The Koni-Omega System

KoniC

Koni-Omega Rapid 100 and 90mm f/3.5 Super-Omegon

Awesome and affordable brute of a camera.

This was my first medium format camera back in the 90s. The system itself dates back to the 50s, although the Rapid 100 was a later production model, maybe 70s or early 80s. There are numerous bodies including the Konica Press, Rapid, Rapid M, and maybe a couple older bodies. The Rapid 100 and 200 seem to be the later models and probably better buys than the older models.

In the 90s, I became interested in medium format photography after reading a book by the late Leif Ericksenn called “Medium Format Photography.”

He had some photos from the Koni-Omega that he used on a tv production and I began to seek one out.

The Koni-Omega is a rangefinder camera system that consisted of several bodies and interchangeable lenses. The lenses are sharp. They make for excellent images on 6×7 negatives or slide film.

They are not expensive, but big, bulky and a bit fussy to use, which is probably why I sold it. However, the Koni-Omega system is capable of excellent results at a bargain price. The lenses have built-in leaf shutters and the cameras do not need batteries to operate. But again, they are BULKY and I suspect that is the reason they end up getting sold by owners who sell them.

Prices are trending anywhere from $50-200, depending on body, lens, and other accessories.

If you want to get your feet wet in medium format photography without breaking the bank, this is it.

Note: Sorry I do not have any photos from the Koni-Omega to share with you. As mentioned, I got it in the 90’s and at that time, there was no such thing as a great economical home photo scanner, at least not one that could do medium format on a budget. However, I do remember having prints that were done for me by a photo lab, and if I can find them, I’ll be sure to scan them in and update this article. Thanks for stopping by.




The Pentax Auto 110

Pentax110C

Pentax Auto 110 and Pentax 18mm f/2.8 for the Pentax System 10.

The Pentax Auto 110, introduced in 1978, is a truly iconic “little” camera. Part of the Pentax 10 system, including the Pentax Auto 110 Super, they were among the smallest interchangeable lens SLR’s ever made.

I still have memories of my Mom’s first camera which was a long, odd looking Kodak 110 camera.

Believe it or not, you can still get 110 film these days from companies like Lomography. Developing the film however, is another story! You’ll probably have to send it out to various online vendors who can develop the film for you.

As a young boy, I was fascinated by the ads I saw for the Auto 110 in the old photography magazines. When I finally saw it in real life, I could not believe it was a real camera!

There were 5 prime lenses, the 18mm f/2.8, the 24mm f/2.8, the 50mm f/2.8, the 18mm “Pan Focus,” the 70mm f/2.8 telephoto and one zoom, the 20-40mm f/2.8. Just like today’s micro 4/3’s or other small sensor interchangeable lens cameras, you have to convert the lenses to their 35mm counterparts to get the true focal length. For example, the 18mm lens would actually be a 35mm in focal length if it were a full-frame 35mm slr.

Because 110 film is pretty much dead or at best, a novelty today, you can get the Pentax Auto 110 and a few lenses pretty cheaply. Some of the lenses though, such as the 70mm f/2.8 or the 20-40mm zoom can be hard to find.

The Pentax 10 film series is no doubt the inspiration for the Pentax Q system of today and they remain a marvel of the amazing camera engineering of days gone by.

Note: Shot this a few years ago using a Speed Graphic 4×5 large format camera on Tri-X film.

Now why would anyone want to do this when you could just use your phone or digital point and shoot? I don’t know, I like to make life hard I guess 🙂

No, actually I want an easy life, as easy as possible! However, the Speed Graphic 4×5, or any large format camera requires a lot of practice to master and I was practicing the craft, so to speak.