Konica Autoreflex T3n with Hexanon AR 50mm f1.7 & Manual
|In stock (1)
Firstly, a brief overview of Konica, who were responsible for dozens of photo industry 'firsts', and by rights should still be here dominating the current global photographic industry
Konica can trace its history back to 1873, pre-dating Kodak in the photography business by almost 15 years. Pharmacist and Konica's founder Rokusaburo Sugiura began selling photographic materials at the family's shop in Konishiya Rokubē; they were the biggest pharmacy trader in Tokyo at that time.
In 1878, Rokusaburō took over the family business and renamed it Rokuemon VI (Rokudaime Rokuemon). He gave the original pharmaceutical shop to his younger brother and launched a new photographic-focused shop, Konishi Honten (Konishi Main Shop) in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo.
In 1882, Konishi launched a project to produce photography related materials in Japan: those products were imported at that time. In 1902, Konishi began to sell the "Cherry Portable Camera", the first Japanese produced end-user oriented camera. This was a massive success, and many new, innovative products followed - Konishi Main Shop became the leading camera company in Japan. In 1921, the company became Konishiroku Honten.
Konishiroku released their first ground-breaking camera - the Konica 1 - in 1948, Japan's first post-war camera to be exported to the USA & Europe under the original manufacturers brand name. In 1949 Konica started producing their classic Pearl medium format-camera which later became the Omega, and in 1964 Konica's first Hexanon lenses were launched for the Omega, out-performing the previous German lenses that Konica had been supplying with their cameras.
But it was Konica's 35mm single lens reflex and compact cameras that pioneered their photography innovations. Among the dozens of Konica's World's First photographic developments were:
- the first auto-exposure cameras with focal-plane shutters
- the first shutter-priority automatic metering, many years before Canon and others
- the first cameras with fully interchangeable lens system
- the first Vertical Plane Shutters
- the first shutters to achieve 1/2000th sec
- the first autofocus reflex and compact cameras
- the first cameras with motorised wind-on & rewind
- the first cameras capable of metering at +1EV
- the first compact cameras with built-in zoom lens
The classic original Konica Autoreflex of 1965 used an external light meter cell to set the lens diaphragm automatically after the user selected a shutter speed. The Autoreflex T of 1968, improved this design into the World's first through-the-lens meter system, offering the same automation system. (The user could also set the exposure manually on these cameras). Other camera makers eventually adopted auto-exposure as well, but Konica was the first.
By 2003, Konica were also a major player in office printing, scanning and copying equipment, and they historically merged with Minolta to form Konica Minolta, which the World thought would create a powerhouse of photographic technology.
Instead, in 2006, Konica Minolta surprisingly and suddenly exited the photography business, closing down its photo imaging division, which, apart from cameras & lenses, was also a World-leading producer of colour film, colour paper & photo chemicals, having acquired Japan's Sakura Colour some years before, and digital minilab processing machines with professional film scanners.
The Konica Minolta digital SLR camera division, with all their patented technologies, was sold to Sony, and Dai Nippon (DNP) purchased Konica's Odawara factory site and continues to produce photo printers and paper under its own brand to this day, while Seapac acquired the Konica chemical factory.
The original Konica Autoreflex T3, launched to global acclaim at Photokina in Germany in 1973, followed its impressive predecessors, the T and T2, but was quieter and smoother. The wind lever was redesigned to be more comfortable, the wind stroke itself is smoother and quieter, as are both the shutter release and the shutter itself. The shutter release also has a noticeably shorter stroke than on the T and is easier to press. A hotshoe was added (lacking in the T and T2)
Just a year after the T3 came this model, the T3n, only indicated by the self-timer lever which is black instead of brushed steel, and the prism top which is flat instead of peaked. All other changes were made internally on the T3n, mainly electrical updates to make the meter more responsive, and a noticeably brighter viewfinder.
The Konica Autoreflex T3 features a full information viewfinder, showing both aperture and shutter speed, with a DoF preview lever integrated with the self-timer - both Konica World Firsts in the earlier T model
The T3s short travel shutter release was also a class-beater (the T and T2 had fairly long travel) with a meter switch/shutter lock surrounding it, an indicator to show if the shutter is cocked via a small window next to the shutter speed dial (showing red or green) and a switch to allow the shutter to be cocked without advancing the film, to give accurate intentional double exposures. A detachable hot shoe was also included, which could be removed by those who eschewed flash.
The Konica Autoreflex T3:
- Full information viewfinder with maximum and minimum aperture for fitted lens shown in viewfinder, along with an indicator of whether the lens is set to automatic or manual exposure
- the Konica AR lens mount has a short enough registration distance to allow m42 or Nikon lenses (manual exposure only)
- a fully mechanical shutter, the camera will operate without batteries at all speeds (manual exposure only)
- exposure lock built into the first 1mm of travel of the shutter release which tends to make compensating for backlighting much easier. A second exposure lock is built into the DoF preview
- Flash Synch is at a super fast (for its time) 1/125th sec, due to vertical travel shutter
- the built-in meter copes with films from 12 to 3200 ASA.
- the film pressure plate is the largest ever used in a film SLR, giving super-flat film
The Autoreflex T3 is an improved Autoreflex T / T2
- the depth-of-field (DOF) preview (aperture-stop-down) was moved to the self-timer lever (push lever towards lens for stop-down, push button on lever-hub and turn lever counter-clockwise to set the self-timer; the T2 DOF preview function is activated by a single function button located on the lower lens mount, activated by the photographer's right hand)
- added a Multiple Exposure (M.E.) switch integrated with the shutter-speed dial used in combination with the cocking-indicator (indicator green means shutter is cocked, red means it isn't), as well as a wider range of selectable film-speeds (ISO 12–3200)
- both the aperture and shutter speed setting are visible in the viewfinder, with improved brightness in this T3n model.
- Apart from the brighter viewfinder, the Autoreflex T3n (for "New") introduced many other minor enhancements, upgrading the earlier version's accessory hot-shoe with a fixed hot-shoe, adding a viewfinder-ocular shutter for improved meter accuracy.
The Autoreflex T and T2 established Konica 35mm film SLRs as major and important cameras, the T3 and T3n took this to a higher level. The T3 was a completely redesigned camera with a number of market-leading improvements. The T3/T3n are described as "buttery smooth" in operation by many users. They were the last of the all-metal, full-size Konica SLRs. Highly durable, much loved by leagues of professional photographers throughot the 1970s, many remain in use today despite having little or no service attention after over 30 or more years use.