Konost FF is a full frame digital rangefinder camera that seeks funding

The Konost FF is a full frame digital rangefinder camera that is currently seeking funding opportunities. The prototype shown has an optical viewfinder with electronic frame-lines and a focusing patch:

With a 20.0 megapixel 35mm full-frame image sensor, the Konost camera delivers image quality on par with any modern camera. Our analogy is to think of it as driving a 800hp manual Ferrari.

There are only a handful of digital rangefinder cameras on the market today, a domination held by Leica Cameras. The Konost camera is unique in that instead of using rotating mirrors and prisms in the rangefinder mechanism, it uses a secondary image sensor and image processing algorithms to display the rangefinder patch in the viewfinder. This allows the camera to be all-digital, decreasing manufacturing costs, and does not require high maintenance or re-callibration.


From Konost's website:

Konost means simple and pure. No, it’s not a real word, we made it up.

We are a young start-up of engineers and designers passionate about photography. Our goal is to design and build compact, mirrorless cameras which are simple, pure, and hold true to the core and fundamental of photography — capturing light.

The Konost FF is our 35mm Full-Frame True Digital Rangefinder camera still under development. It has an optical viewfinder with electronically displayed framelines and a rangefinder focusing patch. There are only four fundamental controls: aperture, shutter speed, focus, and ISO — a simple and minimalistic camera stripped of any unnecessary features. The Konost FF takes M-Mount rangefinder coupled lenses with other lens compatibility to come.

We are also working on a Konost AP and a Konost Junior, fundamentally similar cameras to the Konost FF with differences in sensor size and build material.

Our Konost 35mm Full-Frame prototype was recently completed with ongoing sensor tuning and testing. It will be available for interested parties as a development kit since we believe the future of digital photography means bringing large sensors into compact cameras and affordable to everyday consumers. Yes, you will not need those big, heavy SLRs anymore.

Many parts of our website are still under construction, we thank you for your patience. Feel free to contact us for any questions, suggestions, or just to say hello!

Additional photos of the Konost full frame digital rangefinder camera:

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  • MikeyLNG

    That football image is really stupid. Who uses a rangefinder with manual focus to capture sports events? It gives me the impression that the company don’t even know who they’re marketing this product to.

    • Spy Black

      They’re aiming at the Nikon 1 crowd…

    • a-traveler

      How about the 1936 Berlin Olympics? Gran Prix races during the 1930s/40s/50s? World Cup during the 1930s/40s/50s? Talented Photojournalists were able to shoot sports long before the advent of the DSLR. YMMV

      • Matt Maber

        70 years ago!

      • adrianomeis

        Maybe you forget that we are in 2015. Are you moving with a horse when you need to buy something?

      • CHD

        Yeah….and cave men documented the ‘great hunt’ with nothing more than a rock on a piece of granite.

        Seriously man, get with the times.

      • Michael D Castle

        Bearing in mind that most photographers are shooting beyond Infinity Focus, it is easy to see how this camera could be used for sports photography. You probably have a slow frame rate, but that only makes the shooter more focused on what he is doing and not on machine-gun picture taking. I once photographed a college football game from the stands with an Agfa Isola camera and the photos turned out very satisfactory.

    • nocklebeast

      I do. Yes, it’s wrong, and I’m probably going to hell because of it.

  • Geoffrey Baker

    Love the concept on this. Hope it comes to fruition. The folks shown in the video need to learn how to hold and shoot a rangefinder however……

  • TechUser2011
    • it does, curious if Leica will react on that

      • Heiko Bertram

        Would they even bother?

        • Lee Martin

          Well it will be a lot more reliable, and the sensors might not rust like the M240

          • Heiko Bertram

            it’s the kodak sensor that has rust (or some kind of it). We will see what will happen to the cmosis sensor in the future (same manufacturer as the Konost

          • Dmitry Anisimov

            what is that rust issue?
            wasn’t that with M9?

          • garygraphy

            Quite a different issue as the allegations were from Appcam to Leica not the other way round

        • Matt Maber

          because they have to to protect their identity.

      • Cease and desist letter from Leica Legal Department in 3, 2, 1 …….

