Lens: Hexanon F2.8 38mm
Shutter: Leaf, Copal B Mat, 1/30~1/650 +B
Meter: Lens-mounted CDS
Battery: PX675 Mercury, substituted with LR44
Focal range: 3.3′ to infinity
Sold for 23500 yen/£49.90 (1974), $510 (2019)
Purchased for $15 (2019)
The 70's were a golden age for automated rangefinders with giants like Olympus dishing out the 35 series. The Konica C35 was a very popular consumer camera and its saturation is readily visible today, with used models going for ~$25. Black models are uncommon, and I actually like how they look, which is rare for my tastes. Later derivatives included the extolled Auto S2/S3/FD.
This "Flashmatic" model is a Japanese camera, with exports being labelled "automatic" instead. Now they're just taking the piss.
This is one adorable camera. Aluminium and leather makes it a pleasing camera to handle. Compact and light, the technical limitations are overcome with the role this subcompact fills. Using it is effortless. Load film, choose ISO, focus, and shoot. More reliable that auto-loading and auto-focus cameras at a smaller form. Just slap on a lens cap to conserve battery life and throw it in a bag. I'd be inclined to use 400 speed film for spontaneous indoor shots, times where you're unlikely to be luging around a full-size SLR. The film advance lever is crisp and the throw is short. The rangefinder is roomy and causes no impedance for glasses. The focus patch is a yellow square patch that's shockingly bright and quick to focus. Overall, just a joy to use.
Overexpose the ISO dial by 1 or 2 stops to compensate for the higher voltage battery. (1.35v to 1.55v) Compare the readings inside the viewfinder with a lighter meter app to dial in the right ISO.
There is no shutter release lock, so break that habit of advancing film after every shot.
I love this camera. Photos are well-exposed with stunning sharpness. 38mm is a great focal length, and I never felt like I had to excessively compensate for its wideness.
Throw your F's up in chat, the C35 locked up and died.
The C35 is among the smallest of compact rangefinders with sensible controls unlike the zone-focus Rollei 35. Its viewfinder is the brightest I've seen so far, and despite its mass-market status it has a brilliantly sharp lens. Its size, paired with automatic exposure filled a role in my fleeting collection that was unable to be filled with anything else I owned. So I got a second one. $17 wasn't bad, and the listing's description of "underexposes" meant that the camera was working as it should, and already film tested.
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