Koni-Omega 120 Rapid 6x7

(photo Pacific Rim Camera)

"Stewardess, there's something on the wing, some thing."

History

In between manufacturing the consumer-grade 35mm rangefinder cameras and the introduction of the Konica F SLR, Konica was contracted by the Omega corporation in 1962 to begin producing a professional medium format camera. Pretty similar in design to the Mamiya Press cameras of the era, the Koni-Omega was produced with slight variations between 1963 and 1981. During this time, Konica also produced the following Hexanon lenses: 58(60)/5.6, 90/3.5, 135, 180. Later Rapid M models allowed you to switch backs mid-roll without exposing any film, but did not really represent any really mechanical change. This review will just talk about the features of the original 1960s Rapid model.

Pleasant Bokeh in Fountainbleu
90/3.5 Hexanon | f/5.6 | Fuji NPH

The Japanese Never Miss an Opportunity to Miss an Opportunity

The Koni-Omega enjoyed much success during its run because it was a damn good camera that held its own against Rolleiflexes, Mamiyas, and Hasselblads. Even to this day, Koni-Omega users claim that their thirty year-old Hexanons produce indiscernable images from the most modern $2000 Carl Zeiss lenses. There is good evidence for this claim – the pressure plate in the 120 film back of the Rapid keeps the film absolutely flat on the reel while Hassys have a tendency to curl at the edges. Yet at the same time, saying that a Koni-Omega is a better buy than a Hasselblad is like saying a 1989 Honda Civic is a better buy than a Jaguar XKE.

Features:

– Not one, not two, but three accessory flash shoes! M and X sync adjustable with ball-point pen.

– Shutter speeds and aperture is adjusted on lens itself.

– Focusing moves the entire mechanism.

– Shutter release also pushes pressure plate to flatten the film. Result: Sharper pictures.

– Handy left-side handle grip for right-handed people.

– Shutter lock.

– Pull-out film lever advances the film as well as cocks the shutter. There is no mechanism to keep you from advancing the film if you did not take the shot.

– Apparently, the 60/5.6 Hexanon is one of the great wide-angle medium format lenses ever made. Unfortunately the external finder itself is $200.

– Bright, but not the brightest finder, as found in most Konica products 1951-2002. Parallax corrected 90/180 framelines.

Bottom Line

The Koni-Omega is a cheap and wonderful introduction to the medium-format world. Users tend to believe that there is no apparent difference between the Omega's 6x7 shots and any other modern Fuji or Hasselblad wonder – and they are probably correct – as they get into their 1989 Honda Civics.

-DAS-

 

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