Konica C35 AF (1977)

The Konica C35 AF owes its presence on this site to purely historical reasons. After all, it’s a plastic-made point and shoot camera which, at first glance, doesn’t present anything that would be out of the ordinary: it’s a rangefinder with a fixed aperture Hexanon 38mm f2.8 lens, built-in flash, an automatic exposure system, and three programmed shutter speeds (1/60s, 1/125s, and 1/250s). And yet... it has one revolutionary attribute: introduced in November 1977, it was the world’s first 35mm production camera equipped with an automatic focusing (AF) system.


Photo reproduced from the old Konica Minolta website. (W)


This system is based on the Visitronic AF system designed by Honeywell. It is a so-called ‘passive’ system, in contrast to ‘active’ systems introduced later on. This system acts by triangulation, that is to say, by measuring the angle between two microwave beams emitted and captured by two coupled detectors which set the focus in keeping with the measured angle. The principle is similar to that of optical rangefinder focusing systems.

The camera also has a flash management system similar to that of the Konica Auto S3, with three exceptions: Firstly and above all, it’s the AF system that it responsible for flash control; secondly, the guide number of the built-in flash is set at 14; and thirdly, the desired exposure it obtained by varying the shutter speed and not the aperture, which is fixed at f2.8 on this camera.

The viewfinder of the Konica C35 AF is similar to that of the Konica Auto S3 in terms of brightness. It has the same bright frame-lines, the same parallax correction index, an under exposure indicator and a rectangular focus indicator.