Minolta Hi-Matic F: The Camera That Was Born on the Streets


In this review, I’ll tell you about my favorite camera, the Minolta Hi-Matic F, and the benefits of rangefinder cameras.

Photo via Corbella Collection

The Minolta Hi-Matic F was first developed in 1971. My camera is from 1972 as well, so this year will be its 40th anniversary. In a nutshell, it’s a typical rangefinder camera from the seventies with an exposure meter derived from the Yashica Electro 35. I got it from an old man about one and a half years back and I was told right away that it’s ideal for street photography. In fact, because of this camera, I loved the genre so much. So what’s so special about this camera? Let’s see:

  • Wide Rokkor 38mm f/2.7 lens with electronic shutter
  • Fast automatic exposure metering
  • Small dimensions including 360 g weight
  • It’s good looking (people don’t fear it)
  • Fast and accurate rangefinder focusing

Let’s talk about rangefinders for a bit:

For those who don’t know, it’s way of focusing by combining two images in the viewfinder (you can easily find out about it in Wikipedia). Since this method does not require a mirror to focus, the camera is way more compact. But you also get the parallax error because you don’t see the exact frame in the viewfinder, but eventually, you’ll get used to it, so it’s not a big problem.

The camera itself is quite durable. After two or three drops, performance is still great. Some people have a problem with the batteries, but the original batteries can be easily replaced by two pairs of LR44. By the way, the batteries are essential for opening the shutter and there is a big red button to check the current charge. It has a double flash, so it is possible to connect a flash through hot shoe, or a cable. There is also a guide number selector.

Let’s see some pictures. I love b&w films. Some say that real street photos can only be taken with black and white film.

As you can see, Rokkor is a pretty sharp lens with no vignetting.

The only downside is the exposure meter. I don’t know about others but my camera sometimes gives out underexposed images.It’s probably because of element or battery but I don’t care. :3

Hope you liked my review and I convinced you to buy a rangefinder!

written by coolbober on 2012-04-10 #gear #people #street #rangefinder #review #minolta #street-photography #lomography #hi-matic #user-review #


  1. brandkow93
    brandkow93 ·

    Great review and great images and a great camera, i was going to get one but decided to go for the Konica C35, there near identical but ive heard nothing but good things about the konica's lens, and the underexposed images will be due batteries they were ment to run on the now un availale 1.3v mercury batteries if your using alkaline 1.5v the sensitivity of the exposure meter will increase this causing it to under expose.

  2. plyshbel
    plyshbel ·

    Метро в ч/б очень понравилось! Обзор тоже хорошо!

  3. neanderthalis
    neanderthalis ·

    Fantastic little camera and great black & whites.

  4. rbruce63
    rbruce63 ·

    Absolutely outstanding pictures!

  5. du3ky
    du3ky ·

    Awesome! I have the Hi-Matic g-2 , great little camera :)

  6. jaszee
    jaszee ·

    Ahhh!! Makes me want one. :(

  7. coolbober
    coolbober ·

    you should buy one!
    they are pretty cheap on ebay

  8. gabrielle-tiberlam
    gabrielle-tiberlam ·

    Hi, what batteries does it use.

  9. coolbober
    coolbober ·

    originally 2x 640a batteries
    I used 3x lr44

  10. maxle
    maxle ·

    the underexposure issue is because the camera was designed for 2x1,35V istead of 2x1,5. I have not tried out mine but in deíverse forums it's said to set the ISO dail 2/3s under the actual ISO of your film. maybe that will solve that problem...

  11. photobarbie
    photobarbie ·

    Just got one for Christmas and was wondering what type of batteries it took. Hadn't realized the shutter was coupled so I almost thought the camera didn't work. Sure enough, put in 4 LR44's and bam, red light is on, shutter is working! YES :) Thanks! Great review. And funny enough I also have a Minolta Hi Matic AF2 which also gives me underexposed images at times. I thought it was me picking wrong ISO but interesting coincidence.

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