Ever since I started collecting cameras again, a Konica C35 has been on my must-buy list. Everybody seems to really like this little autoexposure rangefinder 35mm camera. When I went shopping for one I found a Konica C35 Automatic, a 1971 successor to the original 1968 C35.

Because the C35 is popular, it often sells for more than my soft $50 limit. Patience over several years paid off recently when I came upon this C35 for about 30 bucks. It was icing on the cake that I found one of the all-black models; the C35’s top plate is more commonly chromed.

Konica C35 Automatic

The Automatic added automatic flash synchronization, which fires an attached flash in time with the shutter setting for greater flash versatility. When you attach a flash to a non-Automatic C35, the shutter fires only at 1/25 sec.

Konica C35 Automatic

The C35’s specs are solid. The lens is a four-element Hexanon, 38mm at f/2.8. The Copal B mat programmed shutter fires from 1/30 to 1/650 sec. Aperture is set by the shutter blades, which means that this autoexposure camera matches lower shutter speeds with larger apertures, and higher shutter speeds with smaller apertures. At the extremes, f/2.8 fires at 1/30 sec, and f/14 at 1/650 sec. The C35 reads light with a CdS meter above the lens. The lens focuses from 3.3 feet. The camera takes film from 25 to 400 ASA,

The C35 is all metal. It weighs under 14 ounces and stands about 4.75 inches wide, 3 inches tall, and 2 inches deep. It’s smaller and lighter than any Canonet and larger and heavier than an Olympus XA, but it’s still plenty light and easy to carry. The protruding lens makes it hard to slip in a front pants pocket, but I had no trouble carrying it in my coat pocket.

The Konica C35 Automatic takes a dreaded, banned 625 mercury battery. Mine came with an unmarked battery of the wrong size. It made contact and moved the exposure meter, so I shot with it.

To shoot, press the little button on the bottom of the lens barrel and twist until Auto on the focus ring lines up with any of the numbers on the guide number ring. If you attach a flash, line up Auto with the flash’s guide number. Then twist the little ring right around the lens until your film’s speed appears in the little bubble window below the lens. Wind, frame, make sure the exposure needle inside the viewfinder isn’t in a red zone (indicating over- or under-exposure), twist the focus ring until the rangefinder patch lines up with the subject, and press the button.

By the way, if you like little rangefinder cameras like this one, also check out my reviews of the Canon Canonet QL17 G-III (here), the Olympus XA (here), the Canon Canonet 28 (here), and the Olympus 35RC (here). If you’re a Konica fan, I’ve also reviewed the Auto S2 (here) and the Autoreflex T3 (here). Check out all of my camera reviews here.

Sunny days seldom come during Indiana winters, yet I wanted to use my C35. So I loaded some Fujicolor 200 and went looking for colorful scenes despite the overcast. I got a lot of oversaturated reds in my test roll.

Mike's Carwash

I drove out to Terre Haute to visit my old friend Michael. This great billboard has stood on the outskirts of town for decades now. The conditions and the camera worked together to make the yellow really pop. I’ve photographed this sign before with far less dramatic results.

Five Minutes to Terre Haute

I stopped by Terre Haute’s wonderful Indiana Theater for a few snaps. It was built in 1922 in the Spanish Andalusian style. It seats 1,674. Alas, it shows no sign of being in operation, though its Web site is up with photos of this theater’s stunning interior. I saw plenty of movies at the Indiana when I lived in Terre Haute. I’ve never enjoyed the moviegoing experience as much as I did there.

Indiana Theater

The C35’s lens has a rep for good contrast, but I wasn’t getting great results from it on this overcast day. In the photo above, everything under the theater awning is a touch underexposed. The photo below is detail from around one of the doors; it turned out all right.

Indiana Detail

The cold stiffened my hands, which curtailed my photography. So I picked up my friend Michael and headed to Sonka’s, a favorite watering hole. We sat in a front corner by two big windows where the light was sufficient to get this shot. You may remember Michael as the friend who sold me his delightful Pentax KM.

