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Thread: Konica s3auto

  1. #1

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    Konica s3auto

    I have a tired but working S3 auto. I keep reading things on forums regarding the quality of the 38mm hexanon. Leica quality etc. I always find the images a little soft, nothing like as good as my manual focus minolta SLR lenses and miles away from the bitingly sharp lens on my Rollei 35afm. Is there some thing wrong with my auto or is the hype just that hype? I always remember when I was in the motor trade, Alfa Romeo always had fantastic reviews for their cars but when I drove them, they were flat unresponsive things, non of the driveability of Japanese cars and nothing like the precision drive of a BMW. in other words hyped. I ask because if there was ever a camera that suited me, the Auto is it. quick to focus?? light to pocket and wisper quiet.

  2. #2

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    I had an Auto S2 at one time, (got stolen) and I found the Hexanon on it fantastic. It was extremely sharp. I'm assuming your lenses are clean - could it have been knocked at all? I certainly didn't consider the rave reviews hype.
    "Why is there always a better way?"

  3. #3

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    I think that's my question Bob. Does it need cleaning and the rangefinder resetting? The lens looks very clean and sharp but the images look a little flareish as well as soft.
    PS thanks for the quick reply.
    Richard.

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    (As I don't have a camera in front of me, I may have this backwards, hopefully someone can confirm If you throw it over to infinity, and look at an object in the distance, does the rangefinder spot line up? If you see part of the rangefinder spot to the right of the alignment dot, the rangefinder is out of calibration. If you're focussed at infinity and the rangefinder spot goes "past" infinity - eg, you see some of the rangefinder spot to the left of the alignment dot - the focussing mechanism of the lens itself is out of calibration - for some/many fixed-lens rangefinders I'm told this is difficult to fix - I have an Olympus 35RC with this problem, but if I back off just a bit everything lines up and is fine.

    It does sound like something is just slightly miscalibrated, though - I have an Auto S2 as well, and its lens is fantasticly sharp - I've read the S3's lens is slightly different but just as good. If the S3 had more manual settings (other than only the ability to adjust the ISO setting), I'd strongly consider getting one myself...
    i can't wait to take a picture of my thumb with this beautiful camera.

    - phirehouse, after buying a camera in the classifieds

  5. #5

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    Yes that's it. Set the camera on infinity and take a shot. If the image is soft then the lens has a problem. Flare is often caused by grunge on the front and / or rear elements.

    As far as the rangefinder is concerned, you can physically measure the distance of a subject, line up the rangefinder and see if the distance on the lens agrees with your tape measure. Take the picture anyway. Then adjust your lens to the measured distance and take another shot. If the printed image is sharp at the distance indicated by the rangefinder - you're OK. If the image taken with the lens set to the measured distance is sharp - then your rangefinder and / or the linkage to the lens is off.

    Hope this helps.

    Regards

    Bob
    "Why is there always a better way?"

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    Thanks all, I just keep forgetting to take a shot of a calibrated subject so I can measure where the rangefinder and the lens indicate as being the focus point. I would expect to see some sharpness in many images where the true focus point lies. One can spot an out of focus print often this way. eg tip of nose sharp rather than the intended eyes.
    I have taken to using a minolta x300 (real cheap and plentiful) with a 45mm pancake as my travel camera. Very sharp, ultra cheap, and fairly small. The konica would be better though and the flash control with any cheap flashgun is outstandingly accurate, better than any non D type TTL system.

  7. #7
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    I had a couple of these over the years but don't currently have one. I'd say that something is amiss if you find it un-sharp as they are one of the really good "secrets" of the era. A close friend used to be frustrated when his Canon F-1 and top tier Canon optics didn't seem to give him any resolution advantage over his S3 when viewing his travel slides. I especially liked the GN flashmatic system for using fill flash and wish my modern gear had a system that seemed so intuitive.
    Craig Schroeder

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    Bob et al,
    sorry for the delay in reposting. The trouble with doing a check on the rangefinder mechanism based on the infinity or distance markings on the lens is whether these are accurate or not. My SLRs are pin sharp when focused sharp on the screen but I wouldn't say the lens markings necessarily line up.
    I think there is a system of checking focus by using another slr focused on the lens or the film plane, does anybody know it?
    Richard.

  9. #9

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    You could take a small piece of greased, (U.S. or greaseproof in the U.K.) paper.Open the camera back and tape the paper in the film plane. Now,hold the shutter open with a locking cable release on the "B" shutter speed setting. The paper should act as a focusing screen. With a loupe of some sort you can check the focus on infinity and other measured and set distances. The problem with this is that the subject must be pretty bright - while you must be in the dark to see anything. Also, realistically this method would show you only gross focusing errors. Things like flare and slight softness would be almost impossible to distinguish.

    If it were me I'd take pictures at infinity, (lens markings not that important for this because you turn the focus ring all the way) then see if the split images match up. Be aware, funny things happen to split image rangefinders at infinity - it can sometimes be difficult to distinguish the two images. Then take a measured distance, say 10 feet, with a subject that has clear contrast with the background. Set the focus to 10 feet - take a picture. Then, focus using the rangefinder. If there is a discrepancy take another picture. [KEEP NOTES] Your prints will tell the story.

    Bob
    "Why is there always a better way?"

  10. #10
    Steve Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Harris View Post
    I think there is a system of checking focus by using another slr focused on the lens or the film plane, does anybody know it?

    I have seen this illustrated on a website but can't find it at the moment. It relates to setting up the ground glass position on a view camera to match that of the film holder but the process should be the same whatever the camera.

    From what I remember an image is placed on the ground glass or in the ground glass position and a second camera (an SLR) is is used to look into the lens of the camera on test.

    I think the theory is that if the SLR is focussed at infinity then the image at the ground glass position will only be in focus when that camera is at infinity as well.

    I imagine that you could use a piece of processed film with sharp images on placed back into the camera with the back open to illuminate it and do a similar test.


    Steve.
    "People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.

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