other Topcon cameras in my collection:
Topcon IC-1 Auto [1974 - 1976]
The IC-1 resembles the Topcon Uni and Unirex in many ways, besides looking very like a Unirex. The lens fitting is a
UV bayonet, and the aperture and shutter speed selection dials are located around the base of the lens mount. This means that the maximum aperture of the lens fitted has to be set on a separate compensator dial found on the front of the camera body. The camera also has shutter priority automatic operation. When the aperture ring is set to
auto, the camera sets an appropriate aperture, and displays details via a viewfinder needle. In manual mode, the viewfinder needle directs what aperture should be set to match any shutter speed (so manual
mode is simply a means by which shots can be deliberately under or over exposed).
The IC-1 differs from the Uni and Unirex in several key respects. The shutter is a focal-plane type (rather than a leaf shutter). Metering is open aperture TTL centre weighted, using two CdS cells (as opposed to a mirror based
net of the Uni), plus it has the
IC designation, which stands for integrated circuit; the means by which the automatic exposure system is governed. Rumour has it that Seikosha ceased to make the leaf shutter used in the Unirex, resulting in that camera being modified to accommodate a focal-plane shutter, and becoming the IC-1.
There does not seem to be agreement as to exactly when the Topcon IC-1 came into existence, but I've gone for 1974 (as opposed to 1973) because an advertisement in the October 1974 edition of Amateur Photographer lists the IC-1 model as
NEW. The price with a Hi Topcor 50mm lens was £87.95 (a bit less than twice the average UK weekly wage).
There are two versions of this camera, where the
original dates from 1974 to 1976 and the
new from 1976 to 1978. The difference between the two is mostly to do with the specification of the standard lens, where the original was a 50mm f2, and the new a 55mm f1.8. Accordingly the lens speed compensator dial on the
original has a maximum setting of f2, while the
new has a maximum of f1.8. Additionally, an LED battery condition indicator was added to the upper area of the viewfinder, it got a hot shoe flash connection, the
Auto logo colour was changed from black to red, and the serial number was moved from the top plate (next to the rewind knob) to the back of the hot shoe mounting. IC-1s were produced in an all black body option (which the British Police might be tempted to call the IC-3), where the Auto logo colour was similarly changed from white to red for the second version.
Lens mount: Topcon UV bayonet. The mount included a locking facility when Topcor UV lenses are attached.
Focus: Fixed eye-level Pentaprism finder, with 0.8x image (standard lens) and 93% of the width and length of the actual picture area. Micro-prism focusing spot surrounded by fine focus ring and full area ground-glass, with Fresnel lens plate. Aperture scale is visible on left edge of finder area, with warning areas at both ends of the scale.
Shutter: Electronically-controlled cloth focal plane shutter, with shutter speed ring on lens mount. Ten shutter speed settings (green: manual only) 1, 1/2, 1/4, (black: auto) 1/8, 1/15, 1/30, (flash sync: red) 1/60, 1/125, 1/250 and 1/500 second, plus Bulb. Internally coupled to the built-in exposure setting system.
Meter: TTL centre weighted full aperture measuring system, with two compound CdS cells on both sides of the finder eyepiece measuring the reflected light of the full finder area.
Exposure: Automatic shutter speed priority (1/8th to 1/500th), or fully manual.
Film Speed: 25 to 3200 ASA (plus DIN scale).
Flash: Cold shoe and PC terminal. Electronic flash units sync at 1/60th.
Film Advance: Single stroke lever (120°).
Frame Counter: Automatic count-up and reset.
Rewind: Via crank and bottom release button.
Size: 141 x 93 x 59mm (W x H x D).
Weight: 640g body only (780g with 50mm lens).
Battery: 2 x 1.35v PX625A mercury battery (use the equivalent WeinCELL MRB625 zinc air cell).
I paid £7.50 for this camera in January 2015. It came with a f/2 50mm (6 element) lens, and black
Auto logo, etc., which makes it a 1974 to 1976 model. However,
original IC-1 serial numbers are quite visible, so I've been looking closely at pictures of them. The lowest serial number I've found is 01329, and the highest 42855, which suggests that mine (25836) could be a '75 model?
It was inexpensive (compared to the typical current asking price of between £70 to £100) due to a broken back release catch, something I'll fix (hopefully?) when I get time to work on it, and replace the light seals too. From a quick inspection, everything otherwise appears to work, although it's clearly had a bit of a knock that's very slightly distorted the user's left side of the pentaprism housing (which the seller chose not to disclose!), plus it needed a really good clean inside and out.
I wanted an IC-1 because ... well ... I really like Topcons, and I think it's a
pretty camera (except for that massive aperture compensation dial on the front, which is very unsubtle): it's not as pretty as a Unirex, but the price I paid makes up for that shortcoming. It feels like a quality camera, and the lens mount location of the shutter speed selector ring works well; the aperture/shutter combination can easily be adjusted without taking your eye away from the viewfinder.
May 2015. Having already replaced my Uni and Unirex camera covers, with enough material left over for a further camera, I just couldn't resist the temptation of pimping my IC-1 too. So, my Topcons now all wear matching burgundy red snakeskin covers (from Milly's Cameras). Like the Unirex, the old covers were very easy to remove, and new panels are very easy to cut, being simple shapes. As found on the Unirex, there are two small metal plates that shield access ports, but unlike the Unirex, there's one on the front left and another on the front right side of the body (facing), which are held in place by the cover, and these need to be set in position before the new skin is applied.