Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses

Started Jul 14, 2022 | Discussions
lattesweden
lattesweden Veteran Member • Posts: 5,903
Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses

Since the other threads about favorite manual focus vintage lenses from different camera brands have gotten the discussions here going again, lets continue with Konica.

  • If you where to build a small balanced lens system with Konica manual focus lenses from wide to tele, which ones would you include?
  • Which Konica manual focus lens is a must have, no matter focal length or price?
  • Which Konica manual focus lens should be avoided?

Konica have several manual focus mounts, like F and AR, if possible pick one of them in your answer so one only need one type of adapter.

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QuietOC
QuietOC Veteran Member • Posts: 7,148
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses
1

lattesweden wrote:

Since the other threads about favorite manual focus vintage lenses from different camera brands have gotten the discussions here going again, lets continue with Konica.

  • If you where to build a small balanced lens system with Konica manual focus lenses from wide to tele, which ones would you include?
  • Which Konica manual focus lens is a must have, no matter focal length or price?
  • Which Konica manual focus lens should be avoided?

Konica have several manual focus mounts, like F and AR, if possible pick one of them in your answer so one only need one type of adapter.

I am fairly impressed by the Konica Hexanon AR 50mm F1.8. I may have gotten an exceptionally good copy. Sharp, nice rendering for a simple planar. Many of the other Konicas I've tried have had alignment issues.

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Tomasg71
Tomasg71 Contributing Member • Posts: 547
Still trying to decide...
1

...which one

Tomasg71
Tomasg71 Contributing Member • Posts: 547
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses

QuietOC wrote:

lattesweden wrote:

Since the other threads about favorite manual focus vintage lenses from different camera brands have gotten the discussions here going again, lets continue with Konica.

  • If you where to build a small balanced lens system with Konica manual focus lenses from wide to tele, which ones would you include?
  • Which Konica manual focus lens is a must have, no matter focal length or price?
  • Which Konica manual focus lens should be avoided?

Konica have several manual focus mounts, like F and AR, if possible pick one of them in your answer so one only need one type of adapter.

I am fairly impressed by the Konica Hexanon AR 50mm F1.8. I may have gotten an exceptionally good copy. Sharp, nice rendering for a simple planar. Many of the other Konicas I've tried have had alignment issues.

I never had an alignment issue with one of my Konicas. What i did notice the 21 (the f2.8 version), 24 ( both versions) and 28 (both the f3.5 and f1.8) and to some degree the 35 f2 have more field curvature that other lenses i have of the same FL. Maybe the short flange of Konica makes things worse, who knows. I shimmed the adapter and things have improved, but still it s there, the 28 f1.8 and 21 f2.8 being the worst. I checked all the lenses for infinity on a T3n, as much as it s possible.

sensiblename99 Contributing Member • Posts: 697
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses
1

This isn't just my favourite Konica lens it's possibly my all-time favourite 50 for people photography, the Hexanon 1.2/57.

I've had this lens for about five years and it's rarely NOT in my camera bag when photographing people. Often I bring an autofocus 50 (usually Sony 55/1.8 or 50/1.4 for speed) and the Hexanon 1.2/57 for rendering. My copy is the earlier EE copy, slightly brown from thorium or whatever, but it clears up ok with light treatment. The lens is quite sharp wo in enough of the frame to shoot people vertically and get eyes sharp, but certainly not in the corners. My copy of this lens is in great condition, smooth focus, great lens to use. In terms of rendition I prefer it to the Minolta 1.2/58 which I also have but rarely use. For some reason the oof areas behind the subject seem further exaggerated on the Hexanon than with the Minolta or the Canon FL 1.2/58 although the Canon is closest. You must use a hood with this lens, no choice in the matter as it makes a significant difference to contrast.

My standard kit for people photography is the Leica R 1.4/80 and the Hexanon 1.2/57, and I throw in a good af lens for convenience.

Re the Hexanon 1.8/40, I really like this lens and find it incredibly sharp across the frame from f2.8 but am surprised at how badly it can flare. I tend to avoid it for this reason.

Rod McD Veteran Member • Posts: 9,080
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses

Hi,

I tried the 21/2.8 and the 135/3.2. Both tried on my Fuji XT1 and my son's A7iii.

