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Thread: why no Konica?

  1. #1
    msbarnes's Avatar
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    why no Konica?

    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. #2
    Chrismat's Avatar
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    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. #3
    fotch's Avatar
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    They lost in the popular vote, called the marketplace. Lots of good cameras and other gear had the same results.
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    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. #5
    mablo's Avatar
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    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. #6
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    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. #7
    Jesper's Avatar
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    The Konicas that I have come across use mercury batteries no longer available, though I haven't seen that many Konicas (SLR).

  8. #8
    vpwphoto's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by desertratt View Post
    Some camera brands just do not get any respect. Packard was, in my opinion, a better car than Cadillac but Packerd is dead and Cadillac limps on.
    Packard was also better in many ways than Rolls Royce.... the fell behind in sales/profits/reinvestment and the rest is history.

  9. #9

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    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.
    In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.

  10. #10
    DWThomas's Avatar
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    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.

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