        • I am sure Leica has a design patent on the T

  • Les

    I wonder how the focusing accuracy will be with a digital rangefinder. Optical rangefinders work well because the eye is really good at aligning objects. That may not be the case with a digital rangefinder patch that has limited and discrete resolution (best case 1920 discrete vertical lines, but probably much lower).
    Maybe they are using a rangefinder just for street cred. An enlarged central patch may have been more useful. We’ll see when the product is released.

    I also like how they are sourcing their CMOS from the same vendor as Leica (but with fewer megapixels). I guess Cmosis and Leica haven’t signed an exclusivity deal for the full-frame market.

    • a-traveler

      The Contax G1/G2 were Electronic Autofocus. I had a Contax factory representative domonstrate the focusing at a trade show. There was a Manual Focus setting, but all it did was mimic what the Electronic Autofocus was doing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contax_G

      • Les

        Yes, but this camera will project the rangefinder patch using video instead of mirrors. That’s why I’m not sure about the accuracy. It may be limited by the amount of resolution they can project.

        • Matt Maber

          Yea its clearly not AF as M lenses aren’t AF.

  • Heiko Bertram

    Looks like hoax to me.

    • fjfjjj

      It’s a fine line between “college students with big promises, marginal knowhow, and no business plan” and “hoax”.

      • Daedbird

        The Sleeping Beauty mug for one of the founders, the lack of listing what type of RAW, and a website that looks like it was a high school project…don’t know motives, but success will evade them

      • Thom Hogan

        From their Web site: “As an engineer, I have always wondered how hard it would be design and build my own camera.”

        Well, I think they’re going to find out. ;~)

  • Heiko Bertram

    Allthough would be Nice if other manufacturers would step in the range finder simplicity niche (pardon my English)

  • adampad

    Not even one of the people where holding the camera correctly in the video. I guess they don’t need to focus.

    • ck_dexter_haven

      That’s what happens when you hire a director who doesn’t understand the product. What’s inexcusable is that the company didn’t have someone on set to correct the issue.

      Funny, to me, how common this is, though. 99% of the time, when you’re watching tv or a movie, and they show paparazzi, they’re all actors who have no concept of needing the left hand to focus or steady the camera….

      Does anyone really believe this will get off the ground and become a viable product? I hope so, but….

      • David Barkan

        At this point is a Hoax, just like that Hoverboard thing from last year. Take an idea of something people really want, build it, make a video, get traffic from Internet, get momentary Internet fame, and consequently Internet rage. =P

      • Matt Maber

        and one covered the RF sensor so i guess its just a mock up

    • saywhatuwill

      LOL, you’re right. They need to hire people that look like photographers because a regular, everyday person isn’t going to take a camera that isn’t on their phone and shoot pictures with it if it doesn’t have autofocus. If they used someone that held the camera properly and looked to be taking photos with it and not just holding the camera up to their eye, then they might get people that otherwise look at alternatives to actually take notice to this camera. The way the video represents the camera it looks like it’s a p/s for a novice.

  • a-traveler

    The trouble with “crowd funded” projects is the lack of manufacturing expertise. A working prototype is no guarantee that a series production camera will ever be delivered.

    I hope that they can deliver. I’d buy one!

  • Cinekpol

    “The Konost camera is unique (…) to display the rangefinder patch
    in the viewfinder” – So, basically Fuji X100T, only in a slightly different configuration.

    “Yes, you will not need those big, heavy SLRs anymore.” – Jesus Christ, not again the same nonsense. Yea, my back is already broken in half due the the weight of a DSLR. Now: please, go away with BS stuff like that.

    • a-traveler

      Having arthritis in your hands and wrists is no FUCKING joke. A Canon 5D3 is more than I want to deal with at this stage of my life.

      Congratulation on still being young and healthy. Enjoy it while you still can, because it won’t last forever 8-D

      • Sebastian

        yea, we should also make head mounted dslr for people without hands.

      • TinusVerdino

        There are more compact and lighter DSLRs than that one. Tiny camera body’s with minuscule controls must also not be a joy to use with arthritis.

  • raziel28

    Is this USA company?

  • fjfjjj

    “The world’s first true digital rangefinder” says their site. Wow, that’s some four alarm bullshit.

    • a-traveler

      Digital Focusing plus Digital Capture make it the first Fully Digital rangefinder camera.

