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Konica C35 Automatic

Konica C35 Automatic

Style, film format

Compact fixed-lens 35mm rangefinder

Lens, shutter Coated f/2.8 38mm Hexanon, Copal leaf shutter.

Photo quality Very good

Ergonomics Very good

I have fond memories of this little camera, as it was the second camera that I owned.

I was 17 when I first laid my hands on one of these. I took quite a few photos with it before trading it and a pellet gun for some albums. It would be many, many years until I owned one of these again.

The Konica is a solid little camera that has a very good lens and enough features for a fun afternoon of shooting.

It's a compact camera with programmed trap-needle autoexposure with a limited ASA range and no manual speeds except B. However, if you can work within its limits, you have an excellent pocketable companion.

This camera, which is identical to the Vivitar 35CA, has a four-element f/2.8 38mm Hexanon mated to a Copal shutter. The cadmium sulfide meter is powered by a single 675 cell. These days, a zinc-air hearing aid battery will keep things humming nicely for about six months - give or take several weeks ... or rmonths.

The meter is always on, so when the camera isn't being used, keep it in its case. That should reduce the draw on the battery. These batteries are plentiful, and I've found the store brand to work just as well as the more-costly name brand.

The trap-needle meter system locks the exposure by literally trapping the meter needle between two sets of metal jaws. If you're in a tricky lighting situation, you can meter away from the scene, press the shutter release partway, turn the camera back toward the scene, focus, compose and take your photo. It's easier in practice than I've explained it here.

The rangefinder image snaps in and out of focus easily and the shutter release is predictable, although I think the release point should be just a bit higher.

Years later, I still rate the little Konica C35 Automatic as a solid 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10.