First Roll With: Konica Genba Kantoku 28WB [現場監督]
Gear: Konica Genba Kantoku [現場監督] 
Film: Kodak Ultramax 400
Dev + Scan:  Do Film! Lab, Darlinghurst
Location:  Sydney, Australia

 

About the camera_

The Konica Genba Kantoku is a unique film camera in that it was not marketed for the general consumer market. Primarily used by building construction workers, the name in Japanese "現場監督" roughly translates to "Site Supervisor" or referred to as a Foreman or Work camera.

Holding the Genba Kantoku in hand, it's not hard to tell that it was a special use camera. The camera is ruggedly built, the entire body has a rubbery grip to it, it's on the bulkier side yet lightweight enough to be carried around. Beyond the aesthetics and ergonomics, the Genba Kantoku was also waterproof (JIS protection grade 4), dust, sand proof and anti-shock, making a real work horse for construction workers back then!

There were several models of this camera made -- the 28WB version we have here today was released in 1994, sporting a slimmer body than the original model and in a lesser seen bright orange body. It was also the first to sport a wide angle 28mm f3.5 lens! Common colours you will find the Genba Kantoku in is a dark blue, it also came in an olive green.

The features of the Genba Kantoku is straight forward: one shutter button, one button for power on/off, one button for shooting modes (flash control and self-timer) and a LCD window that displays film count and the modes selected. 

 

Shooting the first roll_

Shooting with the Genba Kantoku was a smooth experience, essentially being a fully automatic camera, there was little you needed to worry about other than just aim and shoot! The camera body felt sturdy and comfortable on hand, most importantly was the feeling of safety -- not needing to worry about accidentally dropping it or bumping it against something and breaking it. You know the camera is extra padded!

Starting from outdoors, we eventually moved into an antique store where we finished the roll. It was dark indoors but the flash was there to rescue! Charge time of the flash was fast and the film motor made minimal noice, making it a great camera to use around people or in our case, inside a store. 

Like most point & shoots, we recommend aiming at your subject at least an arm's length or 1m away for best autofocusing results. These bowling pins closest to the camera turned out to be a bit out of focus as a result of aiming too close!

What did we think?_

For a rugged and bulky camera that may not be appealing to most, the Genba Kantoku may seem heavy and a bit of a clunky camera to use -- we found it to be right on the contrary. The Konica Genba Kantoku was made for the purpose of documenting moments efficiently and it sure does it well. Sporting an excellent lens, fast shooting, fast flash charge, motor with minimal noise allowing you to shoot discreetly, the Genba Kantoku was a joy to shoot with and makes for an excellent documentary point & shoot suitable for all levels of film shooters.

Ending this post with the last image on the roll :) Thanks for staying till the end!

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"First Roll With" is a blog series dedicated to those initial moments spent with your film camera. "First Roll With" is open to all levels of photographers, whether it's your first film camera or your 100th, we welcome you to share with us your own unique perspectives and experiences!

 

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