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
- 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.
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.
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.
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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