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Konica Hexar

Review by Richard Caruana, 1996


The Hexar is an excellent camera aimed at "real" photography. It's one of the fastest operating cameras I've used, and thus can serve double duty as a point-and-shoot. But it's not a point-and-shoot; if you want something completely automatic that will fit in your pocket, you'll probably be happier with a Yashica T4, Nikon 35Ti, or Contax T2. What makes the Hexar stand out is its f2.0 lens, excellent viewfinder, smooth shutter release, almost spooky quietness, and operating modes designed to aid serious photography.

The Hexar is well thought out and well executed. To me, it feels almost like an automated Leica M6. I prefer it to the Contax G1 because the Hexar is faster and quieter with a better viewfinder. That the $500 Hexar compares this well to cameras costing much more is impressive. But the M6 and G1 have one big advantage -- interchangeable lenses. If you find a fixed 35mm lens too limiting, don't buy a Hexar, except as a second camera. At the price of a lens for these other cameras, though, it makes a great second camera. It's so pleasant to use, you'll end up taking more pictures with it than you think.

Before jumping into specifics, let me describe the three basic operating modes: P(rogram), A(perture preferred), and M(anual).

Exposure Modes

The Hexar's P mode is like the program mode on most cameras except that the exposure settings are biased by the preferred aperture and minimum shutter speed you set. This biasing makes P mode more useful than the program mode on other cameras. Here's how it works: If there is enough light for the camera to use the aperture you set at shutter speeds as fast as the user-set minimum, it uses the aperture you set and raises the shutter speed. It starts closing the aperture past your setting only after it hits the camera's top shutter speed. If there is not enough light to use your set aperture at the user-set minimum shutter speed, it starts opening up the lens, keeping the shutter speed at the user-set minimum. I wish all cameras had a mode like this. The Hexar's P mode let's you bias the settings, but is also fairly foolproof. I even prefer this to Nikon's exposure shift because the Hexar lets me bias the settings before making an exposure reading.

Cleverly, in P mode the top-deck LCD displays the shutter speed if the camera can use the aperture you set, but displays the aperture when it can't (the shutter speed is at the max or user-set min so you don't need to see it). This way of keeping the photographer informed while minimizing display clutter works well. Note that in P mode the Hexar will not use a shutter speed slower than the user-set minimum, even if it is required for proper exposure, but still takes the picture. While this prevents blur, it can lead to underexposure. The camera warns you of this by flashing the underexposure warning light in the finder and the LCD display on the top deck. You can set the minimum shutter speed as slow as 1/8, and there's little reason to use P mode when not using the camera hand-held, so this isn't a problem. The other exposure modes give you back full control when you want it.

In A mode, you set the aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed. The camera flashes a warning light in the viewfinder if the shutter speed falls below the user-set minimum, or higher than the max, but the camera takes the picture anyway. In A mode the Hexar assumes you know what you are doing -- unlike P mode, it will use a shutter speed as long as 30 seconds if necessary. Comment: With other cameras I usually use aperture preferred or manual exposure; I rarely use program modes. The Hexar's P mode, however, is such an excellent marriage of program and aperture preferred automation that I use P mode on the Hexar more often than A mode. In both P and A modes, exposure locks when you partially depress the shutter release.

In M mode, you set the aperture and shutter speed. Red plus and minus signs in the viewfinder act as a match needle; when both light up you're within a third a stop. In P and A modes, the camera uses centerweighted metering. In M the meter switches to spot metering. Personally, I like this design, but you do need to keep it in mind when metering manually. Shutter speeds are set via up/down buttons. I'm not in love with buttons in general, but the Hexar's up/down buttons are well located and easy to use. They also allow you to set shutter speeds in 1/3 stops over a range from 30 seconds to 1/250. Note that most point-and-shoots, including the T4/35Ti/T2, do not have manual exposure. I usually find manual exposure is the easiest way to handle tricky lighting. And sometimes there just isn't any other way. This is an important advantage of the Hexar over its competition.

User-Set Minimum Shutter Speed

The Hexar allows the user to set the minimum shutter to be used for hand-held photography in P mode. The camera comes preset to a minimum speed of 1/30. Any speed between 1/8 and 1/60 can be set. The Hexar will not allow the shutter speed to fall below this in P mode. In A mode it will set the shutter speed as slow as 30 seconds if required, but the minus sign will flash in the viewfinder to warn you when the speed falls below your set minimum.

Flash Modes

The accessory flash is small, lightweight, and moderately powerful. The guide number is 43 at ISO 100, which translates to 21 feet at f/2.0 (or 43 feet with ISO 400 film). It is up to you to attach the flash and turn it on or off, the camera does not make this decision for you.

In P mode the Hexar uses flashmatic, like almost all point & shoot cameras. The flash fires at full power and the camera sets the aperture based on the focussed distance. The shutter speed is automatically adjusted to balance the background exposure with the flash exposure, but never goes below the user-set minimum speed to minimize ghosting. This system works well. It provides maximum depth-of-field up close where it is needed most, but allows the camera to use maximum aperture to achieve maximum flash range. Like Nikon's 3-D flash system, it is also more likely to give correct flash exposure with off-center subjects than the TTL flash metering in most SLRs. However, because each shot fully discharges the flash, you have to wait 5-10 seconds for the flash to recycle and batteries are consumed faster.

In A mode, you can keep the flash on full power, in which case it is up to you to calculate and set the correct aperture. Alternately, you can set the flash to its single auto-aperture mode, which uses an in-flash sensor and auto-thyristor to quench the flash when there is enough exposure. The auto-aperture is f/4.0 for ISO 100, f/8.0 for ISO 400, etc. (It's still up to you to set the camera's aperture. There is little integration between the flash and camera.) In A mode the shutter speed will be whatever is needed to balance background exposure at that aperture; this can easily be longer than you want to hand hold. For this reason I usually use M mode when using the flash on auto aperture. Konica foresaw this, and added a twist to flash in A mode to make it more useful: they moved flash synchronization to the rear curtain. If the exposure is long enough to bring the background exposure into balance, moving subjects may be blurred; rear curtain synch means that the blur is "behind" the sharp image captured by the flash, which fires just before the shutter closes.

There is no red-eye reduction mode; the flash is far enough away from the lens that it isn't needed. Also, unlike the T4/35Ti/T2, the Hexar can be attached to standard on and off-camera flashes. There's no PC socket, however, so you have to use a flash with a hot foot, or use a hot shoe-to-PC adapter. Unlike the Leica M6 or Contax G1, the Hexar's leaf shutter can flash synch at any speed up to 1/250, making daylight fill-flash easier.

Focus

The Hexar focusses to 2 feet using active multibeam autofocus. Unlike other multibeam systems, the goal of the multiple beams is not to provide wide area focus, but to provide very accurate single spot focus. As with other AF cameras, focus locks when you partially depress the shutter release. Distance is indicated by a scale in the viewfinder (more on this later), by a scale on the lens that rotates as the lens focusses, and can be displayed digitally on the LCD on the top deck if you switch to manual focus. The viewfinder scale is sufficient for most purposes; I rarely look at the lens scale or LCD.

