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Possibly My Favorite Rangefinder? Konica IIIA
Old 11-20-2017   #1
Colorado CJ
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Possibly My Favorite Rangefinder? Konica IIIA

I just picked up an immaculate Konica IIIA. I've been looking for one for some time. Either they were pretty beat up, or price plus shipping was too high. I finally found one in excellent condition and it arrived Saturday.

It looks GREAT, but there was a problem. Shutter speeds were all over the place. Yesterday I took the lens assembly and shutter apart for a thorough cleaning. What surprised me when I took it apart, was that I found an extra leaf in the shutter. There were six shutter leaves with only room for five. Two shutter leaves must have been stuck together when this one was built at the factory.

After a good few hours of soaking in naptha, the shutter assembly was as clean as new. After putting everything back together, now all the shutter speeds are accurate.

For a camera this old, it is in like new condition. I wonder if that extra shutter leaf made this camera not work correctly so it was relegated to a shelf some where. It certainly looks like it didn't get much use.

And yes, the rangefinder is HUGE, BRIGHT and a pleasure to look through.

I've loaded it up with some film and will be shooting a roll or two today. I'll post back once I get some shots with it.

Oh, and this one has the nice 50mm 1.8 Hexanon lens.

What a beauty. Probably one of the nicest looking rangefinders I've seen.

Konica IIIA by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Konica IIIA 2 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Konica IIIA 3 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr
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Old 11-20-2017   #2
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Looks like same age, same weight alternative to M3 with Cron. With big plus for DIY service and another plus for no cloth in the shutter.

But with M3 I have it meters .
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Old 11-20-2017   #3
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These have GREAT viewfinders and great lenses. I had both versions (48/2, 50/1.8) but ended up letting them both go. They just seemed a little too heavy/bulky for me. I like fixed lens RFs to be more lightweight. Just recently I found a IIA with the 48/2. It’s lighter and less bulky, but the viewfinder isn’t as nice and I have to remember to cock the shutter after advancing the film :/
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Old 11-20-2017   #4
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I got mine in Jr. High School and used it through the end of Freshman year (got my Nikkormat) and still love it.

I used mine with an off camera Vivitar 192 for hundreds of rolls. You'd think the left side advance would slow you down, but I got used to it quickly.

B2 (;->
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Old 11-20-2017   #5
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I've encountered leaf shutters with an "extra" sixth blade before. From what I've been able to discern, it's there by design. I'm not really sure what the purpose is; best speculation I can come up with is that it's interleavened under the others for support. In any case, cleaned up that shutter should work just fine with all six blades in place.
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Old 11-20-2017   #6
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What 02Pilot said. The sixth blade might help keep it light tight. I would do some testing for light leaking in.
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Old 11-21-2017   #7
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They are lovely cameras, and even the shutter-speed/aperture interlock is easy to deal with once one gets used to it. And that 50mm f/1.8 is rather a tasty lens.
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Old 11-21-2017   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ruby.monkey View Post
They are lovely cameras, and even the shutter-speed/aperture interlock is easy to deal with once one gets used to it. And that 50mm f/1.8 is rather a tasty lens.
The interlock can be disabled too. I bought my IIIa from a seller in Japan that CLAs them. Part of that was disabling the interlock.

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Old 11-21-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 02Pilot View Post
I've encountered leaf shutters with an "extra" sixth blade before. From what I've been able to discern, it's there by design. I'm not really sure what the purpose is; best speculation I can come up with is that it's interleavened under the others for support. In any case, cleaned up that shutter should work just fine with all six blades in place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
What 02Pilot said. The sixth blade might help keep it light tight. I would do some testing for light leaking in.
Yeah, I read about that on another forum. The 6th leaf goes on over the same pins as the bottom leaf, to kind of "capture" the leaf stack.

I took the camera apart again last night and installed the 6th leaf.

I shot a short roll of Fuji Superia 100 yesterday. I bought this stuff at $0.70 per roll. It only has 12 exposures, so its great to use to test out new cameras or ones you've done some work on. I can shoot a roll, develop and scan it in in abut an hour.

The camera now has a roll of Tech Pan in it (I bought a bulk roll for $10.00 ). I'll shoot this roll out within the next couple of days.
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Old 11-25-2017   #10
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I shot a short roll of Technical Pan through the camera to test it out. Last night I developed the Tech Pan in Rodinal at 1:150 for 7 minutes. Tech Pan has to be the flattest film in existence, it is so easy to scan.

As you can see from the photos, it looks like the camera works just right. That lens is also extremely sharp!

Anyway here are the scans. I didn't have to touch the contrast, it was perfect right from the straight scan. I scan my B&W in color and use the color adjustment dropper to give a little sepia look to the negative. Tech Pan has to be one of my favorite films, grainless, sharp and just the right contrast. I'm going to be unhappy when I run out of this bulk roll.

Konica IIIa Test 1 - Technical Pan by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Konica IIIa Test 2 - Technical Pan by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Konica IIIa Test 3 - Technical Pan by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Konica IIIa Test 4 - Technical Pan by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Konica IIIa Test 5 - Technical Pan by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Konica IIIa Test 6- Technical Pan by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr
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Old 11-25-2017   #11
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Those are some nice shots! I've lusted after a IIIa from time to time myself. By the way, what is the closest focusing distance?
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Old 11-25-2017   #12
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Closest marked distance on mine is 3.5', but it will focus a little closer than that.
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Old 11-25-2017   #13
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I have Konica I, II. III. All have great lenses.

