Konica Corporation
Defunct5 August 2003
FateMerged with Minolta
SuccessorKonica Minolta
Headquarters26-2, Nishishinjuku 1-chome, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 163-052 Japan (1998)
ProductsCameras, film cameras, camera accessories, photocopiers, laser printers
Number of employees
17,319 (2002)[1]

Konica (コニカ, Konika) was a Japanese manufacturer of, among other products, film, film cameras, camera accessories, photographic and photo-processing equipment, photocopiers, fax machines and laser printers, founded in 1873. The company merged with Japanese peer Minolta in 2003, with the new company named Konica Minolta.


The company traces its history back to 1873 (pre-dating Kodak in the photography business) when pharmacist Rokusaburo Sugiura began selling photographic materials at his shop in Konishiya Rokubē, the biggest pharmacy trader in Tokyo at that time.[2]

In 1878, Rokusaburō succeeded to his family and renamed Rokuemon VI (Rokudaime Rokuemon). He gave the original shop to his younger brother and launched a new shop, Konishi Honten (Konishi Main Shop) in the Nihonbashi district of Tokyo.

In 1882, Konishi launched a project to produce photography related materials in Japan: those products were imported at that time. In 1902, Konishi began to sell the "Cherry Portable Camera" (チェリー手提用暗函), the first Japanese produced end-user oriented camera. New products were released respectively, and Konishi Main Shop became the leading camera company in Japan. In 1921, Konishi had his elder son succeed to the family and thus company head with the name, and in this occasion Konishi Honten was turned into a company Konishiroku Honten. The name Konishiroku was taken from the abbreviation of their names, Konishi Rokuemon.

Konica Pearl II, Medium format camera

Konishiroku released their "Konica I" type camera in 1948, after which they would name their own company in 1987. Since 1949 Konica produced a Medium format-camera Pearl.[3] From 1964 until 1975 Konica manufactured Medium format Omega-cameras , which used Konica's Hexanon-lenses; they were named Koni-Omega for the global market. Two models were named Konica Press for the Japanese market.[4][5]

Konica's single lens reflex cameras pioneered auto-exposure in cameras with focal-plane shutters and fully interchangeable lenses. The Konica Autoreflex of 1965 used an external light meter cell to set the lens diaphragm automatically after the user selected a shutter speed. With the Autoreflex T of 1968, Konica improved this design into a through-the-lens meter, using the same automation system (the user could also set the exposure manually on these cameras). Other camera makers eventually adopted auto-exposure as well, but Konica was the first.

When Konishiroku got the new name Konica in 1987, the company employed about 4,935 people.[6] In the 1990s Konica signed its first major contract with Los Angeles County providing leasing of copiers to the Los Angeles Superior Court. This resulted in a major shift in the industry that had sold only copiers before. The County initial order of 250 copiers required Konica to redirect all of it inventory throughout North America to the County.

On 5 August 2003, Konica merged with Minolta to form Konica Minolta. In 2006, Konica Minolta exited the photography business.[7] In March 2006, the merged company closed down its photo imaging division, which produced color film, color paper, photo chemicals and digital minilab machines. Its digital SLR camera section was transferred to Sony, currently known as the Sony Alpha line. Dai Nippon (DNP) purchased Konica's Odawara factory site and continues to produce paper under its own brand, while Seapac acquired the Konica chemical factory.


Konica VX 100 Super in box
Box of a Konica Minolta color film roll, model VX100 Super

Konica was a major producer of 35mm film and related products, including film development processors and printing technology. While never equal to giants like Kodak or Fujifilm, the recognized quality of Konica film ensured general presence on market. Originally Konica film and paper was sold under the brand name of "Sakura" meaning Cherry Blossom in English.

In the mid 1980s, Konica launched its SR range of film, then SR-V (1987), SR-G (1989), Super SR (1991), Super XG (1993), VX and finally "Centuria" in 1999.


35 mm rangefinder and viewfinder cameras

Konica EE-Matic Deluxe, 1965
Konica S3
Konica C35 automatic, 1968[9]
Konica C35 AF
The 1991 Konica Top's supported DX coded film
Konica Big Mini, 1990
Konica Z-Up 140 Super, 1996
Hexar RF, 2000

110 film

F-mount SLRs

The first series of Konica single-lens reflex cameras used the Konica F lens mount, named after the first camera to use it. This was a bayonet mount, and is not compatible with later Konica lens mounts. The flange focal distance of the F-mount was 40.5 mm, one of the smallest ever used for a 35 mm SLR. The diameter was 40 mm.

It is not identical to Nikon F-mount, which has a much longer flange focal distance of 46.5 mm.

