Coinciding with their centenary in the early 70s, Konica fused two of their camera lines together. Since 1968 they had made a compact rangefinder camera called the C35. They had also made a series of fast fixed lens rangefinders in the ‘Auto S’ series. Now they produced a camera with the body of the C35 and the lens of the Auto S cameras. This was known as the C35 FD in Japan and the Konica Auto S3 elsewhere. The Auto S3 was finished in black anodised aluminium, while the C35 FD had a plain anodised finish
Not unlike that all too prolific tale of Captain Ahab chasing down the elusive white-whale, I found myself chasing down the Konica Auto S3, and boy did it end up being an interesting pursuit…
At the outset, I should note that I honestly can no longer fully recall how I came across the Konica Auto S3 as being ‘the one’ for me. I suppose it might have had something to do with a wonderful article by Mike Caputo I read on this very platform some time ago.
The Konica Hexar RF was pretty much the last analogue m-mount rangefinder I hadn’t shot with, and one of only a couple I hadn’t reviewed. It’s a camera I have been recommended a fair few times over the years I’ve been running this blog. But with it being entirely battery dependent and therefore often unfixable when it fails, I’ve been fairly hesitant to put my money down. Recently though, the opportunity came up to buy one, and at a price and in a condition that gave me enough comfort to take a punt. And I’m glad I did!
I was a frustrated teenage photographer, unable to afford the cameras that I saw in the window of Jessops in Belfast and in the pages of Amateur Photographer that I browsed – and occasionally bought – in the newsagents. This was the era of classic enthusiast film cameras – the Olympus OM system, the Pentax MX and ME, the Canon A series, the Minolta XD’s and my personal favourites, the Nikon FM and FE. Time passed and my enthusiasm passed with it, only rekindled much later in the era of the plastic, auto- everything camera.