Sensoret

The only non-SLR camera Miranda ever made

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The Sensoret was the only rangefinder type camera ever offered by MIRANDA CAMERA CO. It was a compact, snapshot type camera with a fixed lens and fully programmed exposure automation. Miranda provided a  good quality 4 element 38mm Tessar type lens and a coupled rangefinder. The shutter was the new SEIKO ESF electronic shutter which controlled the speed and diaphragm settings simultaneously in a combined unit.  Other cameras of this time also used this new shutter to provide full automation at a popular cost, such as the Minolta Himatic E, the Konica C35, or the Olympus EM.  All of these cameras were totally electronically powered with two 640 1.4v mercury cells, which are no longer available in the US, so today most have limited possibility for on-going use.  There was no manual exposure control provided.

In the USA and Japan, the Sensoret was available as a kit complete with a little custom flash gun, the EF-1. This flash worked with the Sensoret aperture adjusting according to the distance set by the user.

 
Miranda also offered a wide angle and telephoto auxillary lens kit, similar to lenses offered by other makers for their rangefinder cameras, notably Yashica.  The magnification of these lenses, however, was only 0.8x and 1.3x respectively.  Since the auxillary lenses totally obstructed the viewfinder, an external finder was fitted to the flash shoe of the camera. The rangefinder was not coupled to these lenses either.

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The Sensoret was sold under both the MIRANDA and SOLIGOR brand names but there was no difference apart from the name identification. Most of the production was in black leatherette with chrome top and bottom plates, but other cosmetic versions were also offered. The basic black bodied finish was available with either chrome or black enamel finish to top and bottom plates.

In addition, chrome model variants were made with different coloured leatherette covering in small numbers. Sensorets with red, beige, grey, green or blue finish have accordingly become  collector items.

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Parts identification from the Sensoret   manual (largish files to load)

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Using your Sensoret

Basic instructions from the instruction pamphlet. Remember, without the 640 mercury batteries or equivalent, the camera's exposure system and shutter will not work at all.

Battery Installation
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Treasures for the Collector
Worth the hunt if you are into collecting more than the basic Sensoret. How practical are these lenses in practice?  Don't expect normal Miranda versitality and professional easy of use from these accessories.. but they certainly look luxurious on this all black camera.

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User Notes and what to look for:

Sensorets were consistent with other light amateur cameras of the era. That really means they were not exceptionally tough. Top and bottom plates were metal, with good but not outstanding chrome. In my experience, many are found at camera shows in user condition at best. The wind lever is concealed in the body, but that means that a considerable length of the top plate has to be self supporting over the slot where the wind lever moves. Again, I have seen quite a few Sensoret top plates deformed in this area. Many Sensorets were bought as snapshooter cameras and not accorded the care one finds for more advanced amateur cameras. The lens was tested very positively by Amateur Photography at the time for its class, and if clean should provide very satisfactory results. It is a semi-wide angle type.

The black finish is enamel, good quality, but like most black finished cameras of this era, the enamel edges are rather subject to wear or damage, which rapidly causes a rather tatty looking camera.

Battery contacts are a frequent cause of the camera being immobilized, so clean the contacts carefully (using the erasor end found on lead pencils for example) before declaring a Sensoret as dead. However, I must observe that without batteries to test it, you can't be sure of the camera's working condition. And many of those 'average condition' examples just don't seem to work, proper batteries or not. Insist on testing it.

Quite a large number were made (over 80,000 has been suggested by research) and you should eventually be able to find an excellent condition working example on the www.ebay.com web site. For practical user purposes, if you have the batteries available, a working Sensoret should be quite reliable. The Seiko shutter has been proved by many camera makers. 

From the collector point of view, a mint condition black or coloured outfit is obviously worthy of the hunt. For the user, if you have a good working Sensoret, there is little to go wrong with this little camera if you continue to use it with care.