Canon Zup140

Konica zUp 140 Super Review – Gratis Gratification

The Konica zUp 140 Super is an all-plastic analog camera, circa 1996. I found this camera for free here in Calgary on Kijiji, Canada’s Craiglist. Researching the camera, I found very little information, but what reviews I did find spoke highly of the lens. Thankfully, mine came with the “User Manual”, which wasn’t very helpful. I did find a similar Konica that Joe Greer previewed on his YouTube channel a while back. This gave me considerable, albeit naive hope my “zUp” would be just as good. The link to Greer’s experience is at the end of this review. There is also a good review of a zUp 100 here on 35mmc, linked right below Greer’s experience.  My experience was punctuated by a wonky zoom that worked “sometimes”, whilst other times refused to even allow me to take a picture. These issues made getting through a role of 35mm “36” a somewhat drawn out purgatory.  But one certainly worth the perdition.

First, a bit about this camera I found online, gratis.  These are the “features” below:

  • 38-140mm Zoom Lens
Canon Zup140 Zoom Lens
Canon Zup140 Zoom Lens
  • Automatic Film Advance Motor Winder
  • Automatic Flash with various settings and manual override
  • Automatic Focusing/ExposingSelf Timer
  • Red eye reduction
  • Infinity Focus

My settings dial never really wanted to work, which was frustrating. I never remember using it, and it put me in situations where I didn’t want “flash”, but got it. Adding this to the more-than-finicky zoom issues, and this camera could be a right-royal pain in the ass to use. But Joe Greer’s results kept me calm, patient, and hopeful – regardless of the mechanical irritations.

Now my son brought the camera with him to Vancouver for a Dayglow concert, prior to my intervention.  He got some really decent shots, too.  Whether daytime or night, indoors or out – even “live” at the show, many of the snaps were surprisingly good for a gratis point-and-shoot in the hand of an inexperienced analog plebe.  But my son almost cursed the zoom’s annoying hit or miss.  His melancholic side concluded I get rid of the camera. “We have too many cameras anyway,” he said.  “It’s not worth the trouble – but it did take nice pictures, when it worked.” Being both dangerously sanguine, and never one to cave so easily, I ignored him and decided to find out for myself if we should keep, or pitch the “gratis” Konica. I was lucky enough to get three roles of Fuji Superia 400 online for CDN$18.00.  My time had come. So had the camera’s.  I loaded a role, and took my turn at the Konica zUp 140 Super (by the way, does anyone have any idea where the whole “zUp concept came from?)

All told, I got 38 shots out of a role of 36. I’ll take that as my first “win”. Of the 38 shots I took, 23 were “keepers”. Some were crap due to the zoom issues. Some were crap due to the photographer. This camera is both humbling, and humiliating. It looks, feels, and acts like a cheap artifact from the past. And so it is. But the 23 photos I felt were “keepers”, were pretty decent. This Konica didn’t disappoint Dad, like it did his son.

4Cats Art Studio Inglewood, Calgary
4Cats Art Studio, 9 Ave SW, Calgary Alberta
Wall art - Bowness, Calgary Alberta
Wall-art on wood, Bowness, Calgary, Alberta. Notice the smidge of bright blue sky, in the upper left.
Ducks on the Pond before sundown
Ducks on the pond. I wanted to see what would happen in direct sunlight as a winter sunset approached. I was not disappointed.

I was surprised by both the colour, and the clarity of this Konica zUp 140 Super. A few of my shots seemed clearer than Greer’s. Probably less to do with the photographer, and more with the lens.

Graffiti - Bowness, Calgary Alberta
My favourite shot of the role. The colours and details really work here – and, in a not-so-well-lit alley. This proves the Konica zUp 140 Super is worth a punt.

SalvEdge Boutique, 17 Avenue, Calgary Alberta
This was sans flash in somewhat low light. Not sure the flash would have mattered, but the Konica did the job.

It’s never easy to focus on a subject, or compose a photograph, when your zoom lens won’t move. So I tried my best to simply get shots – to see what this camera could do if it were not gibbled. Again, as aforementioned, the old Konica zUp 140 Super did well – when it worked as intended. It’s a pretty decent old 35mm point-and-shoot.  And the viewfinder is spot-on, every single time.  I can’t wait to run some black and white film through this sometimes temperamental friend.

Bunny in the winter snow.
This was a test shot, trying to get the zoom to obey. It did. So did the bunny.
Framed photo - Inglewood, Calgary Alberta
I take this shot with every camera I own. A framed photo on a brick wall in the Inglewood section of Calgary. Who is this “Lost Little Girl”?
Wall Art - Bowness, Calgary, Alberta
Another example of how this old Konica can capture colour and details – when the zoom is obedient.

The Konica zUp 140 Super takes very good photos – most of the time. It’s as light as a sandwich. It fits into your coat or jacket pocket like a bag of peanuts, or a cold beer. If there were no mechanical issues, this camera would get 5-stars. With the mechanical issues, it still gets 4. But it’s without a doubt a 5-star analog point-and-shoot, in optimum working order. And I mean that sincerely (my son would now concur, even with the wonky zoom lens). Needless to say, it’s found a permanent place in my swelling stable of cameras. If you stumble upon one of these at a church rummage sale, thrift store or flea market – and if it’s less than $50.00, with a properly functioning zoom, a case, and owners manual – buy it.  You will be both pleasantly surprised, and seldom disappointed.  If it breaks, so be it. But if it doesn’t, your return on investment will be worth the price you pay – as long as that price is on the frugal side, for plastic point-and-shoot film cameras from the 1990s.

Joe Greer’s Konica

Review of Zup 100

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7 thoughts on “Konica zUp 140 Super Review – Gratis Gratification”

  1. Family friends and relatives always used to bring my father their malfunctioning cameras to fix. From about the late 80s onwards so many of them were compact zoom types – the whole extending zoom concept is very vulnerable to damage and the links to zoom the viewfinder could be fiendishly complicated – I don’t think he would have put himself down as a fan of the type 🙂

    That said – a good set of results!

    1. No kidding on the temperamental compact zooms! I just picked up an Olympus Superzoom 120TC for free this weekend. Put some fresh lithiums in…. Worked for a few seconds, now the zoom is stuck. Must have gotten too fired up after being turned on for the first time in 20 years!

  2. My collection by chance stops at the mid eighties. This was an enjoyable article that made me think about going further forward in time as well as further back. I was left wondering how they fitted all that zoom lens in that little housing. Finally this served as a useful reminder to get back onto finishing fixing a late 70s Konica compact I have languishing in a box. Thanks.

    1. I love finding these for free, or “tuppence”. And they are plentiful. I just shot a roll on a Yashica point-and-shoot I can’t find one article or review on, anywhere. You never know what’s coming back, once developed. A big part of the fun with these old point-and-shoots. This Konica surprised me with it’s decent quality. Really!

  3. James, you got some great shots out of this temperamental camera. I really loved the abstract one, but all of those photos really set the scene for what I imagine Calgary to be. Glad to read your first piece for 35mmc! You wrote some lovely lines, including this, my favorite: “Being both dangerously sanguine, and never one to cave so easily, I ignored him and decided to find out for myself if we should keep, or pitch the “gratis” Konica.” Thanks for sharing, and I’ll be looking forward to reading and seeing more of your photos here!

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