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The Konica AA35 was first released by Konishiroku (Konica) in 1984. Depending on the markets it's called Konica Recorder.It has an unusual body format which looks like a compact disk cameras. The camera gives 18x24mm half-frame images, 72 pictures on an ordinary 36 exp. film. It's vertically orientated, so that the format appears in usual landscape mode whereas most half formats use portrait mode.

The camera is fully automatic, exposure, focus, film wind. There are no manual settings. Seen its features, especially the very limited shutter speeds, the camera is terribly expensive today. There are many faulty cameras around, the battery compartment and the main switch on the sliding mechanism are the most common. It's small, but some full frame cameras are smaller. So the hype is obviously more a question of style.

The camera's main features are:


35mm film half-frame camera, picture size 18x24mm
Hexanon Lens 1:4/24mm, 4 elements, closest focus 0.9m

Shutter speeds 1/60 to 1/250
Size 112.5 x 77 x 30.5 mm, Weight : 250 gr. without battery
ISO 100-400 manual setting, manual flash with red light warning


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Camera closed. The metal sheets of the plastic-based housing are only painted, so the camera is prone to scratches. There were several other colour versions, gold (champagne), black and bright red.

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Seen from the back. All black plastic.


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Camera open. Small lens (only F4). The finder, under the flash, has an important offset to the lens and is not parallax corrected. Flash Guide number is only 12, so at ISO 100 it's only up to 3m. The flash is badly orientated, it's in portrait mode whereas the film is in landscape mode.

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Back. Viewer with low light warning, small slider to unlock the closing of the camera, ISO setting, only 100-400. Rewind lamp, lights at the end of the film. Slider to open the film chamber.

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Seen from above. Flash load control, counter, shutter release.

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Seen from below. Battery compartment, takes 2 AA batteries. Rewind switch. No tripod socket. As there are no slow speeds, no self timer and no remote shutter, it's not necessary.

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Thin and with rounded edges, the camera hardly stands alone.


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Back open. To insert the cartridge, tilt it and slide the bottom on the axis and under le little protruding piece of plastic, then tilt back and insert.

The Konica AA35 is a stylish little half frame camera. It's point ans shoot only, no manual settings. Just slide it open and it's ready. If there is not enough light, it gives a low light warning. Slide the flash slider towards the top and the flash will charge. To close the camera, you have to action a little release slider, a bit uncommon, other sliders close by just pushing them together. Closing the camera shuts off the flash.

To load the camera with film,
slide it open, open the back, tilt the cartridge and slide the bottom on the axis and under the little protruding piece of plastic, then tilt back and insert. Pull the film leader across the film plane and insert the tip into the wind spool. To wind, you have to action the shutter. This only works when the camera is extended. Action the shutter 2 or 3 times until the film is well engaged. Check that the sprockets meet the dented wheel. Close the back and fire the shutter 3 times again. Ready. At the end of the film, the rewind lamp will light. The camer will not fire the shutter an more. Push the rewind switch with a fingernail, rewind will start. Push it back when the film is rewound.

Inserting batteries is a little bit tricky, do not force anything. Slide the compartment open. Insert the first battery to the hinge side, + up, it's indicated in the compartment. Push it down and slide it under the hinge. Now you can put the second one in, - up. Close the lid.

The camera gives nice results, focus and exposure control are fine. The lens is sharp. So if you find it for cheap, it's a nice find. The camera
was a big success in those days and it's still sought after by collectors. The prices are crazy in my opinion for a simple point and shoot only camera of limited use.

So my personal judgement: It's small, but there are even full frame cameras that are smaller, like the Minox GT. The lens is not bright, F4 for a moderate wide angle (~35mm equivalent) lens is slow. No automatic film loading, no automatic rewind.  No slow speeds at all, so no night photos, no sunrises or sunsets, no interior photos without flash.  No tripod socket and no self timer or remote, so no selfies. Not a single setting, no backlight compensation, no special modes. The flash is weak, interior photos with flash will only be OK up to 3m. On top of this, the flash is badly orientated
, it's in portrait mode whereas the film is orientated in landscape mode, so only a part of the photo is evenly lit. The ISO setting isn't automatic and it's incredibly limited. There was an auto DX version later which has a data back. The back adds size and weight and, funny enough, the manual ISO swich is stll present. The finder has a big offset and has no parallax correction, so it's more of a guess. 0.9m closest focus are not impressive at all. The camera has the technical features of the cheaper models of those days. Konica made far better cameras. As there are many faulty cameras around, the battery compartment and the main switch on the sliding mechanism are the most common, reliability might not be too good. The finishing of the metal front, which is only painted, is prone to scratch and wear. So before you invest quite a sum to buy this camera, be sure of your dealer and think twice.

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