other Petri cameras in my collection
Petri 7s [1963 - 1973]
The Kuribayashi Petri 7s is a coupled-rangefinder 35mm camera that was introduced in 1963, discontinued in 1973, and replaced by the Petri 7s II. The later model had a hot shoe, and modest styling changes.
It has a coated 45mm lens, available as a four-element Tessa type f2.8, or a six-element f1.8. A leaf shutter provides speeds from 1 sec to 1/500th sec, plus B. This is synchronised for flash, with a switch on the lens barrel to select between X and M synchronisation. There is also a PC socket on the lens barrel, and a cold shoe. The shutter release button is threaded for a cable release.
The rangefinder is combined with the viewfinder, and Petri called their focusing system the
Green-O-Matic. The overall finder is tinged green while the coincident focusing area is yellow. There is also a bright line frame in the viewfinder, but this does not move to give automatic parallax correction.
The camera has a Selenium meter, with the sensor arranged as a ring around the front of the lens (Petri call this arrangement the Circle-Eye), and the meter reading is shown both on the top plate of the camera, and in the viewfinder as a centre-the-needle display. The viewfinder needle is not a reflected image from the top plate; there is actually a second mini needle on the left side (facing) of the rangefinder window (visible in the first photograph).
There are two variations of this camera. The
other one has a translucent window on the front of the top plate, beneath the shutter release. The user manual shows, but does not name this window, and the Petri 7s repair manual lists it as a
decorative blanking plate and shows that it's position would not allow the window to provide illumination to any other component. With the help of the nice people at photo.net, we have deduced that the
with window model is the earlier version (lower serial numbers). The window, as suggested by the manuals' lack of comment, does nothing; it is merely decorative.
It's hard to pin a price on a camera with a ten year production run, but the magazine advert shown at the top of the page, which I assume to date to the cameras introduction to market, cites a recommended retail price of £33 - 16s - 6d. In a 1968 edition of
Amateur Photographer, the f2.8 Petri 7s was advertised at £29 - 3s - 6d (excluding a case, which was an extra £3 - 10s - 9d). At that time, the camera cost slightly more than the average weekly UK wage (about £28). In 1972 the cost was £37.17.
Viewfinder: Combined viewfinder/rangefinder. Fixed bright-line parallax.
Focus: Fully coupled rangefinder with manual lever on lens barrel.
Lens: 45 mm. F2.8. Four-element Tessar style.
Close Focus: 2.65'.
Diaphragm: Stopping down to about f/16.
Shutter: Petri MVE leaf (in-lens) shutter1 - 1/500 + B + self-timer.
Cable Release: Standard socket in shutter release button.
Meter: Around the lens (ATL) selenium manual metering cell.
Exposure: Manual match-needle display meter with reading shown both on the top plate of the camera, and in the viewfinder. The meter pointer superimposed in the viewfinder window is actually the image of a second meter needle placed in the bottom left corner of the rangefinder window (behind the green film), and not a reflection of the top-plate meter needle.
Exposure range: 7 to 17 at 100 ASA.
Film Speed: 10 to 400 ASA.
Filter Size: 52mm screw thread.
Flash: Cold shoe and PC terminal. M and X sync.
Film Advance: Single stroke 180° lever.
Frame Counter: Manually set, with automatic count-up.
Rewind: Via crank and bottom release button.
Back Opening: Sliding catch.
Size: 132 x 79 x 72mm (W x H x D)
I bought my Petri, which was advertised as a working camera, in March 2014. Unfortunately, while in good cosmetic condition, the film advance lever is jammed. I ended-up getting my money back without returning the item (the seller didn't want to pay the return postage costs). It came with a kit that included telephoto and wide-angle auxiliary lenses, plus an auxiliary optical viewfinder, which attaches on the flash shoe. I re-sold the auxiliary lens kit, making a profit of £7.90 on the transaction. At a net cost of - £7.90, the Petri 7s is (currently) the least expensive camera in my collection.
It's always disappointing to be sold a broken camera, but given the zero cost, I'm happy enough to own a non-working model. I have not yet attempted to make any repairs, and I don't think I'll ever bother trying. For those that rate the Petri 7s more highly than me, here's a link to a post at the Camera Collector that shows how to adjust the rangefinder. There are no adjustment screws; the bracket carrying one of the rangefinder mirrors has to be bent.
I wanted a Petri 7s due to Internet rumours that professional photographers used the camera in the 1960s – as a handy backup. My impression is that the
rumours have absolutely no substance. The camera is not exceptional in any way, was lowly priced, and entirely aimed at the amateur photographer. It feels cheep and flimsy, and there is nothing to commend it over many of the alternative fixed-lens rangefinders of the period. In fact, I'd go further and say that the Petri 7s has put me off buying any other Petri model.
The Petri 7s has a clone, which was sold by the German distributor and retailer - Porst - as the Carena RS. Note that the meter on the top-plate was abandoned, along with a few other cost-cutting minor changes. The Carena RS has a hot shoe, so I suppose technically it's a clone of the 7s II.
Porst bought lower-end cameras from other manufacturers and rebadged them for sale to
Joe Public. In the 1970s the house-brand
Carena was adopted for their cloned cameras. This is what companies like Porst and Dixons - in the UK - did: they got the manufactures of low end cameras to make their product even cheaper, in return for assured high volume sales.