View Full Version : Konica Auto S3

06-17-2004, 16:42
Anyone use one of these. I have one and the results are fantastic. The lens is really astounding, noticably better than my Canon Giii QL17. It is as good as my Minolta TC-1 which has got one of the best lenses on a 35mm compact ever produced. If you've never owned or used a Konica Auto S3 before then i recommend you get your hands on one because quite simply you are missing out on one of the best rangefinders there is.

back alley
06-17-2004, 18:02
i have one but have yet to finish the roll of b&w film i put into it.
the lens is a bit wobbly but overall i really like how the camera feels in my hands.


06-17-2004, 18:18
Small and well built. Maybe too small for my hands, but yes, an excellent lens.

06-18-2004, 01:22
That one is another on my "oh well... someday" list. In fact I'd be happy with any member of that family (Viv 35ES, Revue 400SE, Auto S3) but even happier with the "big" sister, the Hi-matic 7sII and its full manual override.

The lens is supposed to be the same for all four cameras, and yes, it's also supposed to be VERY sharp.

But I already have enough compact RFs...

06-18-2004, 04:49
Oscar, I don't think the lens is the same on these camera, it is the body that is shared. (I think) I believe one supplier provided the body to the manufacturers who added the lenses, finders and electronics. At least it can be said that the S3 has a 38/1.8 Hexanon and the 7sII sports a 40/1.7 Rokkor. Also, the Konica has an advanced flash system which I have no understanding of, while I don't think the 7sII has a flash control system.

06-18-2004, 15:34
Rover, you're right about the differences, however there's a sort of consensum about a possible common source for all the lenses as well.
Hmm... If somebody sends me all four cameras I offer myself to run a test and try to find if it's true :rolleyes:

06-20-2004, 01:42
I remember reading somewhere that Cosina manufactured the body for the Vivitar 35ES, Minolta 7SII and the Revue 400SE. It wouldn't surprise me if they also made the body for the Auto S3 as well. This would explain the similarity between the models.

Also, I found a nice little review of the Auto S3. http://cameraquest.com/kons3.htm


06-20-2004, 15:50
Well, my S3 went to the amusement park with me yestday. What a nice little walk around camera, thats all I can say about it.

08-02-2006, 11:44
I have the S2 and I have read comments by users of the S2 and S3 in which the edge is given to the S2's lens.


08-02-2006, 17:57
Are the S2 and the S3 the same size?

08-02-2006, 18:12
The S2 is of a larger size than the S3 and it is sturdier made.


08-02-2006, 18:26
anybody have any shots using the S3 .. I know it has a slightly wider lens

08-02-2006, 19:01
Here are some photos taken with the S2:


08-02-2006, 20:47
I got an S3 less than a year ago, and love it. Unfortunately, it got drop-kicked, resulting in the VF meter needle being MIA; otherwise it still works. Need to get it out to be fixed. A worthwhile camera to look for, although it can get a tad pricey on the 'Bay (where I got mine).

Yes, it's smaller than the S2 (an advantage, IMO), but I think build quality is about par with the bigger Konica, and has the advantage of a distance-based auto-flash system. And, no price premium for a black-finish model; with the exception of a home-market-only version (C35 Super – thanks to the RFf'er who set me straight on that a while back), black is the only way this baby comes.

- Barrett

08-03-2006, 11:20
Mine went around the world with me...my only complaint was the non-interchangeable lens. Got some unforgettable shots.

08-03-2006, 11:32
In the S2 manual exposure control is possible. In the S3, is it possible to use manual exposure control or must Auto be used?
Now that is a major point [if applicable]


06-20-2007, 19:09

Like the lens, not so crazy about shutter-priority, it seems backwards to me, I prefer aperture-priority.

06-21-2007, 06:16
I had one and enjoyed it but I found I wasn't using it enought to warrant having it around. I also felt that I wanted a little more control than the shutter priority system that the S3 has.

I ended up letting my go on ebay for a sweet price relative to what I paid for it! Flipped those funds for a decent walk around lens for my EOS 3--more along the lines of what most of my shooting is.

06-21-2007, 07:47
An absolutely brilliant camera and my favorite rangefnder. This camera has satiated my Leica, Contax, interchangeable lens "system" rangefinder, Bessa, Canon, Nikon, etc., etc., etc., lust.

It's all you want in a rangefinder. The lens was heralded as the "best semi-wide optic ever tested..." in its day by (don't quote me) by Popular Photography (or Modern, or some such...). So, le "objective" doesn't suck. It's tiny, lightweight, solidy built, with a very nice rangefinder. It's just about as quite as the GSN or any Leica, is fast in operation... It also has an interesting flash-fill system that's easy to use and very effective. A useful feature.

