Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII (1977)

Minolta Hi-Matic 7SII
Minolta Hi-Matic 7SII


Minolta Hi-Matic 7SII

The Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII was is one of the best of the Japanese rangefinder cameras made before the age of plastic “point and shoots” and SLRs had completely taken over the majority of the market. It was introduced in 1977 and had all of the best features. These included an excellent quality, fast, 40mm f1.7 Rokkor lens in what is one of the smallest of the 1970s rangefinders bodies measuring just 115mm x 78 x 59 including the lens.

This shutter is a priority autoexposure and manual camera is much smaller than the earlier Minolta Hi-Matic 7s which came out in 1966. Most notable is the high-quality finish on the Minolta 7sII. It just feels very good in the hand!

The 6 element Rokkor lens gives great results providing negatives that are sharp and with good contrast. This camera weighs just 460g, still a solid feel, but easy to carry. The Minolta 7sII is an excellent rangefinder camera for street shooting. It features auto-exposure lock by pressing the shutter part of the way down before re-framing your picture.

The uncluttered top plate of the Minolta 7sII

Though the camera shutter operates in both manual and automatic mode, metering is only available in the manual mode. Therefore you have to take a reading in auto and then transfer the settings yourself.

There was also a black version made which looks pretty cool and sells for a lot more money on Ebay. My understanding is that the Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII was only sold in small numbers in the United States, and as such, it commands a higher price than the popular, though more plentiful, Canon Canonet GIII.

The Copal shutter is a fully manual type. This means that you get all of the shutter speeds in manual mode even if you don’t have a battery or the meter has failed. This is a big plus for this camera. If the meter isn’t working you can take a reading with another camera and set the shutter and aperture rings on the Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII accordingly.

Minolta also made a very sort after black paint version of the Hi-Matic 7sII which you can see here at Cameraquest.com The black version is harder to find and sells for higher prices on the internet.

Known Problems

The Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII is known to suffer from several problems. The lenses are often slightly loose on the front of the camera. This doesn’t necessarily affect your photographs but can be little disconcerting. This can be fixed but would require dis-assembly which might be expensive unless you can do it yourself.

The meter often stops working on the Minolta 7sII. Sometimes you can get it working again by re-soldering the wires where they attach to the battery compartment. This is not a problem unique to this camera.

I  have also read in a number of places that the sprocket teeth for the film advance sometimes tear the film on this particular camera. It could be that the take-up spool isn’t tight enough which results in the film holes tearing after a dozen or so shots. Watch that the rewind knob is turning when you wind-on. I note that the rewind knob on mine is quite stiff compared to many of my other old rangefinders in my collection.

Having studied up this camera quite a bit on the internet I have read reports from some owners who say that the Minolta 7sII is not as robust, or as well made, as the earlier and physically larger Hi-Matic cameras. I would be interested to hear your comments and experiences of this camera if you have one, or have used one in the past.

Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII Specifications:

Type: 35mm rangefinder camera with automatic exposure.

Lens: Rokkor 40mm f1.7, 6 elements in 4 groups. 57-degree angle of view. Takes 49mm screw on filters.

Shutter: Copal mechanical type with settings at 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, 1/60, 1/125, 1/250, 1500 plus B. The B setting has a separate safety lock button on the lens barrel to prevent the aperture ring being turned too far by mistake. Also, note that when looking through the viewfinder it is still possible to press the shutter release even when the needle is in the red zone at the top or bottom causing an under or over exposed photograph to be taken. The shutter doesn’t lock as it does with the Canons, for example.

EE System: CdS cell coupled to aperture mechanism for fully automatic exposure control, shutter speed priority system. Exposure range of EV 4.5 to EV 17. Film speed range of ASA 15 to 800. Automatic compensation when filters are used.

Aperture: Aperture settings of f1.7 to f16 possible in manual operation.

Flash: Hot shoe operation circuit for X synchronisation. Electronic flash at all speeds. M-class bulb synchronises at 1/30 or slower.

Focusing: Coupled superimposed image rangefinder. Minimum focusing distance 0.9m

Film Advance: Lever type with single 130-degree stroke. Automatic self-setting frame counter shows the number of frames exposed.

Self Timer: 10 seconds delay.

Battery: Originally powered by one 1.3v mercury cell Eveready EPX-675 or equivalent.

Weight: 460g

8 Comments on "Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII (1977)"

  1. Quite interesting! I am wondering if there are more than one versions of that camera. I own two of them with one having the same focusing tab just like that in your photos and another one with a larger one.


  2. I just picked up the silver bodied 7ii for $15.00. everything seems to work, even had film still loaded.


  3. Thank you for the review, it cleared a few things for me.

    The camera is likely made by Cosina Japan. According to your experience it suffers from the same problem as lower cost branded Vivitar 35ES and Revue 400 SE sister cameras – the lens front feels loose and wobbly and images have varying sharpness likely caused by this flaw. Vivitar and Revue do not have manually adjustable aperture unlike Minolta, only shutter priority semi-auto is available.

    This means that switching from Vivitar to Minolta could solve manual aperture problem but not wobbly lens. I have a mention about it and a sample image if I may link to http://rokkorlab.net/cgi-bin/csvsearch.pl?&search=photo0034

    Apparently a fix on the lens wobble on Vivitar could likely work the same on Minolta.


  4. I have studied the lens wobble problem on the Vivitar 35ES (Revue 400 SE), which is the sister camera to Minolta 7sII (lacking manually selectable iris).

    It appears that the whole lens and shutter assembly is loose where it attaches to the rangefinder and focusing mechanism. Quick fix would be inserting three very thin spacers between the lens and the rangefinder housing from behind the camera – you could open the back cover and see that the rear lens element wobbles with some play where it should be tightly fitted. Better and more professional fix requires disassembling the lens and shutter mechanism.

    I also made tiny modification to the Viv to achieve manual aperture with two selectable f-stops, f3.5 and f5.6. It should be enough for most situations. This means that battery is not needed for photography on modified Viv or Revue making it equal to Minolta (with fewer aperture selection).

    More on the website linked in the previous post.


  5. According to Minolta 7sII service manual the lens and shutter assembly is locked in place with just two drops of glue. This is the same on the Vivitar 35ES (Revue 400 SE) and some traces of glue are still visible when viewed from behind. When the glue has given up the lens and shutter assembly wobbles with the amount of play that exists in the mechanism.

    So the good news is that the lens wobble can be fixed.

    The bad news is that it is not a minor task as the lens and shutter assembly has to be removed from the camera. This means removing the nicely installed leatherette on the surface of the camera body.


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