Auto Bellows AR
Auto Bellows AR are Konica's most sophisticated and modern bellows for the newer AR bayonet. The guide consists of a modern linear track with plastic guides and a built-in gear rack for adjustment instead of the round gear racks and rods as with the older bellows – the adjustment of the more modern bellows is easier and more exact.
Despite their name Auto Bellows AR, these bellows do not allow for fully automatic AE exposure control. For this, a coupling for the largest aperture of the lens as well as a mechanism for direct aperture setting from body to lens would be necessary, which are both missing. The Auto in the name relates to the possibility to close the aperture of the lens at the moment of exposure to a manually preset value by means of a double cable release. The working principle is quite similar to that of the Auto Ring, but the mechanism is built into the lens plate of the bellows. Metering has still to be done in stopped-down mode with working aperture. The correct aperture has to be preset manually on the lens.
A focusing rail, which is almost identical to the Focusing Rail AR sold as a separate accessory, was part of the Auto Bellows AR. This rail enables focusing by moving the whole setup of bellows and camera forward or backward, without having to change the settings of the bellows. The horizontally-split focusing rail can also be swiveled and thus be used for parallel shift of the whole setup.
Different from the simpler Extension Bellows II AR / 2 AR, both plates can be moved, not only the lens plate. With the Aut Bellows AR, both plates can be adjusted with the gear rack. The lens plate can also be mounted on the linear track in opposite direction, allowing for reverse use of lenses with a 55 mm filter thread without additional accessories like a Reverse Adapter. The use of a reverse adapter is also possible, of course, but the automatic aperture function of the bellows will be lost then.
The maximum possible extension is larger than with both older bellows, with a 52 mm standard lens in normal position a maximum image scale of 3.5:1 can be achieved. There are markings on the linear track, which help to retrieve image scales and exposure factors for several lenses from tables in the user's manual. Both plates can be clamped with a screw in any position.
The bayonet on the camera side of the Auto Bellows AR can be turned anti-clockwise by 90°. So switching between landscape and portrait orientation is possible, without having to turn the whole setup or the bellows themselves.
In the foot of the focusing rail, there are two tripod sockets – one with 1/4" thread and a second with 3/8" thread.
The plastic guides of the linear track are the weak spot on the Auto Bellows AR and Bellows 3 AR. These plastic parts break easily at their narrowest point lateral to the guiding rail. If broken, the exact positioning of the plates and thus the exact parallelism between lens and body are no longer ensured. Replacement parts are difficult to get, if possible at all. Before buying bellows, you should look at these plastic guides to see if they are still intact. The fractures can usually be seen as a fine line from the inside angle to the outer edge of the white plastic parts.
The Auto Bellows AR replaced the predecessor model, the Extension Bellows II Deluxe AR / 2D AR, quite early, during the construction period ot the Autoreflex T2. As a cheaper and simpler alternative, the Bellows 3 AR were available. Both bellows were offered unchanged until the SLR line was abandoned altogether in 1987.
The Auto Bellows AR are quite rare and can be found only once in a while. Many of the Auto Bellows available have broken plastic guides. Third-party bellows are much more common and just as cheap. Some are even equipped better, like the Novoflex automatic bellows, which offer AE functionality.
Accessories for Auto Bellows AR
Double Cable Release AR
A double cable release for the mechanical Konica bodies. Before introduction of the electronic bodies, it was part of the Auto Bellows AR and Auto Ring, but was also available seperately. It consists of two mechanical cable releases which are triggered simultaneously by a common push button.
Double Cable Switch AR
A double cable release for the electronical Konica bodies. Since introduction of the electronical bodies, it was part of the Auto Bellows AR and Auto Ring, but was also available seperately. It consists of a mechanical cable release for triggering the bellows or the Auto Ring, and of an electrical wire that plugs into the accessory socket on the electronical bodies.
Allows for reverse position of lenses with a 55 mm filter thread without having to turn the lens plate of the bellows.
Auto Ring with Double Cable Release
An extension ring with a built-in mechanism for closing the aperture when tripping the shutter release by aid of a double cable release. It is not needed on the Auto Bellows AR, as the bellows themselves offer the respective functionality. The use of the Auto Ring with the Auto Bellows AR only makes sense when the lens is mounted in reverse position with a reverse adapter.
Slide Copier 2 AR
Usually offered as separate accessory, it seems to have been sold as part of the Auto Bellows AR in some countries at least for some time. The Slide Copier 2 AR can also be used with the simpler Bellows 3 AR. The older Slide Copier AR has a different coupling and is not usable with the newer bellows.
Slide Copier Adapter AR
Is mandatory if the slide duplicator shall be used with the lens in reverse position, i. e. for copying parts of slides or negatives.
Macro Stand AR
A subject holder, intended for small and flat subjects like stamps or similar. The macro stand offers a horizontal table with a neutral grey background, the bellows are set up perpendicular to it and are firmly screwed to the macro stand. The Macro Stand AR can also be used with the simpler Bellows 3 AR.
Bellows adapter 57mm F1.2
The extremely fast lens Hexanon AR 57 mm / F1.2 does not have the 55 mm filter thread as do most Konica lenses. For this reason, the Reverse Adapter does not fit that lens. With this adapter, lenses with a 62 mm filter thread can be used in reverse position on bellows. On Extension Bellows II AR / 2 AR and Extension Bellows 2D AR you will also need the reverse adapter.