Shooting With a Konica Autoreflex TC

As usual, my reviews are not technical. I describe what I like and what I don’t like.

This camera was produced between 1976 and 1982. Not a long run. As it turns out, I’ve read that people really liked this camera. Hell, I really like this camera.

The Autoreflex TC is a mechanically shuttered camera with a shutter priority exposure mode activated by turning the aperture dial on the lens to A. That’s pretty cool. Especially for the era.

I had this camera for a while and I just bought it for the Hexanon lens to mount to my Fujifilm mirrorless camera. Recently I hunted down some 625 batteries and I thought I would give it a go, (this camera was designed for PX625 mercury batteries). I had only put one roll of film through it, and I shot with a hand-held meter. You can’t beat that.

I like the size of the camera. It’s on the compact side of things. The top deck is a bit cramped. When behind the camera, the winding knob is on the left, the right side has the shutter dial. The ASA dial is built into the shutter knob. The meter is activated and the shutter button is unlocked when the film-advance lever is pulled away from the body. To re-lock, there is a small button on the back under the film-advance lever you must press to retract that lever.

This is not a horrible camera. Is it a professional workhorse? No. The camera is plastic with a weird leatherette covering, which is actually nice to hold. There are tons of cameras, out there that are built better, even by Konica. The battery is door on the bottom plate is made of plastic, which feels flimsy. While we’re talking about batteries, this camera was designed for PX625 mercury batteries, I used two 625A alkaline batteries and adjusted for the voltage by knocking down my ISO from 200 to 160. It’s close enough for me.

There was another thing I really liked about the camera, I just discovered half-way through the last roll I shot. It has exposure lock built in to the shutter button mechanism. I realized when I half-press the shutter button, it locks the aperture so I could freely recompose and not worry about the auto exposure system readjusting the aperture.

When I am shooting and using the in camera meter, I’ll point the center split-prism at the subject, get my meter reading and make my adjustments on the camera. Since this camera does have shutter priority, I set the lens to A and pick my shutter speed, and the camera will set the aperture for me. Often times when recomposing the framing, the camera’s meter will take a new reading. This is a great feature. With the Canon AE-1 you have to press a separate button on the left side of the lens, not as convenient. Also, there is no exposure compensation dial. Those are a luxury that most film shooters rarely need on a mechanical camera anyway.

Remember when I said that the camera felt a little cramped on the top deck. The shutter button is tucked in very close the shutter speed dial. I have small hands and chubby fingers, so the size of the camera works well for me, but the shutter button is not ideal, but I do like those soft-shutter buttons that screw on for the button. This raises the button to a good height for me. This is something to consider.

A while back, I reviewed The Sears KS-500. This camera falls right in line with that camera. I firmly believe that there is value in having a beater camera handy. That is what this camera will be for me, a full-mechanical beater camera.

My final thoughts on this:

It’s a fine camera. They’re pretty cheap, and Konica Hexanon lenses are fantastic. Would I do a job with this camera, probably not. That’s not what this camera is about anyway.

If you see this in a thrift store for less than $20 bucks with a lens, it might be a good deal. It’s ok if the meter doesn’t work, because this camera is all mechanical.

Some Photos:

Shot on expired Kodak Gold 200.

Arista 200 EDU Ultra.

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