Konica Auto S2 (1965)

The Konica Auto S2, introduced in 1965, is part of the Konica’s ‘S’ family of rangefinders, of which the first was introduced in 1959 and the last in 1967. Of this series, the Konica Auto S2 is the most common and undoubtedly the most evolved. It is famous for its extremely sharp lens, it can be used manually (despite the name) and it has a very bright viewfinder. It enjoys a cult following among a great number of photographers, especially ‘street photography’ aficionados.

As follows from Planar type optical diagram that illustrates the box in which the Konica Auto S2 was sold, the cameras principal advantage is its Hexanon 45mm f1.8 lens. This lens is famous for its sharpness, its delicate contrast and produces images of an incomparable texture. The lens has a DOF scale, an IR index, and a retractable light shade.


Photo: Krzysztof Tralewski. Reproduced with permission.

The viewfinder of the Konica Auto S2 resembles that of the Leicas. It is very bright and well lit. During focusing, the luminous frame in the viewfinder moves in order to correct parallax errors and to compensate for changing field angle. An aperture scale is located on the upper edge of the frame. Focusing is made easier by a clearly visible, clear and contrasty rangefinder.

The Konica Auto S2 is equipped with a Copal SVA shutter with speeds going from 1s to 1/500s + B. Its barely audible shutter would have made the Konica Auto S2 very discrete if it weren’t for the film advance lever whose operation produces a sound similar to that of an old wake-up alarm clock when wound. The camera is also equipped with a self-timer.

The CdS of the meter is mounted above the front lens, on the lens barrel. Its indications are visible above the frame in the viewfinder and on top of the body. Automatic exposure takes place by shutter priority. The film sensitivity range of the Konica Auto S2 goes from 25 to 400 ISO in automatic mode, although it is possible to exceed those bounds in manual mode. The camera is also equipped with an exposure lock feature.

The Konica Auto S2 is built like a tank. Its dimensions and its weight are comparable to that of the Yashica Electro 35 and of the first Canonets. It is fairly common and its almost symbolic cost places it within anyone’s reach.