Konica C35 EF 35mm Compact

Konica C35 EF 35mm Compact Camera

Film Camera Review:

Konica C35 EF 35mm Compact Film Camera

'A quick look review at the zone focus 'Pikkari' Konica C35 EF, the first 35mm compact camera with a built-in flash'

Introduction and Overview

Konica C35 EF, View
I had a thing going for the Konica C35 series cameras and was very happy with the C35 Automatic which I have used on a couple of occasions previously.

The series, which includes the C35, C35 V, C35 Automatic (C35 Flashmatic in Japan), and Auto S3 (C35FD) were highly acknowledged for their compact design, light bodyweight, ease of use and tack sharp images.

The followup to the series is the plastic-bodied Konica C35 EF, the first 35mm compact camera with a built-in flash, nicknamed 'Pikkari' in Japan. The camera has a similarly configured 4-element Hexanon 38mm F2.8 lens as seen on previous C35 models. This model was later superseded by the fixed focus C35 EFP and autofocus C35 AF.

Film ISO speed rating for both cameras remains the same, from 25-400, and its selection mode is similar, by a ribbed dial located on the periphery of the lens element. The exposure range is from F2.8 at 1/60 sec. to F16 at 1/125 sec. Flash is a snap-up type, activated by a slide switch on the lower part of the right front panel.

Konica C35 EF Film Camera Review with photos

Review of a camera that I used for a while. It takes 2 AA batteries and one PX675. The AA batteries are for the flash and PX675 is for the meter in the back. The battery input for the meter is close to the viewfinder. Open both battery compartments to check for corrosion.

Model Variation

Konica C35 EF, Later version
The Konica C35 EF in two iterations, the first from its release date in 1975 and a second from 1977 onwards. Enhancement to the camera includes the incorporation of a self-timer and a higher top shutter speed of 1/250 second, up from the 1/60 and 1/125 of the older model.

The self-timer version of the C35 EF comes with the clockwork self-timer dial on the left side of the lens. Additionally, the slide-switch for the flash comes with an orange plastic top, and the focusing symbols on the lens focusing barrel are framed. Focusing is by selecting preset distances on the rotating lens barrel, using the zone focus method.

Basic Camera Features

The overall shape of the camera is almost a simple brickbat with filleted corners and rounded edges. The Konica C35 EF is available only in black.

Konica C35 EF, Front

The front of the camera is where all the happenings are - the lens and lens mount housing with the lens surrounded by the film ISO dial selector, film ISO display window, CDS meter bulb, and distance scale setting on the barrel of housing mount itself. On the right of the front plane is the pop-up flash unit, which occupies about a third of the front width of the camera.

Set the flash unit to ON by pushing the flash release button inward and this will pop the flash unit up.

Konica C35 EF, Top

The top plate of the C35 EF is a flat plane with only the shutter release button, film forward crank, and film counter window in a cluster on the right. The film rewind crank and the upper-deck pilot lamp for the flash unit is to the left of the top, located just aft of the snap-up flash unit.

Konica C35 EF, Back

Almost the whole of the camera back, below the back of the top plane is occupied by the film back, locked by a small slide latch. The top portion of the film back is occupied by the viewfinder eyepiece, with an eye-level pilot-lamp next to it, and in a somewhat different configuration to other cameras, the battery chamber for the electronics of the camera.

Konica C35 EF, Bottom

The bottom plate is another plain affair with only the tripod socket, film rewind button, and the flash battery chamber cover on the right.

Konica C35 EF, Film box

The film box is simple and spartan with all the required mechanicals for proper film loading, winding using the Konica IGL (Insta-Grip Load) system.

Viewfinder Readout

Konica C35 EF, Viewfinder readout
The viewfinder of the C35 EF is a bright-frame unit, with parallax marks for close distance image framing.

On the right vertical of the display is the aperture scale with under and overexposure warning zones (in Red), and on the left, the focusing zone scale.

The aperture scale will display a pointer needle which will show the aperture setting the image will be shot in, while the focusing zone scale will display another pointer needle showing the distance zone setting set on the lens barrel.

Battery

The Konica C35 EF is designed to be used with a 1.35 volt PX-675 mercury button cell. Since the battery is no longer in production, replacements in the form of the 1.35 zinc-air hearing aid battery, or a higher voltage SR or LR 44 (1.5 volts) is often used.

The battery for the flash unit is 2 units of the standard AA battery. Battery usage and replacement need for the camera's electronics and flash unit are independent of each other.

Using The Camera

Konica C35 EF, Early Images 01

Using the camera is very easy and straightforward. It is almost a film point-and-shoot, except for the fairly wide F2.8 lens which does require a bit more finesse in focusing or distance zone setting. With a camera body weight of only 340 grams, without battery, the Konica C35 is light, compact and handy enough to go wherever you go.

Konica C35 EF, Early Images 02
Konica C35 EF, Early Images 03
Konica C35 EF, Early Images 04

Once you get the hang of winding the film forward after each every shot, framing the image horizontally or vertically, setting the focus zone correctly, and holding the camera steady while you press the shutter release, the fun and enjoyment of doing film photography should be natural.

Konica C35 EF, Early Images 05

Done on a short day-trip, these early images were shot on a roll of nearly expired Kodak ColorPlus 200, lab-processed, scanned the Canoscan 9000F Mark II, post-processed on Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3). Print finishing was done on Google NIK Sharper Pro 3.

Konica C35 EF, Early Images 06
Konica C35 EF, Early Images 07
Konica C35 EF, Early Images 08

As I mentioned earlier, the manual focus Konica C35 EF is not very forgiving when given the incorrect zone focus distance setting. When grabbing shots on the fly, and not giving yourself enough time to frame and focus, you may very well end with the following images.

Konica C35 EF, Early Images 09
Konica C35 EF, Early Images 10
Konica C35 EF, Early Images 11

They (these images) are still worth the color and composition, though.


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