The Konica Hexanon AR 55mm was a superb macro lens during the seventies.

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro mounted on SONY NEX camera

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro mounted on SONY NEX camera

Is it still true with the SONY NEX forty years later?

Globally I have been fully satisfied with Konica Hexanon lenses when adapted on my SONY NEX camera.

When I purchased my Konica Hexanon AR 100 F2.8, the seller was also selling this Konica macro lens. I took the opportunity to combine the shipment and then offer this beautifull piece of glass to my NEX:

Konica Hexanon AR 55mm F3.5 macro

Konica Hexanon AR 55mm F3.5 macro

The Konica Hexanon 55 macro is a 40 years old lens because it was introduced with the Konica Autoreflex T2.

It comes with a 2 compartments leather bag.

Konica Hexanon AR 55mm F3.5 macro bag

Konica Hexanon AR 55mm F3.5 macro bag

a compartment for the lens itself

Konica Hexanon AR 55mm F3.5 macro

Konica Hexanon AR 55mm F3.5 macro

and a compartment for the provided macro extension ring:

Konica Hexanon AR 55mm F3.5 macro

Konica Hexanon AR 55mm F3.5 macro

Without extension ring, the maximum magnification ratio is 1:2

With the Konica extension ring the magnification ratio is 1:1. In this case this is a true macro lens with it’s extension considering that real macro start at 1:1 ratio.

This is really a superb object well designed and well assembled.

The lens is heavy because it is fully made of metal and glass.

The closest focus distance 222mm with the extension ring.

The focus ring is smooth and accurate. It is mandatory for a macro lens. But personally I am used to finish the focus by moving my neck. I only use the focus ring to approximatively set the working distance.

For the same reason I am not interested in autofocus macro lenses considering that I prefer to focus by myself with my neck.

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro mounted on SONY NEX camera

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro mounted on SONY NEX camera without extension ring

The SONY NEX helps a lot for macro focusing with it’s very efficient liveview including focus magnification and focus peaking system. I think that currently the NEX system is the best camera for macrophotography and more globally for using manual focusing lenses.

That being said, let’s go back to the Konica Hexanon AR 55mm macro F3.5:

Like all other Konica AR mount lenses it needs an adapter to the SONY E mount. (The zebra ring in this case)

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro mounted on SONY NEX camera

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro mounted on SONY NEX camera including extension ring

When you insert the extension ring, it is as long as a fast 135 mm or a compact 200mm. But it no as heavy because the elements are not so huge. The optical formula is 4 elements in 3 groups.

The front element is typical from old macro lenses (i.e. deeply inserted in the front of the lens):

Front element typical of old macro prime lenses

Front element typical of old macro prime lenses

Because this is a macro dedicated lens, it’s optical formula has been specifically designed to provide the best optical performances for close focusing.

The macro extension does not include any lens in it. It does not affect the optical performances of the lens. Moreover, it set the lens in the working distance it has been designed for.

A clever feature of this lens is the dual aperture scale and distance scale.

Without the extension ring the aperture scale starts at F3.5 and the distance scale is visible on top:

First aperture scale and distance scale (without extension ring)

First aperture scale and distance scale (without extension ring)

 

With the extension ring mounted, the lens is automatically turned by 180°. Then an other aperture scale (starting at F5.2) and another distance scale are visible on top of it. It is corrected taking into account the macro extension ring length:

second aperture scale and distance scale (automatically turned by 180° when mounted on the extension ring)

second aperture scale and distance scale (automatically turned by 180° when mounted on the extension ring)

This lens was also featuring a exposure compensation mechanism to compensate the light drop due to the extension ring. It is nowadays useless with numeric cameras featuring a liveview like the SONY NEX and displaying in realtime the exposition.

 

Konica hexanon AR macro 55 on SONY NEX

Konica Hexanon AR macro 55 on SONY NEX

 

As a macro lens, the image quality is impressive when focused on close subjects. It is razor sharp.

The bokeh is very smooth and not disturbing at all. This point is very important in macro-photography because you are working very often with a very narrow dept of field.

I have not noticed any flare sensitivity. Chromatic aberration is very well controlled. The images are vignetting free and distortion free. No purple fringing noticed.

Image gallery:

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

 

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

 

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

 

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

 

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

 

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

 

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

KONICA HEXANON AR 55mm F3.5 macro on SONY NEX

 

 

Rope diameter = 4mm

Rope diameter = 4mm