I first read about this acclaimed RF in cameraquest.com. I was impressed, but hadn't been able to find one here in Taiwan, for many months. Therefore, when finally found an offer on the net*, I just got to go for it.
Frankly, I was kind of nervous to meet the actual item, but right at seeing it I knew I love it. The Konica S3 is mini, classy & cool in black. Well-built body feels solid in my hand. Now I can hardly wait to test shooting with my new friend S3! (first written 2002)
Back in 1968, the original Konica C35 was anounced to the popular demand for small cameras with automatic exposure. Obviously a big hit that was. However, enthusiasts still asked for more--better lens, more control, and perhaps a more professional look... In 1973, Konica Auto S3 (or C35 FD in domestic market) finally came out as the answer, and a star was born! Compared with Konica Auto S2(anounced 1965. 725.6g--great camera /tank), Auto S3 is tiny. However, there's little compromise made in terms of functions & quality. With a beautiful f/1.8 38mm Hexanon lens, a sophisticated ambient light / flash exposure system, and an all-black metal housing, it's not only the proud flagship of the C35 series, but also one of the best Japanese rangefinders ever made, as generally regarded.
Auto S3 offers shutter-priority AE Only. No manual over-ride but don't be discouraged so fast. User can easily make exposure compensation by adjusting ASA (or if you prefer, you can lock AE on something dark / bright then re-compose.) Besides, shutter-priority is just natural for Konica SLR users like me :-). Viewfinder is clear with needle indicating f/stops, over / under exposure warning zone, and a bright line frame with parallax compensation mark. It's a pity that the lens is partly visible in the viewfinder. This means when adding a filter or particularly a lens hood, the VF would be further blocked. Anyway, after a while one just gets used to it.
The image quality from Konica Auto S3 is excellent. One can expect high resolution from edge to edge, with natural color & smooth bokeh that many modern lens seem to have traded for sharpness. Being a 38mm lens, the distortion is there but well under control. Subtle rendering shows good contrast with plenty of detail. To sum up, it's one of the best!
NEWS: A little accident... my Auto S3 didn't see much use, since I have aquired quite a few other little compacts off the net. A couple of months ago my S3 fell out of my bag and hit the floor, from about one foot high. The rangefinder became a bit off so it was sent for adjustment. Thank heaven now it works OK again :-)
Entering 2004, here's the
[ chinese text ]
這就是著名的Konica Auto S3*，我的第一部rangefinder相機。
當初在cameraquest首次讀到相關推介，便留下深刻的印象。但是Auto S3可不好找，尋尋覓覓數個月之後，才在台北偶然購得。這也是生平第一次跟網友約見買東西呢！還記得當時坐在捷運車廂裡，心中忐忑不安，擔心不如預期。然而在看到相機的剎那，所有疑慮頓時消失：Auto S3真是太酷了！
自從C35(anounced 1968. 360g)開始，Konica滿足消費者對小相機的偏好，
相較於前輩Auto S2 (anounced 1965. 725.6g)的大塊頭，Konica Auto S3顯得異常小巧，
38mm f/1.8 Hexanon 鏡頭，閃耀著燦爛的金色光輝，一看便知決非泛泛之輩。
＊Auto S3於1973年發表。日本內銷版名為Konica C35 FD。
:: Konica Official Page
:: CameraQuest on Konica Auto S3
:: Review by Karen Nakamura
Lens: Konica Hexanon 38mm f/1.8
six element four group lens
Shutter Speed: 1/8-1/500 sec plus B
Focusing Type: split image
Minimum focusing: 0.9 m
Filter size: 49mm
Exposure control: Shutter priority AE
Powered by One 1.3v mercury (px675)
115mm x 77mm x 60mm , 410g
-COOL THINGS ABOUT Auto S3-
It looks really cool!
Solid, while not heavy--excellent build quality
Ultra compact design
AE Lock by half depressing the shutter release
Quiet in operation
38mm f/1.8 Hexanon lens--one of the best!
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