why no Konica?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by msbarnes, Feb 3, 2013.

  1. msbarnes

    msbarnes Member

    Messages:
    385
    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2011
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I hear a lot about Canon, Nikon. Olympus, Pentax, Minolta and ofcourse some Leica and Contax/Yashica every once and a while. Some exotic swiss/german/soviet ones too but the major player that I never hear about is Konica!

    Why is this? Did they neglect their SLR systems back when they were thriving? Were their SLR systems just bad?

    I mean their RF's and point and shoots rivaled some big names and some believe that they were even better than their competitors: Hexar AF vs Contax G, Hexar RF vs Leica M, Konica Auto S2/S3 vs the rest of the FL Rf's. The Hexanon glass is supposedly first-rate in the Leica M world too in optics and build.
     
  2. Chrismat

    Chrismat Subscriber

    Messages:
    653
    Joined:
    May 28, 2011
    Location:
    Brewer, Main
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't recall seeing or hearing very many Konica ads during the heyday of 35mm, maybe they were more popular in Japan then in the U.S. I have used both their slrs and rangefinders and their lens quality is top-notch.
     
  3. fotch

    fotch Member

    Messages:
    4,821
    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2005
    Location:
    SE WI- USA
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    They lost in the popular vote, called the marketplace. Lots of good cameras and other gear had the same results. :sad:
     
  4. r-brian

    r-brian Member

    Messages:
    611
    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2003
    Location:
    Albuquerque,
    Some of the Konica lenses were reportedly as good, and even better, than the similar aged Nikkors. Konica just never attempted to develop a pro line of cameras.
     
  5. mablo

    mablo Member

    Messages:
    389
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Konica Hexanon AR lenses are hidden gems. Last summer I stumbled upon a nice Konica Autoreflex T3 set with a Hexanon 50mm/1.7 and a 28mm/3.5 lens. I don't like the T3 body that much but those Hexanon lenses are fantastic. It's a shame you cannot use Hexanon AR lenses with any other film camera.
     
  6. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

    Messages:
    17,523
    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    Location:
    West Midland
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Konica and Fuji were amongst the first of the Japanese SLRs and good rangefinder cameras imported into the UK, but neither really took off like Nikon and Pentax and later Canon.

    Ian
     
  7. henry finley

    henry finley Member

    Messages:
    302
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Marshville N
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    With Nikon, it was the size of the system I think.
     
  8. Jesper

    Jesper Subscriber

    Messages:
    714
    Joined:
    Mar 29, 2009
    Location:
    Lund in the
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    The Konicas that I have come across use mercury batteries no longer available, though I haven't seen that many Konicas (SLR).
     
  9. vpwphoto

    vpwphoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,206
    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2011
    Location:
    Indiana
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Packard was also better in many ways than Rolls Royce.... the fell behind in sales/profits/reinvestment and the rest is history.
     
  10. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,124
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2007
    Location:
    Iowa
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I have a good collection of magazines from the 70's and early 80's and Konica has plenty of ads in every magazine. They misfired though, on things that didn't matter at the time, like hyping their built-in motor drive when they were the only one that had it. Every other camera made, up til then, had an add-on winder so it wasn't the cat's meow Konica thought it was. I think too, they failed in that camera stores had to limit what they sold (except the giant stores) so Konica just plain got left out. Towards the end they stopped building their own bodies and farmed them out, and those bodies were real stinkers compared to reliable workhorses like the Autoreflex T3.

    The glass is top notch. I love hauling my Konica's out for fine B&W work.
     
  11. DWThomas

    DWThomas Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,699
    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2006
    Location:
    SE Pennsylva
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I purchased a Konica FP SLR (vertical travel metal focal plane shutter, 1/125 flash sync -- oooh wow!) circa 1963 and it was a pretty awesome machine -- at least, after an Argus C3! It was purely manual and served me well to around 1980/81 when the shutter started acting up. Somewhere during that period I bought my dad a Konica rangefinder with auto exposure that was great optically but broke down in a disappointingly short time. No idea if that has anything to do with anything, but my impression is the brand was never around in the sort of quantities sold by Nikon and Canon.

    I still have the FP but have never worked up the urge to try and get it repaired, assuming it is even possible. I'm pretty sure the lenses predated the 'AR' series, but I recall the 35mm 2.8 and the 52mm 1.4 being impressively sharp.
     
  12. Nick Merritt

    Nick Merritt Member

    Messages:
    421
    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2007
    Location:
    Hartford, Co
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Top quality stuff, the lenses especially, which are indeed of a very high standard. I saw them described once as "engineering driven" rather than "marketing driven," meaning that while they were quite innovative (first autofocus camera and first autoexposure SLR, for instance), they just expected everyone would beat a path to their door.
     
  13. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

    Messages:
    6,932
    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2007
    Location:
    Richmond VA.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I like their IRfilm.

    Jeff
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. henry finley

    henry finley Member

    Messages:
    302
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Marshville N
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    What IR film? News to me. Why do you like it?--that is to ask if its more an IR film like Kodak's used to be, or is it more like the ones that is only some small portion of IR sensitive, requiring a totally opaque filter and 40 stops of opening up the lens to get any infrared value out of it? You used to only need a 25A with Kodak to have a nearly 100% infrared film. Now that they are gone, I'd be all ears to hear a suitable replacement.
     
