Minolta Hi-Matic 7s

Discussion in 'Rangefinder Forum' started by denmark.yuzon, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    Hi,

    Any comments on this camera? there are tons of reviews over the net, but pro advices will help me more..

    my uncle, upon knowing im into photography, he sent me a working Minolta Hi-Matic 7s which will arrive a couple of days from today.. im excited as well as anxious if this rangefinder is any good.. i know the rokkor are pretty sharp.. but how about the overall performace of this camera? any of you guys had or still using this camera?
     
  2. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    They are wonderful cameras. Meter is dead on, lens is crazy sharp, you can take it off automatic, it's quiet. Anything else you need to know LOL. I had one for years and took a lot of wonderful pics with it.
     
  3. Galah

    Galah Member

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    I'm no professional, but I do have one of these cameras and -from time to time- you can spot one in "junk shops" in non-working condition.

    Well, first the good:smile:: It is a quality product built by a "name" company. It will take up to 400 ISO film and give excellently sharp results (Providing you don't forget to focus or to remove the lens cap! :tongue:). The metering is excellent and it works in fully auto as well as in aperture preferred semi auto and fully manual modes (though fiddly). It uses the "exposure value" system for metering (the meter readings are in "ev" units) which means that, once you have determined one suitable aperture/shutter speed combination, you can easily permutate your aperture/shutter combinations as any that result in the same e.v. will give an equivalent exposure.[are you still with me?:smile:]

    OK, the bad:sad:: In my experience, the Minolta lenses (in general) and the Hi-Matic in particular, tend to develop "sticky" apertures. With the Hi-Matic, this results in a "stuck" shutter. This is no "big deal" as any competent repairman can fix it for you for a modest price (in my case Aus$60-00), and it should continue to work for several years without trouble. This is a very common problem with Hi-Matics found in second-hand shops, but a good bargaining point ("You want what, and it doesn't even work?"). Another "bad" point is that -should you want to use a lens-hood, it will protrude into the field of view of the viewfinder which is likely to be somewhat dimmed by an accumulation of crud (also common to most rangefinders of any vintage).

    Other than that, lots of fun, and I'm quite fond of mine!:smile:
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2009
  4. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    thanks for all your comments! im excited to get it already.. but i have to wait for a couple more days.. i hope it is in excellent condition as what my uncle had said to me.. he said, he used it a month ago and is working perfectly.. i hope it still works when it gets to me.. hehehe
     
  5. Galah

    Galah Member

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    I visited your website: nice shots!:smile:

    I too use quite a lot of Fuji Superia (both 200 & 400 ISO)
     
  6. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    Thank you Galah! Superia is really cheap here, as well as neopans.. but i stopped using neopans because pro labs are very far from where i live.. so im investing on some c41 black and whites until i get my own chemicals and developing tanks.. and the know-how for developing my own black and whites..

    also, this will be my very first Rangefinder... i never used one before.. ive held one russian RF, but never got to use it.. im planning to invest on a good RF, i have my eyes on the voigtlander since its more affordable than the Leica ones.. but this one is free.. hehehe.. i cant wait to use this camera.. i just hope everything is in good working condition.. can you post some shots you've taken with the hi-matic 7s?
     
  7. Galah

    Galah Member

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    I would love to post some of my shots, but I don't have any of the hardware/software required to do so. Sorry:sad:

    (When I said I'm no pro, I meant it:smile:. My photography stops at taking the shots and playing around with various cameras: all my developing and printing is done by the commercial processors and generally limited to 6"x4"s)
     
  8. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    oh.. ok.. thanks Galah.. im sure i will be fond of it as much as you are with yours.. i cant wait.. what batteries do you use with yours? they say, hearing aid batteries works best as the 1.4V is close to the 1.35V from mercury batteries..
     
  9. gatewaycityca

    gatewaycityca Member

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    I don't know...I have NOT had good luck with this camera at all. :sad:

    I bought one on eBay after reading a lot of praise about it...how sharp it is, the fact that you can use it either in automatic or completely manual mode, etc. Well, I haven't had a chance to use it yet. The shutter only fires half the time. I have to press the release button sometimes 2 or 3 times just to get the shutter to fire. The shutter speed dial is jammed and won't go beyond 1/125. You might say that I just took a gamble buying it on eBay. Well, the thing is that I bought almost all my cameras on eBay, and I have never had a problem. It also looked to be in great condition and had a very detailed description. The seller had 100 percent positive feedback. And I can't even really blame the seller, because the shutter is so finnicky that it literally will work fine one minute, then stop working the next. It'll snap fine 3 or 4 times, and then suddenly just stop working. I don't dare waste a roll of film on this camera.

