Konica TC-X (1985-1988)

Just as the first SLR in the AR lineup, the last is also one of a kind, but for very different reasons. The TC-X was the lightest 35mm SLR on the market when it was introduced because it was the world’s first SLR to be made entirely of plastic (drum roll!). The only metal parts on this camera, besides screws and springs, seem to be the lens mount, the tripod thread, and the strap lugs. Of course, plastic is king in our day and age, but it was a rather bold idea at the time and doubts about the longevity of such a contraption were the norm.

The TC-X was also the world’s first camera equipped with an automatic film speed setting system thanks to a built-in DX code reader, but the system can be overridden and the film sensitivity can be set manually. This system, in fairly common use today, was developed by a consortium of camera makers, including Konica.

The TC-X is entirely different from its predecessors. The Konica SLR that it resembles most is the Autoreflex TC. Just as the latter, the TC-X is a simplified mechanical SLR and its longest shutter speed is 1/8s.

The main advantages of this camera are its feather weight and its dimensions. With the little 40mm Hexanon, it easily slides in an exterior vest pocket. Its drawbacks include its meter, which has a tendency to go out of regulation and its plastic housing which, though quite solid, gives the camera the appearance of a little toy.

The TC-X, last SLR with the Konica name was manufactured by Cosina, a maker which at one time or another made cameras for just about everyone in the business, including Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Ricoh, Voigtlander, and Yashica (another chapter of SLR photo history to discover here).

Characteristic features:

a) Shutter speed dial mounted on the same axis as the film advance lever,
b) Contact points in the film cartridge compartment for the DX system,
c) A window on the camera back showing the type of film in use.


There are two versions of the TC-X, one that takes an AAA battery and one that takes one AA battery. The latter is very rare.