My youngest son, who's an artist, has just filled the garage with all his worldly possessions, as he moves from NYC to Europe. Among his possessions is a camera I had forgotten all about, my late father's Koni-Omega Rapid. This is a 120 interchangeable lens rangefinder. I had lent it to him years ago, then promptly forgot he had it, all the while wondering why I had a Koni Hexanon 180 mm f/4.5 lens in among all my other gear. I inherited the Koni after my father died. He was an avid amateur photographer and cinematographer (Leica, Rollei, Bolex). I can't remember when or why he got the Koni. I do remember (vaguely) shooting it, its unique right side pull/push film advance and its equally unique right-side outboard lens focusing wheel. It also had three (!) top-plate shoes, none of them hot. The camera's built like a tank - solid, heavy - a workhorse.
Built to rival the Graphic and the Mamiya Press, definitely purely pro-cameras, well built and usually they are serviceable with out any problems. Film is fully available, and quite frankly you will not find a camera that can beat it on definition or image quality, the Konica lenses are 1st class optics.
I have the 6x9 Mamiya Press, similar, but with close up via bellows and lens tilt built in to the camera body to extend DOF.
The Omega was US designed, by Simmons, but built by Konica in Japan under contract. Gradually the design changes became Konica's own as the years passed.
It was intended as a Press camera in 6x7 format, for rapid high quality shots. More popular in the States than in Europe.
The Mamiya Press has the slight advantage of 6x9 format, but took 6x7 size as well as any 120 format with suitable backs, Konica were not quite so flexible on format.
The Koni-Omega Rapid is probably one of the most heavy duty cameras ever built. When you hold one it feels like it has been machined out of a solid steel billet. Back in the day I worked at night for a guy who specialized in shooting pictures of every contestant at kids' rodeos. I shot every kid as he or she came out of the chutes and when the roll was finished gave the magazine to a runner who took it to a portable darkroom set up in a trailer. By the end of the rodeo 8x10s of all the kids were hanging out front. Probably sold 90 percent of them. I would make several hundred exposures a night with the Koni--in the dust and sometimes the rain, and it always worked. A legendary camera. Plus the lens was razor sharp.
The Koni-Omega Rapid (and Rapid M) are excellent rangefinder medium format cameras. Its Hexanon lenses are not so difficult to find, except the 135mm which is more and more seldom. I repaired 7 backs for friends and decided to translate its notice into French two years ago. You can download it here : www.planete-bleue.net/pdf/ko_rapid_m_fr.pdf
I added in this document some information for people who want to repair a back or want to create a ground glass viewer with a back not repairable. If somebody needs spare parts, I can help.
Last Edit: May 14, 2016 6:33:21 GMT -5 by Dormeur74