My Splendid Camera - Madeleine Ostoja (Konica IIIA)

Posted by sean aickin on

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.



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