Sunday, April 20, 2014

Minolta Hi-Matic E

The handy little Hi-Matic is actually my only working rangefinder at the moment. I bought this camera to fill the void left in my heart when my Yashica Electro 35 GS broke (that's another story for another post). I was attracted to the fast 40mm f1.7 lens, and I picked it up for a steal of a price at $25 on etsy. It showed up not working, but with some tinkering I found that one of the wires running out from the battery terminal was disconnected. This was back when I still worked at a camera rental house in 2011 and I brought it in and had my boss help me solder the wire back into place. I then tracked down batteries with the correct voltage and got them to hold in place with a piece of folded over tinfoil. One of the main problems with buying old cameras is that many used mercury batteries which are no longer sold. I would advise doing some research before buying a camera from the 80's or earlier on the type of batteries used, there is a thread or article for just about everything out there. So eventually I got it to spring to life and brought it on a couple trips. It's a fully automatic camera and I missed the Yashica's aperture priority style, but the size and ease of use were nice benefits. When I had enough light, the pictures came out surprisingly well. Not super sharp, but contrasty and with a great vintage feel. However once I went in for a closer look, I started to find a dark circle in the top half of the frame on shots with a clear sky. I realized that the back of the lens has a tiny little blemish which is significant enough to cast a small, round shadow that is only noticeable against something flat like a sky or a wall. I'm able to dodge it in Lightroom so that it's barely noticeable, but it'll always be there. What a shame that such a fun little camera got tainted by a little tiny speck! Regardless, it was my go to travel camera for about two years. The photo of Coney Island below is one of my all time favorites and I had it blown up to 30"x40" and it hangs on the wall to this day. Not too shabby for $25.


  1. The one with the reflection, just breathtaking. Love your work, Matt!

  2. I have one too and it is my "go to" rangefinder because of it's size and sharp, fast, contrasty lens. Enjoy!