October 19, 2010

A few words about the Konica TC-X (with a 2014 updated bottom line)

On the down side, the Konica TC-X represented another step in the decline of the brand. It was the first Konica SLR body made by an outside manufacturer, Cosina. It sported a liberal use of plastics making it a galaxy away from the sturdy Konica Autoreflex T3.

The camera has its flaws. It has a dark viewfinder. Putting a lens with less than a maximum aperture of f2 will make it difficult for a user to focus in low-light situations. The split focusing somewhat mitigates the dim view but forget about using the common 28mm f3.5 Hexars or Hexanon lenses.

Another weakness is the sliding on/off switch for the light meter. Unlike on an Autoreflex T3, the camera will not turn on when the user cocks the shutter. Nothing will happen when you press the release unless the switch is ON. Shots can be and have been missed because of this two-step operation.

On the other hand, leaving it on takes a toll on the battery. Note, however, the battery powers only the light meter and shutter priority auto-exposure. The camera is fully manual mechanical in operation. It just that you have to turn that switch ON to use the camera.

Despite the negatives, I've decided to mount my 40mm f1.8 Hexanon (which pairs with it very nicely) and have loaded Kodak Ektar 100 colour negative film. I like the fact it only requires only one AAA battery as opposed to mercury 1.35V enviro-killing cells or the poor substitutes like Wein Cells and hearing aid batteries at 1.4V.

I actually haven't put a battery in because the last time I did I forgot to turn the camera OFF and it drained. Annoying.

The thought is if I ever need autoexposure in a pinch I'll slip in the AAA but mostly I'll carry without.

Despite the plastic feel, which no one cares about anymore because most digital bods are plasticy, the TC-X has a nice grip to it. It is light. And it is very small. Smaller than even the Autoreflex TC.

Because of the dark viewfinder I tried to put a very heavy 50mm f1.4 lens on it, but it felt very awkward to have such a huge weight difference between the body and the lens (though if my physics are correct, a heavier lens would reduce the image of mirror slap....hmmm). Even the older 50mm f1.7 feels over sized.

It originally came with a plastic 50mm f1.8 lens but it does not have the same quality optics. The 40mm, with its brilliant optics and lightness, does very well with this body. Will post results soon.


February 12, 2014

Since writing this review, I have used the TC-X quite a bit and the bottom line is I like using it. It's a light body that lets me use a mighty fine Hexanon lens, the 40mm f1.8, and the meter works with commonly available batteries. 

October 17, 2010

CZ Jena 58mm f2 update

I've been walking around with my Konica TC with a fungal prism sporting a CZ Jena "Biotar" lens lately.

It's a funky lens. Quality control wasn't all the best. There are bubbles in the lens. But it is strangely super sharp. On my Nikon D40 it is a 87mm equivalent focal length. And it has done very well as a very tight portrait lens.

It was because of these digital lens test that I've decided to use it with film.

Well, the Konica+M42 adapter+CZ Jena lens has so far been an auspicious set-up. I used it to take a portrait of John Noble, the actor, who stars on the show, Fringe, and played Denethor in Lord of the Rings.

I also took it for a test run in Lynn Canyon. It's a regional park with a very nice suspension bridge and trail. Even in the rain, it makes for an excellent day out.

October 16, 2010

With the Canon MC

Canon MCNow you may be wondering why the subjects are dead centre with the Canon MC. Well, as in many early auto-focus cameras, they had very crude focus lock systems. While we are used to half-depressing the shutter now (though judging from pictures of some casual shooters even this is too difficult) and multi-point autofocus systems, with cameras like the MC and the New Sure Shot (aka Autoboy 2) you had to engage the self-timer (this triggered the focus lock). Then you had to beat the timer to release the shutter.

Lens quality is okay. Though admittedly I pushed the camera with very slow shutter speeds. I set the 400 speed film at 100 speed.

I like the firmness of the clamshell slide. It doesn't feel prone to breaking off.

I wish it used AA batteries as opposed to AAAs. If it did, I think I would use it more.

John Noble

John Noble, originally uploaded by *jj*.
This is with the Konica Autoreflex TC with a M42 adapter and a Carl Zeiss Jena 58mm f2. It is soft but it's what I got.