Konica UC Zoom-Hexanon AR 45-100 mm / F3.5
The UC Zoom-Hexanon AR 45-100 mm / F3.5 is a one-touch zoom with a combined setting ring for focusing and focal length shift. It was introduced in the late 70's during the era of the Autoreflex T3N and discontinued some years later, shortly before the introduction of the TC-X. The UC Zoom-Hexanon AR 45-100 mm / F3.5 has no direct predecessor or successor model. The lens barrel of this lens is still completely made of metal.
Many years earlier, there was a lens with a similar focal lengths range, the Konica Hexanon Zoom Lens Size 24x18 47-100 mm / 1:3.5. This lens was designed for the 24x18 mm half frame size of the Auto-Reflex and Auto-Reflex P bodies and was not corrected for full-size 24x36 mm images.
The UC Zoom-Hexanon AR 45-100 mm / F3.5 does not change its overall length when the focal length is shifted. 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.
The lens provides a macro setting, which enables to focus to much closer distances than in normal mode. For this, the distance to the film plane is enlarged by turning an additional ring near the back end. The minimum distance in macro mode at 45 mm focal length is a mere 0.35 m – the infinity focus is lost in macro mode, however.
The ring for the macro mode provides another speciality of this lens: if turned in the other direction, the lens is recessed to a minimal length of 87 mm (37/16") and is much more compact. Taking photos is not possible in this position.
Because the UC Zoom-Hexanon AR 45-100 mm / F3.5 was built only during a rather short period of time, there have never been any changes to it, there is only one variation. All lenses of this type have the rubberized focusing ring, a smallest aperture 16, and a green AE mark with the round AE lock button.
Until the mid-80s there were only very few zoom lenses with decent optical quality that had a focal length range greater than double or triple – independent of who the manufacturer was. Even with the double or triple zoom lenses that are easier to master, many lenses from the 60s and 70s have optical quality inferior to the fixed focal length lenses. This affects mainly sharpness and contrast, but some zoom lenses from this era also have problems with distortions and especially in the wide-angle range many show strong vignetting. Most of the Konica zoom lenses belong to the better ones for their time, but still many of them cannot keep up to their contemporary, first-class fixed focal length lenses, nor to modern zoom lenses from the upper quality range.
There are quite different opinions about the image quality of the UC Zoom-Hexanon AR 45-100 mm / F3.5. The lens was in a very expensive price range for Konica when new, image quality might not be as superior as would be expected for the high price. Images are sharp and contrasty, but there is visible barrel distortion in the range up to 50 mm focal length and a little pincushion distortion with focal lengths from 85 mm up. Wide open, the lens also shows some vignetting. Like most zoom lenses, it's a bit sensitive to stray light, so the built-in lens shade should be used consequently to avoid loss of contrast.
The built-in lens shade is a bit shallow, however, and does not provide particularly good protection especially with the longer focal lengths.
In my opinion, the UC Zoom-Hexanon AR 45-100 mm / F3.5 is all in all neither a particularly bad nor a superior or outstanding lens.
Because of the high price and the rather exotic focal lengths range, the UC Zoom-Hexanon AR 45-100 mm / F3.5 is quite rare. Therefore, it still commands rather high prices and is rather a collector's item. If you like to get a zoom lens with a focal length range from normal to moderate telephoto, you do not have other choices from Konica's lenses. Personally, I find the focal length ranges from moderate wide-angle to moderate telephoto with approx. 35-70 mm and from moderate to medium telephoto with approx. 70-150 mm more versatile.
The UC Zoom-Hexanon AR 45-100 mm / F3.5 is one out of a series of high-performance lenses designated UC. According to Konica, UC stands for Ultra Coated, Ultra Compact, and Ultra Close (focusing). Other UC lenses are:
- UC Fisheye-Hexanon AR 15 mm / F2.8
- UC Hexanon AR 28 mm / F1.8
- UC Hexanon AR 400 mm / F5.6
- UC Zoom-Hexanon AR 80-200 mm / F4
The complete, multi-lingual UC Hexanon AR lenses leaflet will be downloaded as PDF file, if you follow the link (4 pages; Japanese, English, German, French, Swedish, Italian, and Spanish; file size: 1,129 KB).
|Angle of view:||52°-24°|
|Construction:||11 elements in 10 groups|
|Aperture:||Fully automatic AE, smallest aperture 16|
|Closest focusing:||1.5 m (4 ft 111/16") (normal position)
0.35 m (1 ft 13/4") (macro mode, 45 mm focal length)
|Filter thread:||55 mm|
|Length (at ∞):||110 mm (45/16") (normal position)
87 mm (37/16") (recessed position)
|Weight:||570 g (1 lb 41/8 oz)|