Konica FC-1 35mm SLR Film Camera Review and Sample Photos

This Konica FC-1 came to me out of left field. A wildlife photographer friend of mine - Len Rue, Jr. sent me this camera with the fantastic Hexanon AR 57mm F1.2 lens you see pictured below. It's not one he'd shot with - he's a Canon guy now and was a Nikon guy before that. I think he said it had belonged to his uncle - but regardless, I'd never owned a Konica and hadn't even had my eye on Konica cameras at all before this arrived. Actually, one more bit of trivial blathering - When Len told me about this one on the phone before sending it up to me to sell on ebay for him, he looked it over and dismissed it as rather worthless (Canon man don't forget). But he looked at the lens, read the specs to me, and said "that's a fast sucker!". Mind you, this was coming from a guy who has thousands of dollars worth of the latest Canon lenses in his arsenal, so it's a rare moment when he's impressed by something I'm interested in.

Konica FC-1 with Hexanon AR 57mm F1.2 lens

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So, when I received this, I was quite excited about the 1.2 lens. At that point in time, I'd not even managed to get my hands on my first 1.4 lens. I did some research on the camera and the lens, and quickly realized that this lens, and Hexanon lenses in general, are somewhat legendary for their sharpness. I was becoming interested! I took this camera and lens combo out shooting right away and was super impressed with how the FC-1 felt and handled. The lens of course was impressive, and was even more so when I got back my first roll of film - the images were beautifully exposed and as sharp as come be. But I expected that out of this legendary lens - but from my online research about the FC-1 I expected a competent camera, but not much more. Instead, I found myself favoring this camera and buying more Hexanon lenses during the weeks that followed. I also followed this up with the purchase of an Autoreflex T2 - but that's another story I guess.

LIKES: lightweight yet feels well made; nice body grip design - comfortable to hold with good design and placement of self-timer button so that nothing is right under your fingers; nice large shutter speed dial that rotates all the way around; super easy film loading - no need to slip film in any slot, just lay it in there and wind the film advance lever 3 times; film advance indicator on back so you know your film is advancing properly; electromagnetic shutter release; much brighter viewfinder than the Autoreflex series had with easy to read LED f-stop indicators on the left side; more reliable metal focal plane shutter; takes modern commonly available batteries.

DISLIKES: no depth-of-field preview button; no mirror lock-up even with self-timer use; can't see what shutter speed is selected from within viewfinder; not compatible with standard cable-releases (requires special cable release); mirror seems noisier and slower than other SLRs I own (the quietest I own is the Pentax ME Super - dang nice!)

Konica FC-1 sample image - click to view gallery

Above: Water fall on the Royal River, in Royal River Park, Yarmouth, Maine. Photo taken with a Konica FC-1 and Konica Hexanon AR 57mm F1.2.

View gallery of sample images for this camera

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