|This is the discussion page for Konilette.
Text from Alan Myers new page on the Konilette II -- which was written without reference to the existing Konilette Page
To be integrated into the Konilette page in the near future
(Also, limited info on Konilette I, Konilette III, Konilette 35 and Konica Snap is being included here until additional pages are developed for those models.)
The Konilette "II" is a folding, drop-bed front style camera that was first offered about 1953. It is the second in a short series of at least three models offered in the early to mid-1950s. The early Konilette models share a similar design and construction, but are not labelled with the different model numbers, merely with "Konilette", which is supposedly also sometimes spelled "Konilett" (I have not seen and confirmed this). These earlier models bear little resemblance to the far more common Konilette 35 of 1959. Though smaller, the early Konilette models share some resemblance, functionality and styling cues with the post-WWII Pearl series (medium format) cameras Konishiroku offered in the 1950s.
Extremely compact and "pocketable", the Konilette "II" features a dark brown bakelite body (including the removeable film compartment cover), a matte chrome finished top cover with a simple framing viewfinder (no rangefinder) and a metal drop down door/lens cover that's trimmed in brown bakelite to match the body. The door/lens cover is supported by chrome struts and a bellows is used for scale-set focusing.
The early Konilette models are a bit unusual using unperforated 35mm film (lacking the holes along the edge used to advance the film in most cameras). This allows use of a different type of film cartriges that are slightly smaller than those commonly used with standard perforated 35mm film. These cameras only accept the smaller type cartridge, but - if those rarities can be found - they are reloadable with either unperforated or perforated film.
As a result of using this less common film, this tiny camera actually is able to make a larger image on film than 35mm cameras designed to use perforated film: 30x36mm (compared to 24x36mm). Originally there was a 24x36mm mask available or supplied with the camera, to better offer the alternative of using perforated film stock, if necessary. However, there is no indication of this cropping in the viewfinder, so users would just have to estimate the difference. Note that the 30x36mm image format enlarges with only slight cropping to 8x10 inch print size... Unlike 24x36mm format, which require pretty heavy cropping.
The Konilette "II" lens is a Konitor 50mm f/4.5 set in a Copal leaf shutter (model unknown) that offers f16 aperture at the smallest, along with shutter speeds 1/25s-1/200s & B. The shutter is charged and released by levers on the shutter body itself. The lens is marked in meters for scale-set focusing. There is provision on the shutter for a standard cable release, as well as a PC sync post connector for flash. The lens is threaded to fit 18mm filters and an approx. 23mm ID slip-on lens hood was an available accessory.
It appears that there might be an interlock on the film compartment cover, that prevents opening the camera until the lens is retracted and the front door latched in the closed position.
Two knobs on top advance and rewind the film. And, there's a small lever on the rear that prevents advancing the film until it's pressed.
Konishiroku might have marketed film for this camera under the brand name "Koniretto"... this has not been confirmed.
The Konilette "I" (ca. 1953) has an interesting teal/blue top cover and uses a Konix shutter instead of the Copal. It otherwise appears similar to the II.
The Konilette "III" (ca. 1957) differences are not yet known for certain, but might be an upgraded lens. There might also be a Konilette "IIm" and/or "IIIm" model, but these are unconfirmed and, if they exist, how they might differ is not yet known.
The early Konilette models are not frequently seen outside Japan. They don't appear to have been produced in great numbers and/or exported nearly as aggressively as other Konishiroku cameras.
The Konilette 35 (1959) appears to have been very widely distributed and is pretty easily found. Konilette 35 is not a folding camera, is much larger than the early models, and uses standard perforated 35mm film and cartridges. It shares simplicity of function with the earlier models, though, with a Konitor 45mm f3.5 lens in a no-name shutter (1/25s-1/200s & B), scale set focusing, and viewfinder that provides framing only. It does have a film advance lever (requires two strokes to advance film one frame). The Konica Snap (1959) is virtually identical in specification to Konilette 35, but has quite a few cosmetic differences. Konilette 35 was offered in a box set with a Konilette flash (bulb holder) and a roll of Sakura film.