Minolta Hi-Matic GF
What we have here is supposedly the LAST of the Hi-Matic series by Minolta. I found it in a thrift store for a couple bucks, in very nice condition, so naturally I had to bring it home. As I tinkered with it while cleaning it up a bit, I began to realize just how dumbed down of a camera it is. Yet at the same time I found myself admiring it in some ways - so I deemed it worthy of a test roll. I found very little about it online, with one of only two mentions of it saying it was the last Hi-Matic. So just how 'dumbed down' is it?
LIKES: Thumb wheel film advance (no noisy motor wind), full manual control... ahem... of all 3 exposure settings (see dislikes), and manual focus via a zone focus ring that shows weather icons - you guessed it, 3 of them - one for each of the three f-stops. While it takes 2 AA batteries to power the built-in flash, that is all they are required for. So I found myself admiring the fact that you've got this cheap plastic camera that requires no batteries to shoot outdoors, is silent like a rangefinder, gives you at least minimal focus control, and with 100 speed film in it, has your sunny 16 rules on the aperture ring. Oh, and lastly, while you'd expect to see 'made in China' on it, it was made in Japan.
DISLIKES: This Hi-Matic is all plastic, has just ONE shutter speed (approximately 1/100th of a second), and has just 3 aperture settings - F4, F8, or F16. I think this would be a really nice cheap manual silent camera if they'd just added one more feature... a 1/400th shutter speed option. Then you'd be able to use either 100 or 400 speed film and have perfect basic sunny 16 control.