Koniflex (1952)

In terms of exterior appearance, the Koniflex looks like a typical twin lens reflex (TLR), the likes of which were produced by dozens of different makers, such as Minolta, Rollei, Yashica, etc. The Koniflex stands out for its lenses which have a focal length of 85mm, a bit longer than the usual 75 to 80mm for this type of camera. The taking lens is a Hexanon f3.5 made of 5 elements in 3 groups. This lens has a Seikosha-Rapid shutter, whose speeds range from 1s to 1/400s + B. In contrast, the viewing lens has an aperture of f3.0, allowing for greater brightness on the focusing screen. This, as well as a magnifying glass on the waist level finder makes focusing easier.


Photo reproduced with the kind permission of Saito Yoshihiko

Film advance on the Koniflex takes place semi-automatically in the case of both 120 and 620 format film, which is rather unusual. One aligns the start index on two red points, one closes the back, and one turns the film advance knob until the number ‘1’ appears in the little window to the left of the body. Following film advance and shutter release, one presses the button inside the film advance knob, and one advances the film until it stops and the number ‘2’ appears in the window, etc.

There is also an extremely rare version of the Koniflex, called the Tele-Koniflex. This camera, dating from 1955, was sold with two auxiliary lenses (the Hexanon 135mm f4.5 as the taking lens and the Tele-Hexar 135mm f4.0 as the viewing lens) destined to be mounted on the main lenses in order to give the camera a focal length of 135mm. The Koniflex is the only TLR that Konica has ever produced and about 13,000 units were made. The name of Koniflex was also used in 1957 for the Koniflex 35, the company's first 35mm SLR, which had a Leica type shutter and which looked a bit like the first Miranda models. It was never released, however (see next page in this section).