The Minolta HI-Matic E is a mechanical rangefinder camera from 1971, with sharp light lens Rokkor 40/1.7 metallic body and automatic exposure which is perfect for traveling and reportage.
image from mrmartinweb
If i am thinking about which camera from my collection is really similarto LOMO and the Lomography philosophy, it would have to be the Minolta HI-Matic E.
It’s a manual rangefinder camera with electronically controlled exposure. Perfect for quick snapshots – best for lomographers loving rules ‘be fast’ and ’don’t think’. A metallic aluminum body is not light, but you will be sure you won’t break this camera easily. It is perfect for traveling, and also for extreme hard conditions.
The Minolta HI-Matic series started in 1962. This camera is similar to Yashica Electro or Konica C35. It is fitted with a beautiful sharp lens ROKKOR 40mm/ f 1.7. This is a fully automatic camera, you set the film speed and focus. The camera sets the aperture and shutter speed. Its easy making a exposure corrections by changing film speed setting.
Really interesting is the ‘Easy Flash’ system that apparently adjusts the aperture as you focus, based on a guide number you set with an under-lens lever according to a table on the back of the camera .
Hi-matic uses classic 35mm film. The counter is placed on the top of camera and on the corner is also mechanical window which indicate if film is placed inside the camera. The camera does not have a window where you can see ISO of film you are using – this is a thing which mind me sometimes. Also problematic can be using rangefinder, if you are wearing glasses, or in the dark. But you can really good set the distance on the ring of lens. I used this for quick snapshots every time.
Exposure and shutter was powered by 2 batteries PX640. They are not available now. You can replace it by PX640A or cheaper LR9 with some small metallic reduction. Battery condition is indicated on the top of camera by red control.
I bought this camera in 2000 in Prague bazaar for 700 crowns / 40USD/. This time i traveled few times to Indonesia and i looked for alternative for my heavy Minolta reflex camera. I looked for a camera that I can take on the beach, which has no problem with high humidity, sand, and shaking. I used Fujichrome slide film and the result was perfect every time. It offers sharp and clear pictures without reflexes or color mistakes. If you want to have reliable, quick, cheap, silent camera with a sharp lens which will be here longer than you just try to buy this model.