Konica Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4 early f16 version

Konica Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4
early f16 version

Konica Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4 late f22 version

Konica Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4
late f22 version

Konica Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4

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The Hexanon 50 mm / F1.4 superseded the older internal linkHexanon AR 57 mm / F1.4 shortly after the introduction of the internal linkAutoreflex T3.

Right from the beginning, the Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4 had the focusing ring with the checkered rubber inlay, the earliest version has a green EE marking, all other variations have a green AE marking for automatic exposure.

Contemporary to the introduction of the internal linkFS-1, the lens was thoroughly revised – with unchanged optical formula it got a smallest aperture 22 (previously 16) and was substantially lighter as well as a bit slimmer, the length remaining unchanged. In this revision, it lost the click stops for half aperture values. Different from the slower budget standard lens internal linkHexanon AR 50 mm / F1.7, the closest focusing of 0.45 m (1 ft 53/4") was preserved in the revised version. The later variation was sold until the Konica SLR system was abandoned altogether in 1987.

Image quality is superb, the Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4 renders razor-sharp and contrasty images with neutral colour rendition – the results are only very slightly less sharp than those of the legendary internal linkHexanon AR 50 mm / F1.7, which is considered as one of the sharpest lenses ever made by anyone – 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.

A matching round metal screw-in lens shade was available from Konica as an accessory. In later variations, this shade was also intended for the internal linkHexanon AR 40 mm / F1.8 and the internal linkHexanon AR 85 mm / F1.8, according to the markings.

The difference in speed over the budget standard lens is about 2/3 f-stops – this is nowhere near as important as it used to be in the days when the fastest colour film available was Kodachrome 64. Sometimes, the shallower depth-of-field when used wide open is desirable, especially for portraits. In low-light situations, it still can be the small difference that decides whether or not hand-held images can be made without blur caused by camera shake.

Which variation of the Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4 is preferred, is a matter of taste – both have their advantages. Someone exposing mainly slide film with manual exposure control will probably be happier with the half aperpurture click stops of the earlier variation, others will maybe prefer the lesser weight of the later variation. Optically, both versions are equal.

The Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4 is not as common as the slower alternatives, but can still be seen regularly. It can be bought easily and quite cheaply, but still is not as breathtakingly cheap as the Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.7. A great lens for a good price.

Variations
Lens data
Angle of view: 46
Construction: 7 elements in 6 groups
Aperture: Fully automatic AE, smallest aperture 16
Fully automatic AE, smallest aperture 22
Closest focusing: 0.45 m (1 ft 53/4")
Filter thread: 55 mm
Length (at ∞): 45 mm (13/4")
Weight: 290 g (101/4 oz) (version with smallest aperture 16)
265 g (93/8 oz) (version with smallest aperture 22)
Lens hood: Metal, 55 mm round screw-in
Lens diagram: Lens diagram Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4
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