  • The 21/2.8 is quite a good UWA legacy lens and unusually small for the genre and speed. Modern FF 21-24's and Fuji's 14/2.8 and 23/2 on APSC are clinically sharper but it's still a nice lens if you prefer MF with a real helix. I've read that shimming adapters may make a difference, but I haven't tried going to that length.
  • The 135.3.2 is a nice lens. The combo of good resolution, low-ish CAs, decent bokeh,  and closer-than-average focusing make it very usable.  The lens has a double helix, which allows it to focus to 1m, so closer than many other 135s, but this results in a somewhat heavy focusing action. I like that, others may not.

I've gone modern for my WAs. I like tele primes, but I've largely returned to zooms for FLs longer than about 100mm. I've just found that zooming with your feet to use prime teles isn't always feasible because you have to change distance too far or it's just plain impossible.  Carrying multiple teles quickly adds to more weight.  And zooms easily out-resolve cropping.  So, I've got primes to cover 50 - 100mm and zooms for the convenience beyond. So both Konicas are up for sale.

Regards, Rod

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Tomasg71
Tomasg71 Contributing Member • Posts: 547
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses

sensiblename99 wrote:

This isn't just my favourite Konica lens it's possibly my all-time favourite 50 for people photography, the Hexanon 1.2/57.

I've had this lens for about five years and it's rarely NOT in my camera bag when photographing people. Often I bring an autofocus 50 (usually Sony 55/1.8 or 50/1.4 for speed) and the Hexanon 1.2/57 for rendering. My copy is the earlier EE copy, slightly brown from thorium or whatever, but it clears up ok with light treatment. The lens is quite sharp wo in enough of the frame to shoot people vertically and get eyes sharp, but certainly not in the corners. My copy of this lens is in great condition, smooth focus, great lens to use. In terms of rendition I prefer it to the Minolta 1.2/58 which I also have but rarely use. For some reason the oof areas behind the subject seem further exaggerated on the Hexanon than with the Minolta or the Canon FL 1.2/58 although the Canon is closest. You must use a hood with this lens, no choice in the matter as it makes a significant difference to contrast.

My standard kit for people photography is the Leica R 1.4/80 and the Hexanon 1.2/57, and I throw in a good af lens for convenience.

Re the Hexanon 1.8/40, I really like this lens and find it incredibly sharp across the frame from f2.8 but am surprised at how badly it can flare. I tend to avoid it for this reason.

The 40/1.8 is really prone to flare. I tried with hoods, but a hood for a 50 mm lens vignettes and one for a 35 mm looks like an overkill. I am using a vented hood, not that it helps much though.

Tomasg71
Tomasg71 Contributing Member • Posts: 547
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses

Rod McD wrote:

Hi,

I tried the 21/2.8 and the 135/3.2. Both tried on my Fuji XT1 and my son's A7iii.

  • The 21/2.8 is quite a good UWA legacy lens and unusually small for the genre and speed. Modern FF 21-24's and Fuji's 14/2.8 and 23/2 on APSC are clinically sharper but it's still a nice lens if you prefer MF with a real helix. I've read that shimming adapters may make a difference, but I haven't tried going to that length.
  • The 135.3.2 is a nice lens. The combo of good resolution, low-ish CAs, decent bokeh, and closer-than-average focusing make it very usable. The lens has a double helix, which allows it to focus to 1m, so closer than many other 135s, but this results in a somewhat heavy focusing action. I like that, others may not.

I've gone modern for my WAs. I like tele primes, but I've largely returned to zooms for FLs longer than about 100mm. I've just found that zooming with your feet to use prime teles isn't always feasible because you have to change distance too far or it's just plain impossible. Carrying multiple teles quickly adds to more weight. And zooms easily out-resolve cropping. So, I've got primes to cover 50 - 100mm and zooms for the convenience beyond. So both Konicas are up for sale.

Regards, Rod

The 28 f2.8 goes for a lot of money these days.

Volker G Regular Member • Posts: 431
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses

Tomasg71 wrote:

The 28 f2.8 goes for a lot of money these days.

Which 28 mm f/2.8? As far as I know, they only made 28 mm f/3.5 and f/1.8 lenses. The high prices of the f/1.8 lens are quite logical, given that Konica cameras were not sold a lot and there never was a body catering to professionals. Thus, this "professional" lens is rather rare today. Regarding IQ, the Konica AR 28 mm f/1.8 UC  is not superior to more common lenses made by Canon, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, and Zeiss, so given the horrendous prices, it has become a collector item.

