Auto Ring and Double Cable Release / Auto Ring 2 AR and Double Cable Release 2 AR
When doing close-up and macro photography with bellows, the genuine Konica extension rings, or the lens reverse-mounted with a reverse adapter, the automatic aperture functionality is lost. The aperture cannot be closed automatically by the camera body, because there is no mechanical coupling between the body and the lens any more. In this case, the light metering has to be made with the match-needle system and the lens must be stopped down to the desired aperture manually before exposure.
With the Auto Ring, the manual closing of the aperture is no longer necessary. The fully automatic AE exposure control is still not possible and the match-needle metering has still to take place. But after metering is finished, you can open the aperture with the Auto Ring and focus with open aperture and bright viewfinder image. When releasing the shutter, the matching Double Cable Release in a single action first closes the aperture to the preset value and afterwards triggers the shutter – it is not necessary to close the aperture manually.
Besides being more comfortable, this has the advantage of eliminating the danger of moving the whole setup accidentally while setting the aperture and thus producing out-of-focus images – with the minimal depth-of-field when using extension rings or bellows, a very small displacement can already be critical.
The Auto Ring can be used with the lens in its normal orientation as well as in reverse orientation. The Auto Ring is always mounted on the back end of the lens, where the aperture lever is – in reverse orientation, it is between lens and subject, in normal orientation between the lens and either camera body, extension rings, or bellows.
The Auto Ring can also be used as an extension ring with an extension of 14 mm (9/16").
There are three generations of the Auto Ring. The original Auto Ring had a special connector for the double cable release instead of the standard, conic thread, so it can only be used together with the matching Konica Double Cable Release. Both were sold together as a set. On the original Auto Ring, the cocking lever returns to its rest position directly after cocking the ring, and does not move when the shutter is fired. So it's impossible to see from the lever position whether the ring is cocked or not.
A later version of the Auto Ring still has the same internal mechanics as the original one, but already has a standard cable release connector with the conic thread. The matching double cable release is the Konica Double Cable Release 2 AR, the original Double Cable Release with the special connector will not fit.
The Auto Ring 2 AR then has different internal mechanics and also a standard cable release connector for conic thread, which is much shorter than with the second Auto Ring version. On the Auto Ring 2 AR, the cocking lever stays in a different position after cocking the ring and moves when the shutter is fired, so you can see from the lever position whether the ring is cocked or not. For the Auto Ring 2 AR, also the Double Cable Release 2 AR is the matching double cable release. Again, both were sold together as a set.
For use with the electronic bodies of the F series, a different Double Cable Release is required, which combines the electric 5-pin plug for the camera body and the mechanical cable release for the Auto Ring / Auto Ring 2 AR. This was called Double Cable Switch AR. As it has the standard conic thread connector for the mechanical part, it will not work with the original, first version of the Auto Ring.