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Minolta Hi-Matic F
Another insider tip is the Minolta Hi-Matic series cameras from the early 1970s. These were very small range finder cameras. Some of them were fully manual, some with aperture priority and some, like the Hi-Matic F were fully automatic. The lens is very sharp, there is no autofocus so you are able to set the focus point yourself. There were at least to variants, a black one with chrome top and the rarer black variant.
The Hi-Matic F seems to be lesser known than the Hi-Matic G, even though it's the better of the two. The G is a few millimeters smaller but has shutter times starting a 1/30 whereas the F starts at 4 seconds(!) and goes all the way to over 1/700 sec. Which other camera has such an exposure range?
Minolta's Hi-Matic E is the predecessor and also an even better camera. For starters it has the better lens and it also has automatic parallax correction.
Of course this camera is also a typical early 1970s camera and has features similar to the Yashica Electro GX, the new Canonet 28 and the Konica C35. The Minolta however is smaler and a lot cuter.
A film speed dial is located around the lens. You may use this dial also to correct exposure, especially when using replacement batteries or shooting silhouettes against the light yu may find this useful.
Note that these cameras suffer from gooey light seals so better get your kit from someone like "Interslice" and repair it before you shoot your first film only to find out afterwards the light traps are shot.
Mercury batteries have been unavailable for some time now but there are some good alternatives. The F originally uses 2x Type 640 batteries but you may now use
Note that the shutter won't work withou battery. When you press the shutter button without batteries, you will here a click as if the shutter fires but it actually does't open. So be sure to insert a fresh battery before testing this little gem.