      • fjfjjj

        Fujifilm X-T1?

        • garygraphy

          You are not getting the concept. X-T1 application is more like a split screen, it does not have a secondary optical feed to allow accurate rangefinding. A rangefinder is more than superimposing a electronic display on a optical finder.

          • Matt Maber

            Indeed, theres times when throwing RF and the X100 or X-Pro1 round is fine as general conversation, so long as you all tacitly understand its not REALLY a RF.
            Id prefer my X100 and X-Pro1 to have ‘proper’ RF focusing for example.

        • Matt Maber

          yeah thats not an RF. Nor is the X100T

          • The x100t is a rangefinder style camera, and so are the X-Pro and X-E lines. I refer to them as rangefinders, and so do most people, including people like David Hobbes or Zack Arias. It smells like a rangefinder, handles like a rangefinder.

            “Again, echoing Zack Arias here when I agree that Fuji is the new Leica. (UPDATE: Zack’s review is now up.) As someone who used many different Leica M film rangefinders, this thing is more Leica M than any digital camera Leica has made yet. By a long shot.”

          • Matt Maber

            Yes they ARE RF “style” and I have no beef with that when talking generally, but when talking technically and specially about RF (and this is an RF) its important to be clear. ‘RF’ is not a ‘look’ it is a technical thing.

          • Matt Maber

            BTW, Id argue the X-E line arnt really RF ‘style’ theres no optical VF there, theyre more point and shoot ‘style’.

          • ThreeRing

            It isn’t a rangefinder style, nor a rangefinder. The only thing it has in common with a rangefinder is being rectangular.

          • Well, I guess you’re technically correct. I think though that most people use it pretty broadly (ie having an RF module for focusing is no longer a requirement). Still, if you disable parallax correction, use OVF only with a split image focus option (only new x100t) you get as close as it gets 😉

  • Arif Tjioe

    Looking forward to this camera. Currently i use sony a7 & a7s. While sony have great cameras, their service sucks (at least in my country) so I’m looking for a replacement for it that don’t cost like a real leica

    • No doubt a company with no money, half a dozen guys out of college and no apparent business expertise will provide much better service than Sony, and a camera comparable to a Leica for little more than the cost of shipping. How much money are you committing?

  • garygraphy

    The optical vf placement is appears too low and will likely face severe blockage on even average size lenses. Hard to take this seriously.

  • MonkeySpanner

    Could be mildly interesting if the price is right. Seems they have done work to try to minimize cost. If it comes in body only for under $1000, could catch on.

  • mikeswitz

    Check out ZPM Espresso on Kickstarter. It was conceived and funded by recent college graduates. Two were in marketing, one was an engineer. They were “passionate” about coffee and were going manufacture a PID controlled espresso machine that would sell for about 1/3 the price of anything similar on the market. They raised over 10x the amount they originally stipulated to complete funding. About a year after initial funding they went after outside backing and raised substantial amounts without ever telling the original Kickstarter backers. Long story short, after three years of initially obfuscating and later outright lying, they pretty much folded their tent and took off with all those funds with absolutely no accountability and in complete violation of Kickstarters ToS.
    This is all to say that backers beware. These guys seem remarkably similar to the ZPM Espresso bunch, right down to the camera not looking quite right and the total lack of manufacturing experience and “passionate” about photography.

  • Eagle Of morningcalm

    marketing seems nice. yes, I think there are too many aps-c , 2/3 sensor camera in these days…

  • LOL

    Hope it will not get enough funding: we already have japanese who look in the past and even more so with leica.

    • Corbin Dallas

      Yeah, you know, because more options for consumers is always a bad thing… give me a break.

      Also, you’ve clearly never used a rangefinder, totally different experience from a DSLR.

      This project wreaks of failure, but the concept is solid and I’ve been wondering why nobody has come out with a competitor to Leica’s digital rangefinders. They obviously have their place, but the price tags are outside of most people’s reach.

      • LOL

        > Also, you’ve clearly never used a rangefinder, totally different experience from a DSLR.

        I try to avoid eye level shooting whenever possible: chest level, hip level, above the head level, i.e. unusual perspectives that usually makes my photography looks untypical. So I just don’t value any eye level method to be any useful.

