Lens choice for Konica Autoreflex TC3

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by john_h_osterholm, Dec 20, 2020.

  1. I have decided to buy a Konica SLR based on reputation and my experience with their rangefinders in the past and now (Auto S 3)

    I bought a Autoreflex TC3 and the Hexanon 28mm f3.5 that comes with it. What Hexanon zoom lenses are the choice of any users here? I already have several Tamron lenses that I used with other camera systems. I have read that for a standard lens tyhe Hexanon 40mm f1.8 is outstanding
  2. I only have the 40/1.8 on my Konica Autoreflex TC3, and it is a little gem. Sharpness, flare, bokeh, you name it, and they are all excellent. Here is one at golden hour.

    [​IMG]Golden light of sunset 12960012 by Zheng, on Flickr

    And a few more from the same roll:
    Flickr Search
    Julio Fernandez and James Bryant like this.
  3. T3 or TC? There is no TC3...

    Regardless, lens choice is the same.

    I have no experience of the Konica zooms, but they're reported to be nothing special.

    The 40/1.8 is a stunning lens and makes a perfect street/walk around option, especially on the lightweight TC or T4 bodies.

    The 50/1.4 is another that I use often. Bigger and heavier, not as razor sharp, but with better 'character' for portraits.

    Unfortunately, outside of the 28/3.5, the various standard lenses and the 135/3.5, Hexanon glass starts to get pricey, as you're competing with the collectors for relatively small production numbers, at least when compared to Canon/Nikon/Pentax.

    Definitely grab either the 40/1.8 or the 50/1.7.

    The 55/3.5 macro is a solid performer.

    I use my hexanons on both film and digital, they're some of my most used lenses. The 40/1.8 makes my Micro 4/3 glass look like coke bottle bottoms ..

    Don't forget, you can adapt just about any other SLR mount to Konica AR, but finding the adaptors can be hard.
    john_h_osterholm likes this.
  4. Yes, I meant the T3. I did order a Tamron Adaptall2 adapter for the Konica AR mount
    Thank you for your helpful response!
  5. As you have a T3, look for a TC with the 40/1.8 or 50/1.7, it will likely be cheaper than buying the lens by itself and you might find that you appreciate the lighter body.
  6. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    I no longer have any Konica equipment, but years ago used to have the Hexanon 28-135mm f/4-4.6 and found it to be an excellent lens, though not common. It was made by Tokina to Konica specifications (Tokina sold its version under the AT-X label). The UC Hexanon 45-100/3.5 also got high marks when tested by Modern Photography magazine, but it is also very hard to find. This thread below has the Modern test results of the 28-135 and some other opinions:

    What Konica zoom for a Konica Autoreflex T3n?.

    The primes mentioned above are all fine lenses, as are the 57/1.4 and the 100/2.8.

    There have been claims of Tamron interchangeable mounts possibly causing damage to Konica cameras, though I haven't used them myself.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2020
  7. My view of old cameras is that using them is a kind of "re-enactment" like the Civil War or French and Indian War re-enactors around here.

    If you take that view, the lens to put on the camera is one of those available in its years of sale and use.

    I confess that I do mix-and-match a lot too. With adapters you can go places that the contemporaries never dreamed of. :)
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2020
  8. I use Konica Hexanon F1.7 lens
    It is quite sharp and contrast
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2021
  9. With the first generation of Adaptall mounts one has to use the mount designed for a specific maximum aperture. If the incorrect one is used it still fits and works, but the maximum aperture indicator in VF will not show the correct maximum aperture. In the days when my family had a camera shop, Konica was the first brand of SLR we carried. At the time the Hexanon lenses (except for normal lenses) were too expensive for many of our Konica customers. Our Tamron Adaptall stock included the 105mm f 2.5, 135mm f 2.8, 85-210 f 4.5 (best seller for us), and even a couple of 38-100 f 3.8. No problems from any Tamron/Konica combination. The later Adaptall II mount was not aperture specific.
    A quick note that I mentioned in an earlier post- the older Adaptamatic system used a different mount on lenses and the adapters. System worked, but compared with the Adaptalls the mounting could be a bit fiddly. I have one Adaptamatic:an early 105mm f 2.5 with Minolta SR adapter. Great performer. I have to use stop down metering as the Adaptamatic mount I have is SR and not MC.
    So much for the "blast from the past"- some recommendations if you want to try Tamron: the 35-135 (compact one) is a good performer. Also the later 70-210 lenses (typically from f 3.8 to f 4 are worth a look). The 70-210 f 4-5.6 is worth a look if you want a compact tele zoom. If you want to stick with Hexanons any of the later tele zooms (80-200 range) are good.
    James Bryant likes this.
  10. You're very lucky to have found an S3 Auto! I envy you: that may be the only film camera coveted when I was I teenager that I haven't managed to acquire yet (the price has always been a little more than I was prepared to pay: first when new, and now 40 years later used). The best lens ever put into a compact rangefinder, best range/viewfinder, plus an amazingly simple yet effective fill flash system that competes well with modern electronic TTL. Sweet travel camera.

    Re lenses: Mike Gammill explained it well. Back in the 70s, Konica camera buyers tended not to purchase additional lenses beyond 50mm. If they did they rarely chose Hexanons, so second hand supply is sparse. Most Autoreflex owners opted for the more affordable Vivitars or the T-mount brands. Some of these are very good, available and affordable. A ntce overview of Hexanon lenses can be found here. Since the Konica lens line did not sell in nearly the numbers of competitors like Canon and Nikon, the really interesting and choice Hexanons are scarce and pricey collectibles now (I would kill for a 35/2 and 85/1.8 but have never seen them anywhere).

    My Autoreflex T3 (below) sports the faster Hexanon AR 50mm f/1.4, which is my favorite of an embarrassingly large collection of 50mm lenses from various mfrs. Much better than average for a mid-70s f/1.4, tho not quite as perfect as the Hexanon AR 50mm f/1.7 or 40mm f/1.8 (you should absolutely get the 40 or 50). Sadly like many other T3s, the CdS meter is dead in mine, so the beautiful 50/1.4 spends most of its time adapted to digital mirrorless cameras instead. The T3 (and its "stripped" twin the A3) were the high water marks of the Autoreflex lineage: beautifully built. But some aspects of the design have not aged well: the meters are often dead or inaccurate, the battery system can be a pain, and the viewfinder is a bit dull compared to other vintage SLRs that are more usable today.

    Some of my resistance is psychological: since the entire point of the AutoReflex cameras is the metering, a body with dead meter feels uninspiring to shoot manually. If I'm gonna use a body with a dead meter, my Nikkormat or Spotmatic or OM-1 seem more nimble and easier to carry. This is where the later Konica bodies have their niche: while not nearly as nicely made as the T3, the plastic TC and some of the motorized followups are more likely to be found with functional AE metering. Shooting film with the superb Hexanon glass is is more engaging when the camera body is completely operational.

    Konica T3 50mm14 AR.jpg
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2021

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