Resurection of a Konica f/1.4

in ,

Rummaging through our cabinets I came across some old camera equipment. Among the things I found was a Konica Hexanon AR 50mm F1.4 lens. I was attracted by the the speed of the lens as well the focal length. A 50mm lens on my G1 would translate to a fast 100mm. I had read about this lens previously and heard good things about it, for example:

Image quality is superb, the Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4 renders razor-sharp and contrasty images with neutral colour rendition โ€“ the results are only very slightly less sharp than those of the legendary Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.7, which is considered as one of the sharpest lenses ever made by anyone โ€“ you really have to take a very close look to see any difference at all. The lens is definitely sharper than its predecessor internal linkHexanon AR 57 mm / F1.4. [1]

Other references to the lens described the procedure to adapt it to a 4/3 lens mount [2, 3].

Being an Enterprise Architect, and thus fearing nothing, I pulled out my #0 Cross Screw Driver and began to work. I did not follow the instructions to the end; only to remove the various protruding flanges that prevented me from connecting the lens to the 4/3 adapter. Coupled with a file I was able to remove these parts, reassemble the plates and fit the lens onto the mount.

The fit was loose, and as the instructions suggested, a shim is required to get a proper fitting. Hear again my experience as an Enterprise Architect was pressed into service. Rather than cut a metal washer as suggested by the instructions, I used cardboard. This is certainly a temporary, or as we say in the trade, a Proof of Concept approach. However, it has the benefit of being simple to implement with the tools at hand and no cost (other than the cardboard, which incidentally comes free with washed shirts.)

It took three layers of cardboard to get a reasonably snug fit; I may consider a fourth as there remains a bit of slippage when I move the aperture ring.

The next step was to try out the lens. This is an old lens having no electronics so I’m flying completely on manual. I’m not uncomfortable with that. The only adjustment I had to make to the camera was to configure it to Shoot without Lens (which I thought a curious feature when I first read the manual but now it comes into play.)

As a manual lens there is no meta data captured, aperture reading being the most important. As well, the camera is not aware when the focus ring is being turned. On supported lenses, adjusting the focus will zoom in the view finder. However, with the G1 zooming-in the view finder can be done manually.

Lens test: Konica Hexanon AR 50mm f/1.4

The shot below offers some sense of the sharpness, although the camera was hand held and there was some wind:
Lens test: Konica Hexanon AR 50mm f/1.4

Below is a reasonably crisp catch of a tulip, again hand held. The depth of field is quite shallow:
Lens test: Konica Hexanon AR 50mm f/1.4

My next experiment is to compare this lens against my Summilux and Vario.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *