The Konica Autoreflex T Revisited

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by rick_drawbridge, Feb 1, 2017.

  1. I'd just loaded a new bulk roll of Arista EDU Ultra 100 and decided to run a length as a test. But which camera? I seem to have accumulated quite a few good reliable SLR's with accurate meters, but I eventually settled on this Konica Autoflex T2.
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    stephen_morris|3 likes this.
  2. Now, I posted some information on this particular camera not so long ago, so I won't bore you with repetitive details. Here's the link, if you're interested:

    http://www.photo.net/classic-cameras-forum/00dnwX

    Suffice to say that it remains one of my favourite SLR's, with a lens that's very good indeed. Born in 1968, successor to the original Autoreflex but lacking that camera's choice of half or full-frame formats, the Autoreflex T is a big, chunky and undeniably heavy camera, just the way I like it. It also has impeccable quality of build and finish and a feeling of indestructibility, with smooth and precise adjustments. It has a good bright viewfinder, in which is displayed the selected shutter speed and the aperture the camera is using in it's AE (shutter preference) mode, with a good old-fashioned swinging pointer, none of this newfangled diode stuff. In manual mode you just set your aperture according to the pointer, or make any other adjustment you want. The viewfinder has microprism focus-assist, but lacks a split image feature, something I miss. The metal vertical-run focal plane shutter is reasonably noisy but has the same tireless feel as the rest of the camera. The meter is turned on by revolving the lock surrounding the shutter release, a feature that distinguishes this T2 version from the earlier T.

    The 57mm Hexanon f/1.4 (6 elements in 5 groups) is a very good performer, though it's successor, the 50mm f/1.4 (7 elements in six groups) has become quite iconic, with a cult following. However, I'm happy with the results this 57mm lens turns in, and I ran a second film, just for the pleasure of using the camera. Here are some samples; the film was developed in PMK Pyro with scans from an Epson V700 Photo, using Silverfast SE software.
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    stephen_morris|3 likes this.
  3. Rick,
    always an inspiration!
    Ed
     
  4. Rick--honestly, you could take pix they the bottom of a Coke bottle and they would be great! The tones and contrast are just superb! Thank you!
    Paul
     
  5. Great choice of subject matter to put the T2 through its paces. And great results. Thanks for sharing.
     
  6. Rick, you have outdone yourself. A chrome T2 with the silver and black 57/1.4 with the EE lock in was my first good camera in 1971. I was young enough then that I didn't really appreciate just how much money it cost. It was about $225US and was purchased at the Camera Barn at 1272 Broadway in New York City. I did use my late father's Konica Auto S1.6 a few times before getting the T2. My Konica collection is among my largest. In the last few years I have started using some pre-Auto Reflex / Autorex Konica FP cameras. I do not have the clip-on meters for them. My F mount lenses are: 50/2, 52/1.8, 42/1.4 and 135/3.5.
    Some of my T series Konicas have been overhauled by Greg Weber. One of them a nice black T2, has a Nikon E focusing screen in it. This makes using slower lenses and doing macro work easier. The split image focusing screen from the original Autoreflex T3 of 1973 can be transplanted into the T and T2 cameras. It has no microprism collar. When I got my first T3 in 1975 I chose the split image screen to make it easier to focus wide angles. The T and T2 cameras used an internal "bumper" system to dampen the action of the shutter mechanism. This material can deteriorate over time but can be replaced by other materials when necessary. I consider the T2 to be the sturdiest of the mechanical Konica SLRs. The T3 was changed to have stiffer film advance but a shorter shutter button travel. In the process of making these changes, Konica made the T3 work less reliably with third party lenses. Both the 57/1.4 and the 50/1.4 are excellent lenses. Greg prefers the 57. I think the 50 might be slightly better and I use both. Going from a six element f/1.4 standard lens to a seven element model created problems and opportunities. The extra element in the design allowed for better correction of certain abberations but introduced the possibility of more light loss or internal reflections. Canon went from the six element 50/1.4 FL lens to the seven element 50/1.4 FL in 1968. The coatings, at least on the front element, look the same on both. This design was carried over to the first 50/1.4 FD (chrome front) and one black front model. Only the FD SSC of 1973 used the improved coating. Minolta went from the six element 58/1.4 MC Rokkor to the seven element 50/1.4 MC Rokkor-X in 1973. Nikon switched from the old 58/1.4 to the 50/1.4 in 1962. Both had seven elements. Only in 1973 did the coating get a big improvement with the 50/1.4 SC. As you can see, 1973 was a big year for multicoating.
    If I am using a Minolta X700 or a Canon F-1 with an L screen, even slow lenses are easy to focus. The T2 doesn't have the brightest finder so I prefer to use it with faster lenses. The finder didn't seem dim in 1971 but my eyes were younger then and I started out with just the 57/1.4. The later Konica FT-1 has a brighter finder and I have one of those with a transplanted Nikon E focusing screen too. With the various cameras and lenses of different makes that I have, I can see the strong points and weak points of each one but I will always have a special feeling for the chrome T2 and 57/1.4 I started out with so long ago.
     
  7. SCL

    SCL

    I wish I had the eye for turning the ordinary subject matter into the type of eye catching photos you seem to always capture. Another job well done, illustrating a fine old camera and lens as well as an eye for subject matter and excellent development. You almost have me convinced to give Pyro a try, but then what would I do with all the Rodinal already on hand :).
     
  8. 'Konicc autoreflex T was my very first SLR with interchangeble lens 28/2.8, 50/1.4 and 135mm, I used it from 1970-1976.
    I remember my autoreflex T's meter was irratic, so I sold it and change to Contax 139.
     
  9. Thanks for the responses! Jeff, thanks for your usual wealth of information; much of your input gets copy/pasted to various folders for future reference. It would seem you have a wonderful assortment of Konicas. I'm a Rodinal fan, Stephen, but I think the pyro developers just have an edge when it comes to providing a full tonal range. And thank you Martin, Mike, Paul and Ed for your input and kind words.
     
  10. That's a beautiful camera, Rick! The Autoreflex T is one of my favorite classic SLRs, and that lens is a jewel. As always, your ability to take ordinary scenes and turn them into art is amazing, and this set of photos is just more testament to that gift that you have. Thanks for sharing!
     
  11. Thanks, Andy, good to see you around. Living in the midst of farmland as I do, there's nothing truly spectacular to photograph, so hopefully I just make the best of what's available.
     

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