    I also saw another Minolta Hi-Matic 7s at a swap meet. It looked like it was in good condition, not abused or anything. And guess what?? I just picked it up to test it, and it had the exact same problems. The shutter was extremely unreliable and finnicky, and I could already feel the aperture dial starting to get stiff.

    I've thought about getting mine fixed, but I honestly don't even know if it's worth the cost and hassle. I've asked some people on Photo.net about this camera, and even the people who like it do admit that it does tend to have shutter problems and needs to be serviced periodically. No thanks. I really think the Argus C-3, C-4, and C-44 were much better rangefinder cameras. I mean, yeah the Argus C-3 might be heavy, boxy, and kind of awkward to use...but it's built like a tank. I have NEVER seen an Argus C-3 that wasn't working. I have two of them, I bought them both on eBay. I cocked the shutter and it fired the first time, no problems. I've seen dozens of them at antique shops and thrift shops...every single time I have ever picked up an Argus C-3, it worked.

    I really hope you have better luck with your Minolta Hi-Matic. And I hope you enjoy it and have a lot of fun with it. But I'm just totally turned off from them if there's a 50\50 chance that the shutter won't work. :mad:
     
  10. Galah

    Galah Member

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    Well, believe it or not, I'm still using the Mercury battery I installed in it when I got it (second-hand) a very long time ago: it still works:smile:

    However, I'll be checking it out tonight to make sure everything is still OK:tongue:.

    The camera has an on-off facility: it is part of the ISO setting arrangement (a small lever underneath the lens) I leave mine on "Off" when not in use.

    The camera has a delayed-release arrangement (the "V" position). I have heard that it is often best not to mess with this. It is a clockwork mechanism and, if it jams (through age/lack of lubrication) you are stuck as the shutter will not operate until this is cleared. (A common problem with vintage cameras).
     
  11. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    thanks gatewaycityca for the comment.. im still waiting for it. i hope it does work with no problems at all.. if it didnt, i guess i have to find a good repairman to have it CLA'ed and sell it off and get the konica auto S2 instead.. but, im crossing my fingers on this one.. i hope the meters work too..
     
  12. Galah

    Galah Member

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    OK,OK I already said that a sticking shutter is a common problem with this model:sad: (and -in my experience- aperture sticking with some Minolta lenses also)

    However, if you have one, a CLA should not be exhorbitant:smile:.

    You pays your money and takes your choice, as they say!
     
  13. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    thanks Galah.. i read about it somewhere not to mess with the self-timer option.. i will keep this in mind.. hehehe..
     
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  15. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    By contrast with some other people, I've had quite good luck with my eBay 7s, though I've only put about five rolls through it so far. Using a 1.5V battery should affect the metering in principle, but I haven't found it to be a problem in practice (with print film, admittedly). The rangefinder/viewfinder is just great, a real breath of fresh air compared to my Soviet rangefinders.

    The biggest problem I've run into, and I'm not sure if it's a design limitation or something wrong with my particular camera, is that there's no way to tell when you've exceeded the limitations of the autoexposure system. I shot a roll in low light using aperture priority and discovered afterwards that the whole roll was ludicrously underexposed, to the point of being almost blank (I can see faint images if I hold it at just the right angle to the light). I'm not sure what the camera was doing---perhaps defaulting to some standard shutter speed since it didn't have enough light to pick one properly. But other than that one incident, it's been very good to me so far.

    -NT
     
  16. Chaplain Jeff

    Chaplain Jeff Member

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    Hello,

    Of all the Minolta RF's, this is my least preferred - although I have friends who claim it as their favorite. I find the controls to be in all the wrong places on it as well as the Highmatic 9 and 11. I've owned three or four of these over the years and I have found that they break easily and are not as well made as other Minoltas.

    For about twice the price of a good CLA'ed one you can get a 7sII, which is a MUCH better camera - more well built and more compact.

    The glass is great of course, so go out and shoot it and enjoy! If you got a good one and you take care of it, it could last you the rest of your life.

    And if it breaks, get yourself a 7sII so you'll never have to worry about it again.:D
     
  17. bvandrasik

    bvandrasik Member

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    There's a little misinformation here from Galah.
    1. It will meter properly with film from ASA 25-800
    2. It does NOT have aperture priority (or shutter priority) mode. Fully auto or fully manual only. This is a common misconception. It seems like it "should" work because you can move either the aperture or shutter ring from the Auto position, while leaving the other at Auto, but it just doesn't work, and is not mentioned in the manual.

