Konica Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.8
The Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.8 was the budget standard lens of the late years. It superseded the legenary Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.7 in the early 80's and was offered alongside this lens for some time.
Compared to the predecessor, the Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.8 is quite a lot smaller and lighter. In addition, it has a smallest aperture 22, the predecessor only had a smallest aperture 16 and could not make use of the whole light meter range of the electronic cameras from the F series.
The Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.8 is a good lens in its own right, but cannot quite compete with the Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.7, especially in terms of sharpness – the differences are small, but visible nonetheless. On the other hand it is clearly sharper than the even earlier Hexanon AR 52 mm / F1.8.
Not only in sharpness the optical quality is decent. Contrast and evenness of illumination are as convincing as neutral colour rendition.
First, the Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.8 was built in the usual metal barrel, with the focusing ring with checkered rubber inlay – of the usual outstanding Konica build quality. After some time the metal barrel was superseded by a barrel completely made from cast plastic, with the bayonet flange being the only metal part. The focusing ring also is made completely from cast plastic in this version.
Optically, both varieties are probably identical, I could not detect any differences in the image quality.
The metal version has a more solid and valuable feel to it, the plastic version is lighter. On the extremely light TC-X body the plastic version balances better, on heavier bodies like the FT-1 for example, the metal version makes a better balanced combo. It is mostly a matter of taste which version you prefer.
From the outside the metal version can be distinguished by the narrow shining chrome ring at the front edge of the filter thread, like most Hexanon AR lenses have it. The plastic version does not have this shiny ring, it is completely black. The scales and index marks on the metal version are grooved and filled with ink, on the plastic version they are only printed on.
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 Hexanon AR 40 mm / F1.8 and the Hexanon AR 85 mm / F1.8, according to the markings.
As a faster alternative, the more expensive Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.4 continued to be sold alongside – also a very good lens.
The Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.8 in plastic lens barrel was built until Konica abandoned the SLR system altogether in 1987.
The Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.8 is rarer than the ubiquitous Hexanon AR 50 mm / F1.7, but it is not a rare lens. It can be bought cheaply. Which variation you prefer is up to your personal preferences, in both variations it is a good lens for a good price.
- (Upper image)
Metal lens barrel
Engraved scales, filled with paint
- (Lower image)
Plastic lens barrel
|Angle of view:||46°|
|Construction:||6 elements in 5 groups|
|Aperture:||Fully automatic AE, smallest aperture 22|
|Closest focusing:||0.55 m (1 ft 95/8")|
|Filter thread:||55 mm|
|Length (at ∞):||33 mm (11/4")|
|Weight:||175 g (61/8 oz) (metal version)
150 g (51/4 oz) (plastic version)
|Lens hood:||Metal, 55 mm round screw-in|