  16. steven_e007

    steven_e007 Member

    Messages:
    829
    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2007
    Location:
    Shropshire,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Konica USED to make an IR film - or maybe it was made by someone else and badged... I don't know.
    It was a near IR film, like Ilford SFX - but it was based on a very fine grain film, so quite slow, but very fine grained. It was a superb film for IR portraits and figure work - it did amazing things to skin tones. I miss it :sad:
     
  17. henry finley

    henry finley Member

    Messages:
    302
    Joined:
    Dec 26, 2012
    Location:
    Marshville N
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    oh, I thought you guys were talking about something somebody still makes.
     
  18. Newt_on_Swings

    Newt_on_Swings Member

    Messages:
    2,115
    Joined:
    Mar 30, 2011
    Location:
    NYC
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    AiBORG
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 3, 2013
  19. I obtained several expired rolls of Konica 120 IR film a couple of years ago. It had expired around '93, but some of the rolls developed very nicely. I shot it using a red 25A filter, and developed it in D76.

    I'm definitely a Konica camera fan, and have a couple of bodies (TC-X and an Autoreflex T3), and a number of lenses in my collection. I've noticed that the Konica groups on Flickr seem to be dominated by Asian shooters, so I suppose they were more popular outside the US. Konica glass does seem to be especially contrasty, in a good way.
     
  20. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

    Messages:
    2,446
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2004
    Location:
    Phoeinx Ariz
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Konica had an excellent line up lens, all of which are very sharp. Several Japaness fans claim that the Japaness Government used Konica 50mms as the bench mark for evaluating all 35mm lens. I bought my first Konica T in 1969 with a 50mm 1.2, it was perhaps the best 50mm I have ever used. In 71 I traded in the T for a Nikon F because I needed a motor drive. The Ts have flash sync at 1/125th and full information view finder. The T 4 added a winder, not full motor drive, slowed the flash syn to 1/60, the FS and other bodies with build in winders were slow, did not have full information in the view finder, and I dont think were as rugged as the Ts. In the past couple of years I have collected a number of Konica bodies and a hand full of lens. I have tested the 50MM 1.8, 1.4 28 3.5 and 135 3.5 and 200mm F 4, the 200 is not the pro version. My testing shows all to be very sharp, as sharp or sharper than my Pentax M 42s and Canon FD primes I had. I use hearing aid batteries in the T3, meters well.
     
  21. idleroux

    idleroux Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Aug 28, 2011
    Location:
    Braunschweig
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    My grandfather was an avid nature (mostly flower, some bird and general wilderness) photographer, and consequently put together a large macro- and long-lens system around an Autoreflex T2. I rescued it from his basement a couple of years ago and have been gradually getting it back into service for my girlfriend, who is also fond of macro. I've been favourably impressed. The shutter release isn't as nice as my Pentaxen, because part of the auto-exposure mechanism is driven by the initial press of finger on shutter button. The same is true of the Olympus 35RC, and, I expect, other early electro-mechanical auto-exposure cameras. In other respects, though, it's a solid and comfortable camera with lenses that I've never heard any complaints about. I certainly don't have any.

    I've already got a 35mm SLR system and don't need another, but otherwise I'd cheerfully keep and use the Konica.
     
  22. elekm

    elekm Member

    Messages:
    2,058
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey (
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I've owned a couple of Konica SLRs. Nice cameras but nothing to distinguish themselves and push them ahead in a very crowded field.

    I still have a Konica Autoreflex T - a full-size all-manual camera.
     
  23. horacekenneth

    horacekenneth Member

    Messages:
    429
    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2012
    Location:
    MD
    Shooter:
    35mm
    how about Konica film? What happened to that? I didn't even know they had made film until about a week ago I bumped into some Konica IR stuff in a darkroom fridge.
     
  24. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,212
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    To distinguish it from the other SLRs, it had shutter priority auto exposure. As I understand it, this is the first SLR with autoexposure. Canon introduced a shutter priority SLR in October 1969 with the EXEE but that had a dedicated screw mount with only interchangeable front lens element. The Pentax ES aperture priority SLR didn't get released until 1971.

    The other cool thing with the Konica Autoreflex T's shutter priority auto exposure is that it works with all shutter speeds when batteries are dead. Until the release of the Nikon FM3A in 2001, all autoexposure cameras of the aperture priority type, had limited shutter speeds available when batteries are dead.
     
  25. OzJohn

    OzJohn Member

    Messages:
    160
    Joined:
    Feb 15, 2011
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Not quite right. The Konicas, like most SLRs of their era, do have a fully mechanical shutter so they can be used in manual exposure mode with flat batteries but not in auto mode for the simple reason that any sort of auto exposure, shutter or aperture, has to reference an exposure meter in order to set the variable and the meter, of course, does not work without the battery. OzJohn
     
  26. Les Sarile

    Les Sarile Member

    Messages:
    1,212
    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2010
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA
    Shooter:
    35mm
    To clarify, all cameras with any automation loose all automation when batteries are dead. All the aperture priority cameras of the era would be useless with dead batteries. Some only have a an X-sync speed and B mode available and only a handful have a portion of their shutter speeds available when batteries are dead. OTOH, the Autoreflex T has all shutter speeds available when batteries are dead and of course no shutter priority autoexposure. So when the electronics die, it can still function as a fully manual camera.