Konica Auto-Reflex focusing screen

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by sellingforfree, Jun 25, 2019.

  1. I have had for a while now a Konica Auto-Reflex. I love the way it looks and feels, the lens that came with it, and that it can do full and half frame photos. But no matter how hard I try, I cannot get in-focus photos when the lens is wide open. I blame the ground glass ring it uses, rather than a split prism. I would like to replace the screen, but as the camera is somewhat rare, I have been unable to find a replacement. Does anyone know a place that could replace it, or a source for a replacement screen? Thank you
  2. Are you certain that it's the type of screen, and not a calibration issue? There are typically shims for coarse adjustment, and fine adjustment is usually done by adjusting the tilt of the mirror. The mirror may rest on adjustable stop that's made of a plastic that has decomposed.

    Try using some sort of focus magnifier with a tripod and focusing target, and see if this is a usability problem or a calibration problem.
    sellingforfree likes this.
  3. that’s good advice, thank you. I don’t know how much I can do myself but I’ll look into it. I would at some point like a split prism, but a sharp camera is what I really want. When I take a picture that I think I have pin sharp in the viewfinder, my negative will be just off.
  4. Does the distance scale on the lens agree with the actual subject distance?
  5. You might need a corrective diopter for the eyepiece: not easy to find nowadays (the thread diameter is just a tiny bit different from Nikon F size). With modern electronic cameras, do you need to adjust their diopter dial very far to see the screen clearly? If so, this could be your issue. If not:

    The Konica Auto-Reflex series does not have user-changeable focus screens. They could be changed from microprism to split image (or vice versa) at factory service centers for a small fee back in the day, but those days were forty years ago. Today, you'll be lucky to find an exact-size split-image replacement (and if you do, most repair techs will charge fees much higher than the value of most SLR cameras).

    My suggestion would be to buy another Auto-Reflex body on eBay that already has the split image screen installed. These were not common on the original Auto-Reflex, which is too expensive/collectible now anyway. But for day-to-day use, when you don't think you'll need the half-frame feature, later models are plentiful, fairly cheap, just as well made, plus have improved TTL metering and softer shutter release feel. Most likely models to come with a split image screen were the circa-1975 Auto Reflex T3 and A3: if the seller doesn't mention what type of screen in the listing, ask them. Bodies in good working condition with no lens sell for very little: usually under $50. With a Hexanon 50mm f/1.8 or f/1.7, perhaps $10 to $15 more. If you don't care about the meter working, bodies go for giveaway prices.

    Owning a second body would also help determine whether your early Auto Reflex or lens has a mechanical issue causing focus problems. If the lens makes clear pictures on the newer body, your early body needs calibration. If the pictures are still too soft using the newer body, your lens might have a loose element. If you buy a T3 or A3 with spare 50mm lens, that would give you another comparison reference.
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  6. Maybe look for an Autoreflec TC? It's the unloved member of the konica family, I think Cosina built it? Anyway, they tend to be rather cheaper. A lot more durable than the plastic top and bottom plates suggest, it's a nice, lightweight alternative to the bigger autoreflex cameras. If you're lucky, it comes with the 40mm f1.8, which is stunningly sharp. A nice lightweight combination that you can comfortably carry all day. Has a split image, full manual, ae, but no half frame option.
  7. The Konica TC is a cute, compact supplementary camera for AutoReflex enthusiasts: all of them come with split image screens, and the 40mm f/1.8 is indeed a great performer for very little money. But it may not suffice as a primary camera due to its slow speed limitation: the shutter only goes down to 1/8th second. Not a problem if you mostly shoot outdoor daylight scenes, but can be restrictive for tripod work with small apertures and slower speed films. It would make a great travel body: much lighter weight and smaller size than the more traditional T3 or A3. At current prices, the TC is a steal: usually worth buying just to get the 40mm lens.
  8. I have a Konica AutoReflex T on which I had to adjust the mirror tilt like John Schriver suggested.
    But before doing that, you should check what exactly is the issue :
    With your lens focused blocked on infinity take landscape pictures full open and with several closed diaphs, and compare the sharpness of far away details.
    If the taken pictures are sharp even full open, you will have to adjust the mirror so that on the groundglass they are equally sharp.
    But if the taken pictures are NOT sharp, then you have a problem with the "register" of the lens to solve first (the register is the exact distance from the lens to the film plane not to the groundglass !).
    I had a Nikkormat that seemed to focus not correctly, and actually, it was the lens that needed correction of its "shimming".After doing it the pictures were sharp both on the film and the groundglass.
    I had also to adjust the mirror tilt of an Asahi Pentax and an Olympus Pen FT, and either I am a specialist ot these adjustments or they are relatively easy.(I guess they are)

    Anyway, FIRST make sure that your viewfinder is TOP corrected for your sight !


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