Konica-M 50mm f/2
Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f/2 (40.5mm filters, 9.0 oz. /255g). enlarge. You can get them at this link to them at eBay (see How to Win at eBay); you also can get them from Adorama and OC Camera. It helps me keep reviewing these oldies when you get yours through these, links, thanks! Ken.
The Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f/2 is a Leica-M mount lens that can be used on any Leica-M mount camera.
This Konica lens is more than capable of creating fantastic images.
If you're counting pixels, its performance is clearly inferior to the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2, which this Konica does its best to imitate.
When new, it sold for much less than LEICA lenses, but today, its used price has climbed to about the same as real LEICA lenses, so I'd pass and get the newest LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2 instead, which is optically and mechanically superior
The actual focal length of this Konica lens is slightly shorter (wider) than the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2.
I'm offended. This lens is an outright copy of the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2, yet not a very good copy. When compared side-by-side to the real thing, not only are the Konica's optics inferior, this Konica's mechanics feel and look crude.
Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f/2. enlarge.
6 elements in 5 groups.
Conventional spherical design.
40.5mm x 0.5mm.
43.64mm extension from flange, hood collapsed.
54.17mm extension from flange, hood collapsed.
54.01mm maximum diameter.
9.05 oz. (255.3g).
9.595 oz. (271.95g), capped.
Konica specified 255g.
Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f/2. enlarge.
The performance of this Konica is better than most SLR lenses, but still inferior to the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2 lens of which this Konica is a blatant attempt at a copy.
This Konica lens can create astounding images.
Under test conditions, I'm very disappointed in this lens' performance because it goes so far to copy everything it can about the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2, but falls flat on its face for optical performance.
If there's one thing the Japanese do well, it's copy other people's work. I thought for sure that this lens would equal or exceed the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2, but sadly, no. It is obviously inferior when tested, and so are Konica's 28mm, 35mm and 90mm lenses.
The best thing about this lens is that it justifies LEICA's high prices. I don't know how LEICA does it, but the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2 is obviously superior when tested on the M9.
Capped Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f/2. enlarge.
The rear caps only attach if you line then up precisely. I'd use a real LEICA 14 269 rear cap instead.
The front cap is nice: it's felt-lined stamped aluminum. It goes on and off quite nicely. It's deep enough to stay put. It's far superior to the dinky plastic cap that comes with the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2. Unfortunately the Konica's slip-over cap won't fit the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2.
Color Balance top
Oddly, the Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f/2 is visibly warmer than LEICA lenses.
Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f/2 at f/5.6. enlarge.
Stops down to f/16.
It's copied from LEICA in that the blades curve inward at most settings, and become round at the smallest aperture.
The Konica M 50mm f/2 lens has no distortion, visible or otherwise.
For critical photogrammetric work, use it as-as, at least at 3 meters (10 feet).
The machining of the metal ring grips is crude. The edges are sharp, which make it less comfortable than the radiused edges of the LEICA lenses.
Focus is by ring, not tab. It is slightly stiffer than a LEICA lens. It will focus with a fingertip, but two fingers works better.
Apertures set as easily as the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2.
Falloff is as expected for any 50mm rangefinder lens. It's never a problem, and often a blessing.
Here I have exaggerated it by shooting a blank plate and presented it against a flat gray background.
This is with no lens profile selected. Select any of the various LEICA 50mm lens profiles and this would be lessened.
Focus Accuracy top
Focus accuracy is always an issue between your individual sample of lens, and your individual sample of camera body.
That said, this sample of lens, and the M9 on which I tried it, tended to focus a little beyond the intended subject.
Lateral Color Fringes top
There are no color fringes anywhere on a LEICA M9.
Rear, Konica M-Hexanon 50mm f/2. enlarge.
This Konica lens feels like a cross between a Vivitar and a Voigtländer Cosina lens.
It's all metal, but not as well-finished as the Zeiss or LEICA lenses. The only plastic is the red mounting index ball.
Compared to LEICA or Zeiss, it's a crude little thing.
The outer barrel and control rings are made of anodized aluminum, with brass for the helicoids.
All the marking are engraved and filled with paint.
The mount is shiny chrome, not dull like Nikon and LEICA.
Sharpness is better than SLR lenses, and more than enough for great photographs.
Shot on the LEICA M9, and if you're counting pixels, sharpness is clearly inferior to the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2.
On the M9, the Konica lens:
f/2: The Konica is clearly inferior to the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2 everywhere in the image, and even worse in the corners.
f/2.8: The difference is less, but the Konica is still clearly inferior to the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2 everywhere in the image, and worse in the corners.
f/4: The difference is less, and the LEICA is still better.
f/5.6: The LEICA is still better. The difference is about the same in the corners.
To tabulate the JPG Normal (basic) file size of identical 18MP images made with each, which chronicles the level of detail and contrast:
© 2010 KenRockwell.com
I compared this Konica to a 50-year-old LEICA SUMMICRON 50mm f/2 (rigid), and the Konica was about the same as the old LEICA.
LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2.8 and this Konica 50mm.
If you own this Konica lens, enjoy it. It's value has done nothing but climb, and it's better than probably any 50mm SLR lens. It has no distortion, and it just works great.
Probably because they fit LEICA cameras, the used prices of these Konica lenses keep inflating. When new, this Konica lens sold for much less than LEICA lenses, but today, the prices have become comparable.
If you already own one of these, I wouldn't bother replacing it, but if you're buying one, I'd get the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 50mm f/2 instead. The current model of the SUMMICRON-M sells used for only about $1,000.
Don't confuse this Konica lens for a second with a Zeiss or LEICA lens, even if may look similar. The fonts look dinky, the red colors are tacky, and it feels much cheaper. The optics are inferior as well, if you're counting pixels.
Konica's rear caps are awful: they only go on two ways. Pitch them, and use a real LEICA 14 269 rear cap, which attaches any way you want. Half the time you try to attach the Konica cap, you have to try again to get it on.
Many thanks to Scott in the great Republic of Texas for loaning me this lens to test. Thanks Scott!
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