Vintage Konica Cameras
Vintage Konica cameras are cameras that were produced by the Japanese company Konica.
Konica was the oldest camera company in Japan and its history can be traced back to 1873 when Rokusaburo Sugirua began selling photographic equipment at his store, Konishiya Rokubē, which was then the largest pharmacist in Tokyo.
Although primarily known as one of the twentieth century’s major producer of 35mm film, Konica also manufactured other photographic equipment, including photocopiers, laser printers, cameras and camera accessories. Although it never equalled its Japanese rivals Fuji or Kodak, Konica film was still widely considered to be of exceptional quality.
Konica’s first true 35mm single lens camera to be mass-produced was the Konica I and was built in 1946. Although Konica did not gain the reputation of its Japanese competitors, such as Minolta, Konica still produced a number of top quality cameras, particularly the 1960 Konica F, which was the world’s second SLR to have a maximum shutter speed of 1/2000th of a second. Additionally, the Konica C35 AF, released in 1977, was the first mass-produced autofocus camera.
Having merged with Minolta to form Konica Minolta in 2003, Konica announced that it was closing down its photo company in 2006, which included the manufacture of its colour paper, colour film, digital minilabs and camera division. Sony has since acquired its digital SLR camera section and produces cameras under the Sony brand.
Guide for collectors
Konica cameras are relatively inexpensive and can be bought at either online vintage camera dealers, such as Vintagecamera.com, or online bidding sites, such as eBay and Yahoo, from as little as $20.
The Konica Autoflex series, which were the first Japanese 35mm SLR cameras, are highly sought after by collectors. However, prices can vary depending on the model and can range from as little as £30 for the Konica Autoflex A2 to over £1000 for the rare Konica Autoflex T Gold. All black cameras from this series are considerably rarer and tend to be more valuable. The website Collectiblend.com is a good source for finding recent price valuations for vintage camera brands, including Konica.
Perhaps one of the most desirable and legendary of all vintage 35mm SLRs is the rare Konica F. It is estimated that only six-hundred to fifteen-hundred were ever produced and as a result are highly valuable for collectors. Konica F’s in good condition can expect to sell from $2000 to $3000. At a United States auction in 2005, a Konica F in poor condition still realised a price of over $600.
At present, Konica cameras have not been sold at auction houses, such as Christie’s and Bonhams.
It was reported that a near mint condition Konica F camera, equipped with a standard 52mm lens, sold on eBay for $2550.59. However, no specific details regarding the date can be verified.
In January 2012, a Konica Hexanon Autoflex camera was sold on eBay for $65.
A 1982 Konica Ft-1 motor camera, equipped with a Hoya 55m UV filter and Hexanon 55mm lense and a Hoya UV filter, was sold on eBay in January 2012 for $22.50.
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