I’ve been collecting vintage lenses and film cameras now for the past year or so. Not that I’ve never shot film before, I got my first 35mm camera back in the late 1990s (a Centon 100 kit) — I couldn’t afford the more popular brands at the time. After that, my love for photography grew over the years and of course, I moved into digital. Mainly as a Canon shooter starting with the 350D through to the 5DS and in more recent years due to wanting something a bit smaller I started with the Fuji XT series.
After seeing a random video on YouTube about the radioactive properties of some old lenses this got me interested and I found myself looking into old lenses and cameras more and more. The first vintage lens I purchased was the Asahi Pentax 55mm 1.8. I got an adapter, attached it to my Fuji XT30, and off I went. I was surprised at how good the quality of the images was and of course how affordable the older lenses are. Soon I started looking at cameras and doing some research online to see which ones were worth looking at. I went through the usual “Top 10 film camera” lists to get an idea of what is considered a good camera.
I then started going through eBay and Facebook marketplace to see what I could find; this is when I realised some of these top 10 cameras had quite a high price tag on them due to the regained popularity. I found a guy just a few houses away from me selling a box full of old lenses and a few cameras. I went and had a look and managed to get the lot for £30, once home, and after a better inspection of what I’d got I realised I’d managed to grab a bargain. Inside the box was an Olympus OM10 with a 50mm lens, an Olympus trip 35, Fujinon, Yashica, and other lenses. After this, I was regularly on eBay searching for my next camera which brings me to one of my most recent purchases and the topic of this article, the Konica Auto S3.
I love the old Konica and Minolta rangefinders. I’ve got the Minolta Hi-Matic E which is a fantastic and nice-looking camera, Hi-Matic F, Hi-Matic 7 and now Lusting after the 7S II. I’d love to get the Minolta CLE but spending £700+ is way out of my budget, but maybe one day! On the Konica side, I have the Auto and now the Auto S3.
When the S3 arrived, it needed new light seals and lens cleaning so I got my tools out and fixed these small issues. Not only do I like to collect the old lenses and cameras but I also enjoy fixing them, in fact, if there’s nothing wrong with them at all when they arrive with me, I’m slightly disappointed…weird!
In my opinion, the S3 is a nice-looking camera with its bright orange S on the front which stands out against its all-black body and of course, it has a fantastic Hexanon 38mm F1.8 lens attached to it. The viewfinder is clear and bright but the actual camera is much smaller than I’d imagined, about the same size as the Minolta Hi-Matic F. It’s a shutter priority camera so you set the shutter speed and the aperture is set automatically by the camera.
I compared the built-in light meter to my digital fuji and to my surprise it was extremely accurate. To be on the safe side I always like to over-expose my film usually by 1 stop, I’d rather have a slightly over-exposed film than under. But because the light meter on the S3 seemed to be accurate and the film speed was 160 I set the ISO on the S3 to 100. Due to the lack of manual controls on the S3 this is the only way to alter the exposure.
Now that I had my S3 ready to shoot, I needed some film!
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In recent months 35mm film has been somewhat hard to get hold of, especially colour film. I looked online but couldn’t find any Kodak in stock anywhere, this is when I came across a new film called Silberra colour 160 which is sold by a Russian company. It is available in the UK but of course it was also out of stock. I looked the company up and found that it can actually be ordered directly from them in Russia. I ordered three rolls and waited for them to arrive. Within just over a week, I had it.
I loaded the film up and waited for a sunny day, which in the UK can be a long wait. A few days went by and, at last sunshine! So, I headed out to my home city of Norwich.
Norwich is a beautiful city with lots of history, one of its main features being its cathedral which dates back to the 12th century and is situated near to the river Wensum which has a lovely paved area to walk along, so I strolled along the riverside and got my 5 shots for this article.
After I’d shot all 36 frames, I sent it off to be developed, unfortunately the only developer in my area is one of a chain and the quality is shocking to say the least.
After a week I got my negatives back along with the scans and I’m delighted with the results.
I love the colours of the Silberra film stock and the exposer, sharpness from the Konica Auto S3 is outstanding.
I’ve just loaded it up with its second roll which is Kodak Gold and can’t wait to get out again…now, where’s that sun got to?
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