|Fujica ST601 with earlier lens|
image by Jörg Krüger (Image rights)
The Fujica ST601 was introduced in 1975, essentially by taking the entry-level Fujica ST701 (3rd version) and cutting features—perhaps to reach a price target, or for clearer market segmentation . Like the ST701 it remains a stopdown-metering model, unlike the contemporary ST801.
The ST601 only stayed on the market a short time before being replaced by the Fujica ST605 in 1976.
Feature removals include a reduced shutter speed range, from 1/2 sec. at the low end, to an odd 1/700th sec. top speed; and a lesser top film speed at 1600 ASA (as opposed to 3200 ASA). It was a few grams heavier than the ST701.
The changes made to the ST605 were new circuitry that was no longer dependent on mercury cells, top film speed increased from 1600 back to 3200 ASA, and the new model shed around 45 grams of weight.
Like many other cameras with coupled TTL metering, there are instances where the meter sensitivity range is exceeded by shutter speeds available. In some cameras this occurs at both the darkest and brightest lighting extremes. In the ST601, exposure is outside of the meter sensitivity only at the darkest end. For example,
- 1/2 sec., is outside of the meter sensitivity range with film speeds exceeding 125 ASA,
- 1/4 sec., exposure is outside of the meter sensitivity range with film speeds exceeding 250 ASA,
- 1/8th sec., is outside of the meter sensitivity range with at film speeds exceeding 500 ASA, etc.
To safeguard against under exposure, the shutter speed selector dial locks to prevent the selection of speeds which are outside of the meter's sensitivity range for any given film speed. This "locking" is a feature common to many TTL metering cameras. Some have an override switch (e.g. the Miranda Auto Sensorex EE), but the ST601 does not.
- Lens mount: Praktica M42 screw, List of available Fujinon lenses.
- Viewfinder/Focus: Pentaprism eye-level viewfinder with 0.96 x magnification; 92% field of view (with f/2.2 55mm lens); micro-prism, centre split image and ground glass focusing. DOF preview available via stop down metering.
- Shutter: Mechanical cloth focal-plane shutter. B + 1/2nd - 1/700th sec. Self-timer.
- Meter: Stopped-down TTL centre weighted averaging metering via two Silicon photo-cell receptors coupled to a FET (Field Effect Transistor) circuit.
- Exposure: Manual match needle metering, with indicator visible in viewfinder.
- Film Speed: 20 to 1600 ASA.
- Flash: X sync hot shoe at 1/60.
- Film Advance: Single-stroke lever with 140° winding angle.
- Size: 133 x 86 x 88mm (W x H x D) with lens.
- Weight: 610g body alone.
- Battery: Two 1.35V Varta 400PX type mercury batteries.
The 30th April 2005 edition of British photography magazine "Amateur Photographer" featured a retrospective of the Fujica ST range of SLRs. Photographer and journalist Ivor Matanle speculated that the ST601 "seems likely to have been a stop-gap to bring a little bit of marketing excitement before the first of the new 05 series appeared" and "it may be that the 05 series was delayed for a few months by production problems".
For a buyer today, the ST601 has little to recommend it versus its sibling models.
- Fuji Film's company website explains - "The first oil shock from the end of 1973 (Showa 48) caused the entire world economy to contract, and Japan's camera exports, which had been steady until then, slowed down due to the suppression of consumption by major overseas countries. Under these circumstances, we proceeded with the development of a popular SLR camera that pursues mobility and economy in order to develop a new SLR market".