Minolta Hi-Matic 7/7s
A feature rich classic, manual and semi-automatic shooting down to f22
One of the more versatile cameras here this is a very tidy unit that feels solid, balanced and a good weight. The f1.8 Rokkor lens is very highly regarded, extremely sharp but with a warmer soul than the Hexanon of the Auto S2. The only gripe with the design of this camera are the aperture and shutter speed rings which are thin and very close together, making it hard for big fingers to turn them independently, but all in all the build feels reassuringly robust.
The viewfinder has very bright frame lines and parallax correction that help frame the photo well. Like the Minolta AL the aperture stops down to f22 where most others go one stop less to f16, but the shutter speed only goes from 1/4 to 1/500. An EV scale and indicator needle can be seen in the viewfinder, and even with the Auto system disengaged you can use the light meter needle to see what EV it recommends. You can then set the EV number in the EV window on the lens barrel — a system unique to this generation of Hi-Matics — which also means you can judge and set exposure manually by EV.
The light meter can be turned off on the ASA setting which is good for preserving battery life if you choose to use the light meter. The only real draw back is the huge angle of the wind stroke with the lever going right to the front of the camera which feels awkward and slow. You can use multiple short strokes if needed.
N.B. The 7s is essentially the same as the 7 but with a hot shoe for flash and improved metering. The more accurate light meter of the 7s is based on the Contrast Light Compensator (CLC) system and provides unsurpassed exposure accuracy, even in high contrast situations.
|Rokkor PF 45mm 1:1.8
|6 elements in 5 groups
|f1.8 - f22
|B, 1/4 - 1/500.
|Tinted bright frame viewfinder with automatic parallax correction
|Direct helicoid focusing coupled to super-imposed rangefinder
|3ft - ∞
|Manual & Auto
|Built in CLC (Contrast Light Compensator) exposure meter in the lens barrel, automatically compensates for filters
|About 10 seconds delay on manual control
|Single full stroke or multiple short strokes
|140 x 82 x 74 mm
|723g / 1.6lb