Konica Hexar RF vs M6

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by richard jepsen, Jul 15, 2006.

  1. The Konica RF has great features like mid roll change capability and an easier
    view of the 35mm frame vs a .72 M6. Additionally, reported lens quality equals
    the best Mandler designs. Does anyone prefer the Konica to a M? Has anyone
    switched to Konica and come back to Leica?

    I've read Danta Stella's site http://www.dantestella.com/technical/hexarrf.html
    and I understand there are no back focus issues using Konica's lenses.

    I'm interested in your experiences with the Konica.
  2. The Konica is basically an M6 with motor drive and aperture priority. And they are going for
    a song at this point in time.
  3. Richard,-- Answer this one ,please... If the Konica RF is so good and so cheap and made by a multi billion dollar company, why is it losing out to an archaic manual camera made by a struggling German company that was a few steps from bankruptcy?
  4. Never 'switched' - but owned 3 different Konica RFs in addition to my Leica Ms. Bodies
    only - never needed any of the lenses since I already had those focal lengths.

    I really liked the concept, and most of the execution (which is why I kept buying them).
    Had fun using the 1/4000th sec to shoot in sunlight at wide apertures for shallow DOF.
    Liked the 35 framelines, which, since the meter readout is on the side, do not have a gap
    in them like the metered Leicas do -in addition to being easier to see. Liked being able to
    use a 24 (and in a pinch a 21) without needing an accesory finder by just framing with the
    "whole viewfinder" area. Autoexposure was good, although biased toward color negs
    (overexposure as the default bias).


    The 'back focus issues' may have been mythical - but I had a lot of trouble focusing longer
    lenses (90 f/2, 135) - which is why I kept selling them.

    The deal was that the viewfinder optics are such that the two rangefinder images were
    always wobbling around a bit relative to one another. It was never possible to tell if the
    images were aligned because the lens was focused correctly - or simply because my eye
    was a bit off-center.

    I also could not mount my 90 f/2.8 without a monkey wrench. Don't know why it was so
    stiff - it mounts fine on any Leica body I've tried.

    The motor sound is irritating in single-frame mode - sort of a Woody Woodpecker sound
    "aaah-AAAH-aaah!" Quieter and less obnoxious in continuous mode, but you have to lift
    your finger fast to avoid multiple shots.

    It occasionally had shutter lag if the meter was 'sleeping' - see a moment happening,
    snap the camera to your eye, hit the button, and..."Huh? Whaa..? Oh - yeah - PICTURE!
    Click!" - about 1 second after the moment had vanished.

    Ultimately these things meant I could only use it reliably with lenses 50mm and wider -
    which was too limiting for my work.

    If you can live with lenses 50 and wider - or if you do not wear glasses, so that your eye
    can be right up against the viewfinder eyepiece - which reduces the RF "wobble" - the
    Konica is a nice little machine.

    I'm looking forward to getting back some of its features (high shutter speeds, motor
    cocking) - along with the Leica-quality RF optics it lacked - in the digital rangefinder Leica
    is introducing this fall.
  5. Jerry - you BAD boy! 8^)

    K-M bailed on consumer cameras because it had more profitable business lines to pursue.
    It was hardly driven from the battlefield by l'il old Leica alone - I think Canon and Nikon
    had something to do with it.

    Leica keeps building cameras and lenses because the alternative is to become a niche
    binocular maker. The good news is that with majority owners (ACM and Hermes) who care
    about product as well as profit, and with an entire new management willing to move with
    the times, Leica may get out of the woods soon (but they ain't there yet!)

    Richard: Just for the record, I've swapped rolls of film mid-roll in Leica M cameras many
    times. I wouldn't count that as a unique feature to the Hexar RF.
  6. The Konica Hexar RF is by far the best friendly user rangefinder camera that I ever have. I'm using that camera for more than 4 long years, without malfunctions, and with the company of various lenses from different manufacturers. Thaw I like my RF by hart, I'm still not reedy to depart my old trusty M's... Anyway, those days I'm relaying more and more on my digital rig. As you know, wan it's come to Income; the digital is the only player in town.
  7. I've got two Hexar RF's. The only reason I'd buy a leica body at this point is to get a higher mag vf. I think the Hexar's have superior ergonomics. If you are interested, I've recently put a review of it up on my website: Hexar RF review
    As Andy pointed out, eye alignment is crucial. It hasn't cost me any shots, but perhaps that's because I'm left eyed and mash the camera right up against my face.
    I've never experienced anything like the shutter delay Andy describes. I never bother to turn mine off on purpse, so perhaps that's the difference; even with the power always on, you get about 9 months off the batteries. The only times I've lost shots because of the camera were due to the on/off switch getting bumped around, occasionaly ending up in either off or self timer position. I've now trained myself to feel for the switch position as I'm bringing the camera up to my eye.

