FT-1 issues

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Just purchased an FT-1 w/o a battery grip. I'll follow the thread on the grip possibilities already discussed (it was GREAT to find this BB today!), but just took a good look at the mirror and its definitely scratched and has a small "chip" in one corner. Is replacing it a major deal (i.e., $$$), or fairly straightforward & inexpensive. The camera, in OK shape otherwise, cost me a paltry $40 with a 3.5 55mm macro-Hexanon. Still, I'm a little worried at this point that I'm going to end-up spending a lot of dough for a camera I've never used and don't know if I'll ultimately like. Anyone have some thoughts?

-- Anonymous, February 28, 1998


Wow, you got such a great price that you shouldn't mind spending a little to get it into good working order. Let me state the obvious-scratches on the mirror won't affect the picture quality at all, although I know that it would bother me.

-- Anonymous, February 28, 1998

FT-1 Issues/Suggestions

Hi Chris,

You did get a great deal on this outfit! Camera stores sell the macro lens w/1:1 extension tube for $200+.

The Hexanon 55mm f/3.5 macro was a unique design among macro lenses at the time it was manufactured, and perhaps still is. This lens is so good that if a photographer shoots a lot of close-ups, it may be worth buying a Konica SLR body just to make use of this lens.

You will notice that the lens has 2 aperture scales - one on the top side and one on the bottom. When the 1:1 extension tube is used, it causes the lens to be mounted upside down, and the aperture scale on the bottom comes into play. Because of the lens being mounted upside down, it is not recommended that this extension tube be used with any other lens.

The unique design of this lens involves the M - EE switch which is found near the aperture ring. When it is in the EE position, it allows the aperture to be set automatically based on the camera's light meter reading - with or without the extension tube. The M position should be used only when using electronic flash with the 1:1 extension tube mounted.

At reproduction ratios greater than 1:2, such as when the extension tube (or a bellows) is mounted, the amount of light reaching the film is reduced proportionate with the amount of lens extension. If the scene is illuminated by available light, the TTL light meter of the camera compensates for the light loss and sets the correct aperture automatically. But with electronic flash, the camera's light meter can not measure the light loss and calculations would normally be required to determine which f-stop should be used.

When the lens is set in the M position, it automatically adjusts the aperture size in proportion to the reproduction ratio - so that no calculations for light loss are necessary when using electronic flash. This feature assures correct exposure, and greatly speeds up the process of shooting at reproduction ratios greater than 1:2 with electronic flash. But again, the M position on the lens should be used only when the 1:1 extension tube is mounted and the scene is illuminated with electronic flash. In all other circumstances, just leave the switch in the EE position.

The Hexanon 55mm f/3.5 macro lens has a special, compartmented leather case. The lens fits into the bottom part, and the 1:1 extension tube fits into the top compartment with a padded compartment divider in between. And there is a small instruction booklet which explains how to use the lens.

The FT-1 Motor is a very rugged and reliable camera. It features the same kind of "dedicated" electronic flash system which was introduced in the FS-1, and the same "easy-load" film loading system.

Though the manufacturer's specification for electronic flash X sync is 1/60th sec. (1/100th with dedicated flash units), my own personal experiments indicate the top flash sync shutter speed is 1/125th sec. with the FT-1.

When using a "dedicated" flash, the only apertures available are f/5.6 and f/11. I tend to prefer shooting at f/8 whenever possible, simply because most lenses give the best edge to edge sharpness at f/8. Consequently, unless one feels they really need the automatic features provided by "dedicated" flash units, they may be better off with a non-dedicated flash which X-syncs at 1/125th sec. instead of 1/100th and allows shooting at f/8.

The FT-1's "easy-load" system is not so easy, unless one follows the correct procedure. Because the take-up spool is a smooth rubber surface and has no slits to poke the film leader into, the sprocket shaft must do all the work initially when loading the film.

When loading film, first make sure that the film is flat against the guide rails and straightly aligned. Poke the film leader far enough into the chamber surrounding the take-up spool that the sprocket wheel teeth at both the top and bottom of the sprocket wheel shaft are able to engage the perforations at the top and bottom of the film. This is key: if the teeth of both sprockets do not protrude through the film perforations at the top and bottom of the film before you close the back, the film will probably not load properly. With any 35mm camera, it is a good idea to watch the film rewind crank as the film is loading - to confirm that film is passing through the camera.

Hope you enjoy the camera and lens.

Gene Windell

-- Anonymous, March 08, 1998

Gene: Thanks for your thorough and informative response. Received my battery case from Konica today and shot off my first roll (using a newly acquired Hexanon 135 F3.2...$50 from my local camera dealer's used lens bin!). The camera feels great, the drive is smooth and fast enough for my needs, and I'm having a ball thinking about the lenses out there waiting to be found at bargain prices (1.4 normal, 28-85 ? zoom, big telephotos). What ever posessed me to move into "auto everything" territory I'll never know, but its great to hold and use a solid, straightforward SLR again that does what it's supposed to do. Thanks especially for your overview of the macro. I had made some incorrect assumptions about the M and EE setting.

-- Anonymous, March 10, 1998

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