My Minolta Hi-Matic AF2

My Minolta Hi-Matic AF2: Taking photos for the fun of it.

Hey gang, if you’re interested in delving into the world of film photography and you haven’t been able to convince your wife to spend $2500 on a Leica kit, consider starting with a simple point and shoot camera like this Minolta Hi-Matic Auto Focus 2.

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The “Dream Team” Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 + Kodak TRI-X 400

Camera Specs:

Lens: Sharp f/2.8-f/17 38mm Minolta lens
Focusing Distance: 1 meter (3 feet)
Focusing: Automatic
ISO Range: 25-400
Shutter Speed: 1/8th thru 1/430th
Light Meter: CdS
Viewfinder: Bright with framing lines
Manufactured: 1981-1984
Power: Two AA batteries
Made in Japan

What makes this camera interesting is that it was one of the first to use infrared autofocus. Its been said to be “in between two eras” with new AF technology but still retaining the manual film advance and winder. The AF is fast and accurate, making this camera great for action and street photography. Its a decent sized camera with blocky features which I think adds to its character.

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“My Minolta is dirty because I use it.”

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“Oddly satisfying pop up flash slide button.”

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“The AF2 has a built in pop up flash which is bright and super convenient. The instructions are simple. I don’t know why but I find popping the flash extremely satisfying.”

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“The camera’s focusing system and light meter is very intelligent, beeping when you’re out of range. There’s a sticker on the back of the camera that translates the complicated robot language into english.”

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“The viewfinder is bright with very accurate framing lines.”

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“There’s even a handy dandy timer dial which gives you about 10 seconds to put your sandwich down and jump in the frame.”

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“Kentmore 400 Film”

I have no idea where I got this camera, I found it while going through some boxes in my basement. I suppose it was purchased at a garage sale or flea market for a few bucks. Now with the resurgence of film photography, the AF2 is selling for $60-$150.

I recommend my method, garage sales, antique stores, and flea markets. But maybe you have a friend with some old cameras laying around, free cameras are always the best cameras in my opinion.

Point and Shoot?

“Just enjoy taking photos for the fun of it.” -Me

These days with cameras practically taking photos on their own, you may ask yourself, “why use a simple point and shoot?”. While a point and shoot isn’t ideal for every situation, I would argue that its great for day to day, street, and documentary photography.

The camera is simple, it does all the work for you. You can remove all the baggage that comes with a complicated SLR or manual rangefinder and just enjoy taking photos for the fun of it. While I have a lot of different cameras, ironically, this little “free” camera I found in my basement has become my main film camera.

Documenting Life

“That would be a great opportunity to take some photos.” -Me

Whenever I’m asked to go somewhere or attend an event, my first thought is always, “that would be a great opportunity to take some photos.” I bring my Minolta with me pretty much wherever I go. Its great because it uses AA batteries which are still made today and sold at all dollar markets.

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Random people drive by me all the time and wave at my Minolta. That’s my new band name, “Wave at My Minolta”.

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“Some of the most important times in your life to document are the simple ones.”

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“I like to take photos of people working. This kind lady made me an Ice-Cream Burrito.”

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“My Minolta is always ready to capture a photo, even when I’m riding on my bike.”

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“Two young men inventing a new hip dance move.”

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“Document what happens in your life, here a young man makes bubbles with his hands.”

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“For this photo, I used the self timer dial. That’s me in the back, middle, all black, bearded man.”

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“Photo Tip: change your angle to make things appear more interesting.”

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“People are generally surprised by a flash coming from a camera that is pointed at their face from some location below their face. A lot of people ask me why I do that.”

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“Document the people in your life, you won’t regret it. Live in the moment”

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“Whenever people get out of cars is a great opportunity to make an interesting portrait.”

Photo Projects

“Looking at My Phan.”

I’m working on several projects right now, this one is called “Looking at My Phan: A Love Story.”

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“People looking at their phans.”

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“A street woman looking at her Phan.”

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“A young man at Pizza Hut looking at his phan.”

“People Eating Food.”

This project is called “People Eating Food.” Its a powerful documentation of the food culture in America. I’ll be publishing a book soon.

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“Woman eating food.”

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“Young man eating food on porch swing.”

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“Surprised woman at Pizza Hut, eating food.”

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“Woman drinking tea and eating food in her kitchen.”

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“With the sharp wide lens and fast AF system, capturing moments like this with the AF2 are a breeze.”

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“A woman prepares to eat a fork full of food while a young man calls his imaginary girlfriend.”

Street Photography

Some of my favorite street photos that I’ve captured have been taken with my Minolta. The camera is super dorky and most people don’t pay attention to me. I look like a goofy tourist with a point and shoot camera, which I am “A Tourist of Life.”

“I am a tourist of life.” -Me

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“When you’re a weirdo like me and you enjoy walking the streets alone with your camera and taking photos, its important for your ego not to be noticed. No one in this empty store front even noticed me taking this selfie with my Minolta.”

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“I got all artsy fartsy with this shot. Call me Rembrandt.”

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“A young man on the street demonstrates his karate drop chop.”

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“I’ve never been so torn in all my life.”

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“When in doubt, aim up.”

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“Make your photos interesting by adding layers.”

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“The Free Smells of Fort Wayne.”

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“The Hotdog Mongers didn’t even notice me.”

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“I’m always looking through windows, inside and out.”

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“Here’s me getting all deep with a dramatic church steeple shot. Try not to swoon.”

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“I worked hard on this one.”

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“Theres probably someone looking out those windows, you just can’t see them.”

Conclusion

My Minolta Hi-Matic AF2 has become my favorite go-to camera for capturing and documenting the world around me. My advice to you, whether you’re a film or digital shooter, is to find a simple, easy to use camera—then go make some photos.

Thirty years from now, you won’t care what type of camera you used, you’ll only care about the images and the memories they bring. So go make them now while you can.

“Thirty years from now, you won’t care what type of camera you used, you’ll only care about the images and the memories they bring. So go make them now while you can.” -Me

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