Experience & Review: Konica A4

The Konica A4 is essentially a Big mini, the pre-cursor for ‘that series of cameras’, the one with the fanatics. It’s a compact point and shoot that was first released in 1989, and it boasts quite an arsenal of features. It features a sharp 35mm F/3.5 lens, with 4 elements split into 4 groups, quick autofocus and a close-up mode. The lens itself retracts into the body of the camera, making it quite slim – though it makes quite the racket when it pops out. It’s more of a ‘WHAT’S UP’, than a ‘hey, how are you?’. The camera is pretty sleek, and I think it looks pretty darn stylish to be honest. The problem with the sleek aesthetic, is that it becomes a bar of soap when used in the Shanghai summer sun. The gloss plastic finish is something I couldn’t burden myself with on a regular basis.

This is another one of the cameras I bought while back at home, and I shot quite a few rolls with it while I was there. You will notice, that some of the pictures on this roll are from my hometown, or test shots of my dogs using the close-up function! This is a result of the airport staff making me remove the battery, and myself being too dense to realise I never loaded a fresh roll into the camera.

The camera is DX coded from ISO50-3200 which defaults to 100, The shutter runs from 1/3 to 1/500 of a second, and the exposure system inside is a centre-weighted CdS measuring element that reads between EV 5 to 17. The manual that came with the camera assured me that if my hand was just steady enough, I could take some sharp images in dim lighting conditions. This was a valuable pep-talk, as the summer sun creates some variable conditions in the streets of Shanghai. If I am honest, the A4 didn’t disappoint. It produced some images that I really liked the look of.

The camera focuses from 0.6m to infinity, but does also have a ‘close-up mode’, allowing macro to 0.35m. This really was quite fun to play with. The best thing is. this isn’t the only cool feature of this camera, as it allows you to turn the flash off before powering on the camera (Hallelujah!). It also has variable flash modes, with a recycle time of only 3 seconds, meaning that this would make a handy party camera for those of you who like to take piss drunk photos of your friends doing dumb stuff. The camera also allows a mid-roll rewind, leaving the tab out for those of you who like to double expose images.  There is something about this camera that deserves a noteworthy mention (maybe it’s just my inner nerd) – the date function runs until December 31st, 2019! and part of me really wants to take this out on new year’s eve and see if the world ends at midnight.

There are some irritating things about this camera, and I’m not counting the slippery exterior, as I’m sure most of you don’t sweat like I do. The camera takes two batteries – a Cr123a, but also a CR2025 for operating the LCD screen. The camera does function without this, but you lose the ability to operate the flash, or observe the counter. Also, although the viewfinder contains bright framelines, in such a small finder, I actually found it quite irritating that they were not closer to the edges of the viewfinder. It made the already tight space a little too busy for my clumsy eyes, and slow brain.

I enjoyed shooting this camera, and I found the pictures produced to be to my taste. If I was going to make it a regular shooter, I’d have to find some way to create a grip. Perhaps by adding tape to the body (or some other half-assed DIY)


Konica A4 + Kodak Gold: 


*China Camera Style is dedicated to giving an honest, open review of all the cameras that are currently sat on your eBay watch list, or in your Taobao cart right now. Each camera is loaded with a roll of Fujifilm c200 (unless, as in this case, I move to a new apartment and have no time to get some), rain or shine. It is always shot in one day, by the same nerd. It’s taken to the same lab, scanned with the same scanner and posted onto the site, as is received (via. Email).

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