    The manual is available at Michael Butkus's excellent site http://www.butkus.org/chinon/

    It didn't work because the camera does NOT have aperture priority mode (see above).
    When the meter needle enters the red area (high or low) you are outside of the auto exposure range.

    Brad
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 21, 2009
  18. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Really? I see that this isn't mentioned in the manual, but the camera sure seems to do *something* in the "priority" modes---I opened up the back and dry-fired it a few times in differently lit conditions, and for instance, with the speed fixed and the aperture on A, I could see the aperture changing in a way that looked reasonable.

    But maybe it's selecting the aperture based on what it would do in "full auto" mode, rather than based on the speed I've actually set it to?

    Well, too bad, but no great loss---it's a perfectly good manual camera with a built-in meter, anyway.

    -NT
     
  19. Galah

    Galah Member

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    I know I replied to this post already, but you got me thinking and, when I got home, I straightaway checked to see what battery was in the camera.

    As I said, believe it or not, it does appear to have the original battery I put in it about 15 years ago: it is a "Varta" made in Germany V625PX 1.35v mercury battery, which is still OK to go!:surprised:. These were discontinued in 1998.

    What made me rush home was the thought that the battery may have eaten through its case and leaked into the battery compartment but, as far as I can see, everything is still quite sound: no leaks, no mess, and still giving "full power". Amazing!

    I guess I'll be looking for a replacement battery myself: this weekend.:smile:

    (I have seen the mess they can make when they leak into the battery compartment :sad:: best avoided!)
     
  20. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    thanks you guys for all the inputs.. im excited to get this camera and test it out for myself.. i hope it will last me a lifetime.. otherwise ill get myself a konica auto S2 instead..
     
  21. bvandrasik

    bvandrasik Member

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    Yes, it is probably just picking the automatic aperture it would use for that light.

    A better test would be to see if the aperture changes for different shutter speeds in the same light, with the aperture in"A" mode. I strongly suspect it wont. (I can't check it on mine right now because I am in the middle of a roll of film)

    Brad
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 22, 2009
  22. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    im having doubts with this camera... but so far, im anxious and hopeful.. since its free... its a gift from my uncle and all the shipping is free too.. if i dont like it, or have trouble with it, i would go with a konica auto S2 instead and sell this one.. hehehe
     
  23. lens_hacker

    lens_hacker Member

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    I just sold a Konica Auto S2 and kept the Minolta Hi-Matic 9. Lenses are on the same level of performance, viewfinder on the Konica has an "edge" as it corrects for field of view and parallax, both cameras meter on manual and have auto-exposure. I put new seals in the Konica before selling it. Was very sharp, as is the Minolta.

    But I've had the Minolta for 40 years. Had it CLA'd in 1980.

    [​IMG]

    I found the ad for the Konica from the 70s.
     
  24. Galah

    Galah Member

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    Just found another 7s!

    Well, there's no fool like an old fool:smile:!

    Just found and couldn't resist another 7s in "mint condition" except the shutter doesn't work (although the meter does).

    Because of the very low price, I couldn't resist taking it home with me (fast becoming a retirement home for vintage cameras).

    It is, at present, with my repairman, and I hope he can cure the shutter for me, as he has already -a couple of years ago- cured my other 7s of the same problem.

    Well, come next week and we'll see how it went.

    Fingers crossed!:smile:
     
  25. denmark.yuzon

    denmark.yuzon Member

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    ive just recieved my hi-matic 7s... the shutters wont work because the lens is wobbly.. but i got it working though.. i just bring the lens up a little higher to align it to the body when im firing the shutter, and it works.. all shutter speed sounds right.. gosh, even the self timer is working.. though, i still dont know if the meters are working.. i have no batteries for it, and the battery chamber is closed tightly!, i just use the sunny 16 rule and my FM2n as my meter, and hopefully, when i get my films back, theres no leaks or whatsoever..

    the body is so nice... excellent condition like what my uncle said.. although, it is so damn heavy!!! my hands hurt from just holding it and using it for a couple of hours..
     
  26. Galah

    Galah Member

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    Yes, they are no lightweights: quite solid and "heavy".:smile:

    BTW, I picked up a modern (current) replacement battery for mine from my regular camera shop. It is a standard, readily available type and not expensive. I'll get back to you with the designation (forgot to take a note of it:sad:).