Konica IIIM

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Old 11-26-2017   #14
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Looking at the picture below supposedly taken with the Konica IIIM I suspect these cameras clearly have some Mojo in them that translates back onto the photographer.
The only thing I'm not certain about is whether you used any flying vehicle to get close to those fantastically looking chicks while they were relaxing on the sand expecting no trouble.

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I have Konica I, II. III. All have great lenses.

Konica IIIM
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Old 11-26-2017   #15
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Nice sharp images in this thread!

The iiia is a nice camera.
A couple years ago I found a beautiful condition one.
Sent it in to Greg Weber for a complete overhaul.
Also to have the ev linkage removed to free aperture and shutter rings.

Mine had the 50mm f1.8 and it was indeed sharp as any 50mm of that time.
It's a beautifully made high quality camera.
Maybe the best fixed lens RF ever made (yes really).


I just could not get in the habit of the film wind on Method.
Clumsy transitioning from other cameras I was using to the Konica iiia eventually frustrated me into selling the camera.

I use RF camera on a wrist strap. My right hand just automatically winds on the film.... Single handedly.
I tried switching to the left wrist for the iiia but it just was a no go.
One really must hold the camera with both hands to wind on properly.
Beautiful camera .... just not for everyone
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Old 11-26-2017   #16
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BTW.
If you have a Konica camera in need of service, I have nothing but praise for Greg Weber.
He knew exactly what he was doing and did it!
Price was great and communication via email and telephone was super.
Definitely a fresh breath working with him compared to experiences getting my M's worked on over the years!
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Old 11-26-2017   #17
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I assume the faded rangefinder patch is not fully curable?
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Old 12-06-2018   #18
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I recently shot a few rolls using my IIIa - it is an incredible camera for black and white film ! Edge to edge sharpness too.

Sadly it has a frame spacing problem. One suggestion was that using a bulk loader and just loading 18 or less frames of film might work. The repair person I talked to seemed to think that the chance of fixing the frame spacing would be very difficult....
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Konica Rangefinders
Old 12-07-2018   #19
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Konica Rangefinders

Konica certainly built quality rangefinders...but heavy. I have an early MIOJ with a collapsible Hexar 50/2.8 lens. Can't comment about its photo ability, as I can not get the film advance to work. I also have a III with the 48/2 Heaxanon. It took superb Kodachromes when I bought it in 2000. Both cameras have a solid, heavy feel. I love the double-stroke advance on the III.
I use a Voigtlander VC Meter on my III, and they look like the were made for other
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Old 12-07-2018   #20
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Yes, the 50s Konicas are probably over-built. I also have a Konica I with the 50/2.8, as well as a couple IIs. Yours likely needs cleaning. The grease they used back then becomes extremely gummy over the decades. Luckily, these Konicas (pre-III) are also very simply constructed cameras and easy to service.
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Konica IIIA
Old 12-08-2018   #21
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Konica IIIA

I also have a Konica IIIA which I purchased from Greg Weber back in the mid 90's based on a review by Dante Stella; unfortunately, the review is no longer visible on-line. Mine is in the same condition as yours. Agree that it is a wonderful camera, but heavy. I've exposed several rolls of B&W in it recently; images are very sharp, a testament to the f/1.8 lens.
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Originally Posted by Colorado CJ View Post
I just picked up an immaculate Konica IIIA. I've been looking for one for some time. Either they were pretty beat up, or price plus shipping was too high. I finally found one in excellent condition and it arrived Saturday.

It looks GREAT, but there was a problem. Shutter speeds were all over the place. Yesterday I took the lens assembly and shutter apart for a thorough cleaning. What surprised me when I took it apart, was that I found an extra leaf in the shutter. There were six shutter leaves with only room for five. Two shutter leaves must have been stuck together when this one was built at the factory.

After a good few hours of soaking in naptha, the shutter assembly was as clean as new. After putting everything back together, now all the shutter speeds are accurate.

For a camera this old, it is in like new condition. I wonder if that extra shutter leaf made this camera not work correctly so it was relegated to a shelf some where. It certainly looks like it didn't get much use.

And yes, the rangefinder is HUGE, BRIGHT and a pleasure to look through.

I've loaded it up with some film and will be shooting a roll or two today. I'll post back once I get some shots with it.

Oh, and this one has the nice 50mm 1.8 Hexanon lens.

What a beauty. Probably one of the nicest looking rangefinders I've seen.

Konica IIIA by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Konica IIIA 2 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr

Konica IIIA 3 by Andrew Marjama, on Flickr
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Konica IIIA
Old 12-08-2018   #22
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Konica IIIA

A correction to my earlier post. Dante Stella's review of the Konica IIIA is still available on-line. Here is the link. https://www.dantestella.com/technical/koni3.html
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Old 12-08-2018   #23
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Really lovely looking machine. They really knew how to make a machine back then.
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