Sensorex EE

Last word in mechanical sophistication, shutter-preferred automation

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Miranda's last major design in all-mechanical cameras was indeed a tour de force. Introduced in 1971, this shutter-preferred automatic was a logical if complex solution to growing demand for additional sophistication in top amateur SLRs.

Basic configuration followed that of the Sensorex, but with major developments. Firstly, the lens mount had two additional connecting controls added internally, and the external arm which coupled to the Sensorex meter arm was deleted. The aperture set was now tranferred internally. The second internal connection was a fixed pin which indicated the maximum aperture of the lens to the metering system (the 50/1.4 lens did not need to have the pin, it was the widest recognized). Thus, the dial found on the Sensorex to set the lens maximum aperture was no longer required.

The biggest feature change is the automatic exposure operation. Set lens aperture to the EE position, set your shutter speed, and the camera meter operates as a typical trapped needle automatic to set a lever which limits the travel of the aperture control lever during exposure. The viewfinder has an aperture scale which shows what this setting will be. There are other index marks in the viewfinder (see below) which are used for battery testing, full aperture reading, and match needle metering.

As an additional professional level feature, the metering offered the option of spot or average metering. In the present era of matrix and multi-mode metering, this is not too exciting, but at the time, such a metering system was quite innovative. Only a very few competitors offered accurate spot metering, let alone both methods. The central spot metering was directly under the split image rangefinder circle.

Sensorex EE was a very well finished camera, available in black or chrome. The black finish is much less common, and is of the applied enamel type - this has a wonderful lustre when new, but tends to suffer from chipping or brassing at various edges.  The camera is not a lightweight, in size or weight. The f1.4 lens was a new design, and was certainly not compact either. However, this was a very bright lens, and silky to focus when new. The back element was so large that it had to be built with a flat to accomodate the internal aperture setting lever.

Viewfinders for the EE were new. These were designated "VFE" and were similar in mount depth to the previous Sensorex. At the front of the prism, the camera no longer had the hallmark prism plate, and the new viewfinders were built accordingly. These are not interchangeable with either of the previous sets of viewfinders for Mirandas.

My experience with the EE is that this model is surprisingly tough for its complexity, and I find many of these at camera shows still working properly. This is surprising, in view of the auto mechanism; and the shutter shows less of the capping or tapering effect found on some earlier models. If the automatic exposure control is not working, the meter itself can be readily used to indicate the aperture to be set directly on the lens.

As a companion model, soon after the introduction of the EE, Miranda offered the Sensorex II camera. This was a manually metered camera, and shared with the EE the new viewfinders, and very similar overall cosmetics and size. Lenses for the Sensorex II had the new internal maximum aperture pin to allow full aperture exposure indication through the Sensorex EE viewfinder, but would not operate automatically as did the EE lenses.

 

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Nomenclature diagrams from user manual, showing all major controls and feature Black finished
Batteries:
1x 675 Mercury

Lenses:
Miranda E type

Shutter:
Focal Plane, 1 sec - 1/1000, flash sync 1/60
Size:
Metering:  EE;
Spot or Average
Full Aperture
Others, in
Stopdown mode
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Meter Viewfinder

Meter on Mirror

Meter Range

Miranda E Lenses:
25/2.8
28/2.8
35/2.8
50/1.8
50/1.4
105/2.8
135/2.8
200/3.5
55 Macron


Other Lenses:

All MIRANDA E, EC and  SOLIGOR EC lenses will work on the EE with full automation.

All previous MIRANDA or SOLIGOR lenses with internal diaphragm control, can be used with stop-down metering.

Accessories: Starting below...
Viewfinders
Along with the Sensorex II and the later EE-2, a special range of viewfinders was offered for the Sensorex EE. These had the deep mount of the Sensorex series, but a different front cover similar to the original standard series. Finders are not interchangeable with previous series.

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User Notes and what to look for:

First check is to see if the meter and shutter are working properly, and if the meter is working, that the automatic "trapped needle" is operative. Battery is a single 675 of the now-extinct mercury types, so you can check the system with an A76 type, and possibly use it and compensate for the higher voltage by adjusting the ASA value. No guarantees, I have not heard of damage to Sensorex II or EE doing this, but be careful.

The shutter button needs a reasonable amount of pressure to operate the automatic system, and you can see when the needle is "trapped" at the correct exposure position about halfway through the shutter release travel. Overall the EE feels a large and solid 35mm camera in use, which is well suited to larger lenses and steady exposures. Unfortunately, a winder was never offered for this or any other Miranda model.

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

Beware of the fixed range of the automatic meter coupling, see the table above. This causes the top or bottom speeds not be available for some ASA values, and it appears as if there is a problem with the camera in selecting the extreme speeds. There isn't.   Just push down the little button in the centre of the shutter speed dial and any speed can be set, although the automatic meter will be disconnected. Turning the dial back into the automatic range will cause the button to pop back up, and the camera will operate normally again.

Although the earlier Miranda camera lenses can be used with the EE, in practice the camera is much more suited to the E and EC series lenses with automatic exposure control. These are unlikely to be found in normal shops, even secondhand specialists, but the www.eBay.com site regularly has many Miranda items available. The 135mm is most common, also the 28mm and 35mm types. The fixed 200mm is an excellent lens in use on this heavy camera, but many users will prefer the Soligor EC zoom which is also offered quite frequently. This zoom was supplied by AiC long after the EE model, several models in the range 80-210mm. I have seen both genuine Miranda and Soligor zooms in this mount, very similar in construction.  Performance is quite satisfactory and comparable to other maker's zooms of the mid to late 70's, as part of the Soligor C/D range. My favorite lens is still the 105mm f2.8 fixed lens, which was available in this E mount but not found very often.

Because of the spot meter directly underneath the centre of the mirror, the split image rangefinder sometimes shows disconcerting shimmers in use. The actual rangefinder is very good, it took me a while to realize that the fine slits in the mirror can have a slightly warping effect on the rangefinder under certain conditions.

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.

I have also seen a tendency for the Sensorex II and EE to have the shutter dial come slightly loose, so that the speed dial has a noticeable amount of play when turning to adjust the speeds. This is easily corrected, unless the dial has come off completely, when resetting the dial position correctly is rather difficult.