Under testing with resolution targets, the Hexar's autofocus proved highly accurate. I may have observed a small bias towards focussing closer than the target, but I'm not sure. If there is a focus shift, it is less than 1/2 the depth-of-field at f/2.0 at both 3 feet and 10 feet. (I used three targets at different distances and autofocussed on the middle one. The middle target was always sharpest, but the closer target appeared sharper than the distant one. The distance between targets was less than half the DOF at f/2.0, so the effects I'm describing are small. Moreover, I'm not sure my setup is accurate enough for me to be confident of the findings.) In real photography, I do not observe any focus shift problems. In fact, I suspect the Hexar focusses more reliably than I do manually with an SLR.

The Hexar's active focus seems to conk out somewhere around 20-30 feet, depending on the subject and ambient illumination. When focussing on progressively further targets, my camera jumps from a reported focus distance of 7 meters to 20 meters. At f/2.0, the DOF for these two distances barely overlaps, and the DOF for 20 meters barely includes infinity (i.e., the hyperfocal distance at f/2.0 is about 20-25 meters). This suggests that you may have trouble at f/2.0 with subjects at 10-12 meters and infinity.

Actually, things aren't as bad as a simple DOF calculation suggests because at f/2.0 lens quality limits on-film sharpness more than the potential focus discrepancy -- the focus accuracy necessary to achieve near-optimal on-film resolution drops when lens quality becomes more of a limiting factor than the DOF. But the Hexar is close to the margin for objects at 10-12 meters and at infinity when used wide open. I feel more secure closing down to f/2.8 if possible for objects near these distances. Most of the performance improvement you'll get stopping down from f/2.0 for subjects at these distances will be due to improved lens performance, though, and not to increased DOF. (You might expect the T4/35Ti/T2 which have smaller maximum apertures to have less difficulty here. Because they are smaller and use smaller batteries, however, they have shorter baselines and may project dimmer focus beams to conserve power. Thus it's not clear that the T4/35Ti/T2 do better with distant subjects at f/3.5/2.8/2.8 than the Hexar does at f/2.0. Plus the Hexar focusses more accurately than it needs to when closed down to f/2.8.)

You can manually set focus in finer increments for distant subjects. At the far end of the scale, the available manual settings are 5m, 7m, 10m, 20m, 40m, and 999m (infinity). The DOF at f/2.0 for these distances overlap considerably. When using the lens at f/2.0, you might get slightly better performance by focussing manually for subjects beyond 7 meters. I must admit, I've yet to bother doing this myself, in part because I'm rarely at f/2.0 for subjects this far away, and also because the difference in performance would be so small. The Hexar let's you switch to infinity focus by pressing a single button, so I usually do this for distant subjects.

So what about manual focus? In autofocus, the camera focusses when you partially depress the release. If you press the MF button while holding the release partway down, the Hexar switches to manual focus with the distance set to the autofocussed distance. The distance is displayed digitally (in meters) on the LCD display and also on the lens barrel, and is adjusted via the Up/Down buttons. To switch back to autofocus, hold the MF button down for a second; the LCD displays "AF" and the lens rotates back to its AF position. If you press the MF button without holding the shutter release part way down, the camera goes to infinity focus.

Manually focussing the Hexar is not nearly as fast, convenient, nor pleasant as with a Leica M6, or perhaps even a Contax G1. First, adjusting focus with up/down buttons feels awkward to me. Second, there is no confirmation when the distance you set manually matches what the autofocus system detects. That said, however, I don't find the Hexar's manual focus to be a drawback, largely because I rarely have to use it. The Hexar's multiple beam autofocus is reliable, both indoors and out, and with a variety of subjects (active focus does not depend on subject contrast). The Hexar even seems to focus through most glass, including smoked glass. Add to this reliability the ease with which you can get to infinity focus, or freeze focus at the currently sensed distance, and you quickly find that 99.9% of the time what you want to do with focus is fast and easy.

Viewfinder

The viewfinder is excellent. It is large, bright, distortion free, and I don't have to take off my glasses to use it. Basically, it's the next best thing to the finder on a Leica M6. It's much nicer than the finders on the T4/35Ti/T2, or even on the Contax G1 (which I find too small and too dim). The lens does not block the finder image, even with the lens hood extended.

The Hexar's frame lines move to compensate for parallax and image scale. The framelines are moved by motor instead of using a projected LCD display. At first I thought this old tech solution would be inferior. Now I don't. Believe it or not, the nicest thing about motorized framelines is that you can see them move! LCD framelines pop instantly into place. Seeing the framelines move makes for much surer focus confirmation and composition. You learn very quickly to judge how far away the camera has focussed by how far the framelines move. In the rare cases where focus is not what you wanted, you know immediately that it is wrong. You don't have to look at a scale, you don't have to see if a focus indicator light is blinking, you just know. It's remarkably intuitive.

The top frameline slides along a distance scale so you can read the approximate focus distance from the frame's position on the scale. You'll rarely look at the scale. After a few rolls of film you just know about how far away the camera has focussed by seeing how far the framelines moved. It doesn't take any conscious effort. You'll just know. I really like this. Projected LCD frameline systems would do well to emulate this by scanning their framelines to the right place instead of jumping there right away.

One other thing the framelines do is go back to their infinity setting as soon as the exposure is done. This might not seem useful, but the camera is so quiet in stealth mode that immediate visual confirmation that the picture has been taken can actually be useful. (In manual focus the framelines always stay at the position determined by the distance you set.)

The framelines on my Hexar are very accurate. The lack of accurate framelines is one of the reasons I decided against the T4/35Ti/T2 -- I do a lot of work in medium format and want to make maximum use of the smaller negative when shooting 35mm. I also want accurate framing when shooting slides.

The viewfinder manages to convey a lot of info with a few unobtrusive indicators. In P and A modes, the match needle indicators are used to warn against over and underexposure, and if the shutter speed falls below the user-set minimum. Focus lock is indicated by a separate LED, and the approximate focus distance can be read from the frameline's position on a distance scale. The LEDs are usually visible, but not so bright as to be distracting.

Lens

Ok, so the exposure modes are well thought out, the focus system is accurate, and the viewfinder is good. This is all for naught if the lens isn't good. Guess what? The lens is good. Very good. I've compared it with several prime 35mm lenses, both using resolution targets and by looking at pictures. The Hexar's lens is as good as or better than anything else I've used. It is good at f/2.0, better at f/2.8, and outstanding at f/4.0 and beyond. Not only is sharpness high, but contrast, color fidelity, and eveness of illumination are excellent, too. I really like the pictures this lens takes. The smooth, predictable shutter release and vibration-free shutter help you get the most out of the lens when using the Hexar handheld.

Unlike the T4/35Ti/T2, the lens is threaded for filters (46mm). The threads do not rotate as the camera focusses so using a polarizing filter is easier. Keep in mind, though, that using polarizers on a non-SLR is tough because you aren't viewing through the lens so can't easily judge the effect. When the lens focusses, it moves inside a solid, fixed barrel. Because of this, the lens and focus mechanism are protected from abuse, even when in use. There is a traditional focus scale on the lens visible through a clear window similar to the windows found on many SLR autofocus lenses. There aren't any controls on the lens, however; focus and aperture are both controlled from the top deck.

