Camera Reviews, Film Photography

Operation Thin the Herd: Konica C35 Automatic

Craft Brewery

I asked a lot of my Konica C35 Automatic — probably too much, shooting it mostly at and beyond dusk as I did. Late afternoon sun was the best light I gave it. That’s what happens when you shoot mostly after work in late autumn. Given that this autoexposure camera forces wide apertures and slow shutter speeds in dim light, I risked softness and camera shake nearly every time I pressed the shutter button.

Konica C35 Automatic

Let’s look first at a couple late-afternoon photos. This lens has a character that, to my eye, enhances the film’s grain. It’s a pleasing effect, but it does rob images of a little sharpness.

Tree

But as I said, it’s quite pleasant. It could be put to excellent use for the right subject.

Scenery

The C35 struggled with reflected light. The late-afternoon sun cast this black fence with a delicious glow. I’d admired it for several days on my drive home from work, and this day with the C35 in my pocket I stopped to photograph it. This isn’t a bad shot, especially after I toned down the highlights in Photoshop. It just doesn’t capture the scene’s warmth. I own cameras that could have captured that glow. Of course, those cameras are large, heavy, and complicated compared to the C35.

Plug

I made this photo in downtown Fishers on a cloudy afternoon. I focused on the front bench. Shooting Fujicolor 200 in this light, the camera chose a wider aperture and softened the background just a bit, to a pleasing degree.

Benches

I was lucky to pick up this little rangefinder camera for about 30 bucks a few years ago, as they routinely go for up to $100 in online auctions. While this camera is pleasant enough to use, I couldn’t remotely justify trading a C-note for one.

Autumn

I gave the C35 some challenging assignments, such as this light sculpture inside the lobby of the office building where I work. I made a similar shot here with my Olympus Stylus Epic Zoom 80 on Tri-X earlier this year. I like it better. See it here.

Lights

I was downtown for a work-related event and had the C35 in my coat pocket. The event wrapped late. I wondered if the spotlight illuminating this sign provided enough light for a photograph. It did.

Biltwell

Of course, it’s hard to focus a rangefinder camera in the dark. I love how the C35 rendered the light within the bells of this clock tower, but man, I wish I hadn’t muffed focus.

Clock at dark

If you’d like to see more photos from this camera, check out my Konica C35 Automatic gallery here.

My experience shooting this camera was pleasant enough. It’s certainly a breeze to use: in Auto mode it is a focus-and-shoot camera. But as I shot it, I couldn’t shake a strong feeling that if I kept it, I’d probably never shoot it again. I own other capable compacts that I just like better.

Verdict: Goodbye

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7 thoughts on “Operation Thin the Herd: Konica C35 Automatic

  1. Thanks for putting up that review of the Konica; it is a camera I’ve been curious about. It has a very attractive compact design. I haven’t gone after one because it is similar to my Olympus 35rc which I already don’t use often enough. I’ve read that the Konica doesn’t do well on currently available batteries and that it may be a good idea to shoot it with a reduced ASA setting to get proper exposures.

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    • I’ve owned both an Olympus 35RC and this C35 Automatic, and I find the C35 to be a little nicer to use. The C35 takes a mercury 675 battery and of course those are banned. I shot an alkaline 675. This does risk exposure being off given the different voltages but I always assume the latitude of consumer color film covers it. But if I were to shoot it again, based on your perspective I might try a lower ASA and see what happens.

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    • I can already see that there will be some cameras I struggle to part with. For example, I shot my Olympus XA recently – a winner, a keeper. I also have an XA2. It’s also a winner, but I can’t imagine a world in which I need both the XA and the XA2.

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