The Koni-Omega is a class of medium format rangefinder cameras. These press cameras are 6×7cm (2 1/4" × 2 3/4") rangefinders with a combined viewfinder and coupled rangefinder and automatic parallax compensation. Some cameras have fixed lenses while others have interchangeable lenses. Still others have interchangable backs. All cameras use medium format roll film. Not including the military cameras (e.g., PH-501/PF) the first camera in what would later become the Koni-Omega system was released in 1954, and the Rapid Omega 100 ended production in 1981. Despite having American origins these cameras were produced in Japan for most of their production run.
Camera details Edit
The Simmon Brothers, known for their line of enlargers, built the original Simmon Omega. The Omega 120 camera was design by Alfred Simmon. The designs of later cameras were likely by Berkely Brothers and Konica. The product was principally by Konica.
There are ten 6×7cm exposures to a roll of 120 film and 20 to 220 film roll. However, the 220 film backs are less common than the 120 backs. The Koni-Omega Rapid M, Koni-Omega M, Koni-Omegaflex M and Rapid Omega 200 have interchangeable film magazines allowing for mid-roll film exchange. The film advance is via a pull-push operation on a handle on the side of the camera. This makes for fast advancing and hence the source of the name Rapid.
The lenses are focused by a large knob above the film advance. The entire lens mount moves in and out with a rack-and-pinion system. The image in the rangefinder and viewfinder determined by the focus and one or more pins protruding from the rear of the lens. There is a large grip on the other side of the camera near the shutter release. No light meter is included in these cameras
The cameras require a dark slide to change lens and or film backs. The dark slide is part of an interlock system that prevents the shutter from being fired with a dark slide in place. Double exposures are possible with all cameras but accidental double exposures are rare.
List of models Edit
- Combat Camera PH-501/PF
- Omega 120
- Omega 120 KE-8
- Koni-Omega Rapid
- Konica Press
- Koni-Omega Rapid M
- Koni-Omega M
- Konica Press 2
- Rapid Omega 100
- Rapid Omega 200
- Rapid Omega 200 KE-58
List of lenses Edit
Lenses available include:
- 58mm f/5.6 (eight elements in four groups)
- 60mm f/5.6 (six elements in four groups)
- 90mm f/3.5 (four elements in three groups)
- 135mm f/3.5 (six elements in five groups)
- 180mm f/4.5 (five elements in four groups)
The normal lens is a 90mm f/3.5 Tessar with shutter speeds from 1 to 1/500 sec and a minimum aperture of f/32. The 58mm and 60mm wide-angle lenses are widely believed to have the same optical design, but the lens diagrams contained in the user manuals prove this wrong. (One of these, or both, may have an Aviogon or Biogon design.) Framing requires use of an accessory finder. The 135mm lens is less common than the other lenses. The 180mm f/4.5 is roughly equivalent to 100mm for a 35mm camera. It focuses down to 12 feet, close enough for portrait use.
- ↑ 
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 User manual of the Koni-Omega Rapid available at www.butkus.org.
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 User manual of the Koni-Omega Rapid M available at www.butkus.org.
- ↑ This was pointed at by JRG in this thread at Rangefinderforum.
- Asahi Camera (アサヒカメラ) editorial staff. Shōwa 10–40nen kōkoku ni miru kokusan kamera no rekishi (昭和10–40年広告にみる国産カメラの歴史, Japanese camera history as seen in advertisements, 1935–1965). Tokyo: Asahi Shinbunsha, 1994. ISBN 4-02-330312-7. Items 1292–3.
- Lewis, Gordon, ed. The History of the Japanese Camera. Rochester, N.Y.: George Eastman House, International Museum of Photography & Film, 1991. ISBN 0-935398-17-1 (paper), ISBN 0-935398-16-3 (hard). Pp.120 and 123.
- McKeown, James M. and Joan C. McKeown's Price Guide to Antique and Classic Cameras, 12th Edition, 2005-2006. USA, Centennial Photo Service, 2004. ISBN 0-931838-40-1 (hardcover). ISBN 0-931838-41-X (softcover). Pp.538 and 545.
- Sugiyama, Kōichi (杉山浩一); Naoi, Hiroaki (直井浩明); Bullock, John R. The Collector's Guide to Japanese Cameras. 国産カメラ図鑑 (Kokusan kamera zukan). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 1985. ISBN 4-257-03187-5. Items 6068–9.
- The Koni-Omega pages at Peter Lanczak's website
- Koni-Omega Rapid M at Photoethnography by Karen Nakamura
- JJ's French language page on the Koni-Omega
- Rapid reviewed by Davidde Stella -- via Wayback Machine, therefore slow.
- Koni Rapid Omega page by Robert Monaghan et al. via the Wayback Machine, therefore slow.
- Koni-Omega instruction manuals at Orphancameras.com
- "A second look", Robert Carter, 2004, Email Journal of the Photographic Historical Society of Canada, Volume 4, number 2, p. 2.
- Original 1954 advertisement reproduced in the Email Journal of the Photographic Historical Society of Canada, Volume 4, number 2, p. 3.
- Design Patent for Photograph Camera by Alfred Simmon
- Rangefinder improvement patent for the Koni Omega.
- Konica Koni-Omega 200 on www.collection-appareils.fr by Sylvain Halgand