Konica

Last updated
Konica Corporation
コニカ株式会社
Industry Manufacturing
FateMerged with Minolta
Successor Konica Minolta
Founded1873
Defunct5 August 2003
Headquarters26-2, Nishishinjuku 1-chome, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-052 Japan (1998)
Products Cameras, film cameras, camera accessories, photocopiers, laser printers

Konica (コニカ, Konika) was a Japanese manufacturer of, among other products, film, film cameras, camera accessories, photographic and photo-processing equipment, photocopiers, fax machines and laser printers. The company merged with Japanese peer Minolta in 2003, with the new company named Konica Minolta.

Contents

History

The company traces its history back to 1873 (pre-dating Kodak in the photography business) when pharmacist Rokusaburo Sugiura began selling photographic materials at his store in Konishiya Rokubē, the biggest pharmacy trader in Tokyo at that time. [1]

In 1878, Rokusaburō succeeded to his family and renamed Rokuemon VI (Rokudaime Rokuemon). He gave the original shop to his younger brother and launched a new shop, Konishi Honten (Konishi Main Shop) in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo.

In 1882, Konishi launched a project to produce photography related materials in Japan: those products were imported at that time. In 1902, Konishi began to sell the "Cherry Portable Camera" (チェリー手提用暗函), the first Japanese produced end-user oriented camera. New products were released respectively, and Konishi Main Shop became the leading camera company in Japan. In 1921, old Konishi had his elder son succeed to the family and thus company head with the name, and in this occasion Konishi Honten was turned into a company Konishiroku Honten. The name Konishiroku was taken from the abbreviation of their names, Konishi Rokuemon.

Konishiroku released their "Konica I" type camera in 1948, after which they would name their own company in 1987.

Konica's single lens reflex cameras pioneered auto-exposure in cameras with focal-plane shutters and fully interchangeable lenses. The Konica Autoreflex of 1965 used an external light meter cell to set the lens diaphragm automatically after the user selected a shutter speed. With the Autoreflex T of 1968, Konica improved this design into a through-the-lens meter, using the same automation system. (The user could also set the exposure manually on these cameras). Other camera makers eventually adopted auto-exposure as well, but Konica was the first.

In the 1990s Konica signed its first major contract with Los Angeles County providing leasing of copiers to the Los Angeles Superior Court. This resulted in a major shift in the industry that had sold only copiers before. The County initial order of 250 copiers required Konica to redirect all of it inventory throughout North America to the County.

On 5 August 2003, Konica merged with Minolta to form Konica Minolta. In 2006, Konica Minolta exited the photography business. [2] In March 2006, the merged company closed down its photo imaging division, which produced color film, color paper, photo chemicals and digital minilab machines. Its digital SLR camera section was transferred to Sony, which currently known as the Sony Alpha line. Dai Nippon (DNP) purchased Konica's Odawara factory site and continues to produce paper under its own brand, while Seapac acquired the Konica chemical factory.

Film

Konica was a major producer of 35mm film and related products, including film development processors and printing technology. While never equal to giants like Kodak or Fuji, the recognized quality of Konica film ensured general presence on market. Originally Konica film and paper was sold under the brand name of "Sakura" meaning Cherry Blossom in English.

In the mid 1980s, Konica launched its SR range of film, then SR-V (1987), SR-G (1989), Super SR (1991), Super XG (1993), VX and finally "Centuria" in 1999.

