Here I introduce you to one of my favorite rangefinders in my collection. This camera never ceases to amaze me with images it produces with little to no effort on my part 😉
Still recovering from a long and fun weekend of food, fun, and great music at the Riverwalk Blues and Music Festival in Fort Lauderdale this past weekend. Our friend Vena Paylo (wonderful music portrait artist) asked me to share a booth with her to sell our wares and I thought it would be great fun and we might just make some money at the same time!
I had matted up many of my images that I thought would sell to a blues and other types of musical interests crowd. I selected some of my New Orleans ones that I had just added to the website, along with many musical instrument “portraits” I have taken over the years. I had two images relating to Joel DaSilva of the Hep Cat Boo Daddies (great hard rocking rockabilly style music) pedal board with voodoo doll and set list and one of his well-loved Fender Stratocaster guitar with a retro pinup style woman on it. I also had another favorite local musician represented; Graham Wood Drout of Iko Iko’s (great “swampadelic” style) white Fender Stratocaster along with his amp that has his design of the Iko Iko logo snake. I also had a handful of images of resonator guitars which are one of my favorites…they are just art in themselves! I also love the way they sound 😉 Lastly, I thought some of my images from Clarksdale, Mississippi last year when we went to the Blues Music Awards in May would be appropriate. I had one from Morgan Freeman’s club “Ground Zero” and a shot of “Red’s” famous juke joint.
It was a great festival and I sold WAY more work than I ever thought I would…including every music-related piece I brought. I don’t think I missed any sales by not having selection though, which is good considering I wasn’t as prepared as I would have liked to have been. Now I know more what to expect and think I’d love to do more blues related music festivals…they’re fun, the music is wonderful, and the crowd is generous and courteous…oh, and they have great taste in photography, of course 😉
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