After returning to analogue photography a few years ago with a Minolta Hi-Matic 7 rangefinder, I began looking for a second film camera. I was looking for something totally different, in particular something smaller and lighter. I soon discovered I have missed the boat by a few years to get a reasonably priced premium contact, with prices for the likes of Contax T2, Olympus Mju-ii, Yashica T5 etc. reaching higher and higher prices. My experience in buying a rangefinder showed me not to be disheartened and there are lots of hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
I’ve started seeing more photos of vintage cameras with their leather covers replaced, and to me they often look great. Other than a few useful flickr posts and some short videos, there aren’t many articles that cover the how and the why, and fewer still that discuss the troubles and the costs of doing this …
I had been trawling the online market places and managed to snag a Minolta Hi-matic 7s on trademe (the NZ version of ebay). It was advertised as being in excellent condition with everything working as it should and clear glass, Sounds great I thought! so I chucked a bid on in the dying minutes to win the auction. After a few days of anticipation and excitement it finally arrived encased like a giant egg in about 3m of bubble wrap, it even came with a musty smelling leather case – no chance of being damaged in transit. Or so I thought. After unwrapping it was immediately obvious there was damage to the lens:
If you are reading this, you might have a magazine with some problems. This piece is written to help you. I found there to be very little documentation on the repair of these, but I think these these magazines, despite their complexity, are quite repairable by a slightly handy person. This is not written by a professional repair person, but by an amateur university students with some experience doing repair on these, as well as on other camera equipment.