US start-up Konost has announced plans to launch a full frame digital rangefinder which it thinks could rival the likes of Leica. The Konost FF will be an M-mount camera which achieves digital rangefinder focusing by using a secondary image sensor rather than a traditional rangefinder mechanism. Other features of the aluminum-bodied camera include a 20-megapixel CMOS sensor and a 4-inch LCD rear monitor.
One of the most interesting features of the Konost FF is the way in which it achieves digital rangefinder focusing. Rather than using a traditional rangefinder mechanism, the camera instead features a secondary image sensor, the round window next to the lens. The image this produces is calibrated to the lens position and then electronically displayed as the rangefinder focus patch in the optical viewfinder.
This approach cuts manufacturing and maintenance costs, while still allowing users to compose shots using the optical viewfinder, and manually focus the camera in typical rangefinder fashion by ensuring the images line up with each other. Rangefinder traditionalists will also be pleased to note that the Konost FF will use M-mount lenses and that the camera is being designed around the idea of simple manual controls.
Inside the Konost FF will be a 20-megapixel full frame (36 x 24 mm) CMOS sensor. The camera will have an ISO range of 100 to 6,400. Other key specifications include a maximum shutter speed of 1/4,000 second, and a 4-inch rear LCD monitor. While the camera currently looks a bit like the Leica T, the team behind it says that the design is not yet finalized.
The small team of engineers and designers at Konost currently has a working full frame prototype of the Konost FF, which it hopes to release in 2016, and is seeking private funding to achieve that date. "This is a battle for us," a spokesperson told Gizmag. "Like any small start-up, there are still many things to do and our resources are limited. However, we are doing our best everyday. We are just a group of engineers building our own dream camera. We're not stopping until it's out."
In fact, the ambitious team at Konost doesn't just plan to release one camera. It is also working on the Konost AP, a smaller version of the digital rangefinder with a 12-megapixel APS-C sensor, and the Konost Junior, a cheaper, plastic, JPEG-only fixed-lens camera with a 1-inch-type sensor.
There's no word on pricing for the cameras yet other than "competitive in the market," but the team hopes the Konost FF will go on sale in early 2016 along with the Konost AP. The Konost Junior is expected later this year.
More information is available in the following video.