Konica Hexanon AR 40 mm / F1.8

Konica Hexanon AR 40 mm / F1.8

Konica Hexanon AR 40 mm / F1.8

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On their quest for more compact lens designs, some manufacturers, Konica amongst them, developed so-called pancake lenses during the late 70s. These lenses with a real focal length of 42-43 mm could be built extremly flat – hence the name.

The Hexanon AR 40 mm / F1.8 is such a pancake lens. With a length of only 27 mm (11/16") a camera with such a lens fits in almost any jacket's pocket. The lens was introduced together with the internal linkFS-1 and sold as standard lens with these cameras. During this time, it was also sold with other camera bodies like the internal linkAutoreflex TC as a standard lens. It was quite popular for some years and is quite common, but some time after the FS-1 was abandoned, it was no longer produced.

Being designed for the FS-1, it had a smallest aperture 22 already. It was the first lens in the Konica line-up that featured the new, rectangular AE release button instead of the previously used round button.

Due to the relatively short construction period, all lenses of this type have the same appearance, there are no different variations. It can be spotted easily due to the big red focal length and speed indication on the ring around the front element, that no other Konica SLR lens has.

The focal length and the resulting image effects of the Hexanon AR 40 mm / F1.8 do need to get accustomed to. Compared to the normal 50 mm standard lenses it has an already quite extended angle of view, but it is not yet a proper wide angle lens. The over-emphasis of depth and the inevitable perspective distortions at the edge or with vertical lines that shorter wide-angle lenses show are still almost absent with the 40 mm lens, the effecting image looks still natural. So the 40 mm lens, as intermediate step between normal and wide-angle lens, is a good compromise if you cannot or do not want to carry many lenses with you, i.e. when hiking or biking.

Image quality of the Hexanon AR 40 mm / F1.8 is outstanding – some photography magazines praised it as one of the sharpest lenses ever built by any manufacturer for 35 mm cameras. Whether or not this is true is left open, but certainly the lens renders razor-sharp images with very high contrast and even illumination from edge to edge. The lens does not leave much room for improvements and plays in the same league as the internal linkHexanon AR 50 mm / F1.7, which is also an absolute premium lens.

The Hexanon AR 40 mm / F1.8 is quite common and can easily be obtained. It is frequently offered together with camera bodies and not so frequently as stand-alone lens. It can be bought cheaply, though. An very useful classic for travel photography.

Lens data
Angle of view: 56
Construction: 6 elements in 5 groups
Aperture: Fully automatic AE, smallest aperture 22
Closest focusing: 0.45 m (1 ft 53/4")
Filter thread: 55 mm
Length (at ∞): 27 mm (11/16")
Weight: 140 g (415/16 oz)
Lens hood: 55 mm round screw-in
Lens diagram: Lens diagram Hexanon AR 40 mm / F1.8
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