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Konica Hexanon AR 50mm f1.4 – Legacy 50mm. Which one is the best? Part 6 | Verybiglobo photo

Konica Hexanon AR 50mm f1.4 – Legacy 50mm. Which one is the best? Part 6

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25 Responses

  1. Bradley SR says:

    Best Mr. Pavlovič,
    You mention (crops, around the eyes)that the lens get sharper @ 1.7.
    “Contrast is very good from f1.7 on” Does the EE version have half stops? or is it just a mistake?. My EA version doesn’t have half stops, nor does my older EE (57mm f1.4)

    Regards Bradley

  2. To be more precise, only the latest AE version does’t have half stop clicks. This version has f22 however.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I have a f16 version which doesn’t have half stops, which is kinda rare. The f22 version is indeed smaller and lighter and is the version I prefer on my NEX. The coating seems different too.

  4. I am currently using this lens (f/22) version along with Konica Hexanon 135 f.2.5 and Vivitar 28mm close focus wide angle (sr.no 28xxxxx) lens… and i have never been happier. being an all time Sony Alpha user, i informally/unscientifically compared the performance with Minolta AF 28mm f/2.8, Minolta AF 50mm 1.7 and Minolta AF 135 2.8. The Konica beats the Minolta AF hands down… sharper, better contrast, vignetting and color control and above all absolute joy to use. i would be interested if you can test the aforementioned Vivitar 28mm CF lens… it starts at f2, get decently sharp at f2.8 and moderately sharp at f4, however the borders remain slightly soft at any aperture and need some hard sharpness in PP. i hope you can test the lens and verify my findings. Keep up the excellent work,
    Regards,
    Kamran

  5. Anonymous says:

    I followed your advice and bought the same Konica Hexanon 50mm f1.4 version. I have also several Hexanons like 50 mm f1.7, f1.8. However, I get blurry or hazy pictures at f1.4 or f1.7 on my NEX 5N. Do you have the same problem? I made a baffle of paper to reduce aperture but I lose light. Which adapter did you use? Thanks, Hector.
    Note. I have the same problem with all my Konicas wide open, so they are almost unusable wide open, only from f4-f5.6. Tested with two different adapters.

    • I am sorry to hear that.

      As with any old lens, there can be lot of reasons for bad results. (Sample variations)
      Some lenses have haze inside and that haze might have different roots. One of the worst cases is if someone cleaned fungus that already damaged coatings or glass.

      I have generic adapter, nothing fancy. I believe it cost around 20 USD many years ago, when they weren’t produced in larger numbers as today.

      The only advice that I can give you is to take your lens to the repair shop (if you are afraid to try it yourself) and ask them to inspect it and if possible clean it thoroughly.

      Of course at f/1.4 you shouldn’t expect razor sharp results. If you look at the eye close-up crops from this review, this is good indication of “softness” wide open. That softness is characteristic for most legacy lenses at widest aperture, but it also works well for smooth portraits and silky bokeh.

      Modern lenses such as recent Zeiss Plannars i.e. are optimized for high microcontrast at widest apertures, but they usually have also somewhat harsh oof areas.

      Without seeing images, I can’t really say if it is because the lens is probably lemon, the adapter cause some light leaking, or it is normal for this lens.

      BTW, be sure not to use any UV or protective filters to see if it helps.

      Good luck,
      Viktor

    • Mark says:

      welll… 3 years later but I will answer you too.
      I guess you already realized it is something normal with legacy lens + adapters + modern camera.

      BUT.. I must say I do use f2.8 with and feel happy with the results. Not f1.4, not f2, but at f2.8, Olympus E-m1 at least, gives great results.

      greets!

  6. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you 🙂

  7. Norvald says:

    Hello Viktor.
    I am also using a Sony NEX-7 and have some Minoltas and also just bought the Konica Hexanon.
    My question is: I notice that your test shots (the one with the doll) have very bright nice colors.
    I am getting rather cool colors from my Nex. I am using Phase one as well as DxO .
    Is it possible for you to send me one of the RAW (ARW) files example this one: Sony NEX 7 + Konica Hexanon AR 50mm f1.4 at f2.8 so that i can test my settings?

    Best regards
    Norvald Olsvold
    norvald.olsvold@getmail.no

    • Hi Norvald,

      I hope you won’t be disappointed but we can give RAW files only when they are planned part of the review and only to subscribed visitors. The reason is that we have limited resources to offer such a service on the regular base.

      Regarding your impression about cool colors, I can suggest two possible reasons…

      – first one is stupid, but it is always better to check…

      Your Sony NEX 7 camera has custom settings for white balance where you can fine tune tone shift (beside color temperature). You can set the shift between complementary colors on either direction. This is similar to WB tone setting in your RAW developing software however, so assuming that you are shooting RAW, it can be done within post processing.

