Konica-M 90mm f/2.8
Konica M-Hexanon 90mm f/2.8 (46mm filters, 10.8 oz./307g). 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.
The Konica M-Hexanon 90mm f/2.8 is a Leica-M mount lens that can be used on any Leica-M mount camera.
This Konica lens is more than capable of creating fantastic images.
If you're counting pixels, its performance is clearly inferior to LEICA 90mm lenses.
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 ELMARIT-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990-2008) instead. The LEICA ELMARIT-M 90mm f/2.8 sells used for only about $700 (see How to Win at eBay), and is far better optically.
When compared side-by-side to a real LEICA lens, not only are its optics inferior, this Konica's mechanics are crude.
Konica M-Hexanon 90mm f/2.8. enlarge.
5 elements in 4 groups.
Conventional spherical design.
Standard 46mm x 0.75mm.
69.65mm extension from flange, hood collapsed.
86.68mm extension from flange, hood extended.
55.04mm maximum diameter (focus ring).
10.835 oz. (307.2g).
capped: 11.435 oz. (324.2g)
Konica specified 330g.
Konica M-Hexanon 90mm f/2.8. enlarge.
The performance of this Konica is great.
The reason I can't get too excited about this Konica lens is that the LEICA ELMARIT-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990-2008) that this Konica attempts to copy is simply stunning under careful comparison, both optically and mechanically.
Capped Konica M-Hexanon 90mm f/2.8. enlarge.
The rear caps only attach if you line then up precisely. I'd use a real LEICA 14 269 rear cap instead.
The front cap is nice: it's felt-lined stamped aluminum. It goes on and off quite nicely.
Color Balance top
The Konica M-Hexanon 90mm f/2.8 is about the same as the LEICA ELMARIT-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990-2008). If there's any difference, the Konica is slightly warmer.
Konica M-Hexanon 90mm f/2.8 at f/5.6. enlarge.
Stops down to f/22.
It's copied from LEICA in that the blades curve inward at most settings, and become round at the smallest aperture.
The Konica M 90mm f/2.8 lens has no visible distortion.
For critical photogrammetric work, use -0.5 in Photoshop's lens distortion filter at 3 meters.
Ergonomics are swell, but the lens feels far more crude.
Focus about as smooth as a LEICA lens. It's not that easy to focus with a fingertip; two fingers works better.
The machining of the metal ring grips is crude. The edges are sharp, which make it less comfortable than the radiused edges of the LEICA or Zeiss lenses.
Apertures set as easily a LEICA lens.
Falloff is s completely invisible, except at f/2.8 on test charts.
Here I have exaggerated it by shooting a blank plate and presented it against a flat gray background.
This is with no lens profile selected.
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, tended to focus somewhat behind the intended subject.
Lateral Color Fringes top
There are no color fringes anywhere on a LEICA M9.
Rear, Konica M-Hexanon 90mm f/2.8. enlarge.
This Konica lens feels like a cross between a Vivitar and a Voigtländer Cosina lens.
It's all metal, but not as well-finished as the Zeiss or LEICA lenses. The only plastic is the red mounting index ball.
The outer barrel and control rings are made of anodized aluminum, with brass for the helicoids.
All the marking are engraved and filled with paint.
The mount is shiny chrome, not dull like Nikon and LEICA.
Sharpness is more than enough for great photographs.
Shot on the LEICA M9, and if you're counting pixels, sharpness is clearly inferior to the LEICA ELMARIT-M 90mm f/2.8 (1990-2008). The LEICA is simply astonishing: sharp at every aperture everywhere in the frame, while the Konica is softer wide-open and needs to be stopped down to match the LEICA.
On the M9, the Konica lens:
f/2.8: The center is much, much softer then the LEICA 90mm f/2.8. The corners are oddly sharper than the center with this Konica lens, but they are still much softer than the LEICA lens.
f/4: The center is much improved but the entire image is still softer than the LEICA 90mm f/2.8.
f/5.6: The centers look similar, but the corners of the Konica are softer, making them softer than the LEICA 90mm f/2.8.
f/8: The two lenses look almost as good as each other.
To tabulate the JPG Normal (basic) file size of identical 18MP images made with each, which chronicles the level of detail and contrast:
© 2010 KenRockwell.com
The data matches what I saw visually. The LEICA is as sharp wide-open as the Konica is at its best aperture. This is sad for this Konica, but it does help justify the crazy prices LEICA gets for its lenses.
If you own this Konica lens, enjoy it. It works great and its value has done nothing but climb. It has no distortion, and it just 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.
If you already own one of these, I wouldn't bother replacing it, but if you're buying one, I'd get the LEICA ELMARIT-M 90mm f/2.8 without question because it is a superior lens selling used for about the same price. The Leica 90/2.8 used to sell for $2,000 new, but today, the LEICA ELMARIT-M 90mm f/2.8 sells for abotu $700 on eBay, a huge bargain (How to Win at eBay).
Don't confuse this Konica lens for a second with a LEICA lens, even if may look similar. The fonts look dinky, the red colors are tacky, and it feels much cheaper. The optics are inferior.
Konica's rear 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.
Many thanks to Scott in the great Republic of Texas for loaning me this lens to test. Thanks Scott!
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