Konica Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm / F4
The Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm / F4 is a two-touch zoom with two separate rings for focal length adjustment and focusing. It replaced the older one-touch Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm / F3.5 in the early 80's, still at the time of the FS-1. Compared to its predecessor, it was a completely new design, optically as well as mechanically. It is much more compact and a bit lighter. Only a few years later, in 1985, it was replaced by the plastic lens Konica Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm / F3.5-4.5, which is much smaller and lighter still. The lens barrel of the Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm / F4 is completely made of metal.
The lens changes its overall length when the focal length is changed – the shorter the focal length, the longer the lens. As on almost every Konica zoom lens, the front element rotates when focus is shifted, making the use with polarizers and gradated filters a bit cumbersome.
As the Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm / F4 was built only for a few years and already had a smallest aperture of 22 when introduced, no changes were applied to this lens, there is only one variation. All these lenses are of the late style with focusing ring with checkered rubber inlay, a smallest aperture 22, and the green AE mark with a rectangular AE lock button.
The Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm / F4 has no special provision for close-ups and can only be focused down to 0.8 m (2 ft 71/2") over the whole focal length range. Close-up or macro photography is not possible with this lens alone, attachment lenses will be necessary.
The Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm / F4 has very good image quality for its time. Images are sharp and contrasty. There is a bit of barrel distortion in the wide-angle range that can be seen with straight lines along the image edges and a very weak pincushion distortion in the telephoto range that is not too obvious even with straight lines along the image edges. Even in the wide-angle range, the lens shows little vignetting. In terms of image quality, it is a close follower of the slightly faster predecessor, the Zoom-Hexanon 35-70 mm / F3.5. Distortions are much less noticeable than with the plastic successor model Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm F3.5-4.5.
Although, different from the predecessor, there is no technical necessity for it, the lens has two filter threads – an inner thread with 55 mm diameter for filters and an outer thread with 62 mm diameter for a lens shade.
Zoom lenses in this focal length range and with comparable speed have been very popular at the time, many manufacturers sold these lenses in a bundle as the only lens together with their camera bodies. In my opinion, such a zoom lens cannot replace a fast standard lens, the limitations caused by the slower speed are too strong.
The Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm / F4 is much less common than both its predecessor and sucessor and much more difficult to find. Despite this, it fetches prices in the medium range only. If you are looking for a zoom lens that covers the range from moderate wide-angle to moderate telephoto with a very good image quality and moderate weight, this lens will serve you well. Because of the slightly faster speed and the much shorter minimal focusing distance, I'd always prefer the predecessor Zoom-Hexanon AR 35-70 mm / 3.5, however.
|Angle of view:||63°-34°|
|Construction:||8 elements in 7 groups|
|Aperture:||Fully automatic AE, smallest aperture 22|
|Closest focusing:||0.8 m (2 ft 71/2")|
|Filter thread:||55 / 62 mm|
|Length (at ∞ and 35 mm focal length):||69.5 mm (23/4")|
|Weight:||390 g (133/4 oz)|
|Lens hood:||62 mm round screw-in|