Konica Z-up 80 : Poundland Challenge Camera No 10

This perhaps is the oddest looking purchase of the Poundland Challenge so far. This 1988 zoom AF in RC Limited guise looks like a digital Bridge camera that were popular a few years back. But this all singing and dancing device turn out to be a golden gate or a bridge too far ?

Konica Z-up 80RC Limited
Konica Z-up 80RC Limited, 35mm Zoom AF compact from 1988

The later  models Konica’s Z-up range usually look like any other compact AF camera of the 90’s but the Z-up 80  is a bit bonkers in comparison. However most manufacturers by the end of the 80’s were all launching  zoom cameras with a protruding lens and battery grip. Some like the Canon Sure Shot zoom were sleeker, the olympus L-series resembled modern bridge cameras even more and things like the Canon Epoca looking like something from a Sci-Fi film.

Konica Z-Up 80 RC Limited  Specs

  • Lens : 40-80mm 1:3.8-7.8
  • Focus: Infrared AF
  • Focus Range 0.6-∞
  • Exposure: Auto
  • DX Coding : 50-3200 ¹
  • Aperture:  f/3.8-22 (wide)*
  • Shutter:  1-1/500 sec
  • EV 100 :  4-18 (wide)*
  • Battery: 1x 2CR5 (6V)

¹ If non DX coding film defaults to 100 ASA *80mm f/7.8-30 EV100 5.6-18

Underneath the hood of the Z-up 80 is run of the mill AF with a x2 zoom  that would become common in the early 1990. This camera does no more than my Pentax Espio AF Zoom or Canon Sure Shot 60 and infact is more limited.

Dog gone
Taken on Konica Z-up 80 RC limited with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200

But this is a camera from an earlier decade and still has some quirky features. It is thought out reasonably well from an ergonomic POV except the tiny mode control buttons. It is a bit heavier but comfy to hold reminding me of my digital SLR. One neat and oddly retro feature is a flick out kick stand for timer shots a feature that was commoner on pre 70’s camera like the Halina 6-4.

The various shootings modes are controlled by a push buttons to the side of the large rear LCD. Usually only 2 are available but there is a plastic door that swings out allowing you to access the databack settings (amusingly indicating the suspected longevity the year setting only goes up to ’19). The data back allows you to stamp your negatives with quite a range of time settings but can be turned off.

Costa Blur
Dumfries 2015. Konica Z-Up 80 RC Limited with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200

The 2 other buttons control flash and shooting cycle and for such a technological looking camera are pretty limited. Flash is the usual auto (default), force on, force off and flash off with +1.5EV back light feature. But there is no red eye feature. The other mode just cycles between single shot, continuous and timer (and if held rewind). The timer is adjustable by means of the databack options to allow you to set for standard timer, fire at a designate time or timelapse continuous shooting. A pull down switch on the front allows you to put camera into a landscape photo modes but this isn’t as easy as cameras like the espio which set via menus or use a push in button to the same effect. It also seemed to do nought in my camera’s case.

Once shot is taken the camera defaults to standard setting (auto flash single shot) which is odd compared to later cameras which hold the setting until turned off.  However there is a small switch inside the film compartment that you can slide which will cause the camera to hold mode until turned. This version has a detachable Remote control (hence RC in title) which you press out of the battery grip with the camera turned on. I found things a bit clunky compare to other cameras and the buttons aren’t easy to engage on the rear

Pinked
2015. Konica Z-Up 80 RC Limited with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200

The camera needs a hefty 2CR32 Lithium battery which whilst isn’t bonkers, is about double the price of a CR123A and would allow you to buy about 28 x AA at poundland. I believe the non RC versions required you to access the battery compartment by unscrewing a panel beneath the strap point, where as this has a more standard system.

Turning on the camera cause the built in flash to pop up and the weird lens cover to retract. A rocker switch on the back moves lens and is well placed for your thumb to use. The zoom is pretty smooth and quick compared to later90’s rivals. Shut the flash and the lens retracts and the camera shuts down. The viewfinder is clear with usual markers (focus spot parallax etc) but also has flash indicator and oddly shows a zone focus symbol. It moves with zoom too and has a diopter corrector (a first on any compact I own). You can focus lock by half depressing the shutter.

Konica had a knack of making good lens so how does this 8 element in 7 groups lens fare ?

I struggled as my camera wouldn’t rewind properly meaning the roll you can see was manually rewound inside a light tight changing bag. And I wish I hadn’t bothered.

defocused rain
2015. Konica Z-Up 80 RC Limited with Agfaphoto Vista Plus 200

Focus wasn’t great (what you see here are amongst the best and even then they are quite soft). Outside distance shots were pretty poor both with and without the distance mode pulled down. Exposure provided more variable than a LC-A and was pretty disappointing. At least the time stamp worked.

It may be mines was just totally knackered however and the Z-up 110 it came with worked (it had a bad reputation but was miles better)

This is a bit of an odd camera. It has the same core spec as the much sleeker and function loaded Pentax Espio. I suspect that this shows the pace of change in the late 80’s and 90’s with the Z-Up effectively becoming obsolete. The X2 “super Zoom”whilst pretty common for the time is made more ironic by the Limited printed above it. Bit bonkers for a film camera but perhaps less obtrusive in some ways as folk will assume it is digital camera.

Why buy

  • Remote control
  • Konica Glass (in theory)
  • Japanese made
  • Satisfying to hold for its size…

Why not

  • … its size & fiddly mode buttons
  • May not be that good on (but was mines knackered ?)
  • Limited modes
  • Battery costs
  • Data stamp will be an issue after 2019

What I paid, got & sold for

  • 50p  +  P&P £2.95 (bought for 99p with a Z-up 110)
  • Came with case
  • It’s damaged so to dump

Alternatives

  • Canon Sure Shot Zoom – Rival 1988 model
  • Pentax Espio AF Zoom – What a difference 4 years made

Helpful links

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3 thoughts on “Konica Z-up 80 : Poundland Challenge Camera No 10”

  1. this was one of the best cameras I ever had. my late husband bought it from the duty free shop on a trip to France in 1988. Loved it and would still be using it if it had not been stolen from our roof garden area. Wish I could get another one.

    1. EBay Kit is the way to go. They pop up now and again but keep eyes open for tested one and/or if returns accepted.

  2. The non-remote version does indeed require the removal of two tiny metal screws – one of mine is unsurprisingly missing – to access the weird and expensive battery. As the substantial weight of the camera hangs by the same cover, it seems like a flawed design even for its era.

    If I can find a suitable replacement screw I may stump up for a battery to see what results the Z-up 80 can turn up .

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