According to Cameraquest, The Konica Auto-reflex is a full- and half-frame 35mm SLR camera made in 1966. It was the world’s first focal plane shutter 35mm SLR with automatic exposure and interchangeable lenses… Johnny Sisson brought it to my attention, and after a search in one of the Facebook camera groups, I was offered one for sale by a lovely chap named Tom Warland. NOTE: This camera is the Konica Auto-Reflex. The one with the hyphen in its name. The other non- hyphen Konica Auto Reflex cameras are full-frame only.
The camera is solid, heavy, and tank-like in construction, and rather beautiful, coming from an era where skimping on build quality wasn’t a thing. 2020’s lockdown made me want to save money on shooting film, so this really appealed to me, allowing me to be less precious with my shooting and double the shots from each roll.
By flicking a switch on the top plate you can transition from full to half frame, an action that moves a set of blinds in and out to change the size of the exposed area on the film plane. Apparently, you can switch between full and half frame mid-roll if you want, but I’ve never tried it. I like a touch of automation and the camera’s shutter priority mode really appealed to me. By dialing in your selected shutter speed and looking through the viewfinder, you will see an indicator telling you which aperture to use. My camera came with a Konica Hexanon AR 52mm f/1.8 lens, and the following test shots were taken with Fujifilm NEOPAN 400 on a sunny day in Brighton.
I’m really pleased with this camera. it’s given me the level of shooting control I desired with a half-frame camera, something I don’t get from my Canon Sureshot Multi-Tele or my Olympus Pen EE-2 (or the bastard BelOMO Agat 18k I bought 3 years ago and still haven’t managed to load with a roll because it’s a badly made but pretty piece of plastic crap, but that’s another story)
Enjoy the shots!
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This series is produced in conjunction with Hamish Gill's excellent 35mmc.com. Head on over to read the other half of these stories there.
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