Michael at Sonka's

On another outing I loaded more Fujicolor 200. It was autumn, as you can see. The C35 handled well enough. This isn’t a luxury camera; the controls don’t have a luxury feel. But everything comes together in the images.


Low autumn afternoon sun caused this black fence to glow on my commute home, so I pulled over one evening to capture it. The fence slats blew out, which is what happens when you aim a (probably) center-weighted meter at a scene and hope for the best, as I did.


I thought surely this challenging light situation would be more than the C35 could handle, but it returned a delightful result.

Craft Brewery

Check out my entire Konica C35 Automatic gallery here.

I enjoyed the C35 Automatic’s easy usability. I like it better than the Olympus 35RC, but not as much as my Canonet QL17 G-III. The Canonet is so dear to me that I can’t see myself shooting the C35 very often. What a wealth of great gear we have when an entirely competent and pleasant camera like this doesn’t clear the bar to become a regular user.

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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40 responses to “Konica C35 Automatic”

  1. Mike Avatar

    Great looking example of that fine little camera which is very similar to my Olympus 35RC. I think of them as the ultimate expression of the classic 35 design, and having just enough automation to ensure results without taking control away from the user. I used to like shooting Kodak’s 400 CN in the Oly, but it has been priced out of my comfort zone in the past few years.

    1. Jim Avatar

      The Olympus 35RC is on my list, too. That’s another camera that usually goes for more than I’m willing to pay. I think all things considered I like aperture-priority operation over either full manual or full program, and the C35 is essentially full program.

  2. davidvanilla Avatar

    Nice choice of subjects for your test drive. The Clabber Girl sign is a classic, and your shot of it is most excellent.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Looking at my older photo of the Clabber Girl sign, I’m thinking it has been redone since then in a brighter yellow. It’s comforting somehow to see it as you enter Terre Haute on US 40.

  3. pesoto74 Avatar

    I would second the idea of 400 film with this type of camera. Although the results you got with the 200 look good to me.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Next time I use this camera, I’m dropping some 400 in. And I’m trying it on a sunnier day.

  4. Derek Avatar

    That’s a good camera right there!

    1. Jim Avatar

      I had high expectations for it that weren’t entirely met, but like I said, perhaps a better choice of film and lighting conditions will help.

      1. Derek Avatar

        Well it’s black for $30, I think you got your money worth. And i think like you already noticed, the mystery battery is probably a 1.5V instead of 1.3V, That’d have effect on the meter. But above all, its not TTL, just s cds above the lens, that probably got the most to do with it. By the way, you sure your lab is not an issue? I get very frustrated with bad lab with c41.

        1. Jim Avatar

          I’ve had pretty good luck with 1.5V batteries rather than 1.3V in my cameras when I shoot negative film. But you may be onto something with the lab here — the usual lady who runs film wasn’t in, and I got some yahoo who did not appear to fully grasp what he was doing.

          1. Derek Avatar

            Maybe we should share our “horror stories” with different labs!! My rule of thumb nowadays, “try not to take your film where they develop and sell tampons at the same time” :D

  5. Simon Hawketts Avatar

    Looks nice – I’ve just acquired a Yashica 35MF which looks similar in many ways. I’m waiting for some decent B & W film to try in it. I also have a Yashica MG-1 which I believe takes the same battery as your Konica and I managed to ‘make’ a battery using some plastic tube and LR44 cells.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Simon, I’d never heard of the 35MF so I went and looked it up. I’ll be keeping an eye open for one of those now. As for the MG-1, I have one as well and it takes a different battery from the Konica C35. I actually bought a battery adapter for mine from yashica-guy.com that lets me drop in a cell I can easily buy at the drug store. My MG-1 has some rangefinder issues, and when I later found a perfectly working Electro 35 GSN I demoted the MG-1.

  6. Mark Avatar

    Jim — a nice set of images. I love how these unassuming little cameras can surprise people. I once gave a C35 to a student that was going to Uzbekistan for the Peace Corps. She was so disappointed that someone stole it while she was there.

    1. Jim Avatar

      Thanks Mark! I’d totally get by with a C35 as my only camera.

