me at a pivotal point of the week leaving me in a bit of a pickle. 

Luckily I was running a second camera alongside for another camera challenge organised by Twitterer Jason Avery. It was to buy a camera under the value of £5 sterling. I decided I would use it as this weeks stand in camera and push a few ideas. Heres my week

I had struggled to decide/find a camera that met my criteria, quirky – old! Whilst kicking my heals at Russell’s shop a chap came in to sell a camera, a Miranda MS 3 with a Pentax SMC 50mm lens on the front. After a look over he pointed out there was some fungus on the lens and the body was not exactly pristine so was of very little value if any. He then broke into a smile and offered the chap a roll of Fuji c200 to which the bloke agreed and Russell passed me the camera with the words under a fiver…£3.29! I couldn’t argue and accepted. I did however feel I had used my friendship as an advantage so pulled off the lens and handed that back being the only value on the camera. Once home I attached a Cosina 28-50mm zoom that I had picked up at a booty a while back for 1 due to a chip, dead centre of the front glass. I had bought it for my Pentax Me Super. Miranda kits came with Cosina lenses so a good matchup, this leads us neatly on to the Miranda.

The Japanese camera manufacturer Miranda had ceased trading in 1970. British electrical stores Dixons had bought the name in the mid 80s and commissioned Cosina to produce a home brand camera using that name. Cosina did a lot of Pentax stuff so no surprise the basic shape and working of the MS come straight of the Me Super, a 35mm SLR of aperture priority function. Similar meter system and layout. You can shoot in manual. It is cheap, plastic and just not as sweet in the hand though with several features missing.

The first roll in was an Ilford PanF 50asa, ideal for a sunny Friday. No sooner had I shot the first frame and my phone rang – youngest daughter was ill and could I pick her up, that was the end of that. It was Monday before I got out again with daughter in tow and between us we cleared half a roll on a tripod on a dull day, it then rained non-stop for the rest of the week so, I covered it with a bag and shot the roll anyway, I and the camera got very wet! I was pleasantly surprised by the results, some issues with the hood and rain on lens but good.

I then took it a step further. I dug around in the spares lens box and pulled out a fungus ruined Vivitar 135mm/f2.5, £0 and a Cosina 50mm/f2. £5 tops, remember, the body is worthless! I popped in a budget Kentmere 400 BW and had a fun walk that ended in the local park. I really enjoyed it, this is my standard Pentax set up so I found it quite natural. The results were again surprisingly good, some issues with 135 aperture sticking but hey it cost nothing! The Kentmere is a little grainy and not a flexible or forgiving as say HP5 but it is £3.30 and did a decent job

For a 30+ year old plastic cheap camera with budget lenses we pulled of a good week, you could at a pinch get the bloody lot for well under a tenner and it never missed a beat while rendering good images. To put it in perspective the body with one lens & film cost less than a disposable camera!  I know which I would choose. I won’t be swapping it for the Pentax though!

Thank you Jason Avery for another fun challenge!

Click below to see lots more photos

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