Konica Kristmas: Konica FT-1 motor

I mentioned my Konica Kristmas about a month ago and someone I am acquainted with on Instagram said, “oh you should get the FT-1, it is an improved FS-1“. You can check out his feed here. He is a bit of a Konica lover too. Well, I think it was him as we had a long conversation about Konicas…if it wasn’t and was you..oops sorry, let me know in the comments and I will fix this.

Anyway, no sooner had I chatted about it with “someone” this one came up for sale on Facebook Marketplace. It was £30 with a couple of lenses and the manual. Perfect for Konica Kristmas. I loved my FS-1, but I was always nervous of the electronics failing, they are very temperamental. So I sold the body, but kept the lens.

As you can see in the photos below, this one uses AAAs, but it is still recommended not to use rechargeable ones. Though, I feel this is advice given out when the camera was first available in 1982. Surely by now, the voltage in rechargeable batteries is more stable…apparently not. You can buy a AA battery holder and I have seen one for sale on eBay, but I am happy with the AAAs.

It is a lovely looking and feeling camera. As this review says, lots of metal and a nice heft to it. It has a top speed of 1/1000th and accepts films with 25-3200 asa, not bad eh. With the addition of a ‘motor’ drive, you can choose single or continuous shutter exposures.

Oh and the motor drive means there is no need to load or wind-on. Well, of course you have to LOAD the camera, but it has a quick load mechanism. So just lay the film inside the compartment, cover the sprockets, close the door and voila. No need to slot it in a tiny slit and hope it doesn’t come loose. And to be doubly sure, there is a film winding indicator on the back door. There is also an on/off/AE.L switch to save your battery power. I love the AE.L, auto exposure lock switch. No hunting for it, no fiddling, it is right there and you can keep it on, which is what I did. I left the camera in AE.L while in use instead of just the regular ON setting. You then press the shutter button half way and the exposure is locked in. Move the camera all you want, exposure is locked until you take the shot or release the button.

The viewfinder has a split focusing center with a micro prism around it, perfect. The FT works in speed priority or manual. To be honest I did find the choices the camera made hard to see at time, but you can guess the choice by the position of the red light.

So how did it work?

As I am trying to move away from rushing through cameras, I decided to set myself a small project with this camera…PUBS!

They are all closed right now in my area, West Yorkshire is in tier 3. So, I thought I would walk around my local area and take some shots of the signs and frontages. There are a surprisingly large number of pubs near me. Some are even right next door to each other. I could take a whole film on just one road in Wakefield. The road used to be famous for people, including myself, trying to get from the bottom to the top – having one drink in each pub before being totally drunk. I never made it. Some of the pubs have changed or even closed over the years. There are still enough pubs in Wakefield to give it a good go though.

Anyway, it didn’t take long to finish the Potsdam film I loaded. I mostly left the camera on 1/125th, except the alleyway. For that setting I even went down to 1/30th and the camera was easy to hold steady.

Here are some of the results.

I love the film and the camera. What a super buy. They are still relatively cheap, even on the bay. Though, they do seem to be in the USA or Europe. I think I was lucky to get this one in such great condition for the price. The Konica lenses are super too. With this camera I also got two tefnon lenses, which also seem to be great. It wasn’t a name I had heard of before, but I am very impressed with the results of them.

Hmm, what to focus on for my next Konica camera post??

6 thoughts on “Konica Kristmas: Konica FT-1 motor

  1. Safespace says:

    Hello – Both the FT-1 and moreso the FS-1 are known to suffer failure over time of the soldered connections at either end of their main wiring harnesses. I once read an article about removing the top cover and desoldering / cleaning / resoldering the harness, but can not locate it now. If you can figure out how to take the top cover off, I suspect the rest will be self-evident. Best – Roger B


    1. Peggy says:

      Right now it is working fine, so it is not needed. I am very bad at soldering. I need lessons before I attempt anything serious. I can melt old solder..but to apply new seems to be beyond me.


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