I hesitate writing a review of a camera, mainly because I do not intuitively understand technical processes or jargon – which is what a lot of reviews concern themselves with. For my photography, I don’t really care about the things other reviewers seem to obsess about. As long as it feels good in the hands, and inspires me to take the pictures I want to see, then it is a good camera. But I’ll do my best…
The Konica Hexar AF has a growing cult following, the main reason being it’s outstanding fixed f/2 lens, which some have likened to a Leica Summicron. That, plus it’s virtually quiet Stealth mode, make this a street camera par excellence. Just set the aperture to F8 in P mode and start shooting.
There are a few versions of the camera. Mine is the classic black, as per the original from 1993, and if you are looking to get one yourself, most people agree it is the best version to go for.
The viewfinder is superb – very bright, with visible frame lines (parallax corrected) and cross hairs for the centre. It has a green focus confirmation light, plus and minus warning lights for under/over exposure, a distance scale, and a warning sign for being too close to the subject.
The downside is the LCD panel and the few buttons (all on the top of the camera) which are nothing short of baffling to most users. Search online for “The Lost Commands Of The Hexar”. I’ll leave it to others to go into the details of its operating system.
Luckily for me, all the setting s I need are very easy to find. Select P, A or M. For infinity, just press the MF button once, and you are good to go. Exposure Comp? Just press Select button once, then adjust via the up and down buttons – 2 stops available, in 1/3 gradations. The camera in normal setting is very quiet, and I’ve felt no need to switch on the Stealth mode, but to do so requires only that you hold the MF button down while switching on.
Well, that’s all the technical talk you will get from me, so it’s on to taking photographs!
As mine was an eBay acquisition, I just put a cheap colour film through it the first time, just to check it was working. For the second I used Ilford XP2, and in a flush of wild experimentation, attached a Red Filter:
1. The Kiss, The Leer and The Blush
2. The Well-Lit Gallery
3. Girl Seated and Lost
4. The Birds
5. From Cramond Beach, near Edinburgh
6. Good Neighbours
7. Woman Seated and Lost
But I did eventually take the red filter off. The following are XP2 again, this time with a yellow filter:
8. Atrium – National Museum of Scotland
9. Corridor – National Museum of Scotland
10. The Stare
In conclusion, I find the Konica Hexar to be a wonderful camera which allows me the freedom to be expressive – not every camera does that – and captures not just what I am seeing, but also what I am feeling, and few cameras manage that. Highly recommended – go find yourself one!
For another opinion about the Konica Hexar, see here for Hamish’s review
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18 thoughts on “Konica Hexar AF Mini Review – by Rob MacKillop”
Awesome machine, it´s my main 35mm camera.
Excellent camera and beautiful images!
Thanks, Caranga. It’s still my No.1 camera.
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Very nice review, Rob. I, too, went for the black version – sold my house in the UK – then thought I’d really treat myself to a Rhodium version….errrr, until I discovered the ludicrous difference in price & settled on a second, identical, black version. Quite simply, if you tend to come from a medium format background and/or prefer med. format, but hanker for the extra frames 35mm offers and/or the accompanying smaller body of a 35mm camera then the Hexar AF is THE one. I’ve done a few sessions now, portraits, using my med. format Fuji GA645S & my Konica Hexar AF . . . there is VERY LITTLE difference in quality when viewing images at A4 size. OF COURSE, start to get into A3 and beyond med. format will pull ahead. Quite simply the best 35mm camera I’ve ever used, based on lens quality, ease of use, & the wonderful functionality of the minimum shutter speed option.
Good post, Martin. Yes, the Rhodoim version is rhodiculous!
I have the Rhodium one – I shalt tell you how little I paid for it! 😉
:-0 Well, well, well…I look forward to your review!
Oops, I just “accidentally” bought a HAF Titanium. How can I justify this – errr, Mum, there were only 1,000 made. Mum? MUM?! 😉
After unpacking my HAF Ti, I set about reprogramming both my black HAFs and the Ti – all 3 now have the double/multi-exposure option, and the bracketing option. Sweet! Took me all of 6 minutes to do this hack – TOTAL! These Leica-eaters just get better!
Bonnie foties, Rob,…and a great review!
Thanks, Brian! Not too technical, I hope?! 😉
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hey hey, Im bit newbie with hexar loaded with hp5 and with a red/yellow filter in my pockets….. I’m just wondering if I need to somehow set the iso or exp compensation while using red/yellow filter or if I just could put it on hexar and set my mind free.
This is a great camera I owned it for about 5 years. I regret that I sold it!!!
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I’m just now finding your post. Great review and your photos are absolutely gorgeous!