- Produced circa 1971-5, Cosina Co. Ltd., Japan
- Film type 135 (35mm)
- Picture size 24 x 36mm
- Weight 725g
- Lens Auto Cosinon 50mm f/1.4 5g/7e lens or f/1.8 4g/6e lens
- Filter size
- Shutter Copal metal square
- Shutter speeds B, 1-1000
- Viewfinder SLR (fresnel, split image, microprism)
- Exposure meter CdS with match needle, stop-down metering
- ASA settings 25-1600
- Battery originally 675 1.3v mercury
- PC X and M Sync terminals, optional accessory shoe
- Fast wind lever
This solid all-metal mechanical SLR is with its successor the Argus/Cosina STL 1000 on a par with its contemporary Ricoh, Mamiya, Fujica and Yashica M42-mount SLRs in terms of features and quality. You may notice that it is virtually identical to the Sears TLS because… they are both essentially rebranded Cosina Hi-Lites!
See the following page on the Argus/Cosina STL 1000 for camera history info. The short version according to a particularly helpful Argus Collector’s Group member (thanks Ron!) is that there are multiple variations of the STL 1000, in three types: the first Petri-made models (same as Petri FTX), the later Cosina-made model (this one) that is virtually the same as the Cosina Hi-Lite with the ASA dial on the front and the name “Argus” on the faceplate, and the later Argus/Cosina octagon body model with the speed dial on the top.
Body manufacturer notwithstanding, one of the most impressive things about the camera is the strong Copal metal square shutter, the same found on early Konica SLRs and others. A little surprising, you say, to have such a nice shutter on a midrange camera. Well, at the time this camera was made, Copal’s revolutionary Square S metal focal plane shutter was relatively new and Copal spent considerable effort shopping it around to OEMs looking for buyers (including some in USSR, according to Copal, I believe a variation became the renowned Praktica shutter) . Konica was one. Cosina and Argus/Cosina were others.
To be perfectly honest I bought this camera for the lens, I really really really wanted to try out the Mamiya/Sekor glass in its 7 element configuration. And once again I realized I already have such underrated impressive glass in my collection that it couldn’t possibly measure up to the likes of the Minolta 2.0/45, Konica 1.7/55mm/1.7, Yashinon 1.7/45mm, etc. etc. Still, worth the small amount I paid to get this nice lens with a classic camera attached!
Eh? Works! Maybe a little dusty. Actually an odd thing I haven’t looked into yet, you pump the wind lever and it cocks the shutter. But nothing prevents you from winding it a second time. Odd.
Tips & Tricks
Back door release is a swing lever underneath the camera next to the battery compartment, not the ususal rewind-lever release. Match needle meter is operated by switch, which turns itself off when the shutter is tripped, saving battery but requiring you to turn it on each time you need it.