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Konica Auto S3
Compact 35RF with fast sharp lens,
Nice VF and RF, advanced ambient light balancing auto GN Flash system, Shutter
The Plus Side
- Compact 35 Rangefinder with 38/1.8 lens, focusing
to 36" The six element four group lens is an
exceptional performer, called "one of the best semi-wide angle optics of its
speed we have ever tested" by Modern Photography. Amazingly, ALL apertures had
center values between 64 to 82 lines per mm.
- The S3 is one of the few cameras of its class with an
exposure lock, accomplished by depressing the shutter release slightly.
- Sophisticated ambient light / flash exposure system -- the most
advanced in the compact 35 RF class. Inserting
the flash shoe disconnects the metering system from the aperture and connects it to the
focusing, by virtue of the pin barely visible in the picture on the right --
underneath the edge of the accessory shoe. Set your S3 for the guide number of your
flash, ranging from 22 to 180 in feet, with a 2nd scale for Meter GN 7 to 56.
The killer part is the ability to balance
ambient and flash exposure. With the flash
attached, a green "synchro flash" bar moves up and down the viewfinder's
aperture scale as you focus. After you focus, change shutter speeds until the
meter needle matches the green bar. This ingeniously balances your ambient and flash
exposure. Quite a neat trick, the only rangefinder camera of any make that I can
think of with this feature.
- Nice viewfinder/rangefinder for this class of
camera. RF spot, framelines, and indicated f/stops are brighter and easier to see than the
average camera of this type. Effective baselength 14.2mm
- Shutter priority AE with chosen f/stops shown in finder
- Very Quiet leaf shutter.
- Close Focus 36"
- Large focusing lever makes for fast, easy focusing
- Large, convenient easy to use controls
- Black anodized finish
- Flash sync at all speeds, 1/8 to 1/500 plus B.
- Hot Shoe and PC flash connection
- CDS cell inside 49mm ring, making filter
- ASA range 25-800
- Meter Coupling Range: EV 4.7 (1/8th
at f/1.8) to EV 17 (1/500th at f/16) at ASA 100
- Lens caps serves as ON/OFF switch to save battery
- Hot Shoe and PC outlet
- Open camera back by pulling
up rewind lever
- Set the Shutter to B by
pushing in the chrome tab on the left side of the lens
- Threaded cable shutter
- Weight 17 oz, measurements 4 9/16" long
x 3" high x 2 5/16" deep 115mm x 77mm x 60mm
- So far as I know, the Konica S3 came in any color you
wanted, so long as it was black. The finish is black anodized, not black
You set the shutter speed, the camera sets the aperture. Guide number
flash system gives accurate flash exposures with manual flash units.
Set film speed with small lever on bottom of lens. Set GN number with larger
lever on bottom of lens. The GN number is indicated next to the focusing scale.
Konica S3 Accessories:
- Auto-Up 3, close-up device from 19.5" to 3 feet
- X-14 Konica Electronic Flash, Guide Number 45 with ASA 100 film
- X-20 Konica Electronic Flash, Guide Number 64 with ASA 100 film
- Konica Cube Flash for Flash Cubes -- a type of flash bulb
- 49mm Lens Hood
- Soft Case with strap
- NO Manual over-ride, Shutter priority AE only. Exposure compensation by adjusting film ASA setting.
- IF the battery dies, the
shutter still works, but your aperture is wide open at f/1.8.
- Not an easy to find camera, at
least in the US
- Designed for 1.35V EPX-675 Mercury Battery
The winning points of the S3 are the
nice RF/VF for this class of camera, its unique flash system, and its sharp lens.
The slightly wider 38 is preferable in my mind to the standard 40mm
lenses in this camera class. Though the body is very similar to the Minolta 7sII,
Konica has installed a superior RF/VF system and an important ambient light balancing GN
Flash system, at the cost of manual over-ride. This is one of the nicest compact
November 25, 2003
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