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Konica UC 35mm f/2
LEICA Mount (1999-2003)

© 2010 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

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Konica UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2

Konica UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2 with M-adapter ring (43x0.75mm filters, 4.7 oz./132g). 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.

 

 

March 2010   Hexar RF review   More Konica Reviews  

Hexanon M Lens Reviews: 28mm   35mm   50mm   90mm

LEICA Reviews   Leica Lens Reviews

 

Introduction         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

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I personally suggest Adorama, Amazon, Ritz, B&H, Calumet and J&R. I can't vouch for ads below.

 

The Konica UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2 is a Leica screw mount lens that can be used on any LEICA camera made since 1932.

To use it on modern LEICA M cameras made since 1954, simply use a screw-to-M adapter ring.

Even with it's adapter ring as shown here, this tiny lens is smaller than any other LEICA 35mm M-mount lens, and is lighter than any LEICA 35mm screw-mount or M-mount lens.

This Konica lens is more than capable of creating fantastic images.

If you're counting pixels, its performance is clearly inferior to Leica's own current 35mm lenses, but superior to Leica's f/3.5 SUMMARON lenses of the 1940s and 1950s.

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 a used LEICA lens instead if price matters.

It feels and handles the same as a LEICA lens, which is great.

 

Specifications         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

 

Optics

Conventional spherical design.

Multicoated.

 

Close Focus

1m (3 feet).

 

Filter Size

Weird 43 x 0.75mm.

(The SUMMILUX 50mm f/1.4 (1959-1991) has a 0.5mm pitch 43mm thread, althtough the Hoya 43mm filter I tried worked perfectly on both this Konica as well as the SUMMILUX.)

 

Size

27.29mm extension from flange.

51.05mm maximum diameter, excluding focus tab.

 

Weight

4.675 oz (132.4g).

5.215 oz. (147.9g), capped.

 

Konica M 35mm f/2

Konica UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2 with M-adapter ring. enlarge.

 

Performance         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

 

Overall

This is a swell, tiny lens. That's the whole point of the LEICA system.

The optical performance of this Konica is better than most SLR lenses, but still inferior to the LEICA lenses this Konica attempts to copy.

 

Caps         top

Konica M 35mm f/2

Capped Konica UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2 with M-adapter ring. enlarge.

The rear caps only attach if you line then up precisely. I'd use a real LEICA 14 269 rear cap instead, which attaches more easily.

The front cap is nice: it's felt-lined billet aluminum. It goes on and off quite nicely, but it's so thin that it doesn't hold-on very tightly.

 

Coma         top

There is coma (funny blobs on corner points of light) at f/2.

It's much better at f/2.8, and gone by f/4.

 

Color Balance         top

This Konica UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2 matches the LEICA SUMMICRON 35mm f/2 ASPH.

 

Diaphragm         top

Konica M 35mm f/2

Konica UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2 at f/5.6. enlarge.

10 blades.

Half-stop clicks.

Stops down to f/16.

It's copied from LEICA in that the blades curve inward at most settings.

 

Distortion         top

The Konica UC 35mm f/2 lens has mild barrel distortion, worse than LEICA's lenses.

Use +1.5 in Photoshop's lens distortion filter to correct it at 3 meters.

 

Ergonomics         top

Konica M 35mm f/2

Konica UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2 with M-adapter ring. enlarge.

Focus feel is superb. One fingertip glides its silky-smooth focus tab.

The aperture ring is in the same place as LEICA lenses. It's a little stiffer than LEICA lenses, so two fingers will work better than one.

 

Falloff         top

Falloff is as expected for any 35mm focal-length rangefinder lens. It's never a problem, and often a blessing.

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 35mm lens profiles and this would be lessened.

 

Konica-UC 35mm f/2 falloff on LEICA M9, no profile.

f/2
f/2.8
f/4
f/5.6

© 2010 KenRockwell.com. All rights reserved.

 

 

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, focused right-on.

 

Lateral Color Fringes        top

There are no color fringes anywhere on a LEICA M9.

 

Mechanics         top

Konica M 35mm f/2

Rear, Konica UC-Hexanon 35mm f/2 with M-adapter ring. enlarge.

This Konica lens feels much nicer than the other Konica M lenses. It feels just like a Zeiss lens.

It doesn't have the sharp edges of the other Konica lenses.

It's all metal and well finished in semi-glossy paint. Even the focus tab is metal, as are real LEICA lenses, while Leica's current lenses make do with plastic.

The outer barrel and control rings are made of aluminum, with brass for the helicoids.

All the marking are engraved and filled with paint.

 

Sharpness         top

Sharpness is better than SLR lenses, and more than enough for great photographs.

The LEICA SUMMICRON-M 35mm f/2 ASPH is superior on film, and so is the original LEICA SUMMICRON 35mm f/2. At f/2 on film, the LEICA lenses are cutting and sharp, while this Konica lens is softer. Stopped down, they are simular.

Shot on the LEICA M9, and if you're counting pixels, sharpness is clearly inferior to the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 35mm f/2 ASPH.

On the M9, the Konica lens:

f/2: The center looks great, but not as good as the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 35mm f/2 ASPH. The sides are much softer, and the last few millimeters of the corners are even softer due to coma.

f/2.8: The centers look about the same, but the sides of the Konica are inferior to the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 35mm f/2 ASPH. The last couple of millimeters of the corners of the Konica lens are still pretty bad.

f/4: Most of the image looks great, as good as the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 35mm f/2 ASPH. The last couple of millimeters of the corners of the Konica lens are still pretty bad.

f/5.6: Most of the image looks great, as good as the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 35mm f/2 ASPH. The last couple of millimeters of the corners of the Konica lens are still softer, but much better than they were at f/4.

f/8: The Konica pretty much matches the LEICA SUMMICRON-M 35mm f/2 ASPH at f/8, but so what, by f/8, most lenses are as sharp as each other.

 

Recommendations         top

Intro   Specs   Performance   Recommendations

This is the lightest 35mm lens ever made for LEICA. It's also the smallest M-mount 35mm lens ever made for LEICA. It's fast, and a great lens for shooting just about anything.

Compared to LEICA

SUMMILUX 35mm f/1.4, Konica 35/2, and SUMMICRON-M 35/2 ASPH. enlarge.

Note how the rear extensions vary. If mounted on a camera, the SUMMILUX 35mm f/1.4 is almost exactly the same size, and the SUMMICRON-M 35/2 ASPH is much closer in size than it appears here, to the Konca lens.

This Konica UC screw-mount 35mm f/2 lens is much better than the other Konica M lenses. (Just use an adapter ring for M-kameras.) It's not as sharp or as distortion-free as the SUMMICRON-M 35/2 ASPH, but it's smaller and feels just as good, and it works on screw-mount cameras as well.

If you own this Konica lens, enjoy it. It's value has done nothing but climb, and it 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. Therefore, if buying a 35mm M lens, I'd get a LEICA lens instead. I wouldn't replace it if I already owned one of these Konicas; it's so tiny that it's what every lens should be.

Don't confuse this Konica lens for a second with a LEICA lens, even if it's a deliberate counterfeit in appearance. The fonts look dinky and the optics are inferior, if you're counting pixels.

Konica's rear M 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.

 

Acknowledgement

Many thanks to Scott in the great Republic of Texas for loaning me this lens to test. Thanks Scott!

 

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Thanks for reading!

Ken

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