Konica FC-1 Camera Review

One of my favourite film camera, perhaps favourite. Why ? Inexpensive, light weight, trustworthy in all situation. Battery life keep forever , works with alkaline batteries. Film loading can't be better, simple stunning. I bring this camera to everywhere for shoot, for light meter to other older cameras without meter. I use it also as a distance meter if I forgot at home external range finders. I am simple amazed.
  The FC-1, first introduced in 1980.  FC-1 is a camera with electronically controlled shutter. It needs a battery for all functions, exposure is impossible without batteries.  The shutter speed dial is very easy to rotate and has no limitation in turning, as it does not have to move any mechanical gears  it can endlessly be turned in any direction. From B to 1/1000 s is just one click stop. Shutter release and self timer are not mechanical either, but electric buttons. The shutter release needs only a soft touch almost without pressure.These electric buttons do mean that there is no possibility to use a normal cable release on the FC-1. An electric cable release from the Konica accessory program is needed, that fits into the socket on the right side of the camera body.

Fact Sheet

: 35mm focal plane shutter  TTL-AE single-lens reflex camera
FILM: 35mm film in cassette
PICTURE SIZE: 24 x 36mm
STANDARD LENS: Konica Hexanon AR 40mm f/1.8,Konica Hexanon AR 50mm f/1.7,
Konica Hexanon AR 50mm f/1.4,Konica Hexanon AR 57mm f/1.2
MOUNT: Bayonet-type Konica mount II (AR)
APERTURE MECHANISM: AE-type fully automatic  aperture with smallest aperture at f/22
SHUTTER: Digitally controlled, vertical travel, electronic, metal focal plane shutter
SHUTTER SPEEDS: B, 2, 1 ~ 1/1000 sec.
SYNCHRO: Hot shoe and X contact with synchro socket, automatically set to 1/100 sec. with exclusive Konica X-24 Automatic Electronic Flash.
Manually set to 2 ~ 1/60 sec. with electronic flash other than X-24. Synchronized with M. FP and MF bulbs at 1/30 sec. and slower shutter speeds
SELF-TIMER: Digitally-controlled electronic self-timer
FINDER: Pentaprism eye-level finder, magnification X 0.67 (at infinity with 40mm standard lens), field-of-view ratio 90%, real-image alignment system with split image, micro-diaprism and ground glass
LED indicator for aperture in use from f/1.4 ~ f/22  advises correct exposure in AE photography. LED at f/1.0 (intermediate point between M and f/1.4) will blink indicating under-exposure.  LED at f/22 will blink indicating over-exposure. LED at M will blink indicating lens placed on manual apertures. LEDs at f/1.0 and f/22 will alternately blink indicating low battery voltage. LED at f/1.0 will light for stopped-down metering.
LED at f/5.6 or f/11 will blink indicating X-24 electronic flash at  full charge
TTL metering at full apertures, shutter-speed priority control system with gallium-arsenide-phosphorus compound photo-cell.
• Automatic aperture control system with priority given to shutter speed selection for AE photography reading of correct aperture value coupled to film speed, shutter speed and f-value at full lens opening.
• Manual aperture lens (stopped-down metering): System of alignment with fixed point coupled to film speed, shutter speed, and lens aperture
AE COUPLING RANGE: With ASA 100 film and f/1.4 lens EV 0 (at 2 sec. with f/1.4) ~ EV 19 (at 1/1000 sec. with f/22). With f/1.8 lens,
EV 0.7 (at 2 sec. with f/1.8) to EV 19
FILM LOADING: Unique Konica film loading system will advance film to first frame without releasing shutter.  Fully automatic film loading system when used with Konica Auto-Winder F
FILM WIND: In an arc of 138º with a lever on the camera top, automatic film wind with Auto-Winder F
FILM TRANSPORT CONFIRMATION: A flicker indicator confirms film is properly winding
FILM RE-WIND: Crank type with rewind button returning to the original position with loading of new film
FILM COUNTER: Positive type. Resets to start with opening of back cover
POWER SOURCE: Four 1.5V alkaline batteries LR-44 or silver oxide batteries SR-44 (Everready S-76, Mallory MS-76)
OTHER: Accepts Konica Auto-Winder F for single frame or rapid sequence photography at 1.5 f.p.s.  Batteries serviceable for 40 rolls of 36-exposure film (with AA alkaline batteries)
l40 x 89 x 72mm, 665g (w/o batteries) with f/1.8 lens;
140 x 89 x 45mm, 525g (w/o batteries) body only

User Comments

The FC-1 can be bought quite cheaply, as it is a relatively obscure and little known model. It is not particularly rare, but isn’t all that common either. It is one of my favorite Konicas, however. It combines the very bright viewfinder and the more accurate metering system of Konica’s later electronic cameras with the more traditional handling of the older mechanical ones. It works just as the FS-1, with the exception that it has no built-in motor and relies on four little LR44/SR44 batteries. Thanks to this it is much lighter.

One of the great features of the FC-1 is its film loading system. You don’t need to hunt for a slot on the take-up spool but simply place the tip of the film on the spool, close the film bay, wind three times (with no need to depress the shutter button) and you’re set. It’s the best film loading system I’ve seen in over 30 years of picture taking.