      – Second is most probably causing differences that you noticed…
      Some Konica lenses such as one of my 50 f/1.4 AR, have been using radioactive element which yellowed by age. This can easily shift colors toward warmer tones. However, this apply only to the models with green AE markings and minimum aperture stop at f/16. (I don’t remember which model I used for the review and I can’t see it from images there).

      Hope it helps a bit and thank you for stopping by,

      Viktor

  8. Calvin says:

    Thanks for the great review, pulled the trigger on one of the exact models for only $60 in like new condition, just waiting for the adapter now 🙂

    • Thanx Calvin and good luck with your copy. They are old lenses and it isn’t easy to find one in perfect condition (even if it looks like at the first sight).

      Let us know how you like it.

      Cheers,
      Viktor

  9. Marco says:

    I have many 50mm 1.8 lenses. Both for film and digital. I was in search for a 35mm lens since I didn’t own any at the time and I went from thrift store to thrift store. I walked in to one one day after work and asked if they had any film lenses. The guy said they only had one and it was in the back. He went to look for it and when he brought it out it was the exact same lens you reviewed (f16). I almost didn’t buy it because I honestly knew very little of konic as at the time but I saw it was a 1.4 and I’ve meevr owned one before. I asked him how much and he said $6. So I took it. I wasn’t too impressed at first since at 1.4 it is a bit soft as is common with many legacy lenses (some might even say hazy). My Anahi 50mm 1.7 is much sharper at 1.7 but then I decided to give the Konica a try on a portraiture session and my a6000. Wow! I love that lens. It’s chatacteristics are different than some of my other lenses. I recently got an A7 and the Konica is the 50mm I have on there now. It’s a great lens. Anyways, just thought Id share. Thanks for a great review!

  10. pautin ansin says:

    Can this lens be use with sony a711 body.tks.

  11. Leopold Manjhetti says:

    The Hexanon 50mm F1.4 is a Double Gauss based type, but it’s much more advanced, using a split front doublet design with an opposed rear doublet…. it is 7 elements with an enhanced 4 element rear group, same exact design for the 7 element Takumar. The Yashica however was a 6 element Ultron with 3 rear elements and the same design as the Hexanon 50 1.7, 1.8, and 40 1.8. The Biotar/Xenon type design used an asymmetrical set of opposed doublets … It’s important to note because the Ultron is basically a Double Gauss front achromatic element (split doublet) with a Planar type (rear doublet) opposed element. .

    This is important, it’s what separates the Hexanon’s 50 1.7 and 1.8 as well as the 40 1.8 from the 57 1.4 and 1.2 as well as the 50 1.4 …. 2 different designs, a 6 element and a 7 element all Ultron types by Wilhelm Tronnier and reverse engineered in Japan by genius inventors …. a lions share of Japanese lenses use either the Ultron design in 50mm….. 6 element 1.7/1.8 and 7 element 1.4/1.2 or Biotar 7 element for 1.4 in 55’s and 58s….mainly only the Fujinon 55 1.8 used a 6 element Biotar like the Zeiss Jena and Helios

  12. Nick says:

    Bought this lens based on your experience. Will be 135mm on my nikon v1. Will post samples soon

  13. marcos says:

    I have got hexanon 50mm 1.4 but it jumps from 1.4 (horrible flares) to f2 directly. I don’t see 1.7 in my lense… is it another version?

  14. Mark says:

    I got an hexanon f1.3 50mm and it doesn’t have f1.7, just f1.4, f2 , f2.8….

    I use it with oly e-m1 + adapter but I dont get good sharp images at f1.4 or f.2

  15. Dave Seta says:

    I recently bought the lens from eBay for use with my FujiFilm X-E1. Did some test, the f1.4 is too soft for me. my liking is at f2.8. TBH, I like my Minolta MD better.

  16. Xeos says:

    A 7 element enhanced rear element with 4 elements is the Double Gauss Planar Enhanced Ultron, the standard design of the most typical known and famous 50mm 1.4’s Canon, Pentax (Takumar), Yashica, Tomioka, Zeiss German and Contax. The question is not who has the best, the question is which has the best results for me….. if I rely on others or myself for that answer, is everything…. btw, leopold gave highly inaccurate info above, a disservice. The best Hexanon would be the last version; they were completely redone for the AE versions using the same optical formula, this included highly upgraded coatings from the original early EE versions, which improved contrast and color, which certainly creates a visual appearance of sharper in most people’s eyes? The Only older Hexanon EE I know of not to be enhanced by later coatings was the 28 3.5 All Black EE F16 7-7 version, the best of all the Hexanon 28’s and even the 1.8 UC. It’s no longer wise to accept a long time webpage as Konica gospel regarding performance, they no longer monitor it at all

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