This is my first real post on APUG and I could use some guidance. I just purchased a Minolta Hi-Matic 7 (my first rangefinder) that I thought just needed some shutter "exercise", at least thats what I was told. I purchased it at a swap meet and I did not get the sellers name (lesson learned) so I can not contact him about returning it or trying to get some money back. I took the camera to local camera repair shop and he said that the wind crank is not right and the shutter is not getting any response when fired. He also said that the view finder focus aid was too light and focusing would be difficult (which he can not fix). Some good things about the camera is the glass looks clean and the meter is very responsive. So my question is should I spend $70 to get it fixed or should I take my loss and find another in better condition? Thanks!
You might not find another in better condition,you'll be taking another chance.If it were me I'd have it fixed,then you know you've got a good one-they're fine cameras.
If you spend the $70, you should end up with a camera which works properly, and which should work for several more years. If you try to find another camera, you may get a good one, or simply end up with another camera which doesn't work.
The dim focus aid is a little bit of a problem, but you can deal with it in a couple ways. Take a look through the viewfinder of the camera and look at the center, there should be a lighter colored spot which is square in shape, this is called the rangefinder "patch". It is usually reflected off a semi-reflective mirror. In time this mirror can deteriorate, making the patch less visible. You can either replace the mirror (and these are difficult to find) or increase contrast by putting a sticker the same size and shape as the rangefinder patch on the glass viewfinder window (on the front of the camera) directly in the center.
the shutter blades on those typically get stuck together when the camera sits -- a good clean will fix that. Hard to diagnose the advance lever, but it is possible he just thinks that is not working right because of the blades -- if I had one of those that works right i'd just send it to you but mine does the same thing.
You can find those cheap because they need service. If an hour's labor -- $70 -- will do it, and you want to use the camera, what the heck.
If the blades are sticky and stuck, and you wind on and can't fire the shutter, the wind will also lock until you can free the blades and allow it to fire.
If you like the feel and handling of the camera and can bear with the low contrast (or tested the black square trick) then yes $70 is not a bad investment if it goes toward a competent and reputable repair person. But if you only bought this at the swap because it was dirt cheap think twice about if it's really for you. Also some cameras just love to break and cause photographers headaches, be it design flaws or materials. Research a bit and see if this camera is worth your while.
If you know nothing about cameras it's better to pay the $70 to have it serviced than to buy another faulty one, at least you'll have a usable camera.
Thanks for all your feedback! I was able to contact the person in-charge of the swap meet and they were able to help me contact the dealer. If we cant find a replacement for the camera that I think I will get it fixed. Thanks Again!
In the purest sense, all cameras are essentially boxes that have a method of focusing at one end (pin hole to very fancy lenses), and a way to hold film at the other. The vast majority have shutters, and most have a way to use roll film, to move the film along.
That being said, the important part is how good of a job it does in capturing what you wanted, and how it feels in your hands. (Balance, control locations, size, weight.)
If you really like the camera, have it repaired by a quality shop.
-alex cameras are like shoes... The ones that fit, are the best...