Lomopedia — Topcon Uni


The Topcon Uni was an SLR made by then camera manufacturer, Tokyo Kogaku (now named Topcon Corporation). It's one of the first SLRs to have an auto exposure feature along with a centre-weighted through-the-lens metering system — an innovative move that was quickly picked up by other camera makers like Pentax with the Spotmatic, and Nikon with the Nikkormat FT.

Topcon Uni © Vagn Sloth-Madsen

"Clean and precise" may very well be what the designers were thinking about when they worked on Uni. The 35mm SLR is simple in both form and function. Its design is pretty straightforward and almost minimalist to a point — users would have to familiarize themselves with a clean-looking camera with just a few controls to adjust or fiddle with. The camera also makes easy work out of taking well-lit photographs with its auto exposure mode.

Topcon cameras were known for their good build quality. They were rugged and up to the task but the later models seemed to have lost that credibility. When the company stopped working on their SLR designs at the end of the 1960s, it's said that their products suffered a dip in performance and overall craftsmanship. Bodies made after 1977 were reported to be of poor quality.

Variations of the Topcon Uni © Bracket, We Sell Your Collection, and Mark Dalzell

Also, anyone who's looking for a Topcon camera may get confused with “similar models” from different brands. These similar models are bascially the same camera stamped with other names when they were marketed outside of Japan. For this particular model, the Uni was sold in the US as the Beseler Topcon Super D/Beseler Topcon Auto 100 (imported by Beseler) and in the British Empire market under the name Hanimex Topcon RE Super/Topcon RE Auto.

Quick fact bout the Topcon Uni:

The camera is supposed to look like it's winking at you when a picture is taken. This feature is called the “Wink Mirror Sytem” by Topcon — three items block the path of light namely the mirror, the shutter, and the aperture blades.

Photos Taken by Our Community with the Topcon Uni

Credits: torabou, ackroydchris & herbert-4

Topcon Uni Technical Specifications

Lens: 53mm f/2 6-element lens
Mount: Topcon UV bayonet. The mount included a locking facility when Topcor UV lenses are attached
Image Size:
Shutter: Leaf shutter in camera body. Speeds 1 sec to 1/500th plus B and self-timer. 1/8th to 1/500th available for auto-exposure (in red: lower speeds in white). 10 sec self-timer (set MVX switch to V, and press shutter release)
Meter: Open aperture needle based (f stop shown) TTL centre-weighted metering system using a CdS cell. Includes under and over exposure warning zones (but the shutter will still fire)
Exposure: Automatic shutter speed priority, or fully manual
Focusing: Fresnel screen with central micro-prism focusing spot, and a fine focusing ring around this. Magnification x 0.75
Flash: Cold shoe and PC terminal. M and X sync (set to X for daylight photography)
Film Speed: 25 to 400 ASA (selector dial has a locking lever)
Film Type: 35mm
Film Advance: Single long stroke lever
Rewind: Via crank and bottom release button
Dimensions: 136 x 93 x 63mm (W x H x D)
Weight: 890g
Battery: 1 x 1.35v PX625A mercury battery (use the equivalent WeinCELL MRB625 zinc air cell)

All information used in this article was sourced from Camera Portraits, Camerapedia, Butkus Camera Manuals, and Camera Wiki.

written by cheeo on 2018-05-22 #gear #35mm #slr #uni #topcon #hanimex #beseler

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  1. drdrewhonolulu
    drdrewhonolulu ·

    Nice article. Topcon was a great manufacturer, associated with Seiko. They made cameras for the Japanese Army during the Pacific War. Nikon served the Imperial Navy, which probably was higher status back then. I've never had a UNI, but have a SUPER RE, which uses the Exakta mount. The UNI has its own mount, and so is perhaps a great starter SLR for someone. They go very affordably, but still have good ergonomics and fine lenses. Your photo set includes an RE SUPER, which is a different mount (the Exakta one I mentioned). Confused? Readers might want to check out the outline style at the bottom of the camera wiki entry for Topcon camera-wiki.org/wiki/Topcon

  2. cheeo
    cheeo ·

    Thanks for the insight @drdrewhonolulu! :)

  3. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    I reviewed a US Navy Topcon Super D long ago... https://www.lomography.co.th/magazine/10928-the-beseler-top… Read the comments, also. The Austrians had a need to correct my English usage, wouldn't print specifications, wouldn't use my example photo because the background was brown. Things got better later...

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