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Tomasg71
Tomasg71 Contributing Member • Posts: 547
Re: My bad i meant the 21 mm f2.8
1

Volker G wrote:

Tomasg71 wrote:

The 28 f2.8 goes for a lot of money these days.

Which 28 mm f/2.8? As far as I know, they only made 28 mm f/3.5 and f/1.8 lenses. The high prices of the f/1.8 lens are quite logical, given that Konica cameras were not sold a lot and there never was a body catering to professionals. Thus, this "professional" lens is rather rare today. Regarding IQ, the Konica AR 28 mm f/1.8 UC is not superior to more common lenses made by Canon, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, Pentax, and Zeiss, so given the horrendous prices, it has become a collector item.

Damn typo, i meant the 21mm f2.8 version, last time i saw one on ebay it was 800 usd. Even though i am a Konica guy i find the prices crazy. Not only isn t the 28 f1.8 better then the other comparable lenses, compared to the Nikon 28 f2 AiS i own, which is also a floating design, it s a bit worse and the Nikon doesn t suffer from such a pronounced field curvature, even on the stock adapter, which is 0,1 mm too short.

The Konica has a shorter MDF though, 18 cm to 30 cm may not look a big difference but once you compare the images it s quite obvious.

P.S.

after writing the replay i checked on ebay, there s one 21 f2.8 for 875 usd and another for 3280 usd. The 28mm f1.8 are from 2000 to 2500 usd

Now where s that enoji with exploading head...

Volker G Regular Member • Posts: 431
Re: My bad i meant the 21 mm f2.8

Yes, the asking prices at e-bay are outright crazy, but I doubt anybody falling for it. The 21 mm f/2.8 is expensive as well, given that sharpness has been optimized for the center, leaving fuzzy corners at anything but the smallest apertures. The 21 mm f/4 might be a better deal for landscape.

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ProfHankD
ProfHankD Veteran Member • Posts: 9,476
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses
1

lattesweden wrote:

Since the other threads about favorite manual focus vintage lenses from different camera brands have gotten the discussions here going again, lets continue with Konica.

Konica was arguably the Japanese equivalent to Kodak in the USA, although it never got as big as Kodak (nor the founded-in-1934 Fujifilm). Konica started selling photographic materials in 1873 and making cameras in 1903. They merged with Minolta in 2003 but ended up passing the camera business to Sony in 2006. In truth, Konica didn't do as well in the camera business as Minolta and wasn't a player in the autofocus SLR market, so the "Konica Minolta" cameras were really Minoltas, and we'll not discuss them here.

That said, Konica did well in the compact rangefinder camera market with things like the C35 -- which did not have interchangeable lenses. Those lenses are still considered quite good and are sometimes adapted despite the awkwardness.

In SLRs, Konica started with the "Konica F" mount -- not to be confused with Nikon F. These are fairly rarely seen. That was followed by the AR mount, which had the same short 40.5mm flange distance as Konica F, but was wider. In this sense, AR could have been the "universal acceptor" of lenses in other SLR mounts, but things just didn't go that way. It also happens to be just short enough to make building focal reducers problematic, and with the smaller market, focal reducers simply haven't been available.

Of course, there are Konica Hexanon/Hexar lenses out there in other mounts too -- including copier barrel lenses, because Konica Minolta still makes copiers. These lenses also tend to be uncommonly seen on eBay.

  • If you where to build a small balanced lens system with Konica manual focus lenses from wide to tele, which ones would you include?

Konica's Hexanon AR lenses are uniformly respected, but they didn't make that many different ones, nor did they sell lots of what they did make. Their fast fifties are particularly well reviewed, although the f/1.2 clips the rear element and is apparently one of the more radioactive lenses out there. So, the one AR lens everybody seeks:

Hexanon 40mm f/1.8

Rightly so; it's an adorable little lens. However, it isn't the magical lens people hope it will be. I describe it as "a longish 35mm rather than a shortish 50mm." It has nice colors wide open, but it's soft and doesn't crisp up until f/5.6. The softness is largely undercorrected SA, so it would be good for portraits, but 40mm is short for portraits. I rate it B+.

  • Which Konica manual focus lens is a must have, no matter focal length or price?