The lens has an abbreviated depth-of-field scale with marks for f/8.0 and f/16.0. I'd prefer a more complete scale. It also has an infrared focussing mark, though this is unnecessary with the Rhodium and Classic models, which can be programmed to AF with infrared film. The retractable lens hood operates smoothly and extends far enough to do a reasonable job of minimizing flare.

Shutter Lag

The Hexar's autofocus system seems to be about as fast as other autofocus systems. But there is a big difference between the Hexar and most point-and-shoots. The Hexar moves the lens when it measures distance, i.e., when you partially press the release. When you press the release the rest of the way to take the picture, the lens is already in place and the aperture is already stopped down, so there is no noticeable delay. Many point-and-shoots do not focus the lens until you take the picture, introducing considerable delay between when you press the release and when the picture is taken. To me, this delay is too long for pictures of people or animals -- expressions can change a lot in a half of a second. Although I haven't tried measuring it, the Hexar's shutter lag feels as short as any other camera I've used, including the Leica M6. In other words, shutter lag isn't a problem if you pre-focus. If you don't pre-acquire focus, but just fire the release all the way in one shot, lag seems about average.

Ergonomics

The ergonomics are great. The rubber coating looks good and feels wonderful. When I hand the Hexar to experienced photographers, I often get the same sequence of reactions. First they comment on how nice it feels in their hands. Then they look through the viewfinder and comment on how nice the finder is. Then they fire a few shots and comment on how quiet it is and how good the shutter release feels. Then they ask how good the pictures are.

Which brings us to the shutter release. The Hexar's shutter release is very good. I might even prefer it to the release on the M6. The Hexar release is in exactly the right place for my hand, and I have no difficulty depressing the release half way for focus/exposure lock, and then smoothly and predictably pressing it the rest of the way to take the picture. The nicest thing about it is that it feels like I can fire the shutter without shaking the camera at all. The shutter release and controls, however, are awkward with thick gloves. The knurled aperture wheel around the shutter release is large, easy to read, easy to turn with your forefinger (but not so easy that you'll do it accidentally), and has half-stop indents that make it easy to adjust without removing the camera from eye level.

The Hexar is quiet. Incredibly quiet. People often comment on how quiet it is -- and that's when I use it in the normal "noisy" mode! When turned to the quiet mode, it is almost inaudible, even to the photographer. My wife and I do a lot of photography, yet we often can't tell when the other has taken our picture with the Hexar. In manual focus the camera is even quieter.

In "stealth" mode, film advance and rewind are also extra quiet. One nice feature is that if the camera starts to rewind the film you can turn the camera off and rewind will stop. Rewind continues when you turn the camera back on. If you turn the camera back on in quiet mode, rewind continues quietly. Very nice! Note: as the instructions explain, the camera can have trouble rewinding some thick films at slow speed. For example, my camera sometimes has trouble with 36 exposure rolls of P3200 (TMZ). When this happens, rewind stops and the LCD flashes instead of continuing to count down to zero. The LCD display continues to flash even when you turn the camera off to remind you there's unfinished business -- wouldn't want to open the back back prematurely! Restarting the camera in normal mode finishes the rewind.

The LCD frame counter counts backwards as the film rewinds. When it hits zero, the camera pauses for a second and blinks the LCD display several times -- if you open the camera back then the film leader is left out. If you don't, the camera pulls the leader in a moment later. There is no special mode to remember to set or unset.

Auto DX, Manual ISO, and Exposure Compensation

Unlike the T4/35Ti/T2, the Hexar lets you overide the DX film speed and set the ISO manually. This lets you shoot P3200 (TMZ), which is DXed for 3200, at something more realistic like 1250. I find being able to adjust film speed a much more convenient way of compensating for how I shoot B&W film and some slide films than using exposure compensation. The Hexar also has exposure compensation (+- 2 stops in 1/3 stop increments), but I use this to handle tricky lighting, not to correct an entire roll's film speed. That's just as well -- the Hexar's exposure compensation resets when you turn the camera off.

A nice touch is that the Hexar remembers the last film speed you set manually and automatically uses that when you put in a non-DX roll of film. This is helpful if you often load your own film into non-DX cartridges. When you put in a roll of DX film, the Hexar uses and displays the DX speed. If you always use the same film and always shoot it at a speed different from the DX speed, you have manually reset the speed every time you reload. Annoying, but it prevents you from acidentally shooting rolls of DX film at an ISO you manually set for some other roll.

Metering

Pop-Photo reported that the Hexar they tested underexposed 2/3 a stop. My Hexar is within 1/3 of a stop of the other meters I use. I can't assess how much variation there is model to model, but my Hexar is accurate. In any case, manual ISO setting allows one to bias exposure the way one would with most SLRs.

The Hexar uses center weighted metering for P and A, and spot metering for M. I like this, but not everyone will. A separate averaging/spot switch would give more control, but would also slow you down and maybe increase the number of mistakes. I can live with either aproach.

In real picture taking situations, the Hexar's metering appears to be consistent and reliable. It does not have multi-pattern metering, though, so it is up to you to recognize and compensate for situations that will fool it. Personally, I prefer this, not because I don't believe multi-pattern meters are accurate in more situations, but because I don't know how to predict when a multi-pattern meter will not be accurate, or how to compensate it when it isn't. Center weighted metering is simple enough that I know when it will work and what to do in those situations when it won't. And, because I understand it, I find it easier to modify a centerweighted reading to achieve a special exposure effect.

A series of pictures taken by varying the aperture and shutter speed to provide constant exposure indicate that both the aperture and shutter are accurate -- I saw no difference in exposure between the frames when comparing them side-by-side.

Drawbacks

The Hexar Is Not A Point-And-Shoot

In Program mode the Hexar acts almost like a point-and-shoot, but not quite: it is up to you to attach the flash and decide whether or not to use it, exposure is affected by the aperture you set and the minimum shutter speed you allow, and the autofocus system is designed more for precise control than to be foolproof (autofocus on some point-and-shoots is made more foolproof, but also less controllable, by using multiple target areas and focussing on whatever is closest, which is often, but not always, the right thing to do).

You have to remember to take the lens cap off, and then not lose it. You can take a whole roll of pictures with the lens cap on and not know it -- everything still works.

The camera is solidly built, but it's not protected by a clamshell or porthole cover. I'm not sure it would survive as much abuse as a closed T4/35Ti/T2. I don't think I want to fall on my Hexar. On the other hand, the lens on an open T4/35Ti/T2 is much more fragile than the lens on the Hexar.

Top Shutter Speed is 1/250

The top shutter speed is 1/250. Actually, the 35Ti and T2 apparently go to speeds higher than this only in special situations. I suspect all three manufacturers had difficulty making small, quiet, low power leaf shutters that are fast enough when the lens is wide open -- even the leaf shutters on most pro cameras top out at 1/500. Maybe the 35Ti and T2 achieve their top speeds only when the lens is closed down enough that they don't have to fully open the shutter? Anyone know? [Ed: it is certainly tougher to build a leaf shutter for an f/2 lens than for an f/3.5 lens since the area to cover/uncover is much larger.]