Cameras

35 mm rangefinder and viewfinder cameras

  • Rubikon (1936?) Prototype of Konica I, development stopped by WWII, a few made after war
  • Rubicon (1936?) An X-ray camera that uses 35mm X-ray film, same chassis as Rubikon/Konica I
  • Konica "I" (1946) Konishiroku's first 35mm camera to see full production. Several variants (lenses, shutters, viewfinder, flash mount).
  • Konica II (1950)
  • Konica IIB (1955) (Variants with f3.5 and f2.8 lenses)
  • Konica IIB-m (1956)
  • Konica IIA (1956) First model to use the superb 48mm f2 Hexanon lens.
  • Konica III (1956) Variants with Konirapid-S & Seikosha MXL shutters, most with 48/2 lens, rarer version w/48mm f2.4 Hexanon
  • Konica IIIA (1958) Variants with 48/2 & 50/1.8 Hexanons
  • Konica IIIM (1959) Variants with Copal MXV & Seikosha SLV shutters, all with 50/1.8 Hexanon. Built-in meter, 1st Konica w/hot shoe (non-standard)
  • Konilette 35 (1959) Inexpensive 35mm with scale focus, Konitor 45/3.5 lens.
  • Konica S (1959) with exposure meter. Lens variants: 45/2.8 Hexar, Hexanon 48/2, 48/1.8
  • Konica L (1960) Hexar 45/2.8 lens, Seikosha L shutter, interesting fold down film door.
  • Konica S II (1961) only offered with Hexanon 48/2
  • Konica S III (1963) new chassis, similar to Auto S, also uses 47/1.9 Hexanon same as Auto S
  • Konica EE-Matic (1963) AE only, selenium metering cell (no battery). Also sold as Wards xp500/500a.
  • Konica Auto S (1963) First CdS-metered, auto exposure camera. Also sold as Wards am450/am550, Revue Auto S.
  • Konica EYE (1964) Half frame camera. Also sold as Wards EYE.
  • Konica Auto S2 (1965) Also sold as Wards am551.
  • Konica EE-Matic S (1965) Downgrade of orig. EE-Matic, no rangefinder. Also sold as Wards xp400.
  • Konica EE-Matic 260 (196?) A version of EE-Matic using 126 film. Also sold as Wards cp301 & Wards 260.
  • Konica EE-Matic Deluxe (1965) Primary upgrade, wider ASA range for meter, improved lens. Wards xp501.
  • Konica EE-Matic Deluxe "New" (1965) Improved film take-up spindle, easier loading. Wards xp501a.
  • Konica Auto SE (1966) Wind-up "motorized" film advance. Great lens! Wards ep504, Revue Auto SE. First Konica with a standard hot shoe.
  • Konica Auto S1.6 (1967) Faster f1.6 lens. Hot shoe.
  • Konica EE-Matic Deluxe 2 (1967) Sold also as Wards rf450.
  • Konica Auto S 261 (1967) A 126 film version of Auto S line, CdS metered. Wards cp302, Wards 261.
  • Konica C35 (chrome version) (1967) best seller compact camera. "Journey" nickname, for small size, portability.
  • Konica Electron (1967)
  • Konica C35 (black version) (1967)
  • Konica C35 Flashmatic (Japan) (1968) "C35 Automatic" (export). Chrome & black versions.
  • Konica C35 E&L (Japan) (1969) C35 economical model. No rangefinder. "C35 V" (export)
  • Konica Auto S3 (export) (1973) Great little camera based upon the C35 line. Fast lens. AE only. "C35 FD" in Japan. Auto S3 produced in black only. C35 FD produced in chrome, too.
  • Konica C35 EF (1976) first model with built-in flash. "Pikkari"
  • Konica C35 AF (1977) First autofocus camera, "Jasupin", 1,000,000 sold.
  • Konica C35 EF "New" Self-timer added.
  • Konica C35 EFP (1977)
  • Konica C35 EF3 (1981) "Color Pikkari"
  • Konica C35 AF2 (198?)
  • Konica C35 EFJ (1982) "Konica POP" (export markets)
  • Konica C35 MF (1982) Auto focus. "Jasupin Super". C35 MD-D, version with date back.
  • Konica C35 AF3 (1983) Auto focus. Last "C35"
  • Konica MG (1983) Also MG-D variant with date back.
  • Konica EFP2 (1984)
  • Konica MR70 (1985)
  • Konica AA-35/Recorder (1985) Half frame, various colors. Recorder: Japan. AA-35: Export markets.
  • Konica MT-7, MT-9, MT-ll (1986) "Multi" 7, 8 & 9 in Japan.
  • Konica EFP3
  • Konica MR70 LX
  • Konica Off Road/Genba Kantoku/MS-40
  • Konica Z-Up 70 & Z-Up 70 VP
  • Konica Z-Up 80 & Z-Up 80 RC
  • Konica Tomato
  • Konica Kanpai Voice activated camera.
  • Konica Big Mini
  • Konica Z-Up 28W
  • Konica MT-100
  • Konica Jump Auto
  • Konica Aiborg
  • Konica Big Mini Neo
  • Konica Off Road 28WB Wide & 28HG
  • Konica Big Mini Nou 135
  • Konica Big Mini BM S-100
  • Konica Big Mini F
  • Konica Z-Up 60
  • Konica Z-Up 90
  • Konica Z-Up 110
  • Konica Z-Up 120
  • Konica Z-Up 130
  • Konica Z-Up 135
  • Konica Z-Up 140
  • Konica Z-Up 150
  • Konica Hexar (1991) (autofocus)
  • Konica Hexar RF (2001)

F-mount SLRs

The first series of Konica single-lens reflex cameras used the Konica F lens mount, named after the first camera to use it. This was a bayonet mount, and is not compatible with later Konica lens mounts. The flange focal distance of the F-mount was 40.5 mm, one of the smallest ever used for a 35 mm SLR. The diameter was 40 mm.

