Back in the Spring, Mike Williams and I were thinking about something new to shoot, and decided to try a double exposure roll exchange. A tag team roll of Ilford HP5 Plus that each of us would shoot on. Mike was first to shoot on the roll with one of his new favorite cameras, the Minolta X-700 (1981). After he was done, he rewound the roll and shipped it from North Carolina to me in Utah. I wanted to shoot the roll with some sprockets, so I used the FPP Plastic Filmtastic Debonair (1988). After I had finished the roll, it was developed by RepliColor in Salt Lake City, and scanned on my Epson V600. The results are interesting. Should Mike and I try another double exposure roll? What do you think? Leave a comment and tell me what film and cameras we should use.
Tag Archives: Minolta
The Hi-Matic series was Minolta’s most popular line of consumer rangefinder cameras. The F was produced in 1972 as an economy model. Not only economic in price, but in size and weight. The Hi-Matic F weighs 350g and measures only 113 x 73 x 54mm. With a small footprint, the camera does have a nice 38mm, f/2.7 Rokkor coated lens. The CdS meter on the camera automates the aperture and exposure for shutter speeds from 4 to 1/724 sec. On the lens itself, a flash guide number is printed so the photographer can select distance to the subject for flash photography.
While the camera is small enough to carry wherever you go, the absence of any manual controls make it feel like a point-and-shoot. The Hi-Matic F is a great all-purpose camera. It would make a nice addition to a street photographers kit because of its discreet size and shutter sound. My test shots were made with Kodak Tri-X 400, and scanned on an Epson Perfection V600 Photo.
On the first day of the FPP Walking Workshop, each person received a ticket to be part of a camera giveaway. Everyone had a chance to browse through several tables of cameras, select one, and enter to win that specific camera. I’ve been fascinated with old rangefinder cameras lately, so I put my ticket in the cup next to a Minolta Hi-Matic 7s. Because there were so many cameras, I was the only person that entered to win this 7s, and by default, I won! Along with the camera came a printed instruction manual, a contact sheet displaying the test images from the camera, and a letter entitled, “To the new owner,” along with details and specific information about the camera. Again, thank you FPP listener and contributor Johnny Brain in Iowa for this outstanding camera!
The Minolta Hi-Matic 7s rangefinder was manufactured in 1966. The 7s is one model in the popular line of Hi-Matic’s made from 1962 to 1984. Some other notable 35mm rangefinder cameras made during this time are the Canon Canonet and the Yashica Electro 35 series. The 7s has a very sharp, and wide, 45mm f/1.8 Rokkor lens. The aperture on the leaf shutter lens goes from f/1.8 all the way to f/22! Shutter speeds range from bulb, 4/sec up to 500/sec, ISO 25 to 800, and includes an automatic mode for both shutter and aperture settings. The 7s has a Contrast Light Compensation (CLC) metering system. This was an original feature Minolta borrowed from their SR-T SLR line of cameras and used for the Hi-Matic’s. The meter sensor is positioned at the top of the lens and the visible needle can be seen through the bright, clear, viewfinder. The meter is battery-powered and originally required a mercury battery. This 7s has an updated battery and uses an adapter with a diode to step-down the power for correct metering.
On the second day of the workshop, I sat outside in the warm morning sun and read through the 7s manual. Like a kid with a new toy, I really wanted to use this camera. I put some Kodak Ektar 100 in the 7s and used it to capture various moments throughout the second day. Aside from some poor compositions and getting used to the rangefinder, I’m really impressed with this camera. While walking around the workshop, several people commented on what a great camera it is. Yes, I’ve made a few easy mistakes with this camera. For example, because it’s a rangefinder, I’ve forgotten to remove the lens cap on two occasions. And as Leslie Lazenby points out on Episode #122 of the Film Photography Podcast, this camera also has the longest throw for advancing the film, 220 degrees! Because of this, I cranked the film right off the end of the roll! I won’t misjudge the film advance on this camera, or any other, ever again. I’m really impressed with this camera. I enjoy this camera so much that it was one of the five I selected to take to the Oregon coast a few weeks ago. If you’re looking for a solid rangefinder with sharp glass, make sure to check out the Hi-Matic’s. If you’re buying used, I recommend examining the leaf shutter for missing or broken aperture blades/leafs. If you’re concerned about using the meter, check into an updated battery or simply use the Sunny 16 Rule.
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Two weeks ago, Scott Smith and I flew from Utah to San Diego, California, and drove up to San Clemente for the Film Photography Project Walking Workshop at the headquarters of TheDarkroom.com. We arrived a day early because we knew we wanted to take our time getting to our hotel in Dana Point, and find some good photo ops along the way. We spent some time walking around San Clemente, stopping at various small shops including Arcade Camera. At six o’clock we went down to the pier for some photos at sunset. I took five film cameras with me, one of them was the Minolta SR-T202 that I had purchased earlier in the month. This was my first opportunity to use this camera, so I loaded it with some Kodak Ektar 100 film and casually walked along the beach. One of the shots I wanted to get was the lifeguard stand with the pier at sunset. This is the first time I’ve done any real landscape photography in several years.
The next morning at the workshop, we were greeted with a big smile and handshake from Michael Raso and Mat Marrash from the Film Photography Podcast. One of the first people in the group I recognized was Brian Moore, a knowledgeable photographer from Huntington Beach. Another was Mark Dalzell also from the Film Photography Podcast and Smoove Sailors. Mark gave me some advice last year on cleaning my Argus C3. We talked about what a great indestructible workhorse the C3 is.
