Konica III-a

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by guy_lyons_ii|1, Jul 21, 2005.

  1. I was stopping by a local thrift shop as I usually do and I noticed a
    very old looking brown camera case with "konica" over the front. I
    figured it was just the case or something but inside was a perfect
    condition konica iii-a. the thing is in the flawless condition..except
    for one thing. it was obviously dropped and has a dent on the outer
    rim of the lens. it didn't hurt anything from what i can tell and the
    lens is beautiful. but obviously i cant screw in any of the filters it
    takes. what im interested in is if there is a safe way to either bent
    the dent out or something. has anyone had this happen? and if anyones
    has any info on this camera please let me know as i only know a small
    amount of its history. thanks
     
  2. First off, I would be wary of a camera that had been dropped. Espcially one with a dent on the rim, because it probably has knocked the lens off kilter. There are tools to help you correct a dinged filter ring. They're effective, although they take time.

    Anyway, the Konica III is a great camera. It uses a double-stroke film advance (much like the prewar Zeiss Ikon Tenax cameras) to both advance the film and tension the shutter.

    It uses a unique six-blade flash-syncrhonized leaf shutter with speeds from 1/500 to 1 + B. The lens is coated, though off-hand I can't recall the focal length. Some oddball size, like 48mm or something.

    It's a heavy beast of a camera but gives excellent results. The rangefinder is very easy to use on this camera, and focusing is via either a small tab or tab-like protrusion on the lens.

    The shutter is very quiet, and everything about this camera is simply wonderful, except for the extreme weight.

    I believe this camera hails from the 1950s.
     
  3. I have a Konica III, which is the predecessor of the IIIA. The Konica III is a beautifully crafted and elegant fixed-lens rangefinder. It has a superb 48mm f/2.0 lens and a really quiet shutter. The 48/2 lens is also found on some IIIAs; others have a 50/1.8 lens. What makes the Konica III series unique is the double-stroke lever on the left side of the camera. After firing the shutter, you advance the lever twice; once to cock the shutter and again to advance the film. This mode of operation is remarkably fast, once you get used to it. After shooting 30+ rolls with it, I've found this film advance method no slower than the standard lever advance. Did I mention that the Konica III has an extraordinary lens?
    For a more detailed write-up on the IIIA, you should visit Dante Stella's website.
     
  4. As Mike E. implies, it might be worth trying some film through the camera to see how everything else works before you tackle the dent in the lens mount. If it all seems ok otherwise, I think that is a pretty common repair which could be done by about any competent repair person. I've seen some instructions on line for doing this sort of thing using a wooden form to beat out the dent, but I'd be nervous about conducting that sort of operation myself. I see that Micro-Tools also has a tool specifically designed for this problem. Hope you'll be able to show us some pictures from that very interesting camera.
     
  5. Micro tools lists a gadget that can do a good job of straightening bent lens bezels. I think it is also still advertised in the Bug by "Victor". It ain't cheap but it works and if you deal with a lot of cameras it will be worth your while.
     
  6. Guy,

    Buy the camera with a return priviledge if possible. Send it to Greg Weber for a repair estimate. His website is www.webercamera.com . If it is damaged, and can be repaired, he is the best person to do the job. He specializes in Konica. The Konica IIIA, when working properly, is an absolute jewel.

    Most IIIA's sold in USA had the 50/1.8 lens, but it also came with the 48/2.0 lens. No other lenses were available for it, but both are superb. It is a fixed lens camera. If you prefer using the 50mm focal length, you will be in heavenly bliss. Once you gaze through the 1:1 viewfinder, you will be hooked on this camera. The combination rangefinder/viewfinder is stunningly bright and clear, and offers moving framelines for parallax correction. I have compared side-by-side the IIIA rangefinder/viewfinder to that of my Leica M6, and find the IIIA viewfinder more pleasing to use than that on the M6, or my M2 for that matter. Until I did the comparison, I would never have dreamt this was possible. But, it is. Mechanical build quality is tops as well.
     
  7. Daryl, you're right. The Konica III (and A model too, I suppose) screams precision in a way that you just don't see today. Everything fits, and the camera feels tight. It's interesting, because the fit and finish of I and II just aren't in the same league. They're good cameras, but the III is refined, and the choice of materials seems to be a notch higher. My opinion, of course.
     
  8. Mike, you make an interesting point. Generally, among camera manufacturers, the mid 1950s to mid 1960s cameras seem to be at or near the pinnacle of mechanical complexity and workmanship. After that time period, it seems that most manufacturers were beginning to lighten and cheapen most of their lines, perhaps due to internal pressure from bean counters. The Konica IIIA was clearly the high water mark for non-metered Konica rangefinders. In their slr lineup, the later T3 is another mechanical wonder, the silky-smoothest slr I have used.
     
  9. I seem to remember Konica being the first company to use the metal, vertical "Copal" shutter in a SLR? Or have I got my facts befuddled again?
     

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