Konica lenses in Leica screw mount
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Konica made limited edition Hexanon lenses in Leica screw mount. Three different designs were offered, in a total of four versions. The lenses were described as "L mount type" by Konica, notably on the original boxes and user manuals; "L mount" is a generic name used in Japan for the Leica screw mount, and is not actually part of the lens name. It seems that all the lenses were sold in Japan only, by the Tokyo shop Fujisawa Shōkai.
The first of these lenses was the Hexanon 35/2, released in Spring 1996 in a limited edition of 1,000 units. It was a special edition of the fixed 35mm f/2.0 Hexar lens of the Hexar camera. It was distributed by Fujisawa Shōkai, which perhaps suggested the project to Konica. It is said that the 1,000 units were sold in two months.
The lens has seven elements in six groups; the design was described as a modified Xenotar, but it is said that it was evolved from the Summicron 35mm f/2 and Nikkor 3.5cm f/1.8. The barrel is silver finished. The focus ring is knurled, and the distance scale is graduated both in feet and metres, down to 0.9m. The aperture ring goes from 2 to 16. The filter size is 46mm. The front bezel is inscribed KONICA HEXANON LENS 1:2/35 and JAPAN, and has a three digit serial number.
The original box is light gray with black Konica diagonal stripes, and a sticker on the side describing the contents. The same style was used for the boxes of all the other lenses described in this page.
The UC-Hexanon 35/2 was a newer edition of the Hexanon, of which other 1,000 units were made. It was released in September 2001, also by Fujisawa Shōkai, and its initial price was ¥114,000. The optical design remained the same, but the lens barrel was made more compact, and multi-coating was applied on all twelve air-to-glass surfaces. (The "UC" prefix stands for Ultra Coating.) The full set comprised the lens, a vented hood coded FL-8, a HEXANON front cap, a rear cap, and Konica pouches for the lens and hood.
The lens barrel is all black. The focusing ring offers no grip, and is driven by a tab only. The minimum distance and aperture are unchanged. The filter diameter is reduced to 43mm. The diaphragm has ten blades, giving an almost round aperture — this was perhaps already the case of the earlier Hexanon. The front bezel is inscribed JAPAN KONICA UC–HEXANON LENS 1:2/35 and has a four-digit serial number in the form 0xxx/1000. The first example, presented to the press and in the website of Fujisawa Shōkai, has no.0000/1000.
The Hexanon 50/2.4 collapsible lens was released in spring 1997, again on special order from Fujisawa Shōkai, after the success of the 35/2. Its optical design was specially created, with six elements in four groups. It was available for ¥68,000, including a hood and both caps. It is said that 2,000 units were made; lens numbers have been observed as high as 1987, making this plausible.
The lens is all chrome. It is focused by a tab, from ∞ to 0.8m, and the distance scale is engraved both in feet and metres. The aperture ring goes from 2.4 to 16. The front bezel is inscribed KONICA HEXANON LENS 1:2.4/50 and JAPAN, with a four-digit serial number. The first example, presented to the press, has no.0000.
|60mm Konica Hexanon f/1.2|
image by Jason Howe (Image rights)
The Hexanon 60/1.2 was released in spring 1999. Its focal length and aperture were certainly chosen to remind the Hexanon 60mm f/1.2 made in the 1950s. Its optical design, with seven elements in six groups, notably differs by the removal of one element in the rear portion. A single edition of 800 lenses were made.
The lens barrel is black with a chrome front rim. The focus ring has no tab; it is engraved in feet and metres, down to 0.8m. The aperture ring goes from 1.2 to 16, with half stops marked from 2 to 5.6. The front bezel is inscribed KONICA HEXANON LENS 1:1.2/60 and JAPAN, and has a serial number, in the form xxx/800. The filter size is 58mm. The rangefinder coupling cam covers a portion of the lens mount only, unlike the older lens which had an all-around cam.
The full set includes a chrome-finished auxiliary finder, inscribed KONICA 60, a black vented hood, inscribed KONICA HEXANON 1.2/60 JAPAN, a black HEXANON front cap and a rear cap.
