Konica Autoreflex TC

Konica Autoreflex TC

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The Autoreflex TC is a plastic-bodied, scaled down version of the famous Autoreflex T series (T, T2, T3, T3n). Like its predecessors, it has full manual or EE auto exposure, though here the shutter speeds are limited to 1/8 and above. Legendary Hexanon lens. In fact, mine has the famous 40mm f1.8 “Pancake” lens, renowned for its sharpness and compactness (it’s about the thickness of my thumb). The Autoreflex TC is more frequently found with the excellent 6-element, 5-group 50mm f1.7 — its normal lens at the time — but happily accepts all the older Konica AR EE lenses, so there. This camera is smaller and lighter than its heavy-duty predecessors, aparrently in an effort to capitalize on the marketplace success of smaller contemporary SLRs such as the Olympus OM series and the Pentax ME. The TC is just noticeably smaller than a K1000 and has a nice comfortable feel.

I bought this to be what it’s largely recommended as — a second body companion to a ‘better’ Autoreflex (if not a starter SLR). I personally think that sells it a little short, this common opinion is from the Konica Faithful who hold the T3n as the gold standard and anything less is, well, less. I’m not saying they’re wrong, mind you! The T3n is certainly the choice for the pro Konica user. But the compactness, lightness, and feel of the TC may mean it ends up in your hands more frequently than its hefty kin, and since it uses the same lenses, well…. Besides, I never use speeds less than 1/15 anyway, except for ‘B’, which this has. They mention the features this camera has lost from the fine-tuned advancements of the T3 but I find it surprisingly close in specs to the classic A-R T except that it’s smaller, lighter and has a hot shoe. What’s not to like? It’s a perfect entry-level Konica SLR.

An aside: faithful readers may note that I once referred to the TC and its black brethren as ‘ugly’, and that I wasn’t altogether too interested in them… This apparently was a statement similar to those you make about that person that rubs you the wrong way but to whom you are secretly attracted. I see now that seeds of destiny were planted when I started looking at the Autoreflexes years ago, our paths were bound to cross eventually. Besides, pictures don’t do the TC justice, it really is a handsome fellow in its own way 😉

SPECIAL NOTE: I mentioned that moving the wind lever to the standoff position activates the meter, it also unlocks the shutter release button. Even though batteries are not required for this camera, you can’t fire the shutter without moving the wind lever into the standoff position as if you were activating the meter. Commit this to memory or you will lose some shots!


Surface cleaning with some orange cleaner and a toothbrush, replaced light seals with felt and string.

The Autoreflex TC and subsequent T4 are notorious for leatherette shrinkage. They’re not quite as bad as some Yashica Contaxes I’ve known but are frequently found with shrinking, peeling leatherette. (Mine, luckily is OK for now, but I can see it beginnning to show.) And don’t get me started on the horrible cracking everready cases. Suffice it to say that it’s not a horribly difficult job to replace your shrunken, peeling ‘pleather’ but if you have an open mind you may even be able to do one better: see http://www.cameraleather.com for details. Abomination you say? I say wicked cool!

Tips & Tricks

See SPECIAL NOTE above regarding shutter release lock. Never mind, I’ll just repeat it: moving the wind lever to the standoff position not only activates the meter, it also unlocks the shutter release button. SO even though batteries are not required for this camera, you can’t fire the shutter without moving the wind lever into the standoff position as if you were activating the meter. Commit this to memory or you will likely lose some shots!

Speaking of batteries, this originally took two 625PX 1.3v mercury batteries, if you put in 1.5v you should adjust the ASA by half to account for the voltage difference. HOWEVER, I just stuck two 1.4v hearing aid batteries (675) in there and they fit fine, none of this o-ring spacer business I keep hearing about. It’s not like if the batteries will lose contact if they shift around, they’re wide enough so I say don’t worry about it.

Available EE automatic aperture priority metering using the AR lenses, very nice. Viewfinder readout is different than other cameras: the needle reads not correct but actual exposure on a scale that shows the f-stop appropriate to your shutter and film speed. It takes a little getting used to if you’ve been using regular match needle hi-lo metering. Also the scale goes from wide open at the top to stopped down at the bottom, and automatically (and mechanically) adjusts its range to the aperture range of your EE lens. The meter turns on when you bring the wind lever to its standoff position. To turn off the meter and bring the lever back home to rest you press a little ‘off’ switch under the wind lever. An LED in the viewfinder indicates non-EE function.

Other notes: PC X sync is on the side, as is the back door release lever. The wind knob doesn’t even pull up to release the film canister; the bottom is ‘cut out’ like on the Minolta Hi-Matics. In other words, don’t pull up on the rewind knob, you’ll break it off (I see that occasionally).

And don’t forget that you can use all the classic Hexanon AR EE lenses on this body! (And isn’t that why you get an Autoreflex in the first place?)

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