Autoreflex T4 (1977-1978)

After the success of the Autoreflex TC, it was expected that Konica would introduce a similar camera, but one that would have all the requisites of a full-fledged SLR, like the T3 and previous models. 

The Autoreflex T4 compact camera was the last entirely mechanical 35mm SLR Konica made. It looks so much like the Autoreflex TC that from a few feet away it is not easy to tell the apart. Upon closer inspection four external differences can be seen: most notably, a DOF button near the lens release button; a battery check button on the top deck to the left of the prism housing; the absence of the chrome trim on the front of the camera. Looking even more attentively, one will notice a wider range of shutter speeds and slight differences in the shape of the prism housing.

Despite this similarity in looks, the Autoreflex T4 is a very different camera from the Autoreflex TC. In addition to the DOF preview button, it has multiple-exposure capability and a full range of shutter speeds. With the TC, it shares the same bright viewfinder (40% brighter than in the T3/T3N), and a split-image focusing aid (an option with the T3/T3N). The only significant technical differences with the T3/T3N are the missing eyepiece curtain and the missing shutter speed display in the viewfinder.

The Autoreflex T4 is not as robust as the large SLR models that preceded it, but it is nonetheless a dependable and well designed camera. Even though it is missing a couple details present in the T3, it’s one of the choice Konica SLRs, thanks to its many features and its reduced dimensions. The only technical glitch on the T4 that is worth mentioning is its somewhat fragile light meter, which tends to give trouble more often than in other Konica SLRs. There are T4s in circulation with replacement meters taken from a TC. Although the TC meter will fit in a T4, the two meters are not the same. They differ in terms of metering range, notably. Another drawback of the T4 is the notorious leatherette which tends to shrink with time, just as on the TC. The picture above shows my T4 dressed up as a game warden. Leatherettes in all styles are available at Cameraleather.

The Autoreflex T4 was the first Konica camera able to accommodate an accessory rapid film advance motor, the Konica AR winder. It is a proprietary winder that works only with the Autoreflex T4. It is made of two elements – the winder itself and the battery compartment, which slides over and locks onto the motor element. It’s an early type winder that dates from the period when winders were beginning to become popular with the photo consumer, even though professional photographers had been using them for many years. As such, it is relatively noisy winder that can be used for single shots or at a continuous rate of 1.8 frames per second. It operates with six AA-type alkaline batteries.

The Konica AR Winder comes with a very convenient adjustable strap which is secured at one end to the bottom of the winder and whose other end fastens to a lug to the right of the film advance lever. The strap provides a secure grip for the entire body and winder kit in addition to giving the whole a very professional look.

The Autoreflex T4 was the last of the Autoreflexes. Thirteen years beforehand, when the Auto-Reflex came out, Konica led the way in automatic exposure SLRs and the name “Autoreflex” made it stand out from the crowd. By 1978, auto-exposure had become common and was about to become the norm. The name Autoreflex had lost its raison d’être.

Characteristic features:

a) Battery check button with light,
b) Multiple-exposure button with meter switch,
c) DOF preview button.