“Street” Review: The Revue 400 SE / Vivitar 35ES / Prinz 35ER / Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII / Konica Auto S3

Well, this time i’m gonna talk you about another little black brick.

About one year ago I was searching for a compact cheap rangefinder film camera and bought this bargain – today i’m still amazed by its lens quality.

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THE HISTORY

This camera was made by Foto-Quelle at the end of the 70’s, one of the biggest photo retailer in Europe and in the world at that time, and sold under the REVUE name. 

This was very common for this retailer from Nuremberg:  they used to sell rebranded cameras at the end of their production – in fact you can find some other cameras rebranded as REVUE and REVUENON – and this one was exactly the same of the Vivitar 35 ES and of the Prinz 35ER.

As once a famous italian camera repairman  told me, Revue never produced their own cameras; the Revue 400SE for him – and i can only trust him – is the same camera of the Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII, a lot more expensive camera. In fact you will find the same fact just by comparing their shapes and features. It’s also very very similar to the Konica Auto S3, probably again it’s the same camera. Wow!

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FEATURES and THE SHOOTING EXPERIENCE

The camera is very very small. It feels super cool in the hands for his compactness and blackness.

In fact it’s smaller than a Canonet. It has a viewfinder that’s just a little bit smaller than the one of the Canonet, but i find that the rangefinder patch is more defined on the Revue.

Focusing is smooth and easy.

Shooting is very simple.

Just put an appropriate shutter speed and an ISO value and the camera will set the aperture speed. Yes, this is a shutter priority camera, as the Minolta and the Konica. You can find the aperture value that the camera choose in the right side of the viewfinder; it will also show you if you risk to under-/over-expose with that shutter speed.

The lens is a very convenient 40mm lens with a 1.7 aperture. Maybe you already heard about it since it’s the same rockstar of the Minolta.

It’s really really sharp with a very “Leica” bokeh.

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Some people in fact thinks that Minolta who also produced the Leica CL and the Rokkor 40mm f2 used the same optical scheme for the Hi-Matic – and then for the Revue and the other “sisters”. Judge by your eye. I printed some shots with the enlarger and i was surprised by its quality.

Shutter is very quiet – almost unhearable, perfect for street/reportage shooting. It’s a lot quieter than a Leica M, since it is a leaf shutter. No one will ever notice you for this shutter, I can assure you.

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CONCLUSION

So if you are searching for a film rangefinder camera that is compact, very quiet, small, with a good lens you can buy it.

The alternatives to it are the other sisters, the Canonets and all the other – wonderful – fixed lens rangefinder cameras.

Maybe you want the ability to change lenses? Then, to stay in the same size and lens category, you need something like a Leica CL and a Summicron-C, a combo that now is priced about 600€.

Why don’t you just buy a Revue and spend the remaining 500€ for a memorable trip to use it?

OTHER SAMPLES

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I hope you liked this informal, non technical review. It’s intended to be a sum of the experiences i had with this camera.

Any questions?Doubts?Use the comments!

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Thanks a lot!

Peace,

Giorgio

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7 thoughts on ““Street” Review: The Revue 400 SE / Vivitar 35ES / Prinz 35ER / Minolta Hi-Matic 7sII / Konica Auto S3

  1. Nice review! These are great little cameras but please note that the Minolta 7sII is the only camera out of the ones you mentioned that has Full Manual exposure option in addition to Shutter Priority. For some like me, that is a huge difference

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