  7. H.O Avatar

    c35 is really great camera i love it.

    1. Jim Avatar

      I need to give it another chance! I wasn’t as happy with my first photos from it as I thought I’d be.

  8. […] historically. The related non-autofocus and higher end Konica Auto S3 is supposed to be great. Really nice review (Jim Grey) Matt Denton’s reviews are really useful Wikipedia page on 35C AF This Flickr pool is for the […]

  9. Bob Avatar

    Re: the washed out dingy white wall. Remember, your camera assumes it is seeing middle gray. If you are shooting a black object or white object, you might try reading from a gray card and locking the exposure. Then you might want to bracket between the two readings (direct reading & reading from gray card.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Good advice, Bob. I should make carrying a gray card part of my old-camera experience.

      1. roland Avatar

        There are a couple of things that might be worth mentioning about the C35. One is that the 1.5v battery will make the light meter think there’s more light than there really is, so I set the iso at 320 instead of 400. With negative film, it’s usually better to give a little extra exposure in any case. You may need to experiment to get your preferred results. On the subject of batteries, SR44 batteries are preferable to LR44’s as they maintain a consistent voltage throughout their lifespan.

        The other thing I wanted to mention is that in my experience, mini-labs don’t tend to be very reliable in their results, so I just have the film developed and then I scan it and do some basic saturation, contrast, and sharpening adjustments to the digital files. I then have a better basis of comparison between different cameras.

        Nice article on a great little camera, by the way!

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Roland, I’ve had very good luck shooting with the higher-voltage batteries without futzing with ISO. Perhaps it’s because I’m shooting with color print film most of the time and it has good enough exposure latitude. I might not like the results with slide film.

          I’m out of one-hour labs; they’ve all shut down where I live. They weren’t as good as the pro labs I send my film to now, but they were quicker and cheaper!!

  10. Anna V. Avatar
    Anna V.

    Thanks for all the info! I just got a black c35 automatic today for 20€ ($27), with the original leather case. I think there might be a problem with the shutter release, though. I have to lift my finger up immediately after pressing it, otherwise it won’t close at all. Or sometimes it only opens a tiny bit. So I’m guessing I will get a lot of over- and underexposures, unless I decide to try and fix it somehow. Any ideas..? :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Sounds like a sticky shutter. Some people have luck squirting lighter fluid onto the shutter blades, but often that means disassembling the camera to the point where you can access them. That’s usually more than I’m willing to try so I lack experience to guide you.

  11. Eric Avatar

    I pickup a silver version from 2nd hand market, put in a LR44 battery, the light meter seems responding, but the shutter sounds no big different between 1/650 and 1/30, is this a shutter issue?

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I tend not to take too much stock in a shutter’s sound at various speeds. I would put a roll of film in and use the camera. The resulting photos will tell you what if anything is wrong with the camera!

  12. Eduardo Biscaia de Queiroz Avatar
    Eduardo Biscaia de Queiroz

    Hi Jim,

    Following you here for some time. Willing to shoot with this camera again?



    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Absolutely! But I have so many fun and fine cameras that I ought to shoot again. It’s hard telling when I’ll get back to this one.

  13. nora Avatar

    Hi Jim –

    Excuse what might seem like silly questions, but I’m shooting with 400 film – do I have to keep ASA at 400? Can I adjust lower/higher in bright/darker conditions or do I have to stick with the film speed I bought? If aperture is 5.6 or greater, how do I “darken” the settings?


    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      You can set ASA at a higher or lower level to let more or less light onto the film. People do this sometimes for the interesting facts that you get when you do what is called push or pull processing. But if you want to simply adjust exposure, it’s probably better to just change your f-stop or shutter speed.

      1. nora Avatar

        Terrific – thank you!

