I’m more of an SLR guy, but it was inevitable that I too would have to get a taste of the rangefinder world. For me, it started with a “Revue 400 SE”. Revue is like a private label of the german mail order company “Quelle”. It has the same features as the Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII or the Konica Auto S3. I would even say that they are pretty much the same, but I don’t want to start a debate…
Although the Camera performed really well, we just didn’t fit together. So after a short time it changed hands.
I couldn’t let go of the rangefinder thing.
So I started to do some research. Since Minolta has a firm place in my heart, I started looking for a Hi-Matics. I was mainly looking for the later smaller models without a fixed flash.
- Hi-Matic 7sII: Nice but way to expensive. Especially when I think of the Rangefinder Patch. It’s all right, but in this price range I would wish for something better. My Zorki 4, for example, has an incredibly high-contrast and perfectly usable rangefinder patch. Nonetheless, it is still a great camera and I’ll probably have to buy one at some point (right after the Yashica Electro 35 cc). Damn I’m doomed. GAS Syndrome kicking in.
- Hi-Matic G: It only has a zone focusing system. Relying on symbols of mountains or a group of people for focusing…. is not for me.
- Hi-Matic E: Automatic Exposure, good looking (like all of them) and a nice f/1.7 Lens…
- Hi-Matic F: Same as the “E” but equipped with a f/2.8 Lens for less cash. APPROVED.
So the Hi-Matic F it shall be! It has a fixed 40 mm lens. The maximum aperture is f/2.8. The camera automatically selects aperture and shutter speed. All you have to do is insert a film and engage the ISO wheel between 25 and 500. For me, the extra 2 stops of light of the “E” Version was not worth the extra price at that time.
The camera feels very robust. It has a solid weight and feels very pleasant in your hands. The faux leather also feels nice. I play with it all the time. It’s a real pleasure to hold. As I write this, the camera sits next to my laptop and looks at me joyfully.
What I just remembered. My first 2 rolls of film with the Minolta Hi-Matic were completely underexposed. Although I used the battery adapters designed for it.
In the meantime I use normal LR44 batteries. I bridge the empty battery compartment with 2 empty LR44 batteries. I overexpose a stop via the ISO wheel to compensate the higher voltage. Works for me.
The 5 Shots I took on Kodak T-Max 100
I went out to the CIty (Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany) on a Sunny Saturday morning in January. The sun was low and cast great long shadows everywhere. I had never tried street photography before but had a few ideas in my mind.
My favourite shot of the roll.
I walked past a Korean restaurant and the neon lights inside looked great.
Next I tried a double exposure of an old building and a street lamp.
Same building but without the streetlamp over it :).
Another attempt at “street photography” or something like that.
Okay, those were my 5 photos with the Minolta HI-Matic F. This day was an absolute joy.
As soon as I got home I developed the film in Adox FX-39 and hung it in the shower to dry. In the evening I scanned the negatives with my tripod stand, pixl-latr, some Lightsource and my Fuji X-T1. I was incredibly pleased with the results. Not having to wait for a lab and being able to shoot in the morning and see the photos in the evening… What a great day! If you maybe want some more information about my Scanning Setup, feel free to comment. Or send me a message on Instagram.
I actually sell the first photo in my Darkroom Shop. So… I actually don’t sell anything but maybe YOU want to be my first and only customer. Check it out.
If you like to see more please visit my Instagram:
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