Anyway, the Hexar's top speed of 1/250 is a problem, not because it is not fast enough to freeze action, but because it limits your choice of aperture when using fast film outdoors. The M6 and G1, which both have focal plane shutters, don't have this problem. I considered carrying a 3 or 4 stop neutral density filter just for those times when I'm stuck with fast film in sunlight, but I found a better solution: the Hexar lets you leave the leader out when rewinding. The winding mechanism is repeatable enough that you can reload a roll and leave only one frame blank. (Actually, loading is repeatable enough to leave no blank frame if you are carefull to load the leader slightly further when reloading -- then you only lose part of a frame, which works fine with 8x10 contact sheets of strips of six frames.) Because the Hexar has a "manual" lens cap and manual exposure, advancing past used frames is not the problem it would be with most point-and-shoots.

So I carry different films for indoors and outdoors and just switch rolls when necessary. Actually in some ways it is nice to be forced to use the right film for each situation. One trick I've found is to place a roll of film into the camera, but to not turn the camera on unless I want to take a picture. The Hexar does not advance the film to the first frame until you turn the camera on. This let's me put in a roll of film so that the camera is ready, but switch the roll to something else without rewinding if I haven't taken a picture yet. BTW, mid-roll rewind requires a pen or similar instrument to press the small, recesed rewind button. After getting caught a few times without a pen, I bought one of those "space pens" to keep in the camera case. It's small, and writes on film cartridges well enough to let me note the last exposed frame on the roll.

No Cable Release

The Hexar doesn't have provision for a cable or electric release. Yes, the self timer helps fill the void, but sometimes nothing but a cable release will do. Given how well they did everything else, I don't know how Konica left this out.

[Ed: you can build your own cable release for the Hexar.]

No Case

The accessory flash comes with a small case, but the camera does not. There is an optional leather case for the camera that costs about $50. The optional case is soft, high quality leather, and appears to be well made, but has openings on each side for a camera strap. If you don't use a camera strap, the openings are so large that they let dirt in and won't adequately protect the camera near the strap lugs.

Battery Dependence

Likemost modern cameras, the Hexar is useless without a battery, so carry a spare. Fortunately, the Hexar is rated for more than 200 rolls of 24 exposures, turns itself off if accidentally left on, and doesn't use the camera battery to power the flash.

Small Buttons

The buttons used to switch the camera to manual focus mode, to manual ISO mode, to exposure compensation mode, and to self timer mode are small and hard to press. Note that these are not the buttons used to turn the camera on and off or to select P, A, or M mode. They are also not the up/down buttons used to set the shutter speed, exposure compensation, and distance for manual focus. The on/off/exposure mode switch and up/down buttons are very nice and easy to use. It's the small buttons that you use less frequently that are the problem.

No Continuous Firing/Focussing Mode

The Contax G1 lets you take multiple pictures after you lock focus and exposure by lifting the shutter release only half way between exposures in single-shot mode, or by holding the release down in continuous mode. With the Hexar, you must lift the release all the way before the film advances, so focus and exposure lock are lost and must be reacquired. Switching to manual focus or manual exposure solves this problem for those situations where repeatedly reacquiring focus or exposure would be awkward, but the G1's solution is sometimes more convenient.

Viewfinder (the downside)

I really like the viewfinder and moving framelines, but sometimes the framelines are not easy to see. This isn't a big problem, but it could be better. The aperture and shutter speed are not displayed in the viewfinder. Nor is exposure compensation or flash information. I can't decide if this is a bug or a feature. It keeps the finder uncluttered, but you have to look at the LCD display on the top deck to check things. When taking the first picture in a new setting, I often end up removing the camera from eye level to see what's up. I don't like having to do that. Yet, for subsequent pictures in the same setting, I really like the fact that the finder is "quiet" and let's me concentrate on composition and timing. Hard call.

Instruction Manual

The instruction manual is poor. All the info seems to be there, but it isn't easy to follow. Fortunately, the Hexar has few modes, and the control sequences are pretty logical once you understand the philosophy behind the camera. This is one of those cameras where the more you understand about photography, the more you understand why the camera works the way it does. There's a thin plastic wallet reference card that summarizes all the control modes. In contrast to the manual, this card is very well done, and actually manages to explain almost everything. I don't carry this card with me because the camera makes so much sense that it was easy to learn how to do everything the first night.

Size and Weight

The Hexar is significantly bigger and heavier than T4/35Ti/T2 class cameras. It's not big, but it's not small, either. Although it fits in a coat pocket, it's not really pocketable. The Hexar is similar in size to a Contax G1 with a 45mm lens -- the G1 with lens is only slightly bigger and thicker. The M6 is only a little larger than the G1, but is heavier.

To me, the real competition for the Hexar is the Leica M6 and Contax G1, not the T4/35Ti/T2. The fact that I even mention the Hexar in the same class as the M6 and G1 is testament to how well done it is. Add to this the fact that it costs about $500, and in some ways is more pleasant to use than the M6 and G1, and the Hexar starts to look very attractive. The main loss is the lack of interchangeable lenses. This is a big loss; if you can't live with the 35mm focal length, this isn't the camera for you. (But at a price less than or equal to a 35mm lens for a M6 or G1, it's one hell of an extra camera!)

The Hexar's Competition

Why did I buy the Konica Hexar instead of the T4/35Ti/T2, Contax G1, or Leica M6? Here's my reasoning. Keep in mind that I already own several cameras -- what I was looking for was something small enough to carry around most of the time, yet good enough to let me do some "serious" photography when the opportunity arises.

I've never used a Yashica T4/T4 Super. I hear they're great. I just knew that being stuck in program mode all the time was going to be too limiting for me for anything other than snapshots.

Deciding between the Hexar and the 35Ti/T2 was difficult. I picked the Hexar over the 35Ti for the following reasons (presented in order of their importance to me):

  1. more accurate framing and better viewfinder; the 35Ti only has a single close-up frame and its viewfinder is too busy
  2. manual exposure; the 35Ti does have exposure shift, though
  3. manual ISO -- I don't like having to use exposure compensation to adjust film speed, e.g., once you use Nikon's +- 2 stop exposure compensation to bring P3200 down to ISO 1000, there's little room to compensate left, and you can't switch to manual exposure to solve the problem
  4. f/2.0 vs. f/2.8 -- an extra stop of light makes a big difference if you are trying to take pictures in available light
  5. the Hexar works with any flash; the 35Ti is limited to its in-body flash which to me is only really useful for fill

But the 35Ti has a few pluses:

  1. it fits in your pocket!
  2. it fits in your pocket!
  3. the flash is built in (yes, this is a plus sometimes)
  4. shutter speed visible in finder
  5. it fits in your pocket!

I almost bought the 35Ti, mostly because it is truly pocketable. In the end, however, I decided that it would frustrate me too often. Under its beautiful clothes, the 35Ti is still a point-and-shoot. I have nothing against point-and-shoots; they're great for snaphots. Unfortunately, they're not usually great for much more than snapshots. But if I were going to buy a point-and-shoot, I'd probably buy the Nikon. If it had manual ISO, manual exposure, and more accurate framing, I'd buy one tonight!