Honestly, none of them.

  • Which Konica manual focus lens should be avoided?

Again, none of them.

They're all fine lenses that tend to be tuned for color, with sharpness wide open not a top priority. In other words, Konica's priorities for lenses were most similar to that of Minolta (although the rendering is quite different), and it makes complete sense to me that the two companies should have merged... just a pity they didn't do it much earlier.

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lattesweden
OP lattesweden Veteran Member • Posts: 5,903
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses

ProfHankD wrote:

lattesweden wrote:

Since the other threads about favorite manual focus vintage lenses from different camera brands have gotten the discussions here going again, lets continue with Konica.

Konica was arguably the Japanese equivalent to Kodak in the USA, although it never got as big as Kodak (nor the founded-in-1934 Fujifilm). Konica started selling photographic materials in 1873 and making cameras in 1903. They merged with Minolta in 2003 but ended up passing the camera business to Sony in 2006. In truth, Konica didn't do as well in the camera business as Minolta and wasn't a player in the autofocus SLR market, so the "Konica Minolta" cameras were really Minoltas, and we'll not discuss them here.

They're all fine lenses that tend to be tuned for color, with sharpness wide open not a top priority. In other words, Konica's priorities for lenses were most similar to that of Minolta (although the rendering is quite different), and it makes complete sense to me that the two companies should have merged... just a pity they didn't do it much earlier.

Thanks, really nice background about Konica!

Your post reminded me that there is a nice site that lists all lenses Konica made:
http://konicafiles.com/

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Best regards
/Anders
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Used camera brands over 40+ years:
Minolta, Nikon, Balda, Ricoh, Canon, Panasonic, Olympus, Sony.
*********************************************************************
In the photoworld all companies are polyamorous and it is just like a big swingers party behind the scenes.
*********************************************************************
Any photographer can have a camera painted any colour that he wants, so long as it is black.
*********************************************************************
Some of my images:
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/65325637
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64169208
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/64221482
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/65120847
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/65121520
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Article, how to FTP-transfer, edit & share RAW-images wireless out in the field:
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/thread/4609147
*********************************************************************
Timeline over all mirrorless autofocus fullframe cameras:
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/65760019
*********************************************************************
Article about Sony EVF/LCD modes:
https://www.dpreview.com/forums/post/65550258
*********************************************************************

Tomasg71
Tomasg71 Contributing Member • Posts: 547
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses
1

lattesweden wrote:

ProfHankD wrote:

lattesweden wrote:

Since the other threads about favorite manual focus vintage lenses from different camera brands have gotten the discussions here going again, lets continue with Konica.

Konica was arguably the Japanese equivalent to Kodak in the USA, although it never got as big as Kodak (nor the founded-in-1934 Fujifilm). Konica started selling photographic materials in 1873 and making cameras in 1903. They merged with Minolta in 2003 but ended up passing the camera business to Sony in 2006. In truth, Konica didn't do as well in the camera business as Minolta and wasn't a player in the autofocus SLR market, so the "Konica Minolta" cameras were really Minoltas, and we'll not discuss them here.

They're all fine lenses that tend to be tuned for color, with sharpness wide open not a top priority. In other words, Konica's priorities for lenses were most similar to that of Minolta (although the rendering is quite different), and it makes complete sense to me that the two companies should have merged... just a pity they didn't do it much earlier.

Thanks, really nice background about Konica!

Your post reminded me that there is a nice site that lists all lenses Konica made:
http://konicafiles.com/

konicafiles.com is the to go website for Konica, alongside www.buhla.de, a third very nice site is www.hexanon.net using google translate.

xyklisten Regular Member • Posts: 180
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses

After stumbling across a Hexanon 50 1.7 (late version) about 18 months ago my collection has been growing.

At the moment I have the following:

Hexar 28 3.5

Hexanon 35 2.8

Hexanon 40 1.8

Hexanon 50 1.7, late version

Hexanon 50 1.7, early version.

Hexanon 55 3.5 macro.

Hexanon 57 1.4

Hexanon 100 2.8

Hexar 135 3.5

Hexanon 135 2.5

Most used are the 28 & 50. To me both these are really nice for the price you pay. I prefer the early version of the 50 1.7 due to the shorter minimum focus distance, 45 cm vs 55 cm. But the later version might be just a bit sharper. Both are soft at 1.7 but is much sharper already at 2.8.

