Konica introduced new AR (Auto-Reflex) bayonet system in 1965. Older Konica lenses fit F bayonet mount. There are at least 7 versions of this lens. The early chromeAR version can be recognized by the yellow EE markings and no EE lock (EE was renamed to AE on later versions).
Konica Hexanon AR 52mm features 6 elements in 5 groups optical design. The front and the rear glass element are both single coated. Coating changed a lot through the versions and is much better later on. The front element is deeply recessed and forms a kind of lens hood and makes the lens more resistant to the side and scattered light. The lens is fully metallic in construction and is very well built like all older Japanese lenses. Chrome ring adds to the design and makes this lens stand out from the all black crowd. The lens is really beautiful. Filter size is 55mm. Lens with the original front cap weights 222g and is not too heavy for using with modern mirrorless bodies. The lens is very convenient for everyday use.
Focusing is manual with a metallic focusing ring located in the front of the lens. The focus ring is 18mm wide and 10mm of it has a splined grip. It rotates for about 250° so focusing can be precise. Distance markings are well placed ranging from 0.45-10m and to infinity. It's pretty easy to focus with a digital camera using focus peaking or zoom function.
The full resolution sample above is jpeg file copied directly from the camera and is not processed with any additional software.
The optical quality of this lens is quite good as all of Konica lenses. It's not the best Konica lens out there but it's certainly good enough. Successors like Konica 50mm f1.7 and f1.4 are better performers. Konica Hexanon AR 52mm is capable of producing sharp images with sufficient contrast and natural colors (when stopped down a bit). Side light resistance is well controlled, but the backlight scenes are a bit of a challenge for this lens and will produce some flare.
When wide open this Konica lens produces slightly harsh bokeh. Out of focus highlights are rendered as "bad" bokeh. A more distant background is nicely smoothed but there is still some room for improvement.
- decent sharpness and contrast when stopped down few stops
- pleasant natural colors
- resistant to the side light (eliminates the need for a lens hood)
- eye-catching design
- cheap and widely available
- chromatic aberration is well controlled
- prone to flare - especially ghosting
- bokeh could be better