Pekka Buttler, 08/2022
The table below summarizes the lens’ key specifications (measurements based on pictured, last version of the lens):
|Brand:||Konica||Lens name||HEXANON AR 50mm F 1.7|
|Focal length(s)1||50 mm||Angle-of-view2||48°|
|Maximum Aperture||f/1.7||In Production||1973–1987|
|Lens mount||Konica AR||Subfamily (if applicable)||––|
|Length3||40,3 mm||Diameter4||62,4 mm|
|Filter ring diameter||55 mm||Weight||205 grams|
|Lens element count||6||Lens group count||5|
|Aperture blades (S/R/C)5||6 S||Focus throw||180 °|
|Minimum focusing distance||55 cms (45 cms)||Maximum magnification||1:8,9 (1:6,9)|
|Has manual aperture ring||YES||Has Manual focus ring||YES|
• This lens’ ancestor is the Konica AR 52 mm f/1.8 (1965–1974)
• For some years (1978–1987), Konica offered a parallel, second nifty fifty – the Konica Hexanon AR 50 mm f/1.8. That lens was offered as a budget/compact alternative.
History of Konica AR lenses
Konica is one of those names that will not ring any bells to those who’ve only recently started photographing, but for many years Konica was one of the ‘Great Japanese camera companies’.
After a short-lived and only moderately successful line of SLR cameras known as the Konica F-line (1960-1965), Konica hit pay dirt with the introduction of the Konica Auto-Reflex in 1965 and its new, Konica AR mount. The Auto-Reflex was at the time the first affordable system camera with integrated auto-exposure (albeit the exposure metering was not yet TTL). The Auto-Reflex was followed by a two lines of successful cameras – the more ambitious Autoreflex T-line and the more pedestrian Autoreflex A-line – before Konica (along with the rest of Japanese camera companies) stepped up the automation of their SLR cameras with the 1-series (FS-1, FC-1, FP-1, and FT-1).
But while Konica had often been at the forefront of automation (first shutter priority auto-exposure system, first SLR with integrated winder), Konica’s star had been waning, and Konica decided to not compete against the likes of Minolta, Nikon, Canon, and Pentax in autofocus technology. Instead Konica withdrew from SLR and SLR lens manufacture and focused on compacts and other optoelectronics. Two decades later Konica merged with Minolta to form KonicaMinolta, which subsequently sold its camera business to Sony. So, after a fashion, the DNA of Konica’s camera business lives on in Sony’s camera division.
Relevantly, the Konica AR mount had a relatively good and long (1965–1987) run, and stayed remarkably unchanged throughout. Hence, while Konica changed the design of their AR lenses during those years – moving towards lighter constructions, rubber focus rings, and a more modern look (for more detail, look here) – all AR lenses are physically entirely compatible with all AR-mount bodies.´
The Konica Hexanon AR 50 mm f/1.7 was made in three versions, that can be identified based on the following traits:
• Green EE
• MFD 0,45 m
• half-stop clicks
• Green AE
• MFD 0,45 m
• half-stop clicks
Version 3: (pictured)
• Green AE
• MFD 0,55 m
• full-stop clicks
The third version was furthermore, shorter and lighter
n.B! The following applies to all Konica AR mount lenses.
This lens cannot be used natively on any current SLR or dSLRs. To use it in its native environment, you will need a Konica AR-mount film body.
Thanks to being a fully manual lens (manual aperture, manual focus), the lens can be adapted to all mirrorless cameras using a suitable adapter. Moreover, Konica AR lenses are so uncomplicated that a simple ‘dumb adapter’ will do the job perfectly. However, due to Konica AR lenses not being among the most numerously manufactured, special adapters (helicoid adapters, tilt/shift adapters) are not easy to come by and speed boosters are currently unavailable.
Using Konica AR lenses on dSLRs is possible, but difficult. Due to the exceptionally short flange focal distance of the Konica AR mount (at 40,5 mm, a lot shorter than that of any full-frame dSLR mount), any adapter will necessitate some optics to achieve anything near infinity focus.
1 Focal length is (unless stated otherwise) given in absolute terms, and not in Full-frame equivalent. For an understanding of whether the lens is wide/tele, see ‘Angle-of-view’.
2 Picture angle is given in degrees (based on manufacturers’ specs) and concerns the diagonal picture angle. Rule of thumb:
> 90 ° ==> Ultra-wide-angle
70–90 ° ==> Wide-angle
50–70 ° ==> Moderate wide-angle
40–50 ° ==> ‘Standard’ or ‘normal’ lens
20–40 ° ==> Short tele lens
10-20 ° ==> Tele lens
5-10 ° ==> Long tele lens
< 5 ° ==> Ultra-tele lens
3 Length is given from the mount flange to the front of lens at infinity.
4 Diameter excludes protrusions such as rabbit ears or stop-down levers.
5 S=straight; R=rounded; C=(almost)circular at all apertures.