The 28 3.5 is a lens I just love to use. Small, sharp and nice handling.

Combine the 28 & 50 with the 100 2.8 for a nice trio of lenses.

E Dinkla Senior Member • Posts: 2,686
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses
2

ProfHankD wrote:

snip

That said, Konica did well in the compact rangefinder camera market with things like the C35 -- which did not have interchangeable lenses. Those lenses are still considered quite good and are sometimes adapted despite the awkwardness.

snip

And before the C35 models. Still looking for a dead Konica S or III to remove the Hexanon 48mm 2.0 from for a conversion to FE mount. In the 1950's and 1960' s Konica made innovative rangefinder cameras with good lenses and excellent range/viewfinders. Both in the MF and 35 film category. The view/rangefinders were later licensed or copied by more reputable brands. https://www.dantestella.com/technical/koni3.html

There are of course some Konica M-Hexanon rangefinder lenses too. Their reputation should now be decided on EVF cameras without the register distance discussion relevant for rangefinders.

The lenses of the Koni Omega Rapid cameras had quite a reputation too. Next to the innovative fast film advance and clamping the film flat first when the shutter button is depressed.

Problem with most rangefinder lens tests published is that they rely on the accuracy of the rangefinder as well.

Hexanon 40mm f/1.8

Rightly so; it's an adorable little lens. However, it isn't the magical lens people hope it will be. I describe it as "a longish 35mm rather than a shortish 50mm." It has nice colors wide open, but it's soft and doesn't crisp up until f/5.6. The softness is largely undercorrected SA, so it would be good for portraits, but 40mm is short for portraits. I rate it B+.

What I have seen in published test results confirms what you write here. Your reference to 35mm is more to the lens character I guess than the true focal length, I see 41,85mm as measured.

snip

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Travis Butler
Travis Butler Senior Member • Posts: 2,080
Re: Your favorite Konica manual focus lenses

It's funny. To one degree or another, I've liked or at least thought favorably of pretty much every Konica lens I've tried - the 28/3.5, 40/1.8, 57/1.4, 55/3.5 Macro, 35-70/4, 35-70/3.5-4.5, 100/2.8, 135/3.2 and 3.5, even the 65-135/4 I recently picked up. They almost always have the vivid color/high contrast I love, and are usually quite sharp - especially for their era. Some of them have something special in the tonal rendering, like the 35-70/4.

But none of them has ever stayed in my bag for very long, which is a shame.

Part of it, I think, is the 'one more adapter' problem. I almost always run with as small/light a bag as possible, to the point where carrying one more adapter makes a difference. I almost always have an OM and Minolta SR lens with me - so if there's another OM/SR lens that will do the job, I'll carry that instead of a Hexanon.

Part of it is size/weight. A number of those Hexanons are excellent lenses, but notably larger/heavier than the competition. The 55/3.5 Macro is a great lens - but much larger/heavier than the OM 50/3.5 Macro, and not as good as the OM 50/2 Macro.

The 57/1.4 is a nice fast 50, but it's a heavily-built all-metal lens. (I recently found a 50/1.4; we'll see how that one goes.)

E-M1 II, Hexanon 57/1.4

The 35-70/4 has IQ I really like; but so does the Minolta MD 35-70/3.5 Macro, and the Minolta is smaller and lighter. (And the 35-70/4 has an odd design where the filter ring sits flush with the focus ring, making it a bit harder to get the lens cap off - at least for third-party caps, mine didn't come with the OEM cap.) The 35-70/3.5-4.5 is much smaller and lighter - but it's a heavily-plastic design with a relatively cheap feel. (That said, the size/weight is keeping it in contention as my carry-with zoom for the Sigma fp.) Even the 40/1.8 - delightfully small and light as it is - is larger and heavier than the tiny Pentax-M 40/2.8.

The 65-135 is a recent estate sale rescue. It's an interesting focal range, I like the pictures I've seen from it, and I like the mechanics/build quality.

Lumix S5, Hexanon 65-135/4

Lumix S5, Hexanon 65-135/4

Unfortunately, it's also heavy and somewhat awkward - closer to the 70-210 class in size/weight, and actually larger/heavier than my Tokina SZ-X 80-200. So I don't know how much I'll use this one, either.

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