The entire staff at The Dark Room deserve a big thank you. From myself and my fellow FPP friends, thank you! Keith, Phil, and Joe, the tour was fascinating. You opened your business doors to a bunch of strangers and customers (and some strange customers), answered countless questions and made sure everyone was having a good time. Again, thank you so much.
As the afternoon progressed, Michael and Mark spoke about unique, unusual, and hand-rolled films. One of the more entertaining presentations was Michael’s commentary about Svema film from Russia. They don’t respond to email, but will accept a purchase order, accept money, and ship film to the FPP in New Jersey. I believe the repeated remark from Michael was, “Hey! You don’t know what’s going on in Russia!” After completing the roll of Kodak Ektar in the Minolta SR-T202, I loaded it with Svema Color Negative 125. Photographers that have purchased it from the FPP Store have nothing but positive things to say, so I’m very optimistic. After the discussion on film, Michael gave away some unique film from the FPP Store, including some color infrared, 620 film and the new FPP 620 film spools.
Each FPP workshop attendee received a ticket to be part of a camera giveaway. Everyone had a chance to browse through several tables of cameras, select one, and enter the raffle to win that camera. I won a beautiful Minolta 7s rangefinder. Along with the camera came a printed instruction manual, a contact sheet displaying the test images from the camera, and a letter entitled, “To the new owner,” along with details and specific information about the camera. The Minolta 7s has a battery-powered exposure meter that originally required a mercury battery. The letter explains how the updated battery uses an adapter with a diode to step-down the power for the meter. Thank you FPP listener and contributor Johnny Brain in Iowa for this outstanding camera!
In the late afternoon, everyone boarded the FPP Big Yellow
School Bus and went to the San Clemente Pier for a photowalk. The weather was beautiful. I took my time walking along the pier, occasionally stopping to ask random people if I could take a photo of them. When I have a camera in my hands, I have no hesitation talking to people. This is something about me that makes my friends and family uncomfortable. I know it embarrasses my kids when I stop and photograph this way. Whether its candid street photography or street portraits, a smile and a positive comment can usually produce an interesting image. The day ended with a bus ride back to The Dark Room where we spent more time talking with other photographers while sharing our newly won cameras.
To be continued…
Last week while shopping at a local thrift store I found a large camera case full of various items. Of course the main piece that attracted me was the camera, but what were the other odd items? The inside of the case was grimy with black pieces of foam that had crumbled apart from age. I carefully inspected the camera and purchased it with the case and contents. Later that night, I removed the camera from the case and put it to the side. I knew cleaning out the case was going to be messy, so I put on a pair of latex gloves and started to slowly inspect each item. A 100mm Minolta Rokkor macro lens attached to a bellows on a rail that measures about 8 inches in length. There was also a Minolta pistol trigger grip with a shutter release cable. Odd shaped mirrors, wires and square plates that somehow attached to the bellows. What was all this equipment used for? Then I found a receipt. The camera was sold to Dr. Graydon Briggs in Salt Lake City. He purchased the camera on April 23, 1976 from Washington Scientific Camera Company. The description of the camera and contents are listed as: Complete Minolta SR-T202 Clinical Camera Unit, Clinical Camera Case, Dental Mirrors, Columbia wire retractor, Minolta F4 100mm lens, and Minolta 18LS Flash.
With a simple Google search, I found the original owner, Dr. Graydon Briggs, DDS, a successful Utah dentist that was known for thousands of root canals. He passed away on November 11, 2013 at the age of 66. The Minolta camera kit he purchased for $587 in 1976 was used in his dental practice. From the receipt, you can see that he made two payments for the complete unit. To put this price tag in perspective, in 1976 a loaf of bread was $.30, a gallon of milk was $1.42, gasoline was $.59 per gallon, a new car was $4,100, and the average price of a home was $43,000. In 1976, this clinical camera unit would have cost the 2015 equivalent of $6,600.
The handwritten note on the back of the receipt:
You made our day – yeh these turkeys can’t afford a phone but look at the bargains you get. We do not maintain a phone at the shop & warehouse as we are in & out so much – We do not operate a retail store – can give better bargains that way. If you find it necessary you may reach us at our home morning & evenings as a rule at (206) 863-7172 or call Mr. Cliff Freede (?) at the U of W Dental School who can relay messages or give all the answers on problems – his phone # 206-543-5953. We are no longer going to carry the #704 case – so I have sent you the #705 which is larger at the old price of $27.50 – it is now $34.00. We do have our new custom camera case at $38.00 but was hesitant in sending it. Enclosed is our new price sheets. Thank you for your order.
The camera is mounted to the bellows at one end and the 100mm Rokkor lens at the other. A dentist would use their right-hand to focus by extending or retracting the bellows, and squeeze the shutter trigger with the left-hand. Based on the odd shape of the mirrors, they would be placed in the patient’s mouth so the camera could capture photos of those hard-to-reach areas. I haven’t included an image of the mirrors because they need to be sterilized or thrown away.
The Minolta SR-T202 was the top-of-the-line camera in the series. When it’s not attached to the bellows and used for macro photos of someone’s throbbing tooth, it has a sharp 50mm Rokkor f/1.7 lens. I plan to write a full camera review after testing it with some film next week. For this post I wanted to feature the unique use, history, and the original owner of this camera.
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