//second generation heirloom//
MINOLTA HI-MATIC 7s
This is an improved version of the Hi-Matic 7, a fixed lens rangefinder by Minolta. As its predecesor, it allows setting aperture manually and comes equipped with a CdS cell instead of a selenium meter. The lens is a fairly fast Rokkor 45mm 1.8, comprising 6 elements in five groups. The fastest speed is only 1/500, which is not much when you are shooting with aperture 1.8, but bearing it in mind you can compensate choosing the ISO accordingly. Being a 60’s camera, all built in metal, it is rather on the heavy side – over 700g – but I was surprised how little I noticed it after carrying it for a whole day.
Operating it is very easy, as with most of these tough cameras. Film loading is intuitive and straight forward, ISO is set with a small lever underneath the lens barrel and the exposure is checked through the viewfinder. The best thing about this camera is the Automatic setting and I will explain now why. When both the aperture and shutter speed rings are set to A, the camera calculates the appropriate exposure for the shot and indicates it in the viewfinder. It is then very easy to choose an aperture setting and the matching shutter speed to fit the given exposure (or the other way round if you prioritise shutter speed). In this sense the Hi-Matic 7s is a great camera when taking the first steps into analogue photography; after continuos use you get an idea of the exposure value that corresponds to the different light situations, making it easier later with more complex cameras. The fixed lens is its biggest limitation in the end – but you can still play around for a while with the 45mm an not get too bored.
For more technical information on this model and another review head to Matt’s classic cameras.