It is not identical to Nikon F-mount, which has a much longer flange focal distance of 46.5 mm.

Fixed-Lens SLR Camera

AR-mount SLRs

Konica Autoreflex TC (1976-1982) with Hexanon-lenses, left Pancake 1,8 Konica Autoreflex TC 135 film SLR camera with Hexanon AR 135mm F3.5 lens mounted and a Hexanon AR 40mm F1.8 lens next to it.jpg
Konica Autoreflex TC (1976–1982) with Hexanon-lenses, left Pancake 1,8
Konica FS-1, world's first SLR with built-in motor drive 20170530 Konica FS-1 stacked.jpg
Konica FS-1, world's first SLR with built-in motor drive

Konica's second series of SLR cameras began with 1965's Auto-Reflex. This line came to an end in 1987 when Konica abandoned the SLR market.

Konica's AR lens mount kept the same flange-film distance that the earlier Konica F lens mount had (40.5 mm), but it has a larger diameter of 47 mm.

Lenses

Konica SLR interchangeable lenses were named Hexanon. The optical quality of most Hexanon lenses is regarded as truly superb, particularly the older fixed-focal length (prime) lenses. Many camera manufacturers of interchangeable lenses produce a few great lenses among their line, but Konica managed to achieve near excellent quality over a broad range of focal lengths [5] in lens tests conducted by several photographic publications over the years. Hexanon lenses were used by the Japanese government as the standard against which all other lenses were measured.[ citation needed ]

See also

Related Research Articles

Single-lens reflex camera

A single-lens reflex camera (SLR) is a camera that typically uses a mirror and prism system that permits the photographer to view through the lens and see exactly what will be captured. With twin lens reflex and rangefinder cameras, the viewed image could be significantly different from the final image. When the shutter button is pressed on most SLRs, the mirror flips out of the light path, allowing light to pass through to the light receptor and the image to be captured.

Konica Minolta

Konica Minolta, Inc. is a Japanese multinational technology company headquartered in Marunouchi, Chiyoda, Tokyo, with offices in 49 countries worldwide. The company manufactures business and industrial imaging products, including copiers, laser printers, multi-functional peripherals (MFPs) and digital print systems for the production printing market. Konica Minolta's Managed Print Service (MPS) is called Optimised Print Services. The company also makes optical devices, including lenses and LCD film; medical and graphic imaging products, such as X-ray image processing systems, colour proofing systems, and X-ray film; photometers, 3-D digitizers, and other sensing products; and textile printers. It once had camera and photo operations inherited from Konica and Minolta but they were sold in 2006 to Sony, with Sony's Alpha series being the successor SLR division brand.

Minolta

Minolta Co., Ltd. was a Japanese manufacturer of cameras, camera accessories, photocopiers, fax machines, and laser printers. Minolta Co., Ltd., which is also known simply as Minolta, was founded in Osaka, Japan, in 1928 as Nichi-Doku Shashinki Shōten. It made the first integrated autofocus 35 mm SLR camera system. In 1931, the company adopted its final name, an acronym for "Mechanism, Instruments, Optics, and Lenses by Tashima". In 1933, the brand name first appeared on a camera, a copy of the Plaubel Makina simply called "Minolta".

M42 lens mount

The M42 lens mount is a screw thread mounting standard for attaching lenses to 35 mm cameras, primarily single-lens reflex models. It is more accurately known as the M42 × 1 mm standard, which means that it is a metric screw thread of 42 mm diameter and 1 mm thread pitch.

History of the single-lens reflex camera

The history of the single-lens reflex camera (SLR) begins with the use of a reflex mirror in a camera obscura described in 1676, but it took a long time for the design to succeed for photographic cameras: the first patent was granted in 1861, and the first cameras were produced in 1884 but while elegantly simple in concept, they were very complex in practice. One by one these complexities were overcome as optical and mechanical technology advanced, and in the 1960s the SLR camera became the preferred design for many high-end camera formats.

Minolta XG-M

The Minolta XG-M was a 35mm single-lens reflex camera introduced in 1981 by Minolta of Japan. It was also known as the X-70 on the Japanese market, in which it was not available until 1982. When released, it was the top model in Minolta's XG series of consumer-grade manual focus SLRs, replacing the XG-9. Changes from that model included a metered manual mode, and a revised body style with rearranged controls. This was also the first camera to use Minolta's new logo, which was used until the 2003 merger into Konica Minolta.

