May 18, 2021

My Splendid Camera - Madeleine Ostoja (Konica IIIA)

My Splendid Camera - Madeleine Ostoja (Konica IIIA)

Madeleine is an avid film shooter and huge fan of quirky film cameras and when we asked her to provide her favourite camera she rewrote it a couple times.

Name: Madeleine Ostoja
Instagram handle: @madeleineostoja
Twitter URL: @madeleineostoja 

My favourite camera is 
Make: Konica
Model: IIIA

The Konica IIIA is the best fixed-lens rangefinder ever made. There, I said it. This incredible little camera was introduced in 1958 by a middle-of-the-road Japanese camera maker who had no right to go as hard as they did, and not enough people know about it. With a stunning 48mm Hexanon lens, one of the best viewfinders ever made, and build quality that puts my finest german cameras to shame, it’s the one camera that I will never sell.

It’s compact enough to casually throw in your bag, but you’ll feel the weight. It handles as if machined from solid brass, and every time I pick it up I’m shocked at how a compact rangefinder can be so dense. The lens is based on the Zeiss Planar and is one of the sharpest I own, out-resolving any other fixed-lens rangefinder I’ve used. The viewfinder is breathtaking — huge, bright, with 1:1 magnification, and both parallax and field of view correction (something which even Leica’s can’t boast). 

And like all true classics, it has its design quirks. Rather than a normal film advance, there’s a lever on the front of the camera where you’d expect to find a focusing tab. You pump it twice to advance a frame, which allows you to advance film without taking the camera from your eye. Assuming you have an index finger of steel that is, because it’s certainly not flimsy.

I own cameras that are more functional. I own cameras that are smaller and lighter (or bigger and lighter). But I don’t own anything as beautiful and enjoyable as my Konica IIIA, and when I want a 35mm camera for the day it’s the one I reach for.


Leave a comment