Konica I rangefinder user manual

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by mike_hinkleman, Mar 8, 2007.

  1. I only recently purchased a Konica I rangefinder in what looks like ex
    condition. hardly a mark on it and the shutter speeds sound ok.

    i don't know much else about the camera usage and don't have a manual and could
    not locate one on some of the sites that have older manual downloads. one for a
    konica iii or iiia but nothing else so far.

    anybody have a link to a site that has these old konica rangefinder manuals?

    thank you

    Mike Hinkleman
  2. Mike that's going to be tough. It's a real old camera that is actually very good, I have two of them. If you have some specific questions I would be more than happy to answer them.
  3. Dustin McAmera

    Dustin McAmera Yorkshire, mostly on film.

    I had a look at the Japan Konica Minolta site (the Europe site just says 'Dear our customers, we don't sell cameras any more'). The Japan site has pictures and very basic details of old models for both brands, but no manuals for anything but the recent digital stuff. Here's the Konica I.
  4. Yo will find this information very valuable


    I have one with an Hexanon lens and I find it a great camera for color. An excelent an beautiful camera.
  5. michael harris,

    there are quite a few things i don't know. i think i can get the film loaded ok. but how do you zero the film counter or is it automatic.

    how do you get the lens to come out and lock. is there a release button or more as with a leica screw mount lens.

    do you need to set aperture before shutter speed or doesn't it matter.

    the button on the back near viewfinder. that is just a release to allow winding the film, correct?

    the shutter release is on the lens itself, right.

    and is there a self-timer and how does it work.

    the case door is opened by rotating the know on the bottom of the case. the door on mine seems to not be completely tight -- it moves slightly - but otherwise looks sealed.

    how do you get the film out, back into the cartridge, is there a release to wind in back in.

    thanks michael

    mike hinkleman
  6. Hi Mike, Let me go through them one at a time:

    To zero the frame counter you just turn counter to zero after the film is loaded. You'll see a little bump on the wheel to help you do that. After that it counts on it's own as you advance the film.

    For the lens, there is no release. On the lens barrel you should notice some arrows to guide you. Your camera may be a little stiff. You pull it out and twist in the direction of the arrow.

    Yes the button is just for film advance. When I got the two of mine I had to clean that a little bit.

    No self timer on the model I

    On all of the Konica Is I've worked on the door had been loose. The chrome side plate that the door closes in seems to get bent rather easy. A little tweeking could fix that.

    On the bottom, opposite of the door opening knob is a little chrome button to release the film. To rewind you just use the left know to wind on, the one above the film can.

    Hope that helps some. If you have any problems I've fixed two of these and they are very very easy to work on.

    You can set the aperture and shutter in any combination.
  7. Michael

    Thank you so much! i just got off the phone to konica-minolta customer support. they were good enough to spend quite a bit of time searching their archives and all they could come up with is the www.mediajoy.com site link to an english description of the camera.

    I own a few leicas also - haven't used them in a while, one has horrible myriad of shutter curtain holes and that i haven't got around to fixing or trying to fix as yet (with LET), suggested on a leica forum -- but i find the konica i very comfortable in my hands. i especially like that there can be no curtain holes.

    the camera is beautifully made, compared to any cameras i've seen from the same era and there were many.

    what film do you normally use with your konica's?

    thanks again. i really appreciate the time you took to answer my long list of unknowns.

    mike hinkleman
    seattle and utah
  8. Hi Mike, the mediajoy.com site is not just a description, is a step-by-step guide to use the camera, follow the [NEXT] links, it will answer all your questions
  9. Start off at www.butkus.org, look around the site, and you will find lots of sources of free manuals for older cameras. Enjoy.
  10. Hi,

    I'm afraid you will likely never find a user manual for a Konica "I". It's not much to look at, anyway. It's all printed on a single, two-sided page that folds out. I've got one, but no way to scan it and am almost reluctant to even unfold it for fear of damaging it. Craig Camera had an original for sale some time ago, but wanted $50 for it.

    The usage descriptions you've gotten are quite good and should get you started. It's a pretty basic camera.

    A later version of the original Konica was fitted with a Hexanon 50mm f2.8 lens. It also has a slightly improved rangefinder. The earlier version has a Hexar 50/3.5 lens. There were version of both with and without flash synch (Konirapid-S and Konirapid shutters).

    Of course, the camera is just labelled "Konica" on top... there is no "I". The "I" was added later when subsequent models were offered. Some collectors try to break it down between prototypes, Konica "Standard" and then Konica "I". I think there are just too many versions to do this, and tend to lump them all under the heading Konica "I".