Minolta 110 Zoom SLR

The Minolta 110 Zoom SLR is a 110 format single-lens reflex (SLR) camera produced by Minolta of Japan between 1976 and 1979. It was the first SLR in 110 format. It had an unusual, flattened shape. Other 110 SLRs were shaped like SLRs in larger formats, but the 110 Zoom SLR took the flat format of the typical 110 pocket camera and added a larger lens and prism hump to it. 1979's replacement, the Minolta 110 Zoom SLR Mark II, had a more conventional shape.

Konica FT-1

The Konica FT-1 was the last SLR to be built both under the Konica name and by Konica themselves. The FT-1 was introduced in 1983 as an improvement on the earlier FS-1.

Sony α

Sony α, is a camera system introduced on 5 June 2006. It uses and expands upon Konica Minolta camera technologies, including the Minolta AF SLR lens mount, whose assets were acquired by Sony after the end of Konica Minolta's photography operations in early 2006. Sony also has an 11.08% ownership stake in Japanese lens manufacturer Tamron, which is known to have partnered with Konica Minolta and Sony in the design and manufacture of many zoom lenses.

Yashica Japanese camera manufacturer

Yashica was a Japanese manufacturer of cameras, originally active from 1949 until 2005 when its then-owner, Kyocera, ceased production.

Minolta A-mount system

The Minolta A-mount camera system was a line of photographic equipment from Minolta introduced in 1985 with the world's first integrated autofocus system in the camera body with interchangeable lenses. The system used a lens mount called A-mount, with a flange focal distance 44.50 mm, one millimeter longer, 43.5 mm, than the previous SR mount from 1958. The new mount was wider, 49.7 mm vs 44.97 mm, than the older SR-mount and had a longer flange focal distance making old manual lenses incompatible with the new system. The mount is now used by Sony, who bought the SLR camera division from Konica Minolta, Konica and Minolta having merged a few years before.

The Konica F was the first 35 mm SLR camera produced by Konishiroku, released in February 1960.

Konica Hexar RF

The Konica Hexar RF is a 35 mm rangefinder camera which was sold by Konica. It was introduced to the market on 13 October 1999. and subsequently discontinued some time before the end of 2003. The camera used the "Bayonet Konica KM-mount", a copy of the Leica M-mount, thus sharing interchangeable lenses with those designed for Leica cameras and others compatible with them. The Hexar RF has a combined rangefinder/viewfinder modeled on that of Leica cameras, a similar body shape and size - and so is similar to Leica M-mount cameras in many aspects of operation.

Konica Hexar

The Konica Hexar is a 35 mm fixed-lens, fixed focal length autofocus camera which was produced through the 1990s. It was introduced to the market in 1993. While styled like a rangefinder camera, and intended for a similar style of photography, in specification it is more like a larger "point and shoot" camera.

Minolta CLE 35 mm rangefinder camera

The Minolta CLE is a TTL-metering automatic exposure aperture-priority 35 mm rangefinder camera using Leica M lenses, introduced by Minolta in 1980.

Konica Autoreflex

The Auto-Reflex and Autoreflex is a series of 35mm SLR cameras made by Konica from 1965 to 1988. All these models have the Konica AR bayonet.

Konica AR-mount

The Konica AR camera lens mount was introduced in 1965 with the Konica Autoreflex, together with a range of lenses. It features a comparably short flange focal distance of 40.50 mm for a 35 mm film SLR camera. Its diameter is 47 mm. The focus of the Konica Hexanon lenses were from 21 mm to 1000 mm; at the start one zoom 47-100mm f3.5 Hexanon AR-H was offered. Konica produced cameras for Konica AR bayonet until 1988.

This article discusses the cameras – mainly 35 mm SLRs – manufactured by Pentax Ricoh Imaging Corp. and its predecessors, Pentax Corporation and Asahi Optical Co., Ltd..

Konica FP-1 35mm SLR camera

The Konica FP-1, introduced in 1981 and discontinued in 1983, was a 35mm SLR camera with TTL metering and a large range of exchangeable optics.

Zuiko is a brand of optical lenses made by Olympus Corporation that was used up to and into the Four Thirds system era. The name Zuiko (瑞光) means 'Light of the Gods', using a character from the Mizuho Optic Research Laboratory (瑞穂光学研究所), where the lens was developed, and a character from Takachiho Corporation (高千穂製作所), which would eventually become the Olympus Corporation.

References