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Konica FT-1 and FT-1 Pro Half

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The Konica FT-1 was first offered in 1982, replacing the FS-1 as the company's top-of-the-line, and is considered by many to be the best Konica electronic camera body. Very compact considering its features, it has a nice feel to it, and they are chrome and black finished cameras. Although much of the exterior is polycarbonates, it is finished in a manner that looks and feels more like earlier, all-metal cameras. Generally speaking, the plastic covers of the camera are actually quite durable.

The FT-1 features a very accurate electronically controlled Copal shutter, very good metering system, built-in film winder (approx. 2 frames per second), and is the only electronic Konica to offer AE Lock. This is whereby light pressure on the shutter release button locks the exposure. It is a convenient method of metering when working with backlit subjects, among other situations.

The FT-1 is powered by four AAA alkaline batteries (don't use rechargeable Nicads, they will damage the camera). The batteries fit into the grip on the right front of the camera. Alternatively, a slightly larger AA battery grip is optionally available, and will give more exposures before the batteries are exhausted. The battery compartment/grip is the camera's Achilles Heel. Batteries left inside to leak during storage and contacts damaged while removing or attaching the grip to the camera lead to malfunctions. Spare grip/compartments are getting harder to find.

The ASA setting dial is around the manual film rewind knob on the FT-1. There you will also find a convenient over/under-exposure control. The camera has a built-in self-timer and a bright viewfinder, with LEDs that show exposure information. Exposures may be set manually, or automatically in a shutter preferred fashion (the photographer chooses the shutter speed and the camera sets the correct aperture).

The camera also has added flash functions with dedicated units, although it works well with non-dedicated flash, too. Using a dedicated flash, the camera is automatically set to a 1/90 shutter speed. 1/60 is the suggested speed for use with non-dedicated flashes, however many users have successfully used 1/125. Be careful about mounting a heavy flash in the hot shoe on top of the camera. A bump of twist of the flash can crack the polycarbonate top cover of the camera.

On the left front of the camera is an electronic socket. This serves as a means of interfacing with a variety of accessories available for the camera. One is the Konica X36, the largest and most powerful flash Konishiroku offered. Some other accessories that link with the camera via that 5-pin connector are a Konica Radio Controller Set remote control, two different length cable switches and one special dual release for use with a macro Auto Bellows, and an interval timer for time lapse photography.

There is no mirror lockup possible on the FT-1, but the camera is well-damped and shutter shake is not a typical problem at any shutter speed (2 seconds to 1/1000, plus B). Nor is depth-of-field preview possible with this particular camera.

The Konica FT-1 Pro Half is actually a half frame version of the camera, making 72 exposures, 18mm x 24mm, on what would typically be a 36 exposure roll of film. There aren't a lot of FT-1 Pro Half cameras around, they are considered quite collectible. Most were not sold through retail channels. Instead, they were special gifts for corporate customers and executives. (Note: This is the same as the gold-plated T3N offered some years earlier, another rarity that was given as executive gifts and are now a rare collectible.) Outwardly, the FT-1 Pro Half can only be differentiated from the typical FT-1 by the model name imprinted on the front. All Pro Half are finished in Matte Chrome.


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