Another neat feature is the shutter speed dial whose diameter is about 50% wider than on most cameras. Its edge is flush with the front of the camera to you can literally manipulate it with the tip of your finger, with no need to actually grab or hold it between thumb and forefinger.

Like all Konica’s electronic cameras, the FC-1 is lacking a couple of features that would have made all of them even better cameras. It has no DOF button, no exposure memory and no exposure compensation (the FT-1 has it). You can use the ASA dial for the same purpose, however. The FC-1 has it located at the base of the film rewind lever to the left of the viewfinder, just where the exposure compensation dial is on the FT-1. It’s not called an exposure compensation dial, but you can use it in the same manner and to the same effect as if it was.

The FC-1 can be used with a number of accessories: It works with a couple of Konica dedicated flashes and can be used with a very slim auxiliary motor winder. In addition, the FC-1 has a little electronic port on the front of the housing into which you can connect things like an interval timer or a radio remote control. Konica electronic cameras are probably one of the cheapest ways to get a radio remote control system.

The battery setup of the FC-1 is rather unusual. The four batteries have to be placed next to each other inside a little flat tray, which is then inserted into the camera. This tray is quite fragile and very difficult to find on its own. In my experience, the FC-1’s electronics are very dependable. I’ve had three FC-1s over the years and they have never let me down. All in all, they are very pleasant to use.

(Jean-Jacques Granas)

The FC-1 was the non-motorized version of the FS-1. A separate winder was made for it. The viewfinder is fairly bright and the shutter is not too noisy. The only thing I don't like about it is that there is no exposure lock. I found myself frequently setting the aperture manually, especially in backlit situations. The batteries fit into a plastic rectangular box. It is better to use MS-76 than LR-44 batteries. The MS-76 batteries will last longer. If someone leaves the batteries in for a long time and if the batteries corrode then the plastic battery holder expands and can't be removed without dismantling the whole camera. The FC-1 does not seem to have the same problems with its electronics that the FS-1 had. Konica only fixed the problems in the FS-1 at the end of the production run. Most FS-1 cameras you would find today are not working and can't be repaired. If you can live without the exposure lock, the FC-1 is a pleasant enough camera to use. The 52mm f/1.8 Hexanon went out of production in 1973 when it was replaced by the first version of the 50/1.7 Hexanon. The 52 is also a decent lens if it is in good condition.
(Jeff Adler)

The viewfinder is very bright and clear, the mat screen is equipped with split-image focussing and microprism collar. Indication of metered aperture values is done with LEDs (light emitting diodes) on the left side of the viewfinder. The LEDs are only capable of indicating whole aperture values, but the light meter does work with intermediate values and sets these on the lens accordingly if the lens is set to auto exposure (AEC) mode. All warning indicators for over- and under-exposure, low battery, and manual exposure mode are done with LEDs as well.

The FC-1 can set a smallest aperture of 22. Obviously, to use this feature, a lens with a smallest aperture setting of 22 is necessary.

With the dedicated flash unit Konica X-24, the camera automatically sets to a shutter speed of 1/100 s and to aperture 5.6 or 11, depending on the switch setting on the flash unit. Exposure is controlled by a thyristor in the flash unit, that switches off the flash when the correct amount of light for proper exposure has hit the thyristor. After exposure the camera changes to normal exposure mode until the flash signals that is is once again ready. Then the exposure control is taken over by the flash once more. For demanding flash photography this is not sophisticated enough. Here you are better off with manual flash exposure control (without dedicated flash possible anytime), as that leaves much more possibilities to influence the result. For correctly exposed snapshots on a family reunion the flash control of the FC-1 is certainly good enough.

The new film loading system of the FC-1 is simply brilliant. Put the film cartridge in the camera, pull the film tip to the other side, close the back, actuate the transport lever several times until it blocks – ready. The camera takes the film tip automatically and there is no need to fire the shutter until the first frame is reached. A very simple and fast solution, without any annoying fiddling. The system is quite fool-proof, you have to deliberately try to make a mistake if you want the camera not to load the film properly.

Different from the mechanical predecessors, the FC-1 does no longer use mercury oxyde batteries. The power supply are four easily obtainable silver oxyde (SR44) or alkaline (LR44) batteries. These last a long time, but without or with empty batteries, a FC-1 is doing nothing at all, no photos can be taken. Therefore it is a good idea to always have a fresh set of batteries with you.

The removeable battery compartment, that takes up the for batteries, is a bit fragile. When opening it for loading or removing of batteries, you should be careful not to damage the compartment.

35mm focal plane shutter
TTL-AE single-lens reflex camera
Comments (3)
Removeable compartment
3Thursday, 06 November 2014 23:08

Could you tell me where can I find a removeable battery compartment for my Konica FC-1 ?

Many thanks.

removeable battery compartment
2Thursday, 06 November 2014 23:03

Could you telle me where it is possible to find a removeable battery compartment for my Konica fc-1 ?

Many Thanks.

Konica FC-1
1Sunday, 27 July 2014 19:07
A very goodlooking camera. I love Konica cameras and lenses. For example the 40/1.8, the
50/1.7 and the 85/1.8 Hexanon lenses. It is really the best.

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