■ 7. Other Konicas
The SLRs of the AR series are just some of the cameras manufactured by Konica. The company produced an immense quantity of cameras of all types, some of which are known and celebrated, while others are rather obscure.
Konica manufactured a number of remarkable medium format cameras (two excellent twin-lens reflex cameras and several rangefinders with interchangeable lenses and backs); the AR series of SLRs was preceded by the F series, which included five SLRs and lenses ranging from 35mm to 800mm, introduced between 1960 and 1965; following the Second World War, Konica also became one of the world’s largest manufacturers of 35mm rangefinders.
The unique character of some of those cameras has earned them a veritable cult status. Many represent a major turning point in the evolution of camera technology. Others have become highly-prized by collectors for historical reasons. As always with Konica, the most important trait common to all these cameras is superior quality optics. Of these cameras, those that seem to me particularly worthy of mention are the:
1- Koniflex, a traditional 6 x 6 format TLR (1952);
2- Konica IIIA, a rangefinder with a 1:1 viewfinder and a film advance lever mounted on the front of the camera (1958);
3- Konica F, the world's first SLR with a vertically traveling metal shutter and with a fastest speed of 1/2000s (1960);
4- Konica Auto S2, a popular rangefinder with automatic exposure (1965);
5- Koni-Omegaflex, a 6 x 7 format TLR with interchangeable lenses and backs (1967);
6- Koni-Omega, a 6 x 7 format rangefinder with interchangeable lenses and backs (1967);
7- Konica Auto S3, a compact rangefinder with parallax correction and advanced fill-flash control (1973);
8- Konica C35 AF, the world's first 35mm automatic focus camera (1977);
9- Konica AA-35, a half-frame viewfinder camera with built-in flash and automatic film advance and rewind (1980);
10- Konica Hexar AF, a viewfinder camera with automatic film advance, a razor sharp lens and a cult following (1992);
11- Konica Hexar RF, a professional grade rangefinder with automatic film advance and interchangeable lenses (1999).
Konica also produced a number of fascinating prototypes, the technical features of which placed most of them years ahead of anything in existence at the time. It remains a mystery why some of them were not marketed. The Konica prototypes which I have included in this section are the:
1- Koniflex 35, Konica's first 35mm SLR (1957);
2- Konica Flex, a preliminary version of the Konica F released a year later (1959);
3- Konica FR, a LSM rangefinder with a 1:1 viewfinder and a vertically traveling metal shutter (1961);
4- Konica Domirex, a leaf-shutter SLR with a fixed lens and an immovable mirror (1963);
5- Konica SF, a 645 MF format camera with automatic exposure and a vertically traveling metal shutter (1967).
The pages in this section contain a more detailed description of those other Konica cameras.
● KONICA ●