I'll take this over the much higher priced Hexar AF. Why? Because it's repairable, smaller, and less expensive. Iit's a simple shutter priority model with a "real" rangefinder. Once the electronics go on a Hexar - rotsa ruck. Literally, the Auto S3 is a perfect street shooter.

Downsides? Top ASA locked at 800. No manual control. Otherwise, perfect.

06-21-2007, 07:49
Like the lens, not so crazy about shutter-priority, it seems backwards to me, I prefer aperture-priority.

I agree about the preference for aperture priority, but you can do the same thing with it as AP once you get used to it. That said, it does take a little getting used to.

09-05-2007, 02:40
I'm having an exhibition (http://www.lawrenceimpey.com/on_the_beat.html) of some photos I took in the late '70s and the ones on the roof were taken with an Auto S3. This was a great little camera and, as pointed out, the lens was a cracker particularly when combined with wonderful Ilford HP4. If anyone in London wants to come to the private view tomorrow evening, do let me know. The exhibition runs till 23rd September.

06-05-2010, 15:10
Hello Folks,
I just picked up one of these - with the X-14 flash unit - in a second-hand shop in Penzance. Initially, I thought only the flash worked, as the camera aperture opened and closed when the focus was adjusted. I've since discovered that the hot-shoe pin mentioned in this article:


was stuck in the forward (flash) position. Now I've pulled this back, and tried a zinc-air battery, it seems that the camera works fine too - although the exposure seems a little off, compared to my Canon Powershot. Does anyone know where I can get a manual and instructions for replacing the seals?

Best regards,

06-05-2010, 15:42

I sent you a PM regarding the manual.

- Barrett

06-06-2010, 00:05
Thanks again Barrett - I also found a site with the seal replacement, so I am all set to get this job done.

Which batteries do you use? I seem to get a 1-2 stop overexposure when using Zinc-air. Does the extra 0.05V make such a difference?

Best regards,

06-06-2010, 10:37
Roy: I had Nippon Photo Clinic (in Manhattan) modify my Auto S3 over a year ago to use silver-oxide cells, which has been a great convenience.

- Barrett

06-06-2010, 11:49
I will check this out - the voltage regulated adaptors sell for around 27, which is just under what I paid for the camera and flash!

Best regards,

11-21-2010, 14:27
Have now replaced the light seals and am ready to take this for a run:


Best regards,

11-22-2010, 07:14
This camera is so cute! I want one, but unfortunately they seem to be nowhere to be found :(

12-22-2010, 01:10
One from my walk around in the snow.
Legacy Pro 400


01-22-2011, 08:51
I've had the Prinz 35 ER. It is the same camera as the rest of that "bunch". Also, I doubt that all of these companies made their own unique lenses. Results were similar for this and the Auto S3.


01-22-2011, 09:09
Owned one, loved it back when I shot exclusively with rangefinders. Sold it, painfully. Yes, extremely sharp lens and an outstanding street shooter. Given the quality of the lens, its quietness, and its size - not to Leica-bash, but in my opinion it might be a better tool for this kind of shooting. - Certainly, it's more pocketable. It's tiny.

I read somewhere recently on a blog, take it with a grain therefore, that it's not the Himatic or Vivitar, but actually the high-end model of the Konica C35. The author said that it's the C35 with the only change being a 1.8 lens. In order to distance itself from the down-market C35, Konica gave it a different name but according to him they're the exact same cameras - different lens. This makes sense, since the camera was sold as the C35FD in Japan. If this is true, it's "possible" that the C35 was a "crippled" Auto S3, where on the C35 only allows you to go to f2.8. Unlikely, but possible. Camera makers did this sometimes. I've heard great things about the C35 but never owned one. Anyone who can live with an f2.8 lens might consider a C35 over any of these as they're pretty plentiful and much cheaper.

Two things about this camera. First - its lens is sharp wide open. Secondly - it's whisper quiet, a little "tsp" that's barely audible. Finally, it has a great manual flash system using a little indicator in the viewfinder. Master it (in 10 minutes) and your flash and fill-flash pics will be perfect.

To me, it's a better choice than the later Hexars or CL or CLE. It's even smaller than these cameras, but more importantly, it has less electronics that break and can't be repaired. It's also less expensive than any of these others. I can't imagine any lens at any price beating it by much. Downsides are it's shutter priority only, most sample have a slightly loose lens (mine did) that doesn't effect anything, doesn't have the greatest build-quality (but it's fine...), and it's not the camera to own if you don't like really, really small cameras.