Konica Heads For Shady Pines

16th April, 2011

One of Konica's most popular efforts
Photo -Andrew Stark (and Konica)

Me and Konica, well, we've been a street duo now for close on 30 years. Everything I've seen out there on the crumbling bitumen she's seen too and occasionally, just every now and then you understand, we've combined to nab a half decent image or two. Now Konica, or TC as she's colloquially known has no fancy airs and graces, you know there's no motor wind, the light metering consists of a moistened finger held up to the breeze, a whole bunch of electrical tape has sutured up a cracked base for neigh on a decade now - yeah, it's fair to say we've faced our challenges ... but lately good readers it saddens me to report that things have deteriorated markedly. TC has got so gunged up she now struggles to see the light. And lets face it, an SLR who don't suck up light is gunna have to have a hell of a personality to survive. In recent months I've had to uprate TRI X to 2 stops just to get a bright sunny day response and yeah, we're talking about Aussie light here, the harshest most melanomic sunshine anywhere on the globe.
Show some compassion man and use a flash I hear you shout, well yes, despite hating flash photography almost as much as I despise State Rail Transit Officers, I would gladly countenance that option if it were not for the busted hot shoe and the dead as Dickens side socket.  

TC looking sprightly in her youth
This is a most difficult time and yet I need to glance, perhaps a little selfishly toward the future.
I'm going to need a ----, oh, this is hard to write.
I'm going to need a replacement.

Having no real finances and even less idea, I'm asking you knowledgeable folk out there, what do you suggest ? It needs be a film camera and if I do decide to go with the flow and steal a Leica - which model would you suggest ? Or perhaps a Contax is preferable, I don't know ... but at this difficult time, I do know with all my heart, that you're feedback would be greatly appreciated.      


David Axelbank said...

My favorite brand of cameras too! And the first camera I used was the Autoreflex T which belonged to my Dad. What about a cheap Auto S3? Wonderful things.

Andrew Stark said...

Yeah David I agree, but the problem is the lenses are totally gunged up too and I'm feeling like maybe this is the point at which I need to break free of my Konica dependance .. maybe I'm wrong, oh Lord I'm not sure ... someone please give me the strength to make the right decision ...

John Goldsmith said...

I'm sorry to hear that, Andrew. When the Aussie light doesn't shine through, there is certainly a problem at mission control. I'm not sure what I can offer but your Konica looks a hell of a lot like my Minolta X700. Last I looked they can be found for cheap at swap meets and beyond. But beyond brand loyalty, that's about all I can offer, unless you want to buy Fuji X100. Kidding. Kidding

Good luck.

Paul said...

nikon FM2 would be a good way to go, has everything you would need and pretty cheap these days. I did use a Leica M2 for a while but sold it to pay some bills and buy film.
good luck Andrew

mike peters said...

It's always tragic when a trusted friend gives up the ghost.

Get yourself an old nikon f2, plain prism, much excellent focussing and 100% view. Or, if you like a bit of automation, an f3 is the way.

If you like a leica, R models go for a song these days and the 50 summicron is pretty hard to beat. I'd avoid contax though, had lots of problems with all of the various bodies that I owned by them.

James Morris said...

I had a Nikon FM -- good, solid machine which will absolutely get the job done and also handy as a hammer.

I hear great things about the OM series, but haven't tried one. Check out Nancy Chaung if you don't know her already.

Do you mean a Leica rangefinder or SLR? A user M2 and an off-brand lens (Minolta, Konica, Voigtlander etc.) could probably be found for around $1100.

Semilog said...

Start with the lens.

Nikon: If you shoot with a 35, the Nikon offerings are mediocre (and I do say that having shot entirely Nikon for 20 years, mainly with the 35/2 AIS which is the best of the bunch). If you shoot with a 50, the Series E 50/1.8 is cheapcheapcheap and really nice. Much nicer than any of their f/2 or f/1.4 lenses. Put the E/1.8 and you'll be happy. The best Nikon street lenses are the 28's, both the f/2 and f/2.8 AIS's are terrific. The bodies to consider are the FE, FM, FE2, FM2, F2, and F3. FWIW, none of these cameras has a quiet shutter.

An even better alternative for running a 50 might be a nice old Pentax/Honeywell Spotmatic, or a K1000, and a screw-mount Takumar. Glorious bokeh at reasonable price. An even better body is the MX. Small, quiet, rock-solid.

I'm not an Olympus fan. The cameras have great finders but I'm not a fan of the shutter speed dial.

I shoot a Leica (M6), and I gotta say, if you've been shooting with an SLR it's a big change. If you need a built-in meter get an M6. If you don't, the M4-2 and M4-P are the best values. The best-value M-mount 50's, by far, are the generation 3 Summicron and the Zeiss ZM Planar. Anyone who says anything bad about either of these lenses is not primarily interested in taking photographs.

Andrew Stark said...

Thanks guys, I appreciate the input.

Phill said...

Mate have you tried Gumtree?

Hundreds of cameras on there. It's like ebay used to be; a bit downhome and hokey:


Anonymous said...

Hi Andrew,

If you opt for an SLR instead of an RF try out the Nikon F3 preferably HP if you wear glasses, it is a great camera. One con is that it needs battery, unlike the FM2, but the viewfinder is way better, and the shutter noise much smoother. Also with Nikon you have access to lots of old Ai/Ais (i.e. manual) primes, which are still compatible with the last DSLRs. Not sure you'll have that choice of second hand lenses with other brands.

Blake Andrews said...

I'm surprised no one's made the obvious suggestion. Stay with Konica and buy a used Hexar AF. Best street shooter ever made.

Pierre BOYER said...

Konica was my first reflex camera,
Someone stole it in my car...
Congratulation for your work !
Greetings from France,