The Konica Aiborg - A Technological Dead End?

Discussion in 'Modern Film Cameras' started by john_seaman|2, Sep 7, 2014.

  1. I can’t say I fell in love with the Konica Aiborg (Artificial Intelligence cyBORG) at first sight when I saw it, complete with original box and manual, in a charity shop for £3.99. It nickname of the Darth Vader camera, and reputation as the ugliest camera ever made, seem entirely justified.
  2. Its not an easy camera to photograph, with its shiny dark surfaces.
  3. Putting in one of my dwindling stock of 2CR5 batteries brought it to life. Its got a 35-105 zoom with a lens cover that looks like a lidless eye. Control is via several fiddly buttons on the back which you press as best you can with your fingernails, working with the rather intimidating LCD to engage the various scene and functional modes. It made my head ache just looking at it. The lens makes a buzzsaw sound when zooming, but the film advance is much quieter and I began to wonder if it was actually advancing at all.
  4. The most useful control is the little joystick which zooms the lens when moved up and down, and moves the focus point (visible in the finder) across the frame when moved left and right. It has a built in flash but no shoe or connection for an external flash,
  5. I put a 200ASA print film into it and did a few shots. Its not a satisfying thing to use, the ergonomics - well my eye and finger must be in the wrong place. But it did take nice pictures.
  6. Perhaps the best ones were the close up shots when i remembered to get the focus point right. Just taken on the default power up mode, it seemed to hit the correct setting for depth of field, with the background nicely out of focus. I never found out if you can adjust, or even just see, the actual speed and aperture settings.
  7. Another flower shot
  8. And another
  9. A sticker on the box proclaims it to be “Amateur Photographer Zoom Camera of the Year 1992, UK's Most Prestigious Award”. I wonder what the non-zoom winner was, and whether that award was less prestigious. These were VERY expensive when they came out and I can imagine the buyer, having been impressed by all the hype and awards, studiously poring through the manual and wondering whether this was really the right investment.
  10. Another shot:
  11. Who could have known then how different the thrust of mainstream cameras design would be? All in all, using the Aiborg was a interesting but rather frustrating stroll down an interesting but ultimately rather poignant technological dead end.
    Thanks for looking if you got this far.
  12. I did a whole series on these "bridge" cameras and their relatives, but was fighting off the urge to acquire and shoot an Aiborg (is assimilation inevitable, I wonder?).
    I want to thank you really from the depths of my heart for doing this and posting the report on it. It removes some of the pressure on me and my compulsive relationships with certain old cameras. ;)
    Actually, as your pictures demonstrate, in the right hands these things can be formidable.
  13. Someone left that poor camera on their pickup truck dashboard in the sun.
    "Its not an easy camera to photograph, with its shiny dark surfaces."​
    Sounds like Hotblack Desiato's space ship.

    Konica sure made some interesting toys. Not many manufacturers willing to take such risks.
  14. Great sharpness, color, and contrast. Like many high end P&S cameras, the Aiborg was very capable, but like its competition the initial selling price was high enough that some potential buyers went to entry level AF SLR's instead. Thanks for posting.
  15. Every maker in Japan had multiple equivalents to this model, some even sold well into the late 1990s/early 2000s (e.g. Olympus). Its only distinctive feature is the body design.
  16. Amazing sharp lens John, and nice blurs on close up, but it looks like somebody step on the Konica.....................Tons of plastic camera's coming out surplus from Japan, quite expensive and nobody buys them because of the risk? I think I'll try my luck on a Garcia Marquez special piano black Fuji Natura, hoping it's still there and working?
  17. John, thank you very much for posting these, as I've always wondered how the Aiborg could perform. Clearly the answer is quite well, in good hands of course. In the bridge-camera vein, I must have seen dozens of those Olympus IS-XX "ZLR" cameras for every Aiborg. Last year I found one in nice shape at a California camera show, but wasn't willing to pony up the $50 USD the seller wanted. (I think I blew most of that $50 on some even more useless Pentax 110 stuff, and a 3-pack of APS film, if I recall. Alas.)
    The styling is ... interesting. Looking at the top deck and rear view, it seems that the Aiborg would fit in nicely in Paul Verhoeven's space Nazi movie, misleadingly called Starship Troopers. Perhaps as a prop used by Neil Patrick Harris' SS, er, Military Intelligence character.
  18. When I used to sell cameras for a living in the days when it was current my colleagues and I used to say that when the Konica Aiborg was born the midwife slapped it in the mouth !

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