Cosina Hi-Lite EC
|Unusual: an M42 camera with "auto" shutter setting|
image by Spot Matic (Image rights)
The shutter release plunger has a long travel, and partway through its stroke the lens stops down to shooting aperture and the metering circuit activates. Fast-acting silicon blue photocells are able to read the scene illumination in the split-second before the user fully depresses the release button, and indicate the resulting shutter speed with a needle in the viewfinder. However there is no easy exposure compensation possible, aside from "lying" to the camera about the film's ASA/ISO speed. Rather the user can manually select a shutter speed different from the one indicated by the meter needle.
To return the viewfinder to its brightest image, a silver button on the front of the camera resets the lens to its widest aperture and deactivates the meter.
The autoexposure system is enabled with an electronically-timed vertically-traveling shutter which ranges steplessly from 2 to 1/2000 seconds. Flash sync is at 1/125th of a second. The shutter is dependent on power from the somewhat uncommon 6 volt silver-oxide battery, loaded through a cap on the back of the body; and there is a battery-check button to confirm the viewfinder needle reaches to or above the index mark in the center of the shutter-speed scale.
ASA or DIN are set using a collar below the shutter-speed dial. The collar around the rewind crank is simply a film-type reminder for the user, but does not connect to the meter system. There is a mechanical self-timer lever on the front of the body.
The followup Cosina Hi-Lite ECL model adds a couple of refinements. McKeown notes a Cosina Hi-Lite EC II adding a spot-metering option with AE lock in addition to the averaging pattern, but we have not seen it. The original EC is also rebranded as the Argus/Cosina EC 2000.
- Type: SLR body
- Manufacturer: Cosina
- Year of launch: 1972
- Film: 35mm film with speeds 15 to 33 DIN
- Lens mount: M42 screw mount with aperture release mechanics
- Shutter: Copal electrically controlled focal plane shutter with manual speeds 1 sec. to 1/2000 sec. or B, or w/o battery: single speed
- Metering: TTL metering
- Exposure: shutter speed selected manually or controlled by meter
- Viewfinder: pentaprism finder, focusing aid on screen, ocular with frame for finder accessories
- Film advance: lever with analog exposure counter, rewind unlock button and rewind crank
- Dimensions: 145×99×53mm
- Power: Type 544 6V battery, battery check button, on/off-switch
- Connectors: hot shoe and two other flash connectors
- Page 229, McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover).
- This scheme returned with Cosina's later M42 models the CSL, CSR, and CSM; but they are manual-exposure-only models unless the clunky & noisy motorized AEC adapter is attached.
- Also said to be rebadged as the Vivitar 650/SLX, a camera which indeed was announced and even profiled in Modern Photography magazine's 1974 "Annual Guide to 47 Top Cameras" but may not have reached production. This shows the spot/average selector replacing the film reminder dial, and the AE hold button replacing the battery check.
- User's manual at Michael Butkus Jr.'s Orphan Cameras
- Several views of the Hi-Lite EC from 'Spot Matic' on Flickr
- Hi-Lite EC at Kurt Tauber's (in German)
|The Cosina Hi-Lite EC gains nothing|
from this Zeiss lens's electric function
image by Uwe Kulick (Image rights)