Minolta Hi-Matic 7s - need opinions
Sooooooo, I was in a local Value Village and found a pretty skookum Minolta 7s rangefinder on sale for $40. Not a throwaway price, but I love how you can use it in manual mode (I have a light meter so don't need the built in one). I justify the $40 by the fact that it was actually pretty clean (view finder clean, lens seemed clean) and the camera fired at all shutter speeds (no stuck aperture).
The main issue though is the light seals. Seems like they're barely there (and I'm assuming they're meant to have some!).
So my question is:
1) Is this a good deal for a pretty awesome camera? Maybe I can just tape the camera up with electrical tape when I load film?
2) Anything else to look out for before I go back and take a look at it again?
I think it's a good deal. You can replace the seals yourself if you like DIY, or you can have a repairer doing it for you, it should cost you no more than $20. Normally when you buy a camera of this kind you factor in that you have to have the viewfinder cleaned (that's $30 or 40) and maybe the rangefinder aligned (another $30 or so), so even if you spend $40 you end up with a total cost of around $100.
In your case, the total cost is probably around $60.
Next thing you should look at before buying is if the rangefinder is properly aligned. You put the lens at infinite and you observe some very distant (30m or so) object - a Tv antenna is perfectly good - and you have to see a single image in the central rangefinder patch.
Also check that the rangefinder is contrasted enough (normally it is not very much, improving that would require re-silvering a mirror, so you go for acceptable results here).
If the rangefinder is not well aligned you can ask for a price reduction.
Hi. The 7s is a good camera - worth fussing with to get right.
Buy a seal kit from Jon Goodman - he goes by the name Interslice on eBay. His seal kit for the 7s comes with easy-to-follow instructions, and, as a bonus, he throws in instructions to clean and align the viewfinder. All for just a few bucks. Takes an hour or two for the whole job. He also sells a clever battery adaptor that converts the camera from the dread 625 to the commonly available 675 hearing aid battery.
PS - You are way ahead of the eBay game, in that you can actually put your hands on the camera prior to buying it. With that in mind, and no shipping cost, $40 is a good price, if you think the camera works OK.
Make sure the lens doesn't wobble too much (they all seem to move a little) and that the shutter speed and aperture rings move freely on the lens. Don't discount having a functional meter - the one on mine is quite accurate and handy. The meter scale in the viewfinder is in EV - once you know what the EV is, the camera is designed to let you manually use any combination of speed and aperture that gives you the same EV by rotating the controls together. Kinda cool!
Last edited by upnorthcyclist; 04-23-2011 at 01:43 PM. Click to view previous post history.
I have a Minolta Hi-Matic 7s and it's a great camera. I would say your a fair price, I paid 15 for mine off Craigslist, but have to drive across the Bay Bridge on a Friday around 5pm. So when I figure fuel ($12), bridge toll ($5) plus the time and aggravation of Friday rush hour traffic I would say you got a better deal. I currently have these two photographs I took with the Hi-Matic in a juried show btw.
I'll also second the recommendation for Jon Goodman for light seals.
Great little cameras, I have two of them. That Rokkor lens is great by the way.
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Thanks for all the comments folks. So I went down to take another look at it and... well, the guy at the counter DROPS it on the hard floor.
Mechanically everything seems okay, but I check the viewfinder and do the "infinity" check and it's definitely off. Otherwise it looks fine. That being said, I'm not familiar with how to adjust the viewfinder and (unless I can figure out how to adjust the viewfinder accuracy) I figure best not to get into the hassle of it at it's price. I pass on it.
*sigh* Guess I will have to keep an eye out for another one.