Minolta Hi-Matic

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The Minolta Hi-Matic cameras redefined Minolta's series of budget rangefinder cameras, although they overlapped with the less-advanced Uniomat II and Uniomat III. The Hi-Matics always had a fully-automatic exposure mode.

The original Hi-Matic model controlled this via a selenium meter, and offered a flash mode with shutter speed 1/30 sec. and manual aperture control. This model became famous in its Ansco OEM version, the Ansco Autoset, as one of the cameras that Astronaut John Glenn used during his 1962 Mercury space flight[1][2].

Later Hi-Matics had CdS meters (beginning with the Hi-Matic 7), with the meter cell always placed within the filter ring.

Specifications

  • Type: rangefinder camera
  • Manufacturer: Minolta
  • Year of launch: 1962
  • Film: 35mm with speeds from 6 to 1600 ASA
  • Lens: 1:2.0/45mm (6 elements in 5 groups)
  • Shutter: Citizen leaf shutter with meter-controlled aperture/speed combinations from f2 1/45 sec. to f16 1/500sec
  • Metering: selenium meter
  • Size: 138×84×67 mm
  • Weight: 740 g


Later variant

  • Lens: 1:2.8/45mm (4 elements)


Notes

  1. The Ansco was modified by NASA with a pistol grip and optics to make UV spectrographs, not pictorial images: "Camera, Spectrographic, 35mm, Glenn, Friendship 7" in the collection of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum.
  2. Glenn used a modified Leica for pictorial images: "Another Journey for John Glenn’s Ansco Camera" (May 27, 2011) blog post from Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum.

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