- See for example the original box (archived) and user manual (archived) of the UC-Hexanon 35/2 at Fujisawa Shōkai.
- Announce on p.131 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.61.
- The announce on p.131 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.61 says that the lens was "produced" by Fujisawa Shōkai and manufactured by Konica: 東京の藤澤商会がプロヂュースし、㈱コニカが製造したコニカ・ヘキサノン35mmF2.
- Notes on the UC-Hexanon 35/2 at Dante Stella's website.
- Hexanon and UC-Hexanon lenses sold at Westlicht auction no.17, lot no.s 273 to 276 (see the links below).
- Pictures in this page (archived) by Fujisawa Shōkai.
- User manual of the UC-Hexanon 35/2, reproduced in this page at Fujisawa Shōkai (archived).
- Example pictured on pp.130–1 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.61, and in this page (archived) by Fujisawa Shōkai.
- Fukui, pp.72–3 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.58.
- Announce on p.137 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.41.
- This page at Cameraquest says about 2,000. The number of units was not specified in the announce on p.137 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.41.
- Lens observed for sale at a dealer.
- Example pictured on p.137 of Kurashikku Kamera Senka no.41.
- This page at Cameraquest.
- Optical design observed in a post at Rangefinderforum.com.
- Fukui Tetsuya (福井鉄也). "M-Hekisanon 35mm F2 inpuresshon" (Mヘキサノン35mmF2インプレッション, Impressions on the M-Hexanon 35mm f/2). In Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.58, March 2001. ISBN 4-257-13032-6. Tokushū: Raika bukku '01 Raika kenkyū (特集:ライカブック'01・ライカ研究, Leica book '01: Leica research). Pp.72–5. Compares the M-Hexanon 35mm f/2 with the Hexanon 35/2.
- Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.41, March 1997. ISBN 4-257-13008-3. Tokushū: R-gata Raika no subete (特集：R型ライカのすべて, special issue on the Leica R). "Konshun hatsubai yotei no Raika kankei buzzu (今春発売予定のライカ関係ブッズ, Leica-related products that will be released this spring). P.137.
- Kamera Rebyū: Kurashikku Kamera Senka (カメラレビュー クラシックカメラ専科) / Camera Review: All about Historical Cameras no.61, September 2001. ISBN 4-257-13039-3. Kine Ekizakuta kara hajimaru kurashikku 35mm ichigan-refu (キネエキザクタから始まるクラシック35mm一眼レフ, special issue on 35mm SLR, from the Kine Exakta onwards). "UC-Hekisanon 35mm F2 L-maunto rinyūaru shite tōjō" (UC-ヘキサノン35mmF2・Lマウント・リニューアルして登場, UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2 in Leica screw mount, released in a new version). Pp.130–1.
- Miyazaki Shigemoto (宮崎繁幹). Konika kamera no 50nen: Konika I-gata kara Hekisā RF e (コニカカメラの50年：コニカI型からヘキサーRFへ, Fifty years of Konica cameras: From the Konica I to the Hexar RF). Tokyo: Asahi Sonorama, 2003. ISBN 4-257-12038-X. P.170 (the lenses are briefly mentioned, and a picture of the Hexanon 60/1.2 is provided).
- Hexanon 60/1.2 at Cameraquest
- Konishiroku/Konica Lenses Price Guide at collectiblend
- Past sales by Westlicht Photographica Auction (now Leitz Photographica Auction):
- Hexanon 35/2 in chrome finish, lot no.273 of auction no.17 (May 29, 2010)
- UC-Hexanon 35/2 in black finish, lot no.274 of auction no.17
- UC-Hexanon 35/2 in black finish, lot no.362 of auction no.9 (May 20, 2006)
- Hexanon 50/2.4 collapsible lens in chrome finish, lot no.275 of auction no.17
- Hexanon 60/1.2 in black finish, with shoe-mounting viewfinder; lot no.276 of auction no.17
- Hexanon 60/1.2 in black finish, sold together with an M-mouont adapter as lot no.390 of auction no.14 (November 30, 2008)