Tag Archives: konica

Konica S II

This was a bargain of a camera that I had no intention of buying. There I was in the junk section of a Japanese camera shop and I remembered someone asking me to look out for a Konica S2 rangefinder. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted the label Konica, on further inspection it was an actual SII. It was only $10, a bit messy. I tried the shutter and it seemed fine. I looked inside and it looked clean. The selenium cell didn’t seem to be working, but it was a manual camera so that didn’t matter. It was worth the risk as a present for my friend.

This great blog says it is rare to find an example of this camera with a working meter, so no worries on that front. It was released in 1961 and sold mainly in Japan, exactly where I was and probably the reason it was so cheap. The only real fault I could find was a hole above the selenium cell, but that didn’t seem to have any affect at all. According to this website, that hole might be to allow extra light into the viewfinder which is indeed bright. The winder movement felt very short, barely over 90 degrees. In fact while using it, I thought it might not be fully winding the film on and expected overlapping images. The focusing second image was clear enough to use the camera comfortably, so if it worked I had found a nice little bargain. You can find lots of technical details on the first link of this post.

As I had found it in Japan, I put in some of original Fuji Acros Neopan 100. I am so happy to read it is being rereleased. Then I headed over to the Manchester Day Parade to use it up.

I used another camera at the parade as well, I will write about that in another post. I was feeling quite brave and asked many people if I could take their photo, only one person said no. Usually I am a bit more shy about these things, but I was with a film photography group and that always gives me more confidence. Everyone was so happy, I recommend a day out in Manchester if you like street photography.

As for the camera, it was a delight to use. It looked cool, it worked perfectly, and look at those images. The lens is super sharp, what a cracker!

It was a touch on the heavy side for me, only a touch though. If I didn’t have a million cameras, I would be happy to keep this one, but I am more than happy to give it to my friend.

Konica Acom-1

I decided to post two cameras today as I want to empty my draft film of cameras I tried in Japan. Plus I have posted about two point and shoots and want to post something more substantial. Seeing as I already had a Konica lens I thought I would buy this junk bin body and try it out. This camera was introduced in 1976 and was called Konica Autoreflex TC outside of Japan. My example was extra “Japanese” as it had the data back, which was only available in Japan.

The first thing I did was try to get the data back working again, not that I ever use them, but I like things to work when they should. There was some writing on the back that Google Translate said, don’t open the battery compartment unless you are changing the batteries, and change them both at the same time. OK so two batteries, but where??

OK all changed, now the symbol is flashing and the red light comes on when you press the black button. But how do you set the thing?? No idea, there was just one button which seemed to be a battery check. I could not figure it out. The katakana on the sticker said “oto deto”, auto date. My guess was that it was completely automatic and that it worked so long as the batteries never drained, oh dear.

So I asked the internet gods for help. One helpful chappy had a Japanese manual so he took a photo of the relevant page and sent it to me.


I uploaded that to Google Translate and this is what it said.


Well, bugger. Basically, I was right, but it would have stopped working in 1999, probably due to the Y2K issue. Either way, I had changed the batteries now and so I tried the camera and at times pressed the black button, which was the actual data imprint button, not a battery check.

The data back was the most interesting thing about the camera. The light meter didn’t work so I used it in manual only. There was also a completely superfluous switch on the back that puts the winder lever back to the resting position. That lever should turn on the light meter, but it didn’t. Here is my test roll using the sunny 16 rule and my phone lightmeter.

You can see the date imprint did work, but the date is 1980/10/2 with no way to change it. I wonder if this was the last time the camera was used?

I actually did like using this camera. It was quirky. If the light meter worked and I didn’t have the other Konica I would think about keeping it.

Keep or sell: I want the lens for the other Konica I have, but this body I don’t need or want. Sold.


Konica Big Mini NEO-R

This the second Big Mini I have tried and one of the cameras I tried in my last week in Japan. The first one I tried had a faulty flash, but this one’s worked well. The panoramic switch next to the viewfinder was loose and kept returning to that setting, so I taped it up. If I decide it is worth the weight to keep it I might end up glueing it in place as that feature is superfluous now. This time I did not use an experimental film but did use a new-to-me developing lab.

I found the internal panoramic mask a little confusing at first given the issues with the switch. When turned off the mask is down whether it is the choice or not. So when putting a film in the camera you might think the mask is stuck. Once you turn on the camera the lens moves forward and the mask shifts into the correct position. There is a cool cover over the lens that moves out of the way when switched on. You can find technical details for this 1994 camera here.

I used two point and shoots around the same time, this one and the Olympus Mju 105 Delux. I much preferred the results from this one. That might be due to the slightly larger aperture of 3.5 as opposed to 5.6 on the Olympus. The zoom on this one was smaller, 35-70mm.

I got both films developed at the same place and both had the same purple tinge, though we were having heatwave maybe the film just melted.

Here are the results from this camera.

