Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5 early version with chrome ring

Konica Macro-Hexanon AR
55 mm / F3.5
early version with chrome ring

Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5 with Macro Lens Adapter AR

Konica Macro-Hexanon AR
55 mm / F3.5
with Macro Lens Adapter AR
(focused to minimum distance)
early version with chrome ring

Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5 middle version with EE marking

Konica Macro-Hexanon AR
55 mm / F3.5
middle version with EE marking

Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5 late version with AE marking

Konica Macro-Hexanon AR
55 mm / F3.5
late version with AE marking

Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5 Front

Konica Macro-Hexanon AR
55 mm / F3.5
Front all versions

Konica Macro Lens Adapter AR

Konica Macro Lens Adapter AR
all versions

Konica Macro Lens Adapter AR Front

Konica Macro Lens Adapter AR
Front all versions

Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5

downLens data | downVariations | internal linkLens overview

The Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5 is one of the most interesting lenses of the Konica line-up. It had some very innovative features, especially for the solution of the exposure compensation problem in macro photography.

It was introduced during the era of the internal linkAutoreflex T2, and was one of the first Konica SLR lenses with the rubber focusing ring. The first version still had a chrome ring. Because it had a smallest aperture 22 right from the beginning, no changes for the new electronic bodies became necessary later – therefore, only a few downvariations of this lens exist.

As a dedicated macro lens it is optimized mainly for sharpness, especially in the close focusing range. As depth-of-field is extremely shallow with the close focusing distances of macro photography and such shots are mainly made stopped-down from a tripod, speed is not so important – the impressive sharpness is achieved also by means of a small optical element size and the resulting slow lens speed.

The Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5 was supplied together with a matching extension ring, the Macro Lens Adapter AR. This extension ring has no optical elements, it only allows for a longer extension. The Macro Lens Adapter AR did not change over time, it is identical for all lens variations.

Both lens and Macro Lens Adapter AR were delivered in a special case with two compartments.

Leather case Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm F3.5

Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3,5
Leather case

Open leather case Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm F3.5

Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5
Open leather case


Without the matching Macro Lens Adapter AR, the lens can be focused down to 0.25 m (97/8"). At this distance a maximum magnification ratio of 1:2 is achieved. Together with the matching extension ring, a minimum focusing distance of 22.2 cm (83/4") with a maximum magnification ratio of 1:1 can be achieved – the image on the film has the same size as the subject in reality.

Image quality is outstanding in technical terms – the lens renders razor-sharp and contrasty images, free from vignetting or distortions. It is not sensitive to stray light even without lens hood because its small front element is deeply recessed by almost 4 cm (11/2"). However, the so-called bokeh is not particularly pleasing. Bokeh is the look of the out-of-focus image areas. Out-of-focus highlights in the background unfortunately have a distinctive hexagonal shape that is caused by the aperture blades and can be very distracting and disturbing, especially with soft subjects like flowers. For such subjects, one of the 50 mm standard lenses with extension rings gives more pleasing results in my opinion.

The operation of the lens with the matching Macro Lens Adapter AR is really well-done, and the solution of the exposure compensation problem is just as ingenious as it is simple – other manufacturers could have learned a lot from Konica in this respect.

The lens has two aperture scales offset by 180 from each other and also two separate focusing index marks also offset by 180 with matching scales for distances and magnification ratios. If the lens is mounted on the body without the Macro Lens Adapter AR, the respective scales and index marks are visible. If the lens is mounted together with the Macro Lens Adapter AR, it is automatically turned by 180 along its longitudonal axis and the respective scales for aperture values and distances, which account for the use of the extension ring, are visible – no computing necessary. Simple, but very effective. Together with the Macro Lens Adapter AR, the effective speed of the lens is F5.2. In the upper image, the lens side with the scales for use without the Macro Lens Adapter AR can be seen, the second image from above shows the other side of the lens with the scales when the Macro Lens Adapters AR is used.

EE/AE mode works flawlessly together with the Macro Lens Adapter AR. The changes in effective speed due to the additional extension are compensated for by the largest aperture coupling of the adapter.

A short introduction to the exposure compensation problem: the lens speed given for any lens is always the effective value if the lens is focused to ∞. If the lens is focused to shorter distances, the lens is moved away from the film plane (you can see this, the lenses become longer), resulting in a decrease of effective speed. With most lenses, this effect is so small it can generally be ignored. But macro lenses allow for a long extension to achieve small focusing distances and the desired magnification ratios. With such long extensions, the drop in effective speed cannot be ignored any longer, because it can be more than a full stop and would result in visibly underexposed images. With the Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5, the effective speed at the minimum focusing distance (without Macro Lens Adapter AR) is F5.2 – a loss of about 11/3 aperture stops compared to the F3.5 speed at ∞.

The Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5 has a very user-friendly and simple system to compensate for this loss of effective speed. When the respective lever ist set to manual exposure, the actual size of the aperture opening is adjusted automatically when shifting focus. For example, if the lens is set to aperture 11, the lens has an opening resulting in an effective speed of F11 at every focusing distance. When set to close focus distances, the actual opening of the aperture blades is larger than when set to longer focus distances. Thus, the loss of speed is compensated for automatically. Obviously, this does not work when the aperture is fully open already, as the aperture cannot be opened any further – in this case you can see the effective speed on a scale on the lens barrel (the green figures in the image). With all other aperture values, the lens always has the effective speed set on the aperture ring, no matter what distance focus is set to.

When using the body's own through-the-lens light meter in AE mode, this compensation is not necessary. The light meter meters the light level that passes the lens. If this level is becoming darker, the meter would automatically choose a wider aperture, so that the light loss is automatically compensated for with TTL metering. For use with the TTL meter, the lever should hence be set to the automatic exposure position. But for use with external light meters and manually controlled exposure, the built-in compensation is a real help and simplification.

The markings for this switch changed over time. At the chrome ring version it only shows the marking "TTL", inside the switch you either see an "O" for on and an "X" for off depending on switch position. So use "X" for manual mode. On later versions there is an "M" for manual and "EE" or "AE" for TTL mode, depending on version.

Switch Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm F3.5 Chrome ring

Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5
Switch
Chrome ring version

Switch Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm F3.5 EE version

Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5
Switch
black EE version

Switch Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm F3.5 AE version

Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5
Switch
black AE version

Aperture scale wide open Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm F3.5 without Macro Lens Adapter AR

Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3,5
Aperture scale wide open
without Macro Lens Adapter AR

Aperture scale wide open Konica Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm F3.5 with Macro Lens Adapter AR

Macro-Hexanon AR 55 mm / F3.5
Aperture scale wide open
with Macro Lens Adapter AR

Variations
Lens data
Angle of view: 43
Construction: 4 elements in 3 groups
Aperture: Fully automatic AE, smallest aperture 22 (32 with Macro Lens Adapter AR)
Closest focusing: 0.25 m (97/8")
0.222 m (83/4") with Macro Lens Adapter AR
Filter thread: 55 mm
Length (at ∞): 60 mm (23/8") (lens only)
88 mm (31/2") (with Macro Lens Adapter AR)
Weight: 290 g (101/4 oz) (lens only)
405 g (141/4 oz) (with Macro Lens Adapter AR)
Lens hood: 55 mm round screw-in
Maximum magnification ratio: 1:2 (lens only)
1:1 (with Macro Lens Adapter AR)
Lens diagram: Lens diagram Macro-Hexanon 55 mm / F3.5
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