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Created 1 Juni 2009 ... Updated 6 January 2014

Minolta Hi-Matic F

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
  • 2 x Alkaline type PC640A batteries (1,5 Volts each but reportedly works as well)
  • 1 x CR 1/3 N Lithium with a short on the second battery holder (3 Volts)
  • 2 x zinc-air type PX675 replacement batteries (1,35 Volts each)
  • 2 x LR44 with some tinfoil put in the battery compartment (1,5 Volts each)
The best solution would here be the Lithium battery since it provides power for a long time and even when it starts leaking (highly ususual) it doesn't make a mess of things.

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.

Manufacturor  :  Minolta Camera Co., Japan
Model  :  Hi-Matic F
Type  :  Range finder compact camera
Produced  :  1972
K.D. Müller Reference  :  K 99704
Film  :  35 mm, type 135
Picture size  :  24 x 36 mm
Made in  :  Japan
Quantity Made  : 
Original List Price  : 
Material  :  metal partly covered with black plastic
Lens  :  Minolta Rokkor 1:2,7 38 mm (four elements in three groups)
Thanks to Mark Southworth for checking the original Minolta instruction manual and pointing out that it is not 6 elements in 4 groups as written previously.
Filter size  :  46 mm
Focusing  :  manual with scale in meter and foot
Focus range  :  0,8 m - infinity
Viewfinder  :  Coupled rangefinder parallax lines.
Red warning light in the view finder means exposure time under 1/30 and is meant to warn you for camera shake.
Shutter  :  Stepless Seiko ESL leaf shutter, Japan
4 sec - 1/724
Note that the shutter only works with batteries, so it won't work without batteries.
Aperture  :  2,7 - 23
Self timer  :  none
Exposure  :  Fully automatic
Exposure meter  :  Built in CdS meter ranging from EV 0.5 to EV 17 (ASA 100).
Film speed setting 25 - 500 ASA
Battery  :  2x 640 Mercury (1.40 Volt) or use a 2 zinc-air replacement batteries (1,35 Volt) PX675 or use Alkaline batteries PC640A (1,5 Volt but reportedly works as well).
Flash  :  Hot shoe on top, pc sync contact on the left. When Flash is used, the shutter will automatically be set to 1/20 seconds. The ring around the lens barrel is for the so called 'easy flash system' using guide number settings. Here you set the GN of the flash used and the camera calculates and sets the correct aperture, also taking the distance into consideration.
Flash Contact  :  Hot shoe on top, pc sync contact on the body left, with a small plastic push-on protection cover
Film Advance  :  manual, single stroke lever on top
Other  :  Battery test button on th eback, orange light on top.
Dimensions  :  110 x 55 x 75 (l x w x h)
Weight  :  360 grams
Body serial number  :  805536 on hot shoe
Collection status  :  to be sold
Minolta Hi-Matic F

All photos copyright of M. Koning 1997 - 2009

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