Konica Hexar AF
I'm seriously considering buying one of these babies. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has experience with them. What should I be looking for when kicking the tires? Cheers,
I've had one for a number of years. I like it and it's very capable. I bet I haven't put a dozen rolls of film through it, though. It seems that I will grab a medium format rig more often and a 35mm slr when I need a sports or long lens gear. I've got a couple of trustworthy pocket cameras when I truly need compactness for snapshot sort of duty so it seems I'm never in just the right situation to be using it. This might be completely different for you and if you can see yourself putting it to more use than I have, I would guess that you'll like it. If I used it more, it would also be more intuitive to use. The controls are a bit unique and it will pay to have one of the little prompter cards in your bag that Konica had for them.
Read up on the net about some of the issues with them. One that I'll mention is the need for a spacer if you are going to use standard filters as the front element of the lens will strike the filter at close focus distances and jam the AF system, giving you an error code. This happened once to me and I was able to get it working again by removing the battery for awhile and then repowering it. There is a key sequence code for programming the silent mode into models that don't have it. I have it somewhere and its floating around the net. It's a great little stealth rig, especially in silent mode.
I had one for a while as well. It is an excellent street camera with an outstanding lens. It is very quiet, though with somewhat fussy controls. A kind of überp&s. But for no rational reason I never warmed up to it, I always tended to pick up my OM1n or the M4 ahead of it.
I have been using this camera for many years and it's one of my favorite cameras. I own the original version "stealth".
The Hexar has a good size, excellent lens and good handle.
This camera can be full manual for exposure and focus. You need to spend some time to learn all the controls. Most of them are very intuitive.
My favorite film is Delta 100 developed on FX39. Contrast, sharpness and exposure are top. Recently I went to India and shoot some Provia 100. The slides were very sharp with excellent colors and well exposed.
One of the best reviews is here: http://www.photo.net/equipment/point...t/konica-hexar
I have several. I think it is a fun camera for snapshots. I don't put filters on it so I don't worry about that part. I has some very good modes and I don't ever try to set it manually. As mentioned, the controls are tricky and you will need to rewrite the instructions to your own liking. It is the quietest camera out there, the lens is 35mm/2. Sharp as can be. If you get a silver one, it is easy to convert to stealth mode. I did this no problem and also bought a new non-data back for it. Mostly use it to take pix of the family and friends while on travel or holiday. It is my happy snapper. My wife likes using one, too.
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I have original Konica Hexar (black) and love it for anything that 35mm format can handle. If you can read Japanese, here's the report written by the Hexar design team:
Seriously, if Konica ever published an English report describing these technologies, sales of Hexar would be a bit larger... It's a really impressive camera even today, although the buttons could be improved with use of more dials, etc.
The biggest complaint I have about this camera is the loops for camera straps. They are not standard size, and I had to go to craft store to buy nylon straps to make the end loops that go through the camera strap loops. It's a very common problem.
If you read the report, you'll learn that the lens is undercorrected for spherical abberation to secure good contrast at wide open. Usually, in rangefinder cameras and SLR cameras, this causes a problem in focusing error because the best focus shifts when the lens is stopped down. Hexar deals this sort of problems by calculating the focus shift according to the aperture value used and compensate for it. The lens is a new design, but very similar to W-Nikor 3.5cm f/1.8 described here (in English):
(Note: in this page, you'll see a phrase "Alert readers will have noticed, however, that new lenses built on this basic type are appearing recently." and this is referring to the 35mm f/2 of Konica Hexar. The Japanese original was written in 1999 and this sentence is written in past tense in the original.)
I wish the camera division of Konica merged with Fujica to make a new Hexar with 24mm f/1.9 lens!
Ryuji, I'd always heard that the lens was a Leica 35mm f2 copy. Is that a myth? Always read that these were a cheaper solution to the mythical bokeh of Leica 35 f2. Also myth?
I have one for years and I really love it for what it's designed for : street photography. For special subjects I take my Nikon F4 with different lenses, a Rolleiflex SL66 or a 4x5 inch.
But for street photography or as a photographic notebook the Hexar AF is unsurpassed. The camera is well sized (not too small for my big hands, but still small enough to take anywhere). It has so much possibilities that I don't even know them all. And most important of all : the lens is really excellent.
I second Ryuji on the 24/1.9 lens for Hexar.
I have used one on and off for about 4 years and find that the lens quality is everything withthis camera. The size is about right too and it makes a great go anywhere family camera. Autofocus is always a problem with grag shots though and I have trouble with the manual focus mode. The catch that releases the back seems a bit flimsy though I must admit that it has'nt caused any problems. I'm selling mine on ebay because I have purchased a CV bessa R as I have rediscovered manual focussing and my wife won't let me buy a Leica! Tony
Bokeh of Hexar's 35mm f/2.0 is excellent. The image quality is also very good from wide open, although the character changes from 2.0 to 4 range rather drastically, which is why this lens is very interesting.
Originally Posted by jimgalli
The Leica lens is actually a W-Nikkor copy. If you don't like the word "copy" replace it with whatever you like, but the W-Nikkor is the pioneer of this type of design.
Konica engineers adapted this design but also made sufficient modification to make enough room between the front and rear groups to accomodate electronic shutter and diaphragm units. It's explained in the above PDF document, although it's in Japanese. Nikon documents also acknowledge that the Hexanon 35mm f/2 is derived from W-Nikkor design.
I would not say that Summicron 35mm f/2 is unrelated, because both it and Hexanon were derived from W-Nikkor.