        And I actually try to be positive and constructive, thus what I would estimate as useful changes that would make this camera to stand out of these boring japanese (and korean as well) junk:

        1) Square format sensor. Square is easy to work, it is much faster to learn into it, thus more users with nice photography into the industry, thus another general quality jump. Sure, the ability to frame in custom form factor for zealots. No need to rotate such a camera, so it can be optimized to use in the only position, thus better handling. To say, I hate sh1tty 3×2, IMO this is the worst format one can ever imagine: too much to crop for real panoramic, too much to crop for nice looking portrait orientation, always feel the lack of vertical space when in landscape mode. And I started from 3×2, but a usage of my phone with 4×3 taught me how crappy 3×2 is for general photography and how great the square (5×4, less so for 4×3, but still better than 3×2).

        2) Useful remote viewfinder at last! As soon as I disrespect eye level tedium I would love to see remote viewfinder in areas where I need precise framing. I can live without need for street shooting, where I mostly shoot stopped down at the hip level and nail the focus with the DOF scale, but otherwise I need it. I do not share the opinion of many photographers about stability with camera+lens pushing hard into their eyes: it works somehow for long lenses, but sucks for shorter ones based on my experience. And I am not sure this is the most well turned hold method for longer lenses. I think some kind of butt would be much better for stability and this is easily achievable with the remote viewfinder.

        3) I see a clear plan of low end camera models crippling. Seriously, you are trying to get your money from generous people without any warranty and immediately to cheat them with low end model crippling? LOL. I would not pay them a cent even if I were enthusiastic about their plans.

        • Corbin Dallas

          How’s the view from atop your pedestal?

          I’d continue this discussion, but you clearly won’t hear any opinions that don’t reflect your own.

  • johnny

    I like it. The camera market needs revolution. This is a good start.

    • Thom Hogan

      The “revolution” is manual focus rangefinders using Leica M mount lenses? ;~)

      • johnny

        Well, I mean “camera market”, not camera itself. We need more competitors, not just German and Japanese companies. Digital RF is a good start. It’s a special product line with higher profit.

        • Thom Hogan

          Okay. But I’d argue that what revolutionizes the camera market next is software, not hardware. I see little evidence that this group has mastered software in ways that would change the market.

  • Panchoskywalker

    I doubt a couple of californian geeks can do better that pansaonic, fuji or leica.

    • Dmitry Anisimov

      Lol it’s not an aircraft, just a digital camera.
      if they are going to deliver open-source project, that’s indefinitely better than any Leica

      • DouglasGottlieb

        Open sourcing the camera OS is a great idea

      • Panchoskywalker

        we’ll see, but if it uses leica mount it’s already out of my reach.

    • ThreeRing

      The viewfinder is too close to the lens and too low to clear the lens for wide angle lenses. The rangefinding camera is ALSO too low and close to the lens to do anything useful at below something insane like 50mm. If it’s a mockup, they haven’t even installed the RF camera or looked through the viewfinder.
      Just a couple of nincompoops either trying to scam investors, or trying to get into a highly competitive market without any experience. Either way, a disaster for us.

  • DouglasGottlieb

    An affordable, full frame digital rangefinder? If Konost delivers, I’d buy this in a heartbeat.

    • I’d not. I want something done right, not done half-arsedly. Being in the Fujifilm X world has taught me to wait. Bought a digital M as a consequence.

  • markus

    I need a dedicated ISO dial, and i’m sold.

  • Matt Maber

    “It be this”? eurh. Awful video.
    One of the people had their finger over the rangefinder and lets see Leica’s legal come knocking for its visual similarly to the T

  • ThreeRing

    A digital camera with two buttons and a shutter release? Seriously? Is this just a render from a student? Do they have any actual money to do any of this, or the expertise to make any of it happen?

  • TinusVerdino

    Konost, is that supposed to sound Russian? Just revive the Zorki brand already. Konost sounds like a Murican sayin’ Con Artist.

  • Justtakethepicture

    Just waiting for the Leica smackdown that’s coming…

  • Thylmuc

    A surprising negativity in the comments for a product that I have asked for and promoted for at least five years. Finally, someone replacing the complex mechanics. And smaller than an M, too.

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