Petri 7s

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Classic Fixed Lens Rangefinders:
Petri 7s

by Karen Nakamura


Overview and Personal Comments

The Kuribayashi Petri 7s is a coupled-rangefinder, leaf-shuttered 35mm camera that was introduced in 1963. In the photo to the right, I juxtapose the 7s against its ancestor the Petri 35MX of 1955. Compared to its predecessor, the 7s is very advanced. It has ATL (around the lens) selenium metering with a match-needle visible both in the viewfinder as well as the top of the camera. From the 7s came the compact Petri Color 35, which was wildly popular when released in 1968. Using the text or images on this website without permission on an ebay auction or any other site is a violation of federal law.


My Petri 7s is the 45mm f/2.8 version. They also apparently produced a 45mm f/1.8 version which I assume is much nicer in available light situations. I purchased mine in excellent condition from a dealer at an antique fair in Lake Elmo, MN in May of 2003.


Interesting quirks:

Petri called their rangefinder focusing system the "Green-O-Matic." The overall finder is tinged green while the coincident focusing area is yellow. This makes focusing much easier. Using the text or images on this website without permission on an ebay auction or any other site is a violation of federal law.

The match-needle system was called the "Circle-Eye System." Because the selenium cells circle the lens, they automatically compensate for any filters or the tele/wide extensions used.

The Petri 7s doesn't have the Kuribayashi name visible anywhere because the Kuribayashi Camera Company changed their name to the Petri Camera Company in 1962. This is quite sad as I was fond of the company name (see below). Using the text or images on this website without permission on an ebay auction or any other site is a violation of federal law.

Technical Details

Camera Name
Petri 7s
Petri Camera Company
Place of Manufacture


Date of Manufacture
Focusing System

Fully coupled rangefinder
2.65' ~ infinity


45mm f/2.8 (4 elements in 3 groups?)
52mm filter thread mount

45mm f/1.8 (6 elements?)
52mm filter thread mount

Petri MVE leaf (in-lens) shutter
1 - 1/500 + B + self-timer

Metering System

Around the lens (ATL) selenium manual metering cell




"Cold" flash shoe
PC external flash connection
Flash type selector: M - X

Film type / speeds

Standard 135 (35mm) film

Battery type
Dimensions and weight

132 x 79 x 72mm xxxg

132 x 79 x 72mm 635g
Retail price
$59.50 (1963) ¥18500 (1965)
$79.50 (1963)
Note: Using the text or images on this site in an ebay auction without permission is a violation of your ebay Terms of Service. I will report you to ebay if I discover such a violation taking place. This may result in your account being cancelled. I also reserve the right to file claim for civil penalties.

About Kuribayashi

The company name means "Acorn Grove" and they are actually one of the older Japanese camera manufacturers. They started up in 1907 making accessories and went bankrupt in 1977. They made a bunch of plate cameras, folding roll film cameras, rangefinders, and finally SLRs. Like the Miranda Camera Company, they couldn't make the step up to mass production and electronization and competition from Nikon and Canon.

The mid-fifties seems to have been a good time for Japanese camera manufacturers. The occupation had ended in 1952. One of the side-effects of Germany's defeat was that all of their camera patents and innovations were put in the public domain. Things like lens coating and specialized lens designs pioneered by Zeiss could now be used by everyone. Furthermore, the German camera industry was in disarray as the Zeiss factories in Jena were taken by the East Germans but the engineers and opticians had fled to West Germany. In the brief period from the 1950s to the mid 1970s, there were many small Japanese camera companies producing quality equipment.

Unfortunately in 1955, Leica came out with the M3 and changed the scene for rangefinder cameras. The M3 set such a high bar that most of the leading Japanese manufacturers (Canon and Nikon) abandoned their rangefinder lines and decided to compete with SLRs instead. Kuribayashi was actually the first Japanese companyu to come out with an SLR, but the smaller Japanese companies couldn't keep up with the rapid pace of innovation in the 1960s by the larger corporations like Asahi, Canon, and Minolta and died out. Kuribayashi filed for final bankruptcy in 1977.


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