Deciding between the Hexar and G1 was also difficult. The G1 is almost as light and compact as the Hexar, the G1's automatic and manual modes are well done, the lenses are excellent, and the lenses are interchangeable. I finally selected the Hexar because it was smaller, lighter, operates faster, and because I didn't like the G1's small, dim viewfinder. (I could also buy four Hexars for the price of a G1 and lens.)

The Leica M6 is a great camera with great lenses. For me, though, it's a little too big and too heavy to carry around all the time, even with a collapsible lens. It also lacks autofocus and autoexposure. Although I often prefer manual exposure and manual focus, automation is nice sometimes, particularly autofocus. If I had both an M6 and a Hexar, I'd use both. The Hexar, however, is probably what I'd carry around in my daypack, take to the office, and use most around the house.

Buying a Hexar

There are three Hexar models currently available: the original, the Rhodium, and the Classic. I bought the original. For $30 you can have the original upgraded to all the features of the Rhodium. This adds infrared autofocus, manual GN entry for flashmatic with flashes other than the Hexar flash, one touch exposure correction (not sure what that is), and multiple exposures. The Classic has all the features of the Rhodium, plus autobracketing. I'd like to have bought the Classic, but it just didn't seem worth the extra money to get autobracketing. I'll "upgrade" my Hexar to the Rhodium specs as soon as I'm willing to part with it for a few weeks.

Why is it so hard to find a Hexar in a store? I asked several pro shops. Each said the same thing: the Hexar's niche is too small; they don't expect to sell enough of them to make it worth keeping on the shelf. Someone wanting the ultimate luxo point-and-shoot is going to buy a 35Ti or T2, someone wanting the ultimate rangefinder is going to buy a Leica M6 or Contax G1, and almost everyone else is going to buy a much more compact, and more automatic, point-and-shoot. Some of the camera stores that used to carry the Hexar stopped carrying it when the 35Ti and G1 were introduced.

Many people at the stores have never actually seen a Hexar. This is unfortunate because I think the niche for this camera would be larger if stores carried it and the people behind the counter promoted it properly. The folks at Konica obviously put a lot of thought into the Hexar. (I suspect designing the Hexar was a "reward" to the designers who stayed with the company when it stopped making non-point-and-shoot cameras.) It's a shame their labor has not been rewarded with more market share -- they did such a nice job! I enjoy using the Hexar. Every now and then when I'm stuffing it into a coat pocket or into my backpack, I wish it were smaller. But when it's in my hand, I'm very staisfied. I'm thinking of buying a second one for my wife; she likes the Hexar more than I do.

Editor's Note:

Where to Buy

The Hexar RF and the Hexar Silver are stocked by Adorama, a retailer that pays photo.net a referral fee for each customer, which helps keep this site in operation. For additional retailer information, see our recommended retailers page and the user recommendations section.


Review Copyright 1996 Richard Caruana

Article created 1996

Readers' Comments


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Anukul Kapoor , December 15, 1996; 02:30 A.M.

If you currently call any of the NY mail order houses you'll find that they claim that the Hexar has been discontinued and is no longer available. Although currently, the Hexar is not in production and current stocks are all that are left in stores, Konica has said they will begin producing the Hexar with Date Back (and only with Date Back) in March of 1997.

Lesson: If you don't want to wait until March, or can't stand the bulge of a useless date back, you might want to buy one where ever you can find one.

Kim Teo , December 23, 1996; 06:32 P.M.

One warning - when rewinding before the end of roll is reached using a tool such as the tip of a ball point pen, the button can be depressed too far. As a result it can slip below the metal shell and be stuck in rewind mode . You might be left with non functioning camera without realising what happened. You can release the button by using the same ballpoint pen to guide it out of the little hole. Happened to me once and since then wth careful usage has never happed again.

Gerrit Heeres , January 06, 1997; 07:32 A.M.

1. When using the flash in P-mode, Hexar will first use the aperture and shutter speed it would use when photographing without a flash. Just before flashing at the end of the exposure time, it will change the aperture to the value needed for the flash. When I noticed this I expected to see some overexposure on color slides, but that didn't happen. 2. I haven't missed the possibility for using a cable release for a moment. The T-mode for long exposures can be started using the self timer. To stop it you have to depress the release button. That is quite safe, because you only have to depress the release button halfway and because it is situated almost straight above the tripod screw.

clint ruoho , January 22, 1997; 11:27 P.M.

The Konica Hexar is an excellent camera, especially when portability is a concern. The lens is excellent, although I have experienced a dropoff in the light on the corners when the aperture was below F4. But color rendition is excellent, and the lens is incredibly sharp! With a roll of Kodak RG 1000 film (or any other high speed film) loaded, the Hexar is an exceptional available-light candid camera.

You really can't go wrong with the Hexar, especially considering that for the price, its' performance exceeds that of almost every 35mm lens available! When you consider the price of the Hexar, it is definately worth buying. The Hexar is a great available light/lightweight carry camera.

michael cox , January 25, 1997; 09:22 P.M.

I've had my Hexar for a year using it on film sets. In "quiet" mode it is almost as silent as a blimped SLR, though I would not shoot during a take - more for the impropriety of it than any noise, which is so negligible that sound mixers I've talked to agree they'd have a hard time hearing it in any but the quietest scene. Are you aware that Konica will perform a free refit, if you send them the camera, that will allow it to focus correctly in infrared mode? The lens focuses, then shifts the requisite amount to compensate for the infrared shift. I love this camera so much I'm thinking of buying another. I wish they'd come out with another model, identical in features, but with a 90mm lens.

David Bindle , February 07, 1997; 12:07 P.M.

When using Hexar in P mode REMEMBER... Hexar will still try to bias your exposure with what your aperture is set at. If you want the sharpest image possible while in P mode, but you have recently been in A mode and have left the aperture at 2.8, and, if 2.8 isn't too fast for a max 1/250th in P mode... 2.8 will be used. If your looking for the sharpest images in quick P mode it's a good idea to set the apeture to f8 or f11. That way those apertures will be used unless your user set max slow speed is exceeded, or, the scene is too bright for a max shutter speed of 1 250th. Have I made sense??

David Bindle , February 14, 1997; 10:26 A.M.

Wasn't that a great review?!... Thanks Richard I believe the only thing missing are a few comments about the software update that can be done to basic Hexars. This adds four features that may or may not be usefull to the individual. 1) multiple exposure capability 2) Autofocus correction for infrared focusing. If using IR film, the camera will automatically correct the autofocus for precise focus. 3) User set flash GN setting. You can setup your camera to use any other flash. (if you know the guide number of the flash) 4) One touch shutter speed selection in manual mode. In M mode, set preferred aperture, target appropriate metering object and depress shuttor button halfway and hold. While holding this button, tap either up/down button once and the correct shutter speed will pop into place. If what you have metered on doen't need exposure compensation... this works great. You don't have to tap up or down to "find" the correct shutter speed. Both methods work well.

These four features were standard on the much more expensive Rhodium model, as well as the "Hexar Classic" which also had exposure bracketing. Exposure bracketing is not available in the software update.