Konica Autoreflex T, 1970, with Hexanon 57mm F1.2

Fixed-Lens SLR Camera

AR-mount SLRs

Konica Autoreflex TC (1976–1982)[22] with Hexanon-lenses, left Pancake 1,8
Konica FS-1, world's first SLR with built-in motor drive

Konica's second series of SLR cameras began with 1965's Auto-Reflex. This line came to an end in 1987 when Konica abandoned the SLR market.

Konica's AR lens mount kept the same flange-film distance that the earlier Konica F lens mount had (40.5 mm), but it has a larger diameter of 47 mm.

Instant Camera


Konica SLR interchangeable lenses were named Hexanon. The optical quality of most Hexanon lenses is regarded as truly superb, particularly the older fixed-focal length (prime) lenses. Many camera manufacturers of interchangeable lenses produce a few great lenses among their line, but Konica managed to achieve near excellent quality over a broad range of focal lengths[25] in lens tests conducted by several photographic publications over the years. Hexanon lenses were used by the Japanese government as the standard against which all other lenses were measured.[citation needed]

Digital cameras

Konica Digital Revio KD-300Z (2001)

See also


  1. ^ Konica, Annual Report 2002, p. 15 of the PDF
  2. ^ コニカ株式会社創始者 杉浦六三郎 先駆者たちの大地 IRマガジン NET-IR
  3. ^ "Konica Pearl I folding medium format 645 camera [1949]". Classic Camera Guy. 2017-05-10. Retrieved 2021-12-06.
  4. ^ Peter Lanczak (2002-02-05). "Koni-Omega History". peterlanczak.de. Retrieved 2021-12-04.
  5. ^ Karen Nakamura (2011-01-06). "Koni-Omega Rapid M". photoethnography.com. Retrieved 2021-12-03.
  6. ^ Dominique Turpin, Xiaobai Shen: Casebook on General Management in Asia Pacific. Macmillan International Higher Education, 1999, ISBN 978-0-333-71792-9 S. 216 (Konica at Google Books).
  7. ^ Lidor, Danit. "Konica Exits Photography Business", Forbes, 20 January 2006. Retrieved September 15, 2011.
  8. ^ "History and Documentation of the Rubicon x-Ray camera, manufactured by Rokuoh-Sha (1938–1944) and Konishiroku (1946–1960)". www.researchgate.net. Retrieved 6 December 2021.[title missing]
  9. ^ "Konica C35 automatic, 1968". misa-photography.de. January 2006. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  10. ^ "Konica Genba Kantoku 28WB 35mm AF All-Weather Camera". imagingpixel.com. 2018-09-29.
  11. ^ a b emulsive.org 31 August 2019, Compact camera mega test: The Konica Big Mini's transparent ambitions retrieved 4 December 2021.
  12. ^ Mike Eckman (2016-04-23). "Konica AiBORG (1991)". mikeeckman.com. Retrieved 2021-12-04.
  13. ^ collectiblend.com February 2003, Konishiroku (Konica): Big Mini Neo, retrieved 5 December 2021.
  14. ^ http://www.optiksammlung.de/Diverse/KonicaBigMini.html, retrieved 6 December 2021 (German)
  15. ^ collectiblend.com February 2003, Konishiroku (Konica): Big Mini NOU 135, retrieved 5 December 2021.
  16. ^ Popular Photography December 1996, APS Point-and-Shoots compared, S. 114 (Google Books Preview available, December 2021)
  17. ^ https://www.emtus.ch/konica-z-up-140-super.html (German), retrieved 4 December 2021.
  18. ^ test, 1/2004, p.56 (German, consumer magazin)
  19. ^ Peggy (2017-06-25). "Konica Pocket 400 – 110mm". cameragocamera.com. Retrieved 2021-11-30.
  20. ^ "Konica Pocket 400 camera". Science Museum Group Collection, collection.sciencemuseumgroup.org.uk. Retrieved 2021-12-02.
  21. ^ optiksammlung.de, Autoreflex TC, retrieved 20 Oktober 2020.
  22. ^ konicafiles.com, Konica TC-X (1985-1988) Retrieved 7 November 2020.
  23. ^ polaroid-passion.com, KONICA Instant Press, retrieved 28 December 2022.
  24. ^ konicafiles.com, Hexanon AR lenses, especially chapter above the last big picture. Retrieved on October 22, 2020.
  25. ^ Popular Science, July 1998, p. 52 ([1], p. 52, at Google Books), retrieved 5 December 2021
  26. ^ a b dpreview.com, 28 November 2001, Konica DG-2 rugged digital camera, retrieved 5 December 2021
  27. ^ "Konica Revio KD-300Z Sensor Info & Specs". www.digicamdb.com. Retrieved 5 December 2021.
  28. ^ a b ephotozine.com September 2003, Konica announce KD-510Z - 5 megapixel digital camera, retrieved 5 December 2021
  29. ^ digitalkameramuseum.de, Konica DG-1 (1998), retrieved 5 December 2021 (German).

Works cited