About two weeks ago I had looked into A Topcon Unirex, and reminisced about the encounters I had with the equipment made by Topcon. Little did I know, but yesterday I paid a visit to the eye doctor, to find that all the mighty optical instruments he uses are Topcon. At a USD 70,000 a pop, I don’t feel I have to worry about Topcon’s future.
The Uni is a 1965 edition to a line of similar SLR cameras by Topcon. As stated before, it seems that a decade before Topcon threw in the towel on the SLR line, Topcon held back on research and development of new technology. The Unirex, that came out four years after the Uni, had little extra to offer. Perhaps the most significant addition is ‘Uni’ in front of the ‘Rex’. There are some other cosmetic differences, such as the frame counter’s location and the position of the trigger to the front of the body, Praktica style. The Praktica was rebranded to Hanimex as well, so maybe Topcon saw the style and liked it. Or maybe not.
The camera build is the same as the Unirex, same lens system, with the same leaf shutter at the front of the body, just under the bayonet lens mount. Same speeds, B to /500, only here the speed markings are on top of the lens barrel. Setting the film speed is via the same pesky latch at the bottom of the barrel. The only design elements are black tops of the wind rewind levers. The camera body has the shape of a wall-mounted mailbox, with a Romanian UTB tractor’s finesse.
The lens on the camera I have is a 1.2 / 35, a nice lens for everyday shooting. The mirror has grooves cut into it, which is unusual.
The flash / self-timer lever is at the bottom of the lens assembly, at the other side of the film speed latch. A nice touch is an extended brace at the bottom that keeps the camera from falling on its nose.
The dirt issue I had with the Unirex exists here as well. There is a black residue; guess disintegrated seals or bumpers, that seems to be self-generating with each cleaning pass. Being fifty years old and today classified as a thrift store camera, I should accept it, so I will need to put extra work into it.
The battery is 625, easy to get though it is 1.5 V rather than 1.35 V of the original version.
Using is simple. Being a shutter-priority auto, all it takes is to set the film speed and decide whether to use auto or manual mode. For manual, follow the needle inside the viewfinder window left and set the aperture accordingly. Metering is average only, where the spot metering option is the main difference between the Uni and the Unirex.
It could be a good camera for a user who wants to dip her / his tows in film photography. One cannot go wrong with a fully functioning SLR camera for $20. Other than that, on the shelf, it makes other camera models look pretty.
|AKA||Hanimex Topcon RE Auto, Beseler RE Auto|
|Mode||Auto shutter priority|
|Weight||720 gr, Body only|
|Class average weight||595 gr, Body only|
|Lens make||UV Topcor|
|Filter size||39 mm|
|Lens mount||Topcon UV bayonet|
|Light meter||CdS TTL|