I have no idea whether the new shipment of Hexars with the date back will have these features as standard or not.

Gene Avorio , March 26, 1997; 12:47 A.M.

I work for Wolf Camera & Video and have been involved in the photo industry for 23 years. I own Several SLR cameras and six or so point & shoot cameras ( a job hazard ). I puchased a Hexar after using a 35Ti on loan from nikon to me for a month. I found the Ti to be a wonderfull P&S camera, but after using the Hexar, I find it to be a better choice for more "serious" point & shooting. I prefer the larger Viewfinder, seperate flash more user friendly controls, the f2 lens, etc, more to my liking. As far as the difficulty of finding one in a retail outlet, I had to Mail order it. ( it killed me to ) My favorite pocket P&S is the recently discontinued Pentax UC-1 A razor sharp deck of cards size camera

Glen Johnson , April 15, 1997; 09:29 A.M.

The new Hexar Silver is now available. The price at B&H (with 2 year warranty and Flash) is $599.95.

Randall A. Kaye , April 23, 1997; 06:09 P.M.

One peculiarity about the Hexar I learned the hard way: The metering window is located next to the lens on a small raised oval with the self-timer LED. My right middle finger seems to set itself right on top of the metering window, causing overexposure; be careful. Otherwise, no complaints; viewfinder outstanding.

T. Vannatta , June 07, 1997; 03:35 P.M.

As a Canon SLR user looking to capture the feel and capabilities of a 60s style rangefinder I found that the Hexar Silver I just purchased fills the bill. I found the review much more enlightening than the manufacturer's multilingual manual. As one of the postings stated, the date back seems to be standard with the Hexar Silver. I have found one minor design glitch- the lens cap, vintage 60s/70s metal, is not deep enough when using a a filter. I bought the Hexar after trying to find a working Yashica Electro - only to discover that batteries are no longer available - hence the cheap price. In all, the review is definitely worth printing.

Martin Davidson , June 24, 1997; 07:35 A.M.

The Hexar lens quality is definitely Leica standard. I also have a Contax T2, and have compared the two. The Hexar is a sharper lens, just. But I disagree that it has a visibly superior viewfinder; the T2's has the edge, I think. The review here is far, far better than the useless instructions the camera comes with -- for example, there was no mention that I could see that Manual Mode gives you spot, rather than weighted, metering, so thank you for that. The Hexar is, however, slower to use than a T2 -- or even an SLR. Aligning up the + and - signs is fiddly; and when using A mode, not having displayed the shutter speeds in the viewfinder is irritating -- you have to keep referring to the top LED for that. Apart from that, silent mode is fantastic -- when using it outdoors you often dont realise you've actually taken a shot. Shrinking parallax lines are good too. The only down side is its appearance. For me, it's a little dowdy (I have the old black model, maybe the silver one is slicker). The KONICA logo is rather ugly. Still, this has the advantage of making it look rather unostentacious (unlike the T2 which has "steal me" written all over it.) I would have found this a much harder camera to use had it not been for this review, which I have read and rearead nearly four or five times. Thanks for all the effort, much appreciated.

Kim Teo , July 06, 1997; 12:59 P.M.

Another way of looking at the usage of the dedicated flash in P mode is that the Hexar makes a double exposure. The first exposure is in P mode without the flash for the background. You may therefore want to set the aperture to have some control of this exposure (depth of field vs shutter speed, etc), bearing in mind that the P mode is actually an aperture-priority-programmed mode. The second exposure is a flashmatic exposure. Hexar will change the aperture according to the distance obtained by autofocusing. (Gude No/distance) before firing the flash. One of the feature of the Rhodium, also available with the software upgrade on the original Hexar, is that the guide number of any flash can be entered manually. With this, Hexar can perform the P-mode flash with any manual flash unit! This means that any flash unit now essentially provide the same functionality as the dedicated Konica HX-14!

Justin Ting , July 09, 1997; 03:41 P.M.

The Hexar Silver appears to not have the "silent mode." It is not listed in the brochure, and when I tried one, it didn't seem to have silent mode. I'm glad someone was actually carrying the camera, yet disappointed that the only currently available model has omitted one of my favorite features.

Robert Ades , August 09, 1997; 04:27 P.M.

I got one of the last black Hexars right as the Silver model was introduced. Glad I got it, because the silent mode is really invaluable. Here are my gripes: 1)I wish that the camera were a little more compact. 2)I wish that the camera had shutter and aperature readings inside the viewfinder. 3)I wish the lens could focus a little closer than .6 meters (2 feet). 4)I wish the meter sensor was inside the lens, so that exposure compensation for filters was automatic. 5)I wish the autofocus were updated to permit focussing through mirrors and glass.

Christian del Rosario , November 26, 1997; 01:48 A.M.

I first heard about the Hexar a number of years back when it was first introduced. I worked at a camera shop at the time and one of our regular customers who was into collecting cameras showed me his black Hexar. He told me all about the camera and how much he loved using it, even more than his Leica at times. At the time I was pretty impressed, but because I did not do much candid-low light photography, I never really thought about the Hexar after that day. Well, after a few years later and finding myself in college at San Jose State University studying Photojournalism, I quickly remembered the Hexar after shooting a few rolls with my 1-N under conditions which, well...everyone KNEW I was taking pictures! I wanted the Hexar BAD, especially for it's quiet mode. Well, after almost having a heart attack calling every mail order place and finding out nobody had anymore, I got lucky and found a camera store in San Francisco who still had the Rhodium. I purchased the camera (at high cost by the way :( ) and have been shooting for almost a year now. Man, I am always impressed with how sharp the lens is. I also love how most people barley care i'm shooting since it doesn't look expensive (I also put gaffer tape on some parts of the camera to make it look even less appealing). The quiet mode is by far the coolest feature for me. Since the camera is soo quiet, it's great to know you've taken a photo when you see the frame lines return to their normal position. I also love the fact that Konica put a hot shoe on it. I use the hexar with studio strobes by using a hotshoe-pc adapter. Manual mode is great for studio work with flashmeter. I only have a few gripes: 1)Whenever I manually focus to .6m, the camera locks up and displays EEE. The only way to get the camera working again is to take out the battery and re-insert it. Apparently, some Hexars suffer from this problem. 2) The viewfinder gets DUSTY real quick inside. I have no idea how it gets dusty so fast. 3)The rubber eyepiece surround can twist off easily, so be careful and make sure it's tight, otherwise you'll lose your eyepiece and have to order it from Konica for almost $25 (been there, done that). 4) Although the one-touch manual exposure mode is convenient, I wish those dinky up/down adjustment buttons were either bigger, easier to press, and more convieniently located! 5) Thank you Konica for allowing filters to be used on the camera. I only wish the manual exposure compensation values could be locked in place so it doesn't go back to zero compensation when turned off and back on. When using filters such as an enhancing or polarizing filter, it's easy to forget to set the compensation value again.

Other than those problems, I love the camera. I thought I would be getting something like a Leica, but cheaper in many ways. Well, after using it for some time, I think the Hexar can definitely hold it's own. I really hope many people tell Konica how much they enjoy using their Hexar so Konica will further improve and offer it. I hope they will make a Hexar with a 28mm lens in the future. I think that would be ideal.