    Many of the earliest Konica "I" are engraved with "Made In Occupied Japan" right on top, perhaps up to around the 10,000th unit or so. There are even earlier ones without any MIOJ markings at all, but they are sort of considered protoypes. Later ones had MIOJ stamped into the leatherette on the bottom. Some were apparently in stock, but lacked the MIOJ stamping when the order came down, because copies show up occasionally with a bit of leatherette cut away so that another piece with MIOJ stamped on it can be inserted. By around the time of the later version with the Hexanon lens, the requirement to imprint MIOJ was discontinued. I'd guess that happened at about 50,000-60,000th unit.

    Approximately the first 20,000 had "Konishiroku" embossed into the leatherette on the back, large and shaped in an arch. Some lenses have distance markings in meters, but most in feet. Some Japanese market cameras have Japanese characters indicating open and close at the door release on the bottom. Most export market cameras have "O" and "C". There were a small number made for and engraved "U.S. Signal Corps".

    Counting all the variations, there were a bit over 80,000 of Konica "I" made. The serial numbers of this model are believed to be pretty sequential and to give a fairly accurate count (the same is not true of some later Konica models).

    Yes, they are decent, rugged little cameras, well built and very solid feeling. They might appear crude in comparison with later RF cameras, but are actually pretty refined for their day.

    The Konica "Precison 35mm Camera" as Konishiroku calls it in the manual, was based upon a design that was put together before WWII, probably as early as 1936, called the Rubikon. This was clearly beign developed to compete with the popular Leica models. It's also seen as Rubicon, with a "c" instead of a "k", which is actually a specializd X-ray camera. The 35mm film camera development was halted during the war years, when the Japanese War Ministry orderd a stop to any production not directly related to the war effort. The X-ray camera was useful to the effort, so the Rubicon is a little more common than the Rubikon, although both are extremely rare. The X-ray camera has a reverse bayonet that mounted a fixed-focus 50mm Luminon lens, and has no shutter, just a dark slide. The 35mm film Rubikon was fitted with a variety of leaf shutters and lenses, as sort of a test-bed.

    After WWII, the during the occupation, the shelved Rubikon project was discovered and thought to be just the sort of thing the reconstruction effort needed to help build the country's economy back up. So some Rubicon were built with an eye toward export, but were quickly renamed "Konica".

    One good thing that came out of the war, Japanese manufacturers certainly learned how to export things and market to the world! Before WWII, Konishiroku was marketing a large number of products within Japan under a confusing array of names and was little known outside of the country, despite being a bit older than Kodak and a huge photographic company in their own right. After the war, perhaps as a result of the reconstruction effort, there was a consolidation to help make the remaining names more recognizable to customers outside Japan. The "Konica" name itself came out of that, as did Hexanon. Hexar survived from earlier usage. As did Pearl. Sakura was relegated to film, binoculars and a few photo accessories. Luminon, Pegasus, Rox, Optor, Apus, Lily, Idea, Rokuoh-Sha and other brand and product names that had been used and were well recognized inside Japan just sort of disappeared as the company turned it's eforts toward export.

    The basic chassis of the Konica "I" continued to be used in more and more sophisticated and refined cameras: Konica II, IIA, IIB, III (several versions), IIIA and IIIM. Beginning with the the IIA and continuing up through the IIIA, many cameras were fitted with a Hexanon 48mm f2.0 lens that was reviewed in its day as "one of five the best lenses ever made by anyone, anywhere, anytime." The Konica I and II series have collapsible lenses, Leica-like and as seen on your camera, except for the IIA.

    All told, the same basic chassis is believed to have been used in a total of around 500,000 cameras, over those various models. Pretty successful considering where the design originated. The Konica S in 1960 marked the final, complete replacement of the earlier chassis that had been offered in variations and models from about 1947 on.

    If you have any specific problems operating the camera, stop by http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/konicaslr/ Although that discussion group is essentially for the Konica SLRs, many of the users and collectors there also have Konica I, use them and I'm sure would be happy to help.

  11. I would just like to say that I appreciate the wealth of information here. I have been trying for a while to get some information on this camera. My grandfather owned one that he bought new in Japan when he was stationed there after WWII, after he died the camera was given to me by my grandmother. I wanted to know a little more about it. Does anyone know where I can find a reputable shop in the Atlanta area that might be able to fix it. There is only one problem with it, the back lense of the viewfinder is missing making it very difficult to use. Does anyone know what this camera might be worth to a collector? Not that I would ever sell it but it would be nice to know.

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