Ok, ignore the film, the camera is sharp. It looks great. Given a choice between this and the Olympus I choose this one. Plus as I am leaving I do not have to use that lab again. But my overall feeling is that I do not like either.

Keep or Sell: I think I took it back to the shop or gave it away, I don’t remember now.. It wasn’t worth the weight.

Konica FS-1

Even though I have other cameras to test and post before I leave Japan in August, this is the last camera I will buy…honest…maybe…unless I see something gorgeous, well, someone has just told me about a shop I haven’t visited yet. No promises.

I decided to make my maybe last purchase in Japan at my favourite junk shop in Nakano. So off I set…


Aaaarrrrggghhhhhh!!! It’s gone…GONE!! Not just closed, but grounded to dust 😦

Well, I might as well go to their other shop and buy some film. While I was paying I asked, “Junk Shop wa doko desu ka?” Where is your junk shop?!!!!!

“Ohh daijoubu, koko chizu desu” …Nah worries mate, here is a map! YES!!!

So off I trot to a whole new part of Nakano I have never seen before and it is AWESOME! Lots of !! and Capital Letters in this post. Seriously, I have lived here for so long and I am still finding new and interesting things.

After a little wandering and staring. I find the shop and I pick out a few things that look like a good choice for the last junk buy. Then I see it. Not a junk buy, a counter buy. It looks so clean and sparkly, plus it has batteries in already. I put my other choices back on the shelf, get this and buy a junk strap. I take apart a keychain, to get the ring to attach the strap, load a film and start using it straight away.

Look at this shiny camera.

Everything seemed to work, it sounded awesome. A real “kuchissshh-kum” when the shutter fires. I love it. This 1979-83 camera is the first 35mm SLR to have a motor drive.  Though according to this website the first examples of this camera often failed, the later ones were improved and much more reliable. Luckily mine is one of the later versions. Another luckily, this example already had batteries inside or might have been tempted to use rechargeable AA ones. DO NOT USE RECHARGEABLES. More capitals. But seriously the electronics are sensitive and using rechargeables might damage your camera as the voltage is not stable. Once the electronics are gone so is the camera.

Another thing I like is the shutter lock, white dot for go, red dot for locked. Plus it will not fire without enough light. I kept mine on auto aperture, but it can also work in manual mode. While in manual mode the viewfinder will indicate the suggested aperture but will fire if it is not chosen. And that is about it, simple. Oh, even though there is a motor drive you have to manually rewind the film.

Here are my test shots. Actually, a friend stole MY camera for a couple of shots while we were at a photo exhibition. Plus, I am in Japan so I finally added a few photos of beetles, because kids (and adults) are nuts about them here. The first photo is the camera shop where I bought it.

It is awesome. My new favourite camera. I also love my friend’s face, which clearly says, “Seriously another camera, seriously you are taking my photo again!!”

The photo exhibition was by Takuya Ugajin and called Hyena’s Dream. It was awesome talking to him about the photos, his travels and of course, cameras.

Konica Pearl III

I was asked to use this camera by one of my students. He was a bit worried that it wasn’t working correctly and wanted some reassurance.  Sure I said, I have never used one before, or even seen one for that matter. I was a bit jealous as he is in grade 5 and he has this super camera.

I had helped him load some Shanghai GP3, but after a few shots, he thought something wasn’t right so asked me to finish the roll. I took it to Shunpuu Banriso a beautiful house and garden in Kasama, Ibaraki.

This is a coupled rangefinder from 1955. It has an auto-stop advance and takes 6×4.5 photos. The shutter release is on the lens door and the door opening button is where you would expect the shutter release to be, a bit of a reverse.  The lens is a Hexar f3.5, 75mm. The speeds range from 1 second to 1/500th. The rangefinder is operated by the indented slider on the lens. The indented button is molded and placed in order to be operated by the right index finger. This example’s worked so smoothly, perfect condition. I found loading the camera a bit tricky as there is a push-up plate which is hard to reach. Once we had loaded the camera I put some tape on the film door opening lever as the student is sometimes a bit impatient. When we had loaded the camera he immediately opened the back again. So the tape was a visual reminder. The actual switch also worked smoothly and perfectly.

You cock the shutter with the lever on the front of the lens, after setting the aperture and speed manually. The camera does not have a light meter. It is possible to take multiple exposures before advancing the film. Once you are ready to advance the film you have to press the switch next to the film advance knob, this releases the mechanism. Turn the knob clockwise to advance and it automatically stops in the right place.

Once I had finished the roll I thought I had advanced the paper all the way to the end, but when I opened the back I found part of the paper still covering the exposure space. The film advance was a little sticky so I manually finished advancing the film paper. There was only a little bit of paper to go, the film was already protected. I think the paper was really stuck to the original spool and there wasn’t enough ‘power’ to pull it off.

Then I developed it, in Kodak T-Max 🙂

Wow, what a bargain this student has found. I think he got it for much less than the few cameras posted on eBay. It is clean and works perfectly.