  14. 45 Mike Avatar

    I am waiting for my C35 Auto to arrive. I have the silver oxide batteries that I will be using. I agree, that generally with print film, there is no need to futz around with trying to adjust or compensate. However I will be making some comparison readings against a known good meter, an SLR and a DSLR. I may decide to adjust the ISO to compensate.
    With these fully auto cameras, there is no way to change the aperture or shutter speed mechanically, but you can use the trap needle to lock in an exposure. Using a grey card would work, or getting in close to block out the backlight, or, using a finger to shade the cds view until the settings are what you want. If you wanted to reduce the exposure then you could use a flashlight to brighten the cds view. My LED flashlight I carry is bright enough to trick the meter.
    The trap needle exposure system is easy to manipulate if you understand what you want the camera to do. Much easier than trying to fiddle with the ASA settings. :-)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      *Clearly* easier than just adjusting ASA! :-)

  15. Kevin Eyewanders Avatar
    Kevin Eyewanders

    Poppin in just as a suggestion regarding batteries (this is well on a few years old now but people, as myself, do stumble across your nice article)… There seems to be a consensus about using SR44 or other silver oxide batteries in these due to the constant voltage. There also seem plenty of people that just use whatever and wing it. I’d suggest that if you’re able to find silver-oxide batteries (such as 675 sized – which are also often zinc-air which is good as well) at the around the spec’d 1.35v, then go for it.
    The thing is most are not… most of these batteries are around 1.5v, which is what causes (as most know) the metering discrepancies. But…
    The thing I wonder is this… I’ve used LR44 batteries, against all recommendations simply because I have a silly number of them (they are far cheaper) and as quite a few have noted they work fine. I’m sure C41 and black and white is the best bet here of course for tolerance to overexposure, but the LR44s are not recommended by most people because their voltage begins dropping almost immediately throughout the life of the battery. But if you’re shooting a non-modified, stock camera that is still expecting 1.35 volts, this means the every hour and LR44 is used, it’s getting closer to that voltage so the meter reading becomes more correct in time.
    I’ve glanced at quite a few voltage drop charts for alkaline LR44 and each shows that after about 100 hours they’re down around 1.4v (all the way from their 1.55v beginning) but then the drop flattens out a good bit and it isn’t until after around 400 hours that they dip below 1.3v.
    I guess my point to all of this is that silver-oxide and zinc-air give you consistency, accurate or not. But for a cheap price, LR44s give you quite a long portion of their serviceable time that’s at least in the ballpark (assuming your camera is unaltered). Unless you’re shooting slide, it likely won’t be anything nearing a disaster.
    That was a long winded way to say “I’m cheap. It’s been fine.”

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m totally with you. Color and b/w print films have enough latitude to make up for the alkaline and silver-oxide battery voltages. Especially for the kind of work I do — test a camera with one to three rolls and then move on — the LR44s are the best value.

  16. David Wilkes Avatar
    David Wilkes

    Jim,I read in one of your letter posts that you may be giving up the C35.Please don’t until you have tried it with B&W film.I have used it with Tri X,T-Max100 and HP5.and it produced excellent results,as good,if not better than my more expensive cameras(I own c.40) eg OM1n,Minolta SRT101,Pentax Spotmatic etc.It takes filters,which I always use and constantly surprises me! I have never used it with colour film but it is probably my favourite B&W camera as it is so convenient to use .Perhaps you should think again or send the camera to me as a spare!
    David Wilkes

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I did sell it on. It’s a lovely camera, but the truth is I just would never give it that much use. I have other cameras I like better. Here’s its goodbye roll:


  17. MiguelPaine Avatar
  18. Richard Patterson Avatar
    Richard Patterson

    Hi Jim,
    I know you sold your C35 but I just bought one! Great condition, looks like it’s been in a drawer for the last 40 years. Only trouble is, somebody left the battery in, it leaked, and the plastic battery compartment cover is now firmly stuck in place. Does anyone have any ideas how I can fix this??
    I’ve taken the base plate off to get to the back of the battery compartment but still can’t get the cover off.
    Any advice much appreciated,

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Your best bet might be to buy a parts camera and swap out its bottom plate. Another option might be to soak the existing bottom plate in something to loosen up the battery cover. I’m guessing here but I’d try vinegar. Or maybe squirt WD-40 into the crevices.

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