I am a constant “thrifter” hitting up local thrift stores, antique stores, and the like for neat old vintage cameras. I have found a near mint condition Polaroid SX-70, a Franka Solida, Jr. w/ Voigtlander shutter (I call it “FrankenKamera”), and a cheesy Time Magazine camera, amongst others.
I have decided to make a local Veteran’s thrift store my favorite for donations (my father and all of my brothers are vets) and went to drop off some stuff one day. Guess it was good karma or something cause when I looked in the display case, there was a Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII staring back at me! I asked the gentleman how much and he said $2!!! I was stunned…this camera goes for over $150 or so when in good working order and I had my eye on them for a long time, but the prices were way out of my range.
I asked to see it and the shutter seemed good and it wound normally. It had a dent on a bottom corner, but not enough to interfere with the film door. When I opened it, the pressure plate was loose inside, but I had recently done a repair on my QL17, so knew it wasn’t a big deal to get back into place. I purchased the camera and saw a donation jar on the counter, so I put a few bucks into that since I got an amazing deal.
I decided to put this camera against my Canon Canonet QL17 in a “shootout,” as they are very similar cameras and routinely compared to one another. They are certainly very similar in many ways.
I have the two compared in my set of photos on flickr here:
“Shootout! Canon Canonet QL17 vs. Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII”:http://www.flickr.com/photos/framerkat/sets/72157623805455642/
My foray back into film camera collecting began with the plastic Diana F+, but I got off onto a tangent with vintage rangefinders shortly thereafter. First, with the Argus C-3, Kodak 35 RF, and Minolta Minoltina AL-s. Once I started using that sweet little “Tina”…I was hooked once again.
The Minolta family grows…”Tina” is joined by the big & beautiful Hi-Matic 7s
My web searches on other desireable rangefinder models came up with the Minolta Hi-Matic line. The 7sII looked very appealing, but the prices were out of my range (I normally don’t spend more than $30-$40 on my new acquisitions), so I set my sights on the previous model, the 7s. It had appealing features with fully automatic, aperture priority, and fully manual modes. It’s amazing with a camera of this age to just have to point at your subject, focus, and shoot. I used it at an air show one day and had it on the “Auto” setting the entire time…here are some results from it:
“Patriot Wing” shot with Minolta Hi-Matic 7s 35mm rangefinder w/ Kodak bw400cn film
So, it was official, I am an addict. I began researching which one to purchase next 😉 See my full set of images of/taken with this camera here: Minolta Hi-Matic 7s set on flickr