Tag Archives: konica

Konica FP-1 Program

When I tidied out my photography stuff I found two lenses that I no longer had a body for. One was a Konica Hexanon AR 50mm F1.7, I remembered using it with another camera, I must have sold the body but kept the lens because I liked the quality of the photos it produced. I could sell the lens, but what if there was a cheap body for sale? I am not yet at the point where I can’t not look, so I did. And there was this camera, very cheap and with a very cool looking strap. It was worth it for the strap alone.

I thought it was a nice looking camera…initially…but hey, wait a minute…where are the dials to choose stuff? The speed mode, aperture mode, manual mode…any mode come to that?

There weren’t any…not one single solitary mode, nada, nothing. But what about the viewfinder? Was there any information displayed in there? Nope, just a green or red light. It turns out this camera was a program only camera. You have no choices. You can just focus the camera and press the button. You leave the lens on AE and let the camera do absolutely everything. There is no override and no information about the choices the camera has made. Well, that sucks.

The camera was originally produced in 1981 and discontinued in 1983, a really short run. If you read that link you will see that, not only is this a program camera only, it only chooses from 3 apertures. Those apertures are 2.8, 5.6, or 11….WTF! So there was absolutely no point in having the F1.7 lens that I had attached. What a pile of poo. Once I had realised all of that, I was glad I didn’t pay much and had basically bought it for the price of the strap. At least the body would act as a lens cover.

I doubted I would ever use it…but then I got bored and decided to go to Bolsover Castle. I could get in for free due to my membership of English Heritage, so why not wander around with this camera…trying cameras is another hard habit to break. It was a nice day, a break in the rain/snow, but not a break in the wind. Ooooh it was cold.

Given the lack of features, the camera was very easy to use, point – focus – check for green light – shoot – repeat. I used part of the film and then transferred the remainder to another camera, a real point and shoot that I will post about later. So how did it do? It sounded slow, I didn’t have any faith at all…

Well, holy moly..it worked and worked really well. In all the lighting environments the camera chose a perfect setting, of course it did because cameras are actually suppose to work. But it works so well. It was not fooled by backlighting, lots of sky or high contrast. Even in fairly dark situations it worked. And I still love the lens. I would be tempted to get another, better body for it…if I didn’t have lots of similar cameras and am reducing my collection.

As for the other lens I found without a body… I decided not to buy another SLR. I have already sold the lens to avoid the temptation. So I am getting a little better at not buying stuff I don’t need.

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.

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

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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…

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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.