Sunday, July 7, 2013

Konica I Rangefinder is July's Skeletons From The Closet Camera!

Konica I 35mm Rangefinder Camera with Hexar 50mm f3.5 Collapsible Lens
I had so much fun with last month's SFTC camera, the Konica Auto S1.6, I decided to make it a Konica summer. So, July's camera is an older brother to the S1.6, a Konica I 35mm rangefinder with 50mm f3.5 collapsible Hexar lens.
This is a fairly late example of the first Konica-named camera, most likely produced in 1950. It features the later Konirapid-S shutter, with speeds up to 1/500 second. The Konica I has the rangefinder and viewfinder integrated into one, which is handy, compared to say a Barnack Leica, where they're separate (except in the IIIG).
This is a beautiful little camera, and everything works like clockwork. Very smooth, precise, quiet. It's also quite small compared to the S1.6, mainly due to the f3.5 lens and collapsible design. It does not have lugs for a strap of any kind, which is a drawback in my book. I presume it came with some sort of half-case with strap, but that's no longer around.
I have not shot this camera in years. I bought it because I really like old Japanese rangefinders and you don't see these particular ones every day. That's not to say it's rare; Konica sold hundreds of thousands of them. In any case, I shot a roll or two through it, and put it away. I also think I was trying to preserve the condition of the camera - it seems like the metal case would be easy to scratch. But, it's time to give it another try.
There's still a full roll of C41 black and white Kodak film in it, unexposed. I'll take my chances with that old film. I don't think I've ever seen that particular film degrade over time. But, I suppose there's some risk. Cross your fingers for me.