Konica Auto S
A landmark model, Konica advertised it as the first auto-exposure camera using a CdS cell (in the same year Minolta would hail the Hi-Matic 7 as the first with CdS photocell in the lens barrel). Unique to this model are the two ranges that are provided for the exposure meter, and the range shift lever used to select the suitable range. Position H (high brightness) is used when the subject matter is bright, as in the case of outdoor photography. Position L (low brightness) is for subjects reflecting low light intensity.
The Auto S is essentially the same body–regarding dimensions and weight–as the better known Auto S2 which was released 2 years later. It has the same shutter, same focusing lever, the synchroflash socket is in the same location etc. but there are a couple of differences which have a significant effect on the overall appearance.
The exposure meter window of the S is located at the top left on the front of the body in a raised square panel that’s shaded with a mini-hood, whereas the CdS cell on the S2 is mounted inside the filter thread of the lens (preferable as it means no compensation for filters is needed). There is also an illumination window for the aperture scale, a slim horizontal rectangle which along with the square and circle of the exposure meter, square high low switch, and the rectangles of the rangefinder window, frame illumination window and the range-viewfinder window give the front of the camera a very geometric design which is simple, clean and “strikingly modern”. Unlike the S2 there is no meter indicator window on the top of the camera. Seen from the back and looking through the viewfinder the two models are practically identical.
The camera features a built-in retractable lens hood which is a nice and useful detail. “Now you can use a lens shade at all times, as you should to prevent extraneous light and reflections from hitting the lens… without a cumbersome accessory you would have to carry, and perhaps lose.” The hood on the S2 was an option and removable.
Unfortunately, and like its successor, it came with a grey plastic battery cover, in theory to prevent a leaking battery from welding it shut. Although a small detail it gives a sense of corner cutting and feels a tad cheap on an otherwise solid design.
A main difference between the Auto S and the Auto S2 is the lens:
Auto S = Hexanon 47mm 1:1.9,
5 elements in 5 groups amber coating
Auto S2 = Hexanon 45mm 1:1.8,
6 elements in 4 groups, multi-coating
The lens of its successor the Auto S2 is regarded as one of the all time greats, but the fast, sharp lens of the Konica Auto S is also renowned for its speed and high resolving power. “Its amazingly high resolution at all stops, edge-to-edge, has earned it a reputation none can equal… The lens is the ‘heart’ of the camera, and picture quality can never be better than
The built in lens hood and cleaner geometric design of the front of the Auto S, combined with the lack of Konica branding (not the best logo) on the front could draw you away from an Auto S2, especially as you can still expect fantastic results from the lens.
Note from the manual:
Make it a habit to cock your camera just before shooting a picture. Keeping the shutter mechanism under tension over long periods of time can cause loss of precision.
|HEXANON 47mm 1:1.9
|5 elements in 5 groups, improved amber coating
|f1.9 - f16
|B, 1 - 1/500
|Side-illuminated bright frame, automatic parallax compensation, 0.65X magnification
|Aperture scale and warning marks in viewfinder field
|Combined with viewfinder for single eyepiece operation, double image focusing spot
|Direct helicoid focusing coupled to super-imposed rangefinder
|3ft - ∞
|Supersensitive CdS meter cross-coupled for full automatic exposure control
|Manual & Auto, shutter priority
|Provided with built-in pull-out lens hood
|About 10 seconds
|Thumb operated, single stroke cocking lever
|120° after initial free play at 20°
|138 x 82.5 x 72mm
|740g / 1.63lb