Vintage Camera Collection – Petri 7s II rangefinder

Petri 7s II rangefinder

The Petri 7s II is a 35mm rangefinder camera manufactured sometime in the mid 1970’s. It was a replacement for the Petri 7s which was in turn itself a replacement for the original Petri 7 manufactured from about 1960.

I purchased my copy from eBay uk for about £8 a few months ago, and so far I’ve done nothing with it other than make sure that the shutter fires, the aperture at least opens and closes and the exposure system looks like it is doing the right thing as far as I can tell. As the pictures above testify, I need to give it a good clean!

The camera itself is fairly unremarkable being typical of the many rangefinder design cameras available in the 1970’s but it does have a fast 45mm f/1.8 lens fitted.  There is no battery cell fitted to the camera – the light-meter runs from the current produced by the photocell which surrounds the lens – so I would guess it was probably a reliable camera in use. The basic specs of the example I have are :

  • 45mm F/1.8 amber coated lens
  • ISO range 10 – 400 ASA
  • Shutter B + 1sec to 1/500 sec
  • Flash sync at 1/30sec
  • Aperture F/1.8 to F/16
  • Manual film advance
  • Focus from about 0.8M to infinity with coupled rangefinder
  • Self timer (of about 10 sec)
  • Shutter button with what looks like a cable release connector
  • A flash hot shoe fitted to the top of the camera and a flash connector fitted to the lens barrel.
  • Photo cell fitted round the lens opening (compensates for filters fitted).
  • Light-meter visible through the viewfinder and on the camera top plate.

The exposure system of the camera is basically manual with an inbuilt light-meter to assist in achieving the correct exposure. It works by selecting one part of the exposure (either shutter speed or aperture) and then adjusting the other one until the light-meter needle is in the centre of the range it covers. If the needle doesn’t get to the centre then the original chosen parameter needs to be adjusted until it does. This system was used in many cameras at that time and I remember using it in the first SLR I purchased – a Petri MF1.

Other than the coupled rangefinder and exposure meter, there is no other indication of camera settings as you look through the viewfinder. Although this is not uncommon, it is certainly noticeably sparse when compared to another popular camera of similar vintage the Olympus Trip 35 which showed the focus range and exposure settings in the viewfinder.

One day I may give the camera a clean and put some film through it.

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