The Hi-matic 7SII, a magnificent compact rangefinder with features that will appeal to any experienced photographer    
The Minolta Hi-matic 7SII is a great compact rangefinder that was introduced in 1977, and was the last high specification fixed lens rangefinder made by Minolta. It features a 40mm f/1.7 lens comprising 6 elements in 4 groups that is very sharp, and has excellent contrast. The 40mm focal length is very convenient for street photography, and the very compact size of the camera means that it can be carried anywhere with ease, and used with discretion.

I really like the bokeh of the Rokkor 40mm f/1.7 lens.

1/30th second at approx f/2
Not only is the bokeh very pleasant at wide apertures, stopped down a little the sharpness of this lens is outstanding. I recently ran a roll of Fuji Reala through the lens, and scanned some of the shots at 5400 dpi with my Minolta Dimage Scan Elite 5400. Upon reviewing the images I was very impressed. Consider the image below, shot handheld at f/8.
Melbourne on a summer's day. 1/500th sec at f/8
From the above image the crops below have been taken at 5400 dpi, 100% magnification. These crops represents an area of approximately 1mm square from the original negative.
Note the minute markings on the clockface.
The lens has resolved individual wires at a distance of approximately 200 metres.

I think the crops speak for themselves. This 40mm f/1.7 Rokkor lens has all the resolution even the most demanding photographer would seek. I believe that the lens most probably out-resolves the 100 ASA Fuji Reala film that I used for the above photograph.

Specifications of the 7SII are as follows:

  • Shutter comprises a Copal mechanical type with settings of 1/8 to 1/500 of a second plus B.
  • The exposure system is a CdS cell coupled to an aperture mechanism for fully automatic shutter speed priority exposures. The exposure range of the meter is EV 4.5 to EV 17. Film speed range is ASA 25 to 800.
  • Unlike many other cameras of its era, the 7SII does not have a shutter lock when the calculated exposure is outside its limits.
  • An AE exposure lock is activated by half pressing the shutter release.
  • AE calculated aperture is displayed in the viewfinder.
  • Metering cell automatically adjusts for filter use.
  • In addition to the auto exposure operation, the camera has full manual control, unfortunately unmetered. The mechanical nature of the shutter means that even in the event of battery failure the camera can still be used.
  • Aperture settings of f/1.7 to f/16 are available in manual operation.
  • The camera can sync at any speed, enabling daylight fill flash at shutter speeds of up to 1/500 sec!
  • Self timer with 10 second delay.

Detail of the lens barrel of the 7SII, showing the shutter speed ring, focus ring with its large, easy to grasp lever, and aperture ring (adjusted by a smaller lever on the base of the lens).

The operating controls of the 7SII are very easy to use and the camera is actually very well suited to fast, fluid photographic situations.


The fact that the camera has a 'B' or 'bulb' setting means that long exposures may be obtained through use of a threaded shutter release. Combined with the fast aperture, full manual exposure capacity, and flash sync at all speeds it is a camera that an experienced photographer can really use and enjoy, without feeling that their creative options are restricted.

The 7SII with its fitted case.
It is an exceptionally highly finished camera, and it exudes quality. While Minolta did not go out of their way to build in new features, they did make a highly specified camera that will stand the test of time. Even the case for the camera was made from leather, and after over 25 years it still looks perfect.
The 7SII with Auto Electroflash 14

While the 7sII will naturally work with any flash which has a manual or auto setting, I purchased mine with the matching Minolta Auto Electroflash 14, which has a similar size to the camera, and accordingly complements its appearance. As an added bonus, the flash case fits readily onto the camera strap, or can be put in a pocket due to its compact size.

Due to the features outlined above, the 7SII has proven to be a very popular camera among Minolta enthusiasts. On eBay expect to pay between US$120 and $140 for a good example. Even at this price it is a real bargain! The 7SII was also available in an extremely attractive black finish, however these are very uncommon. The black model will normally sell for over US$250-$300 due to its rarity, and its prized status among Minolta collectors.

7SII at f/8, 1/500 second
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