Konica Autoreflex T4

(photo courtesy of cameraleather)

Best Lenses Ever?

As much as my brand loyalty to Konica keeps me coming back (a process started over 30 years ago when my father bought a Konica Autoreflex T at a Navy PX in East Asia), I would honestly say the Konica did not build the greatest SLR bodies. Sure, Konica certainly had its fair share of innovations, but the reason you would buy a AR body is because of a certain number of phenomenal lenses that today can be purchased fairly cheaply – most notably the 40/1.8 pancake, the 85/1.8, the 35/2, the UC 21/2.8, the 24/2.8, UC 28/1.8, the 55/3.5 macro, and the 57/1.2. Most of the other lenses are also pretty sharp (see Trufino's website for the resolution charts).

Unlike Nikon, Canon, Contax and other contemporary manufacturers, the AR bodies are built with shutter-speed priority, the practical advantage of which is to make sure you can handhold shots. The T4 in particular was Konica's answer to the super-compact SLR trend of the 1970s (see Olympus OM, Nikon EM). Unfortunately, the leatherette on the TC and T4 have tendencies to shrink in an unattractive fashion, and the PX-625 mercury batteries are becoming extremely scarce (Thanks, Al Gore). The T4 was replaced by the FP-1/FS-1 soon after its introduction in 1978.

Features

The T4 is a mechanical camera (works without batteries) and that's why you would want it. It is a lightweight body and can be extremely compact if used with the 40/1.8.

– Shutter priority AE operation. B, 1 sec-1/1000. Flash-sync 1/125 with hotshoe and PC outlet.
– Cds metering through the lens via a moving needle. Can shoot between f-stops.
– Optional motor drive, yet heavy and impractical.
– Self-timer; battery check button; Handy button to turn off meter to save battery power
– Depth of field preview button: Really advanced feature for such a small camera.
– Body weight 530g; Copal shutter.
– Variable angle metering system. Actually a very early application of an advanced metering system. The Cds meter in the T4 will measure light more or less through the center with normal and telephoto lenses, but will give more foreground emphasis for wide-angles (so as not to meter the sky, for example). The meter will adapt to any AR lens for best results.

Bottom Line

If you are in the market for a compact 1970s SLR, this may or may not be what you are looking for. If you are looking for more full-featured aperture-controlled bodies, look at the Nikon EM or the Canon AE-1. You buy Konica bodies for the lenses, which are cheap and some of the sharpest lenses produced in the day.

-DAS-

Cameraleather

Dante's Konica FC-1 vs. T4

Denis' T4 Profile

 

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