Automex I and II

Completely redesigned to incorporate the latest 1960 technology

home.gif

Miranda's first substantial redesign, the Automex 1 added all the new developments of the day, plus integrated match needle metering. This new body was the basis for all subsquent top level Mirandas until the EE of 1971, and even this camera and the last Sensorex II used many of its features.

Automex I Automex II

amex_1_fr_lq.jpg (31926 bytes)

amex_2_fr_lq.jpg (34053 bytes)

amexI_top_pl_RH.jpg (34476 bytes)
The new model boasted a linear, non-rotating shutter dial mounted over the rapid wind lever. This allowed a match needle metering system, using a selenium cell mounted prominently in front of the pentaprism.  To complete the design of this system, the lens system for the new Automex added two new features. Each lens had a fully automatic diaphragm operated from within the camera body, and an external arm as part of the aperture ring, which coupled to a matching arm on the camera body which transferred the set aperture to the metering system.

Naturally the basic Miranda features were retained. Interchangeable viewfinders (but not screens), the same dual lens mount, and quiet mirror and shutter. The body overall was about 12mm higher than the original series, but other dimensions were the same. (The tripod mount is in the same location too, so that everready cases for the Automex and later Sensorex cameras will comfortably fit the first series of cameras.)

Minor features included a split image central rangefinder, self timer, film wound indicator, and self-zeroing film counter. Lenses for the Automex included a slider switch for manual diaphragm operation to preview depth of field. The Automex I only had a cog on the baseplate to accept a motor drive, an accessory which (as far as we know) was never made available. There is no shutter speed or aperture indication in the viewfinder, only the two meter needles for matching exposure.

Viewfinders for these Automexes were new. These had to be deeper in mount depth compared to the earlier series Mirandas. At the front of the prism, the camera sported the meter plate, and the new viewfinders were built accordingly. These are not interchangeable with the earlier viewfinders for Mirandas.


Specification differences between the Automex I and Automex II:
(a) The ASA range for Automex I is only 10 - 400, for Automex II it is 10 - 1600
(b) Meter cell changed in appearance between these two models. The first model has a "bubbled" front glass, the second has a flat face with fine gold delineation lines, and a black lattice grid behind it.
(c) Automex I has a custom flash synch and mount, perhaps styled after the Canon   V1 series rangefinders of the same period. (I have never seen a Miranda flash that bayonets into this mount - does anyone know of this? )  To provide a standard PC outlet, an adaptor is provided, which fits into the bayonet mount. The Automex II provides instead a standard outlet behind a little black and gold cover, in the same position.

Parts identification from the Automex II manual

amex_II_nom_1_lq.jpg (36382 bytes)

amex_II_nom_2_lq.jpg (42441 bytes)

Click here for Automex Lenses:

28/2.8
35/2.8
50/1.9
105/2.8
135/3.5
135/2.8

 

amex_II_lenses_1_lq.jpg (41557 bytes)

Other Lenses:
All MIRANDA Automex and Sensorex lenses will work  with full diaphragm automation and coupled metering.

All other MIRANDA or SOLIGOR lenses with internal diaphragm control, can be used with transfer-value  metering.

automex_II_case.jpg (28458 bytes)
... its own case, no less...

Viewfinders
VF-1     Waist level viewfinder with flip up magnifier
VF-3     Combination critical focus viewfinder,with 15x magnification in one position, and 5x magnification in flipped up position. These finders are the only Miranda finders I have seen where the specific camera model was identified on the viewfinder itself.

automex_vfe_finder.jpg (29275 bytes)

User Notes and what to look for:

The original Automexes are near 40 years old by now, and that's a long time for a selenium meter. The cell is quite large, and exposed, and the housing on top of the front plate is not totally rigid, either. Result is that most meter cells of these early Automexes are either not working or not reliable any more. It should be possible to replace the cell with a new one cut to order with wires attached, but I haven't attempted this repair yet. Most Automex I and II cameras found today are of more interest as a collectible than a regular user unit.

Early Automexes were about average in terms of shutter and wind reliability.  The wind lever is quite highly geared, and the lever short, so the wind can become quite stiff as the lubricants dry out. The shutter too can get sluggish and taper on the top speeds, or hang on the slower speeds.

Chrome finish on the Automexes is pretty sound, better in fact than the later Automex III or early Sensorex. The original Automex I had a fairly high polish, and makes a lovely collectible if cosmetically sound.

Flash synch speed is 1/60 second, use 1/30 if you are not sure of the shutter accuracy.

Lenses for the Automex I and II are less common than the later Automex III  and Sensorex lenses. However, all function in the same manner on any Automex or Sensorex camera. Finding user lenses for your Automex I and II is not too difficult, but of course collecters prefer the original series lenses for these cameras.

Although the earlier Miranda camera lenses can be used with the Automex, in practice the camera is much more suited to the Automex or later Sensorex series lenses. As an overall design, the early Automex lenses listed are not as robust as the later Automex III or Sensorex types. The diaphragm stop down action uses a right angle lever and cam, highly geared, and it is susceptible to poor operation when lubricants start to dry out. 

Lenses and accessories are unlikely to be found in normal shops,  but the www.eBay.com site regularly has many Miranda items available. The 135mm is most common, also the 28mm and 35mm types. All the Soligor and Vivitar T4 lenses will also work with a Miranda Sensorex mount - but beware, the actual T4 mount has a common weakness, the aperture lever mount tends to come loose and loose its rigidity. Buy carefully.

Test the shutter by opening the back, taking off the lens, and pointing the camera at a white wall or sky. Release the shutter at each speed. You should see the complete film gate evenly exposed at each speed. Top speeds may show part of the film gate blacked out if they are not operating properly.