    hexar rf, 50 hexanon, HP5+
  8. in this case, i would choose according to viewfinder magnification. if we were talking about a .58 m6/mp/m7, the choice would mostly depend on how much money you wanted to spend...and whether the motor wind offends your sense of aesthetics! as it stands, i have a hexar rf and would like a .72 m7 for a second body, and maaaaaybe a .85 m7 for a third.

    it's easy to tell if your eye is not centered: look at the rf spot. if the edges are faded, you're off. maybe i'm unique in being able to center the viewfinder without thought. =O
  9. I have the RF and a M4-P, when I take a film camera it's the RF. It was a great idea, now that Sony own's the works for this camera, MAYBE we can expect a digital version, since they already have the electronics, the metal shutter and the motor drive worked out.

  10. I had a Hexar RF and I switched to an M7. I did not like the low VF magnification of the
    Hexar, and I did not like the exposures I was getting with it. It was more unpredictable in
    terms of what exact exposure it would give me as compared to my MP, so I figured by
    going to an M7, which has the same meter as the MP, I would get better results. I did. I
    had no focusing issues with the Hexar RF, not even with the 75mm f/1.4 or 135mm f/4. I
    did not really like the viewfinder shutter speed and metering display...I like it much better
    in the M7. In the Hexar I found it would often become invisible. The sound of the motor
    also drove me a bit crazy. <P>All that said, the Hexar is a superb camera and if you want
    its blend of features or the cost savings are very important to you, I think you would be
    really happy with one. The lenses are also superb. I find more Leicas more enjoyable to
    work with, but I don't think they are dramatically better...and they are worse in some ways
    (top shutter speed, built in motor etc).
  11. I used the hexarRF for 4 years, unfortunately it has been in repair for the last year.It's been away for repair since september 2005.
    It didn't help that first konica merged with Minolta, 3 years ago the Konica-service (here in the Netherlands) was great, when I once dropped the hexar on a marble floor.
    Since my camera is away for repair, Sony took over the photo-business of konica-minolta.
    Now the service is crap. The experts from konica are no longer working on the repair, I twice got the camera back, but both times it didn't work and it had to be sent back. I'm seriously thinking of getting a M7 for the times I want the automatic camera.
    I did like the hexar a lot. I used to get perfect exposed slides with the hexar. I have the hexanons 50 and 90, very good lenses and leica 35/2 and CV 25/4 and 15mm. Never saw anything of the back-focus issues.
    I do agree with Andy that the RF image overlap changes when you move your eye behind the finder. So for critical focussing always check that your eye is in the centre behind the finder. I think many people confuse this difficulty (mainly with longer focal-length lenses) with the backfocus issue.
    If you can get a camera for a good price and you think you need the auto-exposure, you should go for it, but keep in mind for repair issues you are depending on the company that took over the bunch from konica minolta, and -as it seems to me- doesn't have a lot of expertice, while a leica can be repaired anywhere by -almost- any reliable camera repair person. I still have to see when I get my camera back.
    For more info on the RF have a look at the hexarRF user-group at yahoo:
  12. >Stuart Richardson , jul 16, 2006; 07:49 a.m.

    I bought Stuart's Hexar from him--I love it. I wanted an M-mount body with a faster
    shutter and a lower mag. viewfinder for wide lenses. I have a collimation bench at work
    and none of my Leica lenses have a back focus problem. After trying an M-motor on my
    Leica--with its weight, noise, and slow speed, I really appreciate the Hexar. I sold the
    motor. I haven't noticed any of the exposure problems that Stuart did, and I don't have any
    problem with the readouts in the VF. It is nice for me when I'm going from a dark subway
    into bright sunlight with fast film, where with my Leica body I would have to use an ND
    filter to deal with the slow top shutter speed. I have a .85 VF Leica body, and the pair
    makes a
    nice set. You really should try them both out to see what you like...
  13. I have a Hexar RF and it performs well, but it is a tool with very specific advantages.

