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Film Camera Review, Konica Z-up 28W AF Zoom 35mm AF Film Camera

Film Camera Review: Konica Z-up 28W

An excellent and robust, though not really a compact 35mm autofocus film camera with a 28-56mm zoom lens.

I was on the trial of a fixed lens analog 28mm street shooter and already have had a look at the Konica Genba Kontaku 28WB, Fuji K-28, and Fuji Work Record OP as part of the review. All three were actually on the mark, and to top it all, they were also ruggedized weatherproof heavy-duty cameras, originally manufactured for the construction industry.

Up next is this point-and-shoot Konica Z-up 28W, a 28-56mm compact zoom with an F3.5~6.6 lens. It is not weather-sealed or ruggedized like the other three and has a form factor that is more compact and lighter in weight. Its size will still not fit in your pants pocket, though, and aside from carrying it in a camera or handbag, the best you can do is to hip it around with its case looped on your belt.

Konica Z-up 28W, Front right

What is interesting, of course, is the 28-56mm zoom lens. While being wide enough as a street shooter's delight at the front end, it will also take in the views at 35mm and 40mm focal distances and is near enough to a nifty-fifty at the back end. Online reviews also suggested that this Konica is not only the best optically, but it is also one with the fastest AF.

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While I am at it I might as well mention that there is also the heavy-duty Konica Genba Kantoku 28-56mm Zoom which may be sporting a similar lens setup, and the almost identical Konica Hi-Precision (28-56mm) Zoom AF Compact that comes with panorama feature.

Basic Camera Features

Again, the Z-up 28W is one of the cameras that are not hot on the list of user favorites, and it comes with only a handful of web pages of info and reviews. One item not mentioned in any of the sites is the shutter speed range of the camera. Web pages with images, however, do show a range of pretty sharp images with nice colors.

Konica Z-up 28W, Front left

The camera itself is fitted with an F3.5~6.6 28-56mm zoom lens, accepts DX-coded film with ISO rating from 50-3200, and requires a 2CR5 Lithium battery pack to operate. The lens is 8-elements in 7-group construction.

The 2CR5 battery is still easily available, may cost a lot more than you would expect, and should last more than 7 rolls of 36 exposure film when used with the flash on Auto mode.

Konica Z-up 28W, Front

The front panel of the sculptured plastic-bodied camera, the whole of which is rather reminiscent of a Transformer character, is taken up by the bulge of the handgrip, the lens housing, and a series of functional gizmos lining up the top part of the front panel.

From the left is the flash unit, viewfinder window, a pair of Auto-Focus Sensor windows, AE Photo Sensor window, and a self-timer LED.

The lens of the Z-up 28W is protected by a built-in UV filter. The extension of the lens, at its full zoom extension, is a short 18mm.

Konica Z-up 28W, Top

The top panel of the Z-up 28W is equally spartan and uncluttered. Besides a small viewfinder hump on the left, the right is occupied by a contoured panel where all the functional controls of the camera are located. Right up the front of the finger grip is the yellow shutter release button, and slightly back to it is a pastel blue zoom control button.

The zoom control is two-way. First, the lens is extended out when the zoom button is pressed, and on reaching the maximum distance, it will recede back into the lens housing with another press of the zoom button.

Function selection is controlled by buttons surrounding the LCD panel. On the right of the oval-shaped panel is the Power On/Off button, the two at the bottom are for Mode and Function selection, while a recessed Rewind button is on the left of the panel.

Konica Z-up 28W, Back

On the back is the diminutive viewfinder window on the back of the top plane, and the contoured film back which houses the Auto Date panel and the film check window.

My unit came with a non-functioning Auto Date panel, so I am not sure at all whether the panel is powered by an additional battery. This might not be the case as it was not mentioned in the instruction booklet of other Z-up camera models that I came across.

Konica Z-up 28W, Bottom

On the bottom plane of the Z-up 28W is the battery chamber cover with a quarter-turn lock screw, and a tripod socket right in the left back corner.

Konica Z-up 28W, Film box

The film box, opened by a press-down latch lock on the left shoulder of the camera body, is the standard quick load system found on cameras of that era. All you have to do is tnsert the film canister into the DX-coded chamber, pull the film back across until the film tip indicator, and the camera will self-load the film until frame 1.

Viewfinder Readout

The viewfinder is a real-image zoom finder with a close-up parallax mark and a circular focus spot ring. On the lower right bottom of the viewfinder is the Green LED for auto-focus lock and the Red LED for Flash On/Off mode.

Konica Z-up 28W, LCD panel

LCD Panel Display

The LCD panel displays the following, battery strength, film frame counter, and mode selection cycle for Auto Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, Self-Timer with Flash On, Infinity Focus with Flash Off, and Macro Mode with Flash On.

The separate Snap mode can be combined with the Auto Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, and Self-Timer with Flash On functions.

Mode Selection

Camera mode selection for the Auto Flash, Flash On, Flash Off, Self-Timer with Flash On, Infinity Focus with Flash Off, and Macro Mode with Flash On settings are set via the MODE selection button.

Snap Mode

In snap mode, set via the SNAP mode button, the focal length is preset to 28mm, the focal distance to 2.75 meters, and the film advance is set to two frames per second. While this may sound like a good hyperfocal setting, priority is, however, given to higher shutter speed, at the expense of depth of field.

When the SNAP mode is coupled with the Self-Timer with Flash On mode, the Z-up28W will set the shutter off twice, first after the ten-second delay, and the next three seconds later.

Macro Mode

In Macro mode, the focus distance is from 0.5 to 0.75 meters.


The Z-up 28W uses a 2CR5 Lithium battery pack to operate.

Early Images

Konica Z-up 28W, Early images 01
Konica Z-up 28W, Early images 02
Konica Z-up 28W, Early images 03
Konica Z-up 28W, Early images 04

Using The Camera

Konica Z-up 28W, Early images 05

Aside from the ability to use the Konica Z-up 28W for specialized subject photography such as action and macro shots using the SNAP or Macro mode capabilities of the camera, general point-and-shoot photography is as simple as it can get.

My preference, however, is for no flash photography, and cultivating the habit of sequencing the power switch in combination with three presses of the mode switch (Power, Mode, Mode, Mode) to get the camera into Flash Off mode is almost automatic now.

On the same token, the combination of the Power switch and five presses of the Mode selector will set the camera into Infinity Focus with Flash Off mode, a ready setup for shots through foliage cover, garden vistas, and landscape photography. The F3.5~6.6 lens is a definite plus to get things into sharp focus from about 1.5 meters onward.

Konica Z-up 28W, Early images 06
Konica Z-up 28W, Early images 07
Konica Z-up 28W, Early images 08

Images were scanned and post-processed and cropped to a 16:9 image aspect ratio on Olympus Viewer 3 (OV3). Print sharpening was done on Google NIK Sharpener Pro3.

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  1. My battery cap keeps falling off.

    1. Maybe a duct tape solution if the key lock of the battery chamber cover is broken.

  2. My camera doesn’t turn on even if the battery is new. Any tips?

    1. Basia: Check for oxidation in the battery compartment. Use a screwdriver (straight) and rub the contact points in the bottom of the battery compartment. There could be ever so slightly thin layer of oxidation on the metal.

    2. Might be worth a try! A good heads-up, thanks.

    3. how did you fix it? mine does the same thing

    4. Just wondering if anyone else has a solution aside from the already mentioned, thanks.

  3. LOVE mine a lot!! Wish I had a users manual tho

  4. Great article . I have the ruggedized construction variant and I love it.


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