Erick Gordillo , February 04, 1998; 01:48 P.M.

I recently purchased a Konica Hexar Silver, and found out that because of a lawsuit that Konica is involved in they no longer can sell Konica camera's with the silent mode. If you sill want the silent mode you can return your camera to Konica and for $30 approx. you can have the silent mode programmed into it.

Gvran Kindwall , February 09, 1998; 03:32 P.M.

The focusing system on the Hexar has three modes - AF, infinity (999) or manual. The camera will remember the last manual setting. I always keep my manual setting at hyperfocal for f16 (2,8 m). that way I can very quickly get the camera into a very quick - no release lag - no AF sound - mode. Response is quicker than any camera I know - including well trained Leica M snappers.

The only thing I don't like about the Hexar is that the metering window sits where it does. No automatic adjustment for filters -- BUT most important - if I wear thick gloves in winter I will almost certainly block the exposure system lens and cause overexposure.

QUESTION: How can I get the SW upgrade so many in this forum has talked about?

Goran Kindwall

Gerry Siegel (Honolulu) , April 09, 1998; 11:27 P.M.

I have been using the Hexar Silver for several months,and am very impressed with its performance and features. Serious camera at a fair price for the quality. I agree with everything that Rich Caruana said in his review. I just want to add that I find the Silver and simulated leather finish to be a slick improvement on the looks of the camera. Having a three year factory warrantee was a pleasant add-on from B and H. I never considered a Hexar case and never use carrying straps. But I got a neat Tamrac 701 convertible back/pack which takes the camera, a flash and a Bogen table top tripod. Weight is insignificant. My biggest learning curve has been with flash, because the dismal manual is at its worst on that part. I am using a Vivitar on a grip with a Nikon hot shoe adapter at the moment. Manual mode seems the safest way to set the Hexar for flash. Keeping fingers away from the sensors means learning to hold it in a Dagwood sandwich grip.

patrick rouillard , April 17, 1998; 08:50 A.M.

for those of you who do not like that useless, bulky and fragile nowadays standard date-back for the Hexar, there is way to get round the problem: you can order from Konica the complete standard back of the Black or Classic model. Total cost should be around U.S.$ 15. By the way, I heard ( here in France) that Konica will soon put on the market a Hexar II with interchangeable lenses. It's almost too good to be true but I haven't been able to confirm this. Does someone know something about it ?

patrick rouillard , April 17, 1998; 09:03 A.M.

there is a little cosmetic drawback with my above get-that-date-back-off-my-nose solution: the standard rubber back of the Black or Classic model does not have nice leather-like look of the Silver rubber coverings. But you can if you want order the front left and right plain-looking rubber pads together with the corresponding special stickers that allow you to glue them on the camera body after you have peeled off the original material. Total cost should be around U.S $ 15.

Gerry Siegel (Honolulu) , April 24, 1998; 06:50 P.M.

I hasten to add, to those contemplating purchase, the date back does not offend at all,even though I keep it switched off. It is not bulky, nor cheesy looking. The Silver model Hexar lacks so- called quiet mode where motor was slowed down, as mentioned previously, but the normal mode in current production is very quiet to my ears. This is a non issue in the ambient noise level world I inhabit. It is a quiet camera,period. The location of the sensor is something to get used to. Watch those fingers. The shutter release is different in feel than any other I have used. Got to try it. Someone called it a dome switch. I haven't decided if I like it or not. But I am getting adjusted to it. I would hope someday for an informal users group established. Any takers? I need to compare notes on the @#&* flash system. GS

John Polich , April 29, 1998; 08:09 P.M.

I'm bemused by all the praise for the Hexar. The f/2 lens speed is impressive among small cameras available today, but that was the only virtue of the Rhodium I bought for $500 and recently sold for $300. (You can buy the very camera used at B&H for $800.) The shutter and electronics completely failed on two occasions. The 1/250 sec top speed is insufficient for today's fast films. The flash is dinky and larger flashes like a Vivitar dig into your forehead when mounted. (That's if you can figure out how to adjust the Guide Number.) And the controls and LCD indications are so counter-intuitive that Konica give out a little card for your wallet so you can look everything up.

Maureen Garde , May 24, 1998; 09:08 P.M.

I have been using a Hexar Silver for about two months now. I use it for candid and street photography. The idea was to get a camera that was small enough to carry around at all times, and it fills the bill for me. Mine does not have the "super quiet" feature, but nevertheless it is extremely quiet. Because of its small size, unobtrusive look and quiet operation, I find that subjects aren't intimidated by it. (I'm not a stealth photographer, I always ask before photographing). In addition, the lack of mirror slap means subjects don't know when you are actually taking a photo, which is helpful when you are doing candid photography and your subjects decide they must pose for you. I walk around with it in an urban area. I don't worry too much about attracting attention, because the camera's retro look seems to fool people into thinking it's an older camera. Presumably less valuable. The lens is extremely sharp. I shoot almost exclusively black and white and I have routinely been enlarging to 11x14 with excellent results. I've experienced some of the glitches and limitations noted by others (learning how to use the flash effectively, which I haven't yet; occasional freeze-ups, which require removal of the batteries to "clear", 1/250 shutter speed isn't fast enough in daylight with fast film, etc.), but overall I'm extremely pleased with the camera. I highly recommend it for anyone who does the kind of walking around photography that I do. Can't say how it is with color.

Joe Buechler , May 25, 1998; 10:07 P.M.

I've also been using a Hexar Silver for a couple of months. Here's a few comments on this specific model.

The silver finish is definitely in the style of a Leica M6. I suspect that the Konica marketers decided that the Hexar would lose a lot of its appeal with photojournalists without the silent mode, so they decided to ignore the black body that they would prefer, and try to sell it as an M6 wannabee instead. In any case, its still a great camera, smaller and lighter than any SLR, more capable and versatile than any point & shoot, and less axpensive than any Contax or Leica rangefinder.

Its too bad about the silent mode, though. I'm not really a fan of motordrives and autofocus, and to me the camera seems too noisy. I may contact Konica and see if they'll really upgrade it to include silent mode, as someone suggested above.

The Hexar silver also includes the software updates from the Rhodium and Classic models. Mostly they have a "grafted on" feel, requiring you to do things like hold a button down while you turn the power on.

One Touch Exposure is the coolest feature on the Hexar Silver. It's similar to what Pentax calls hypermanual. In manual exposure mode, one button takes you instantly to the needle-match setting. Shoot, thats EXACTLY what you want! I can't believe more cameras don't have this capability. You can go from there to do bracketing, or focus independently of the exposure. Of course, you could also use focus lock to focus independently of the exposure, but one touch exposure is easier to use than focus lock, because you can reach over the top of the camera with your left hand and hit the UP or DOWN button without taking your eye from the finder. Its pretty much impossible to do that with the manual focus button, which is small and out of position. So you have to learn to take the camera away from your eye while keeping the shutter partially depressed, which takes a little practice.

