Konica Hexanon 400 mm / F4.5
Konica Hexanon ARM 400 mm / F4.5
The Hexanon / Hexanon ARM 400 mm / F4.5 was available at an early stage. I cannot tell precisely, but it was definitely available contemporary to the Autoreflex T2 the latest. Probably much earlier – finish and design of the lens in a leaflet from early Autoreflex T2 times suggest that the lens was already made at the era of the Auto-Reflex. In addition, the design was changed during the era of the Autoreflex T2, later Autoreflex T2 manuals already list the later lens version.
The lens was taken out of the line-up towards the end of the Autoreflex T3N era, when it was replaced by the slightly slower UC Hexanon AR 400 mm / F5.6 with automatic aperture.
The Hexanon / Hexanon ARM 400 mm / F4.5 is a completely manual lens. There is no automatic function of the aperture whatsoever, nor is there a coupling for the widest aperture. Hence, the internal TTL meters of the Konica camera bodies can only be used with the step-down method when this lens is mounted. There is no preset function on the aperture ring, either. Aperture needs to be closed manually to required value by the photographer prior to exposure.
The Hexanon 400 mm / F4.5 was supplied with a large leather front cap and a special leather case. In the case, which is kept close by two latches, the lens is kept in position by leather straps. Near the rear end of the lens, there are four compartments for storage of the filters, which are also held in place by leather straps.
A telephoto lens with such a long focal length needs to be put on a tripod in most situations to prevent camera shake. Hand-held photography is only possible in very bright lighting conditions. Hence, the Hexanon / Hexanon ARM 400 mm / F4.5 has a very sturdy, built-in tripod collar in both versions. This collar is fastend by a turning knob on the older version, and by a quick clamping lever on the newer version. The lens can be freely rotated in the collar.
The Hexanon / Hexanon ARM 400 mm / F4.5 is designed for use of behind-the-lens drop-in filters. This way, filter size can be reduced to a tolerable diameter. Were the filters to be put on the front, a filter diameter of 95 mm would be required! The behind-the-lens filters are screwed in a special filter holder, which then is just plugged into the lens' filter seat. The filter holder accepts normal screw-in filters with 55 mm thread diameter, same diameter as on most other Konica SLR lenses. If a lens uses such behind-the-lens filters, the additional glass of the filters is an integral part of the optical formula. Hence, for optimal performance, a filter should always be mounted in the lens, even if there is no filtering required – if you don't need any filtering, mount a colourless UV filter.
My lens was supplied with 5 different filters:
- Colourless UV
- Yellow Y2
- Dark yellow Y3
- Orange O1
- Red R1
As with most telephoto lenses and their big and not recessed front elements, the consequent use of a lens hood is recommended to avoid loss of contrast due to stray light. The younger version of the Hexanon / Hexanon ARM 400 / F4.5 has a built-in lens hood, the older version was supplied with a matching screw-in hood.
The lens is huge and very heavy. An overall lenth of 353 mm (1 ft 17/8"), a weight exceeding 2 kg or 5 lb by far – this is something you don't want to carry with you for all of the time. A lens made for special applications like sports or wildlife photography.
Because of the relatively extreme focal length – not intended for everyday photography – the lens was only built in small quantities and hence is very rare today. If one does show up, it is highly sought after as a collector's item, which is why they are sold for relatively high prices – at least, if it is still complete and in good condition.
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Splined metal focusing ring
Tripod collar with turning knob
Screw-in lens hood
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Rubber-coated focusing ring
Tripod collar with quick-clamping lever
Built-in lens hood
|Construction:||4 elements in 4 groups|
|Aperture:||Fully manual, smallest aperture 32|
|Closest focusing:||8,0 m (26 ft 3")|
|Filter threaf diameter:||55 mm (behind-the-lens filters)|
|Length (at ∞):||353 mm (1 ft 17/8")|
|Weight:||2,835 g (6 lb 37/8 oz.) (early version)
2,400 g (5 lb 41/2 oz.) (late version)
|Lens hood:||95 mm round, screw-in (early version)
built-in (late version)