Some old film cameras are so inexpensive that when one breaks, you don’t fix it — you buy another one.

My Konica Autoreflex T3’s light meter was dead on arrival. I shot it anyway, using a handheld meter — and then the photos I got back blew me away. See some of them here. The 50mm f/1.7 Hexanon AR lens that came with my T3 was outstanding. I knew I’d want to shoot that lens again. I also knew I would prefer a working meter, so I bought a second Autoreflex T3 body, fully working this time, for just $23 shipped.

Konica Autoreflex T3

The T3 is typical of early-1970s SLRs in that it is sturdy and heavy. But its shutter-priority autoexposure made it distinctly atypical. Other manufacturers were starting to build that feature into their SLRs at that time, but it was far from common. Yet Konica had offered it in its Autoreflex line since 1966.

Konica Autoreflex T3

The T3 is mechanical except for the light meter. The camera takes two PX675 mercury batteries, which have long been banned. I substituted two SR44 silver-oxide batteries, which are the same size. The SR44s have slightly higher voltage, which theoretically could lead to misexposures. But I got great exposures. Perhaps it’s because I shot Fujicolor 200, which has wide exposure latitude.

This. Oh my, this. This is why I wanted a fully working T3. That 50mm f/1.7 Hexanon AR is just sublime. Just look at the color and detail. The bokeh is like an impressionist painting.

Spent tulip

I shot most of the roll around the yard as spring flowers bloomed. Here are my Lily of the Valley. A fellow from Germany who follows me on Flickr commented that in German, these are called Maiglöckchen — little May bells. Perfect!

Lily of the Valley

This lens and film love, love, love red. These are peonies working on opening. The buds are always covered with tiny ants.

Potential peonies

I was less impressed with how purple was rendered. My grape hyacinths are more vivid than this.

Grape hyacinths

So are the petunias I keep in a planter on the corner of my front stoop. In real life, these are dark purple, almost black. At least this dusky purple is interesting.

Purple petunias

But the warm colors I got when shooting this doomed ash tree in my back yard pretty much make up for the inaccurate purples.

Doomed ash

I shot most of the roll at close range. There was just so much early-spring detail to focus on! Just to show that this lens does all right at a distance, here’s some construction equipment.

Rented cat

And here’s the front of my house, from about the same time I learned that all of my ash trees were dying. I’ve since had all 21 of those trees removed.

My humble home

To see more photographs, check out my Konica Autoreflex T3 gallery.

I’m putting the Autoreflex T3 into rotation — I will use it again. Its 50mm f/1.7 lens begs to be brought up close to a subject, set nearly wide open for shallow depth of field. I’ll bet it would go to town with some Ektar or some Velvia 50.

If you like old film cameras, check out all of my reviews here!
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17 responses to “Another Konica Autoreflex T3”

  1. Christopher Smith Avatar
    Christopher Smith

    I wish I had access to where you buy your camera”s as it would be cheaper to buy from the US than UK especially on ebay as prices over here have gone stupid.
    Nice photos and lovely camera. I have the cheaper later version the TC.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Do you find that eBay camera prices cycle through periods of stupid? They do here. I just don’t buy during those times.

      1. Christopher Smith Avatar
        Christopher Smith

        They certainly do but it seems to be getting more and more stupid. I occasionally find the odd bargain my best buy this year was a Yashica T AF (Carl Ziess lens) which I got for a few quid because they attributed it wrong, it was described as Yashica DX.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I’ve picked up a couple outstanding bargains that way, because people misidentified the camera in the auction or even mistyped the camera name.

  2. ambaker49 Avatar

    Another place to seek old cameras, and equipment, is Though more people seem to be discovering it as of late, bargains can still be had.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve bought a few there, back when the prices were dirt cheap. But so many cameras reached me badly broken that I kind of gave up on the site. Almost none of the Goodwills test the cameras at all so you’re always buying 100% blind. At least on eBay you can find sellers who can say something about the camera’s function — certainly not all the time, maybe not even most of the time, but some of the time and that’s more often than shopgoodwill.

  3. Sam Avatar

    Excellent article and great shots Jim! The Konica Autoreflex T series were among the best of its era. You’ve made me want to dust mine off and shoot it again! The problem with too many cameras is that some will inevitably get neglected, which is a shame. Thanks for this great post!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Thanks Sam! This camera is definitely a keeper. And yes, I’ve got plenty of great gear that needs to be used again. I’ve been thinking about my pristine Olympus OM-1 lately, for example.

      1. Sam Avatar

        Jim, get the OM-1, it’s one of the best manual focus cameras of all time! Plus they are plentiful and dirt cheap, get the best one you can. I still have two that I use now and then. One I bought almost twenty years ago. Only thing is that don’t have built in hotshoes if you use flash, so you have to get the accessory Olympus shoe. Hope to see your pics with it!

  4. sobershutter Avatar This place sells exact replacement batteries for the old timers that take the old mercury batteries, I use them in my hand held light meters and the few SLR’s that have working built in meters.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’ve used them. They’re relatively expensive and don’t last very long. It’s why I use the silver oxide cells even though the voltage is wrong: they last.

  5. nick Avatar

    Well that 1,7 lens does have a lovely bokeh.
    How are these cameras compared to OM-bodies:bigger or quite the same.
    Although I’ve got tons of OM-Stuff I wouldn’t mind having a lens like that, just for these splendid bokeh-shots.
    Would you think the 1.4 sister can make anything like that?

    Thanks for showing these nice pictures. Especially with your chosen film it turns out to give really good reds, wich tend to blow out with my fast zuiko lenses.


    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      The Autoreflex cameras are all full-sized, like the Pentax K1000. I couldn’t tell you about the 1.4 lens. But what I can tell you is that you can pick up a working Autoreflex camera for cheap enough that if you’re at all interested, you should try one.

  6. puspita1010 Avatar

    Love your blog☺❤💕

  7. Christer Brandt Avatar
    Christer Brandt

    Nice write up! I have a T3 with working meter AND slpit focus screen :-) it came with the 50 mm 1,4 and I have not yet found time to use it but will do soon! I love just to hold it and listen to it, It must be one of the most confedent shuttersounds ever! (after my Pentax 67) ;-)

    Keep up the good work!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      For me, it’s the lens (in my case, a 50/1.7) that makes this camera. The lens is just wonderful!

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