Manual Guide Number is fairly easy, you just hold the SELECT button down when you turn the camera on. Then you can use the UP/DOWN buttons to set the GN. It saves the GN, so if you always use the same alternate flash, all you have to do is turn the camera on with the botton held down,and you're good to go. The ability to use most (but not all) flashguns with the Hexar makes it pretty versatile, but the camera is really good for available light photography, so its not as useful as you might expect. Besides, the Hexar is so small and light, it would be a pity to lose the advantage by lugging around a big flashgun. The Konica flash seems about the right size for the camera. The best use for this feature, in my view, would be to share a flash between the Hexar and another camera, such as an SLR. I wanted to use my Contax TLA 200 on the Hexar, its smaller and more powerful and recycles faster then the Konica flash, but it doesn't work. All the other flashes that I've tried worked fine.

Multiple exposure mode works by turning the camera on while holding down the self timer button. The LCD changes fro a frame counter to a split exposure/frame counter. You can take as many exposures as you want on he same frame, but the counter only goes to 9. The frame doesn't advance until you shut the camera off. By the way, you can use mulltiple exposure mode to take single frames in total silence. Use manual focus (try setting the hyperfocal distance in advance as suggested in a previous posting) and shoot in multiple exposure mode. No autofocus motor, no film advance, no sound whatsoever!

I haven't tried IR focus compensation, so I won't comment on it.

All in all I think the Hexar is a great camera with a great lens. Its fun to use and easy to take along, so I get more good photos than ever before!

Bill Costa , July 08, 1998; 11:00 P.M.

If one Hexar is good, are two better? Turns out there is a company in Germany called RBT that makes a stereo camera by grafting two Hexars together. They do a nice job with the result looking almost like it came straight from Konica. Take a look at:

http://www.stereoscopy.com/3d-concepts-rbt- usa/index.html

You could of course shoot prints with this camera and view the stereo pairs with any number of different 'Holmes' style viewers, but for the best results, in my opinion, shoot slides and using RBT's own plastic slide mounts. The RBT slide is the same form factor as the Stereo Realist slides from the 50's, but the two chips are full frame. An original Realist handheld slide viewer can be modified to view full frame images. There are also modern viewers available as well, although the Realist viewers have very good optics.

Back to my original question, are two Hexars even better? I think so. But much more expensive, at over $3K a copy! Still, this is one of the best, stereo cameras ever made, thanks to the Hexar. People who ask why RBT didn't use a 'good' camera like a Nikon just don't get it.

David Gabbé , July 30, 1998; 12:22 A.M.

I have a Hexar Classic. The EEE error code mentioned when the camera is at its minimum focusing distance has a fix. I'm certain the author of that comment was using a filter. The filter prevents the front lens element from full extension. The solution to is contact Konica and ask for a filter shim.

The infrared focusing mode has been glossed over. There are some interesting details. The first is that you may set the focusing for either Konica or Kodak infrared films. Their spectral peaks are quite different. But the real advantage with the Hexar system is you can use a full IR cutoff filter and still have sharp focus. The Kodak IR film in particular is quite interesting with the removal of most of the visible spectrum.

I have a strong preference for the Heliopan filters because they are always easy to mount and unmount. More so than B & W and others.

And lastly, the Hexar is a cult camera. Err, I mean a collector's camera. The camera has a limited production run and the US is not the primary market for the camera. All of this from the Konica rep. However, any camera which has a signature cutout in the negative mask, is in my book a cult camera. Just print with a filed carrier, display the print at a show, and see what comments you get.

In any case, I love the thing.

Mars T.W. SIN , January 04, 1999; 08:57 P.M.

I have bought the hexar silver for 4 weeks, it really a great camera for candid and people photography. I bought it because after using the Ricoh GR1 for 6 months, I want to have a camera with more human input and control over the exposure. The GR1 is great but is still a point and shot camera. Also the 28 mm wide angle lens is not so suitable for people photography since this outstanding wide-angle lens still have a little bit distortion. When I return back some snap-shots to my friends, they always complain at their distorted face. So I bought the hexar silver in early December as a X'mas gift for myself. Handling is great and the programme mode is the best P-mode in all 35 mm camera, I really want the other camera also have this type of exposure mode. The lens is very sharp and constrast, color reproduction is also very good compared to the GR1. The centre-weight metering is quite accurate when compared to my EOS camera especially long exposure in A-mode in existing light photography. But for myself I like to plus 0.7 or 1.0 stop in this kind of photography. As the handling is very good, i can shoot at shutter speed as low as 1/15 or 1/20, still got sharp picture, I haven't experienced this before with my SLR camera, properly because of no mirror movement. But this camera still have some drawback, at least the shutter speed is not high enough, I think that 1/500 or 1/1000 are much better 1/250, the slow shutter speed always force me to stop down to f/11 or even small aperture settings. Last night when I was walking arround the shopping area (I live in Hong Kong), I found the Hexar Rhodium, this remind me that the hexar silver is quite noisy (the rewinding noise is similar to the GR1, or even much more noisy), although people won't hear that at a normal background noise level , but I really want the silent mode with it. I 'm thinking to buy that Rhodium but it costs too much for me (US$1780, HK$13800). Is it worth that price??? I think I need to save money from now on until I get it.

Jerry -- , January 26, 1999; 12:04 A.M.

I bought my Hexar Silver last month. I really like this camera and it fits my hand perfectly. However, I do find some drawbacks for my Hexar :

1. The spot meter is kind of strange. I turned to manual mode to test the spot meter. I pointed the focusing rectangular to the same place. I "ALWAYS" got different readings for the first measurement and the followings. It seems it will be consistent after the third reading. For example, I will get 60f11 the first time and then 125f11 afterwards. I waited for a couple of minutes and did the test again. I got same results.

2. The exposure is not very consistent. I use Fuji Sensia II and a kodak grey card. I used the following settings : 250f8 200f6.7 125f5.6 100f4.5 60f4 30f2 15f1 8f2''. The slides showed that at 250f8 , 200f6.7 , 15f1 the exposure is about 1/2 to 1ev darker than the others.

3. Focusing is noticably louder than my Canon USM lens.

Except the above, I am very satisfied with my Hexar. It is small. It looks elegantly. The lens is very sharp. The flash is excellent. And it is just so easy to use !!

If the above drawbacks happen only in my Hexar, I must say the Hexar is a wonderful camera and you must get one to appreciate.

Jerry

Ken Nguyen , February 05, 1999; 08:07 P.M.

I use to own the basic Konica Hexar with the silent mode. Although it does have its good points (the fast, sharp lens, silent mode), I eventually sold it for the following reasons: 1) It is not REALLY compact. I compared it next to my Nikon FM2, and the Hexar is only marginally smaller. The Hexar body is also thick. My Nikon with a wide angle lens is not much bigger than the whole Hexar. I wouldn't call this a "pocket" camera. 2) The flash is a pain in the a**. The removable flash is one aspect that makes the Hexar a flexible camera, but my intention was to use it more in the lines of a point and shoot. It would be more convenient with a built in flash. I felt that if I was going to have to insert the flash everytime I needed it, I'd rather just as well use an SLR. The Hexar flash is weak. 3) The buttons are TINY. I have difficulty pressing those silly increment/decrement buttons and the mode buttons. Also, some of