Camera Reviews, Photography

Another Konica Autoreflex T3

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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.


Do you like old cameras? Then check out all my vintage gear reviews!

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15 thoughts on “Another Konica Autoreflex T3

  1. Christopher Smith says:

    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.

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      • Christopher Smith says:

        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.

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

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  2. ambaker49 says:

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

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    • 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.

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  3. 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!

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    • 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.

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  4. nick says:

    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.

    Nick

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    • 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.

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