Cosina Hi-Lite 402

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The Hi-Lite 402 from Cosina is a continuation of the company's many stopdown-metering SLRs accepting 42mm screw lenses. Refinements include a hot shoe, a battery-check button with an indicator lamp on the top deck, and a locking collar around the shutter release.

Compared to this camera's close sibling the Hi-Lite 205, this model adopts Cosina's unusual scheme[1] for activating stop down exposure metering. A half-press on the shutter release stops down the lens after which the user centers a needle in the viewfinder bracket by adjusting exposure settings. A chrome button on the front of the camera can reopen the aperture to its widest setting for focusing and brighter viewing.

The Hi-Lite 405 is nearly identical but offers a spot metering option. Both "400" models also feature redesigned and more curvilinear self-timer and film-advance levers.

The meter is powered by a single 1.35v button mercury battery (now unavailable) but the shutter will operate without it. Flash sync is possible at a respectable 1/125 second or slower. There is a mechanical self-timer; and as is common with Cosina cameras, it flips the reflex mirror out of the way at the beginning of its cycle which can allow camera vibration to die out before the exposure begins.

This appears to be the model marketed in 1974 by Ponder & Best as the Vivitar 420/SL.


  1. This seems to have been first used on the innovative Cosina Hi-Lite EC of 1972.