The Autoreflex T3N was introduced to the market in 1975 as further improved successor of the Autoreflex T3. It is the last camera, and the one with the most features, from the series of the big Autoreflex SLRs that started 1966 with the Auto-Reflex. The following models Autoreflex TC and Autoreflex T4 are much smaller and lighter, their bodies extensively use plastic parts.
The few changes over the predecessor did not justify a different model designation for Konica, therefore the Autoreflex T3N ist still marked as Autoreflex T3 on the body. T3N or NT3 as it is sometimes called, stands for New T3. Because of the same model name on the body, Autoreflex T3N are often offered as Autoreflex T3 – therefore, both models get mixed up frequently. You can see the differences on the Autoreflex T3 / T3N comparison page.
The Autoreflex T3 was available in chrome-black and in black, the chrome-black version being much more common than the black one.
There is a limited edition where the parts normally chromed are gold-coloured (I'm not sure whether gold plated or polished brass) – as far as I know, it was a gift from Konica to exceptionally successful salesman and has never been sold to the public. These golden Autoreflex T3N are extremely rare. An image of such a golden Autoreflex T3N can be found on Urs Brunner's page www.konica-collector.org.
The Autoreflex T3N is a full-featured SLR that did not leave open any wishes at its time. Seven years after the introduction of fully automatic exposure control and TTL (through-the-lens) metering (1968 with the Autoreflex T), not many manufacturers did offer this feature. Automatic exposure control, depth-of-field preview, especially a provision for multiple exposures, a very informative and quite bright viewfinder, and a mirror lock-up function (with the self timer) was something not too many cameras did provide.
Like all its predecessors and successors from the big Autoreflex series, the Autoreflex T3N is extremely sturdily built and takes abuse well. The Copal vertical travelling metal focal plane shutter works reliably and exactly even in very cold temperatures and after a long time of use. All in all a real workhorse, that is still usable and suitable for everyday use after almost 30 years.
The Autoreflex T3N is, like all the big Autoreflex cameras, quite big and rather heavy – especially when compared to modern cameras. The Copal metal focal plane shutter is very noisy, the sound can be disturbing occasionally. If you can live with this, you will get an almost indestructable classic with the Autoreflex T3N, that is still good for everyday photography.
Like many other cameras from this era, the Autoreflex T3N uses mercury oxyde batteries for the light meter (2x type PX675). These batteries are not manufactured any more for environmental reasons and become more and more difficult to get. The usage of silver oxyde or alkaline batteries of the same size (SR44 or LR44, respectively) causes wrong meter readings, because these batteries have different voltages. There are several possibilities to fix this problem. You can find more information on the subject of mercury oxyde batteries if you follow the link.
As standard, the Autoreflex T3N is equipped with a viewfinder screen featuring a central microprism spot surrounded by a mat screen ring as focusing aids. Optionally, a mat screen with central split image spot surrounded by a mat screen ring was avaialable. In older versions, the split screen just replaces the microprism spot, surrounded by the mat screen ring. In later years, the Autoreflex T3N was also available with split image focusing screens where the split image is in the middle, surrounded by a microprism ring and a mat screen ring – much like the focusing screens of later Konica models.
The bodies with split image focusing screens were marked with a round sticker reading »S SPLIT IMAGE« when new. The sticker is placed on the body's back side, to the left of the viewfinder eyepiece. On the models with combined split image and microprism screen the respective sticker reads »SM SPLIT-IMAGE and MICRODIA-PRISM«.
The improvements over the Autoreflex T3 are not many, but make the difference. For many people the Autoreflex T3N is the best Konica SLR ever. It is certainly a matter of taste whether you prefer to take your photographs with one of the nearly indestructable but large and heavy, fully mechanical cameras from the big Autoreflex series or if you prefer one of the more modern, smaller and lighter successors with a brighter viewfinder – but if you are looking for one of the big Autoreflex cameras, the Autoreflex T3N ist the best you can get. Other models might be more interesting from a collector's point of view, but for photography the Autoreflex T3N is first choice.
1976 the completely new model Autoreflex TC was introduced to the market and sold alongside the Autoreflex T3N, which was still produced. The Autoreflex TC had a smaller body and reduced features. 1978 the successor model Autoreflex T4 – again a full-featured SLR – was introduced, based on the smaller body of the Autoreflex TC.
Changes over the predecessor Autoreflex T3:
Built-in accessory shoe with flash contact (hot-shoe) on the viewfinder prism. The prism housing top is flattend. The lever for the self timer / depth-of-field preview was altered and shows a white stripe now.
The Autoreflex T3N has a built-in shutter for the viewfinder, to avoid stray light entering the camera by the viewfinder and irritating the light meter on shots from a tripod.
The holder for the film cardboard box lid was altered and is more robust than on the Autoreflex T3.
The lever for multiple exposure now has a small grip and is easier to operate with fingers.