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View from bottom. ASA setting's on lens barrel
© 2002 by art silvermoon / all rights reserved
Konica Auto S3, the black beauty


Star of 70's Compacts! >> 中文
I first read about this acclaimed RF in cameraquest.com. I was impressed, but hadn't been able to find one here in Taiwan, for many months. Therefore, when finally found an offer on the net*, I just got to go for it.

Frankly, I was kind of nervous to meet the actual item, but right at seeing it I knew I love it. The Konica S3 is mini, classy & cool in black. Well-built body feels solid in my hand. Now I can hardly wait to test shooting with my new friend S3!
(first written 2002)

UPDATE: Back in 1968, the original Konica C35 was anounced to the popular demand for small cameras with automatic exposure. Obviously a big hit that was. However, enthusiasts still asked for more--better lens, more control, and perhaps a more professional look... In 1973, Konica Auto S3 (or C35 FD in domestic market) finally came out as the answer, and a star was born! Compared with Konica Auto S2(anounced 1965. 725.6g--great camera /tank), Auto S3 is tiny. However, there's little compromise made in terms of functions & quality. With a beautiful f/1.8 38mm Hexanon lens, a sophisticated ambient light / flash exposure system, and an all-black metal housing, it's not only the proud flagship of the C35 series, but also one of the best Japanese rangefinders ever made, as generally regarded.

Auto S3 offers shutter-priority AE Only. No manual over-ride but don't be discouraged so fast. User can easily make exposure compensation by adjusting ASA (or if you prefer, you can lock AE on something dark / bright then re-compose.) Besides, shutter-priority is just natural for Konica SLR users like me :-). Viewfinder is clear with needle indicating f/stops, over / under exposure warning zone, and a bright line frame with parallax compensation mark. It's a pity that the lens is partly visible in the viewfinder. This means when adding a filter or particularly a lens hood, the VF would be further blocked. Anyway, after a while one just gets used to it.

The image quality from Konica Auto S3 is excellent. One can expect high resolution from edge to edge, with natural color & smooth bokeh that many modern lens seem to have traded for sharpness. Being a 38mm lens, the distortion is there but well under control. Subtle rendering shows good contrast with plenty of detail. To sum up, it's one of the best! (updated 2004/01)

NEWS: A little accident... my Auto S3 didn't see much use, since I have aquired quite a few other little compacts off the net. A couple of months ago my S3 fell out of my bag and hit the floor, from about one foot high. The rangefinder became a bit off so it was sent for adjustment. Thank heaven now it works OK again :-)

Entering 2004, here's the New Album . Enjoy!

[ chinese text ]

這就是著名的Konica Auto S3*,我的第一部rangefinder相機。

當初在cameraquest首次讀到相關推介,便留下深刻的印象。但是Auto S3可不好找,尋尋覓覓數個月之後,才在台北偶然購得。這也是生平第一次跟網友約見買東西呢!還記得當時坐在捷運車廂裡,心中忐忑不安,擔心不如預期。然而在看到相機的剎那,所有疑慮頓時消失:Auto S3真是太酷了!

自從C35(anounced 1968. 360g)開始,Konica滿足消費者對小相機的偏好, 但在機能與畫質方面依然不肯妥協。 相較於前輩Auto S2 (anounced 1965. 725.6g)的大塊頭,Konica Auto S3顯得異常小巧, 然而它不僅是Konica C35系列中的頂級旗艦, 也是公認的日系RF相機傑作。 除了優秀的大光圈鏡頭之外,我特別喜歡它的外型設計, 紅白相間的名字與眾不同,鐫刻在霧黑的機身上,非常耐看!

38mm f/1.8 Hexanon 鏡頭,閃耀著燦爛的金色光輝,一看便知決非泛泛之輩。 實拍結果也印證它的實力,成像反差適中、層次豐富、散景柔軟 ,和時下流行的硬調不同,色彩則是忠實自然的描寫。整體而言,表現可圈可點。至於操作上,Auto S3的金屬機件手感良好,過片流暢,快門也很安靜。觀景窗堪稱清晰,具備指針式的光圈F值資訊和明亮邊框,可惜右下角明顯看得到鏡頭前緣,如果再加裝配件(轉接濾鏡或遮光罩)將影響視線。話說回來,這和疊影式對焦一樣,新手會需要一點時間適應,之後就不成問題了。倒是我本身近視又散光, 有時真希望那對焦方塊能大一點。 值得一提的是,Konica在對焦環附了一個大型推桿, 自拍器也重新設計, 都比先前的C35更易於操作。 快門先決的曝光模式,對Konica愛用者來說再熟悉不過了, 儘管今日光圈先決已成為主流, 做為一部配備廣角鏡、適合抓拍的RF, Auto S3的快門先決是很合理的。


Silvermoon, 2003/11

*Auto S3於1973年發表。日本內銷版名為Konica C35 FD。
:: Konica Official Page
:: CameraQuest on Konica Auto S3
:: Review by Karen Nakamura



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All works are protected under copyright laws.


i Technical Info:
Lens: Konica Hexanon 38mm f/1.8
six element four group lens
Shutter Speed: 1/8-1/500 sec plus B
Focusing Type: split image
Minimum focusing: 0.9 m
Filter size: 49mm
Exposure control: Shutter priority AE
ASA 25-800
Powered by One 1.3v mercury (px675)
115mm x 77mm x 60mm , 410g


-COOL THINGS ABOUT Auto S3-

  • It looks really cool!
  • Solid, while not heavy--excellent build quality
  • Ultra compact design
  • AE Lock by half depressing the shutter release
  • Quiet in operation
  • 38mm f/1.8 Hexanon lens--one of the best!
    (2003/11/10)