    I never use lenses longer than 50mm, because it is most similar to a 0.58 viewfinder Leica, not a 0.72. I sold my 0.58 because I grabbed the Hexar first when I wanted one camera and lens. I have had great results with my 28mm, or 35mm lens on this camera. As mentioned, in a pinch I also place a 24mm with out finder, or a 50mm lens on, but lower mag viewfinders don't focus as crisply as higher mag for longer lenses. I have a 0.72 M7, and 0.85 M6, and prefer those bodies to use 50, 75, 90, or 135mm optics.

    OTOH, with a 28 mm or 35 mm this is a great body with more information in the viewfinder than my M7, and as I am Left eyed, very comfortable to use when I sketch a scene looking for the right framing, or waiting for the right moment. BTW, I have a Rapidwinder for my M7, and it isn't the same as a built-in winder.

    Compared to a Leica M7 0.58, the Hexar is quicker to shoot, gives more information, has the same focusing issues with longer lenses, and quicker to load. I like mine very much.
  14. Love mine. Best deal on the market if you want a rangefinder that uses leica glass. Nice viewfinder for wide angle (nobody uses a rangefinder for teles anyway) nice motor winder, 1/4000 shutter, well-built, CHEAP.

    Plus, you won't look like a poseur.
  15. I have an Hexar RF and Leica M2 and M4 and a wide range of Konica M lenses. I have not encountered any backfocus issues that I am aware of. The lenses just swaps around the bodies without any problems.

    I started off with the M2 and got the Hexar RF about 2 years later. I usually have ISO 100 film in the Hexar and M4. ISO 400 film goes into the M2. I prefer the Leica for low light work. For ISO 100, the M4 sees little use, I prefer the Hexar RF which is much quicker in practical use.

    In essence, I have made a partial switch to Hexar RF from Leica M and plan to keep it that way.

    I guess that my Hexar RF eventually will need service (hopefully some 10-25 years from now) which might be a problem, while the Leicas will still be ticking along.
  16. I tried and tried to like my Hexar RF but eventually sold it. Bought it in the first place for
    all the seeming advantages: motordrive, AE capability, higher shutter speeds, price
    compared to Leica, etc. However, I found MANUAL exposure, which I use 80% of the time,
    to be incredibly unresponsive, You'd move the aperture nearly a whole stop and you'd see
    no change in the viewfinder meter reading. This is not a camera for those who like to use
    predominantly manual exposure. AE seemed ok, though biased for slides as the others
    say. Another problems that Konica
    seemed unable to fix was vertical alignment of of the rangefinder. Sent it in once and it
    came back worse. Konica technician told me on the phone that this was very delicate and
    they could not ever guarantee to fix it perfectly. Well, in my Leicas the RF patches match
    up perfectly and always have. speaking personally, the Hexar RF was a big
    disappointmenet. However, I kept the 50mm lens - great lens.
  17. I have a RF that I shoot along with an M6. About a week ago it tumbled out of my car onto the driveway. It appeared to work fine after that but had a couple a tiny dings. A few days later I was shooting at a wedding and it quit. The counter indicated #11, but when I took the roll out in the darkroom, the whole roll had been exposed. Now what to do? Has anyone had a similar problem? Where to fix this? Konica is non-existant, I think? Or, retire the body? I've only shot around 300 rolls with this body.
  18. Thanks for your feedback. The Konica RF has a dense feel with great features but appears less robust than a M or an electronic R3/Minolta XE-7. I will buy a M diopter for a .72 M6 in hopes of improving edge visibility of the 35mm frame.
  19. I had been using Hexar RF for about one and half year and finally let go. It is a great camera. It works well with Leica lenses from 21mm to 90mm. I don't have any problem in focusing and the 4000 shutter is great.

    The reason for selling it is it's shutter delay which is not so good for snapshot. I feel more sure on the timing of exposure when using M-body.

Share This Page