Keep or sell: I have to give it back 😦

Konica Z-up 80 super zoom

This is a lucky camera. When I first started to look at it I could not find the battery compartment. Then I saw it under where the strap should go. It looked broken and had to be accessed by removing some screws. It seemed really impractical and I put it in my own junk bin. I was positive it was faulty. Then I was getting my recycling ready for collection and decided to take another look. I undid the screws and inserted a battery, nothing. I tried two more batteries, nada. I was about to give up but then thought, use the force…it does look like a Darth Vader camera after all. So I just willed it to work. Basically, I shook it and said, “work damn it” and it did. I am sure I knocked some dirt off a contact or something, but it fired up…flash included.

The only issue then was a hole on the top. When I looked for other photos of it online, I saw a flash ready light there. No biggie, I just covered it with black tape just in case of light leaks.

I think the Z-up 80 means zooms up to 80, a guess, but it seems a reasonable one. There doesn’t seem to be much on the net about it. I could only find something on the Amazon.jp site and a couple of Japanese sites. When translated the Amazon page said something like…

“Primary Information is displayed on the back, as a compact, multi-functional and practical Heavy Duty Camera. [Main Features] 35 mm Auto Focus AE camera, Zoom Lens 40-80 mm F3.5 – 7.2  Battery: 2cr5, weight: 485g, released in 1988”

I also found this review, but wow another heavy duty camera. It doesn’t look like the others I have tried, but I hope it works just as well. I did find a manual in Japanese and here one in English for the RC version, I could not find the none RC version. While researching for this post I also saw some tagged photos on Instagram that were pretty cool and it made me wonder about the camera. It seems like it is more than a point and shoot. The manual tells about features such as multiple exposure and times exposure. I wish I had read it before using it, I seem to say that a lot. Now looking at the camera, I see the ME button on the data back.

But did it work?

Yeap, sure did. It is super sharp, I even had to blur some faces. These are taken over a couple of days at work. I even tried a few action shots with the ball catching at full zoom. It was sharp at all zoom settings. I got a little carried away with photos of the lanner falcon, but it was the only camera I had on me at the time.

When you take a photo, the autofocus chooses a zone and illuminates it in the viewfinder. The symbols are the regular person, people, mountain. It was spot on each time. I love it, I want to keep it…it looks like Darth Vader…it is faulty after all…there is a hole on the top.

I will keep it for another roll at least, to try out the other functions.




Konica Autoreflex T3

I found this body and a different lens in one of my favourite second-hand shops. The only reason I even thought about buying this camera was because I had recently read an article about the auto-reflex camera. When I saw this version I jumped at it even though it was a regular SLR, not a full/half-frame camera. Originally released between 1973-75, it is quite a big, heavy camera.

The original lens had so much fungus on it that I just decided to take it apart to see if I could. AND then try and put it back together…I could not. So I got another, very cheap lens which still had some fungus, but not too much to bother me.

I was really interested in the M.E. switch on the side of the speed selector. Could it mean multiple exposures? Yes, it could, awesome. Did the meter work? Yes, it did, another awesome point! Although it did feel a bit like a metal brick I was starting to really like this camera. You can find all the technical details you like here.

After using it on auto for a while I had the feeling that the camera was choosing the wrong aperture for the lighting situations. It was too high for the low light available. I thought the LR44 batteries I had inserted were just too strong. Also, the on/off switch was quite loose and when I went to use it again I found it was in the on position. The batteries were dead. So, I set about putting in some fresh 675 hearing aid batteries. They turned out to be slightly too small. Never mind I will just bend the connector up a bit. And this is where anyone with one of these cameras shouts NOOOO. And yes, the connector broke off and fell inside the camera body.

Bugger, but maybe I can fix it? Nope. Apparently, the only way to reach the battery compartment is to almost take the whole camera apart. It just wasn’t worth it.

Now it is a manual camera only 😦

Anyway, other things I like about this camera are, the green/red spot near the film winder that lets you know if the shutter is cocked, the speed selected showing in the viewfinder and the red flag that adjusts the aperture from f1.4 to f1.7 depending on your lens.

When I finished my test film, I was a little ticked off to find the camera had been working  just fine in automatic mode. There had been no reason for my heavy handed battery adjustment.

You can see I tried the multi-exposure button. When you slide this towards the red/green circle, it unlocks the sprockets. So when you push the film advance, it does not advance the film but still cocks the shutter.

After I broke the battery compartment I reloaded the film to finish it in manual settings.

Usually, I would not add photos of my students, but these two photos are multiple exposures and do not look like the actual children involved…unless you actually know them. Some of the photos look a little out of focus. That was my issue, not the camera. I think I was tired or wearing my glasses.

Keep or sell: I am inclined to keep this camera. I do not have another slr that allows multiple exposures quite so easily. I am currently undertaking a project where I have to go through a lot more steps to acheive this effect. So for now I will keep it, but man-oh-man is it ever heavy.