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Konica Hexanon AR 4/21mm vs AR 2.8/21mm
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 03, 2021 10:00 pm    Post subject: Konica Hexanon AR 4/21mm vs AR 2.8/21mm Reply with quote

During the last years of its SLR business, Konica was re-computing quite a few of its shorter primes, namely the 2.8/21mm, the 2.8/24mm, the 3.5/28mm, and the 2.8/35mm. While the outdated 2/35mm was kept in the catalogues, a new fast 1.8/28mm was added as well.

The construction of the AR 4/21mm (see here on my website: http://artaphot.ch/konica-ar/objektive/379-konica-hexanon-21mm-f4) is very similar to that of the Zeiss Jena Flektogon 4/21mm. The construction of the AR 2.8/21mm, however, is unique and somehow different from all other 2.8/20mm and 2.8/21mm lenses I'm aware of (see here: http://artaphot.ch/konica-ar/objektive/474-konica-hexanon-21mm-1-2-8). Both the "new" AR 2.8/21mm as well as the "new" AR 2.8/24mm are much smaller than their precedessors, and they share the same US patent. Similarly, the "new" AR 3.5/28mm and AR 2.8/35mm share the same US patent as well.

Apart from the re-calulated 3.5/28mm - which is quite common - not much reliable information about the performance of these "new" Hexanons vs their older brethren can be found online. Side-by-side comparisons of the different designs are scarce and difficult to locate.

Today I had some spare time, and the light was pretty constant - resulting in a comparison of the Hexanon AR 4/21mm and the newer Hexanon AR 2.8/21mm.

Here's the overview:


First the corners - as usual taken with the 24MP Sony A7II:



Now the crops from the midfield:


We can see that the older AR 4/21mm has sligthly better corners; especially at f11 they are remarkably free from lateral CAs (something seen also with other "first generation" AR lenses such as the AR 1.8/85mm and the 3.2/135mm).

Looking at the midfield crops it is clear that the newer 2.8/21mm has a much better overall performance than the older 4/21mm - images taken with the 2.8/21mm @f2.8 are looking as good as those taken with the 4/21mm at f5.6!

The Hexanon AR 4/21mm, unless stopped down to f8 ... 11, has a soft "vintage" look over nearly the entire frame (especially at f4), however its performance is remarkably uniform over the entire frame, somehow reminding me of the Nikkor 2/50mm. Colors have a yellowish tint, and the distortion is relatively well controlled (basically pincushion with a slight tendency to moustache).

The Hexanon AR 2.8/21mm is slightly wider than the 4/21mm (actually 20.6mm). Its exteme corners are weaker, however the vast majority of the image is much better copared to the AR 4/21mm (especially at f2.8 ... f5.6), and its colors ar more neutral. It also has more lateral CAs than the 4/21mm, and a much more visible (disturbing) "moustache" type distortion.

Apart from budget issues, the Konica Hexaon AR 4/21mm would be the choice for slower work from the tripod (architecture, landscapes at f11), while the newer f2.8 version excells in all other aspects.

More information on the two Hexanon AR 2.8/24mm versions will follow soon in a separate thread.

Stephan


PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow... thank you Steve for this information and test Like 1 small

The 21mm Konica's have always been too high in price for me unfortunately. Look forward to your 24mm post.


PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 12:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RnR wrote:
Wow... thank you Steve for this information and test Like 1 small

The 21mm Konica's have always been too high in price for me unfortunately.

I certainly wouldn't have paid the crazy prices on ebay. I got a good offer, and so I bought it. Same for the AR 2.8/24 (II). Both lenses together were les than CHF 300.--.

RnR wrote:
Look forward to your 24mm post.

Me too Wink

S


PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:
I certainly wouldn't have paid the crazy prices on ebay. I got a good offer, and so I bought it. Same for the AR 2.8/24 (II). Both lenses together were les than CHF 300.--.
Crikey! Yes very good offer.

I got the 24mm f2.8 v2 for AUD200 which seems to be ~CHF150. But that was a long time ago before the boom in all things old and collectable.


PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:21 pm    Post subject: Re: Konica Hexanon AR 4/21mm vs AR 2.8/21mm Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:

Looking at the midfield crops it is clear that the newer 2.8/21mm has a much better overall performance than the older 4/21mm - images taken with the 2.8/21mm @f2.8 are looking as good as those taken with the 4/21mm at f5.6!


Could you say that the 4/21mm is better at corner than at midfield?


PostPosted: Sun Apr 04, 2021 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Looks to me like the F4 is focussed on the corners


PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 1:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Gerald wrote:
stevemark wrote:

Looking at the midfield crops it is clear that the newer 2.8/21mm has a much better overall performance than the older 4/21mm - images taken with the 2.8/21mm @f2.8 are looking as good as those taken with the 4/21mm at f5.6!


Could you say that the 4/21mm is better at corner than at midfield?

Not really. Look at the crops here (all taken wide open @ f4.0):




D1N0 wrote:
Looks to me like the F4 is focussed on the corners

For focusing, I've been taking this image, aiming at the center (yellow rectangle):


Focusing looks pretty well, though the AR 4/21mm has a really "shallow" focusing throw (probably not the correct English term; I mean that the focusing throw is not steep at all, thus finding the correct spot is slightly more difficult):

The above image is a 100% crop from the focing area in the center of the image.

S


PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 3:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

https://www.hexanon.net/konica-creative-work/21mm-review/


PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 4:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tomasg wrote:
https://www.hexanon.net/konica-creative-work/21mm-review/


Thank you fro that link - I wasn't aware of that comparison; it obviously doesn't turn up in my google search results (or only waaaay down the list ...).

Interesting remark of the tester in the above link (machine translated from Chinese):
"There have been rumors on the Internet that Konica quality control is the best among all Japanese manufacturers, but after testing, it was found that the same lens of Konica still differs greatly at different times, but it may be caused by the different physiques of the lenses in my hands."
That's something I had noticed especially with a few Konica AR zooms such as the 3.5/80-200, the 70-150, and others. Quite unlike Minolta stuff from the same time frame.

S


PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 6:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the comparison.
Here's some shots from my 21/4 https://www.flickr.com/photos/lightshow-photography/tags/konicahexanon214/
I mostly shoot it at f5.6, and quite like it and have no reservations in recommending it.


PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevemark wrote:
tomasg wrote:
https://www.hexanon.net/konica-creative-work/21mm-review/


Thank you fro that link - I wasn't aware of that comparison; it obviously doesn't turn up in my google search results (or only waaaay down the list ...).

Interesting remark of the tester in the above link (machine translated from Chinese):
"There have been rumors on the Internet that Konica quality control is the best among all Japanese manufacturers, but after testing, it was found that the same lens of Konica still differs greatly at different times, but it may be caused by the different physiques of the lenses in my hands."
That's something I had noticed especially with a few Konica AR zooms such as the 3.5/80-200, the 70-150, and others. Quite unlike Minolta stuff from the same time frame.

S


Your welcome, it s a less known site about Konica but with a lot of interesting information. Some in contrast with more known sites (buhla.de), check for example the 35mm f2. One thing i did on my 21/2.8, 24/2.8 (late version) 28/1.8, 28/3.5 (late 5 elements) and even the 35/2 is to adjust slightly the focising ring (easy to do on the Konicas) because all overshoot infinity (K&F adapter that is 0,1 mm too short, as are all) this seems also to reduce, at least to my eyes, field curvature a bit.


PostPosted: Mon Apr 05, 2021 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lightshow wrote:
Thanks for the comparison.
Here's some shots from my 21/4 https://www.flickr.com/photos/lightshow-photography/tags/konicahexanon214/
I mostly shoot it at f5.6, and quite like it and have no reservations in recommending it.


Very nice gallery! Some of mine with the 21/2.8

https://www.flickr.com/photos/131684321@N03/albums/72157716502666661


PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 3:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I love my 4/21, used it a lot on film bodies over the years and on digital too.

Here's an old shot of a sadly rusting Jag on Ilford FP4 @f4.



PostPosted: Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

iangreenhalgh1 wrote:
I love my 4/21, used it a lot on film bodies over the years and on digital too.

Here's an old shot of a sadly rusting Jag on Ilford FP4 @f4.



Nice image - thanks for sharing!

S