Minolta Hi-Matic 7s
|Minolta Hi-Matic 7s|
Film type: 35mm
Features of the Hi-Matic 7s
The Hi-Matic 7s and Hi-Matic 9 followed the H-Matic 7 in 1966, and were improved versions of the 7. Briefly, the cameras were rangefinder focusing, with automatic exposure, plus manual control guided by a viewfinder meter pointer that registered against an EV scale.
The 7s came with the Contrast Light Compensator (CLC) metering system, but how it works in Hi-Matic cameras is unclear. The 7s also added a hot shoe and Safe Load System (SLS) indicator to show that film was loaded and being transported properly. Additional differences between the 7 and 7s included rangefinder windows changing from a contrasting 'pink and green' tint to 'yellow and blue'; the carrying strap lugs moving up to the side and given a more rounded shape; and the end of the lens barrel being black rather than the brushed aluminium of the 7. The 7s also came in a black version.
|image by R. Nial Bradshaw (Image rights)|
In some other Minolta cameras of the period, such as the SR-T 101, the CLC was a device that used two CdS cells to identify contrast (illumination level differences) at the top and bottom (in landscape format) of a scene. Where these differences are minimal, the exposure value is averaged. Where there is a significant difference, the exposure is weighted to favour increased exposure of the darker half of the scene. The Hi-Matic cameras of the 1960s had a single light cell, but nevertheless bore a CLC badge, and the precise nature of the contrast light compensator is unclear.
Prior to introduction of these models, Minolta registered a patent for a lens mounted CdS cell to be given an off-the-lens-axis viewpoint, via the use of a cell covering lens, and blinds to narrow the field of view. This could favour exposure of the lower area of a view, and therefore passively compensate for anticipated brighter components, such as the sky. It is speculated that this is the nature of the CLC in Hi-Matics. Minolta advertising of the time generally plays-down the CLC, or simply does not mention it.
Modern Photography evaluated the Hi-Matic 7s in 1967 after its release. In general they noted that it operated similarly to the Hi-Matic 7. They found that CLC meter was within 1/2 stop of their test reference, and field tests with transparencies were well exposed despite a variety of light and contrast. They also liked that the meter could be switched off to prevent battery drain, and they liked the SLS indicator, which not only showed that the film had been loaded correctly but also tracked film usage. Because the lens of the 7s was the same as the 7, Modern Photography did no lens test of the 7s, and simply repeated the lens test results of the 7.
- ["https://www.google.com/patents/US3286609?dq=inassignee:%22Minolta+Camera+Kk%22&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwiSzafv_trSAhWD6yYKHSu0BFYQ6AEIITAB" Patent 3,286,609]
- "More automation comes to Hi-matic," Modern Photography, October 1967, 84.
- "Minolta Hi-matic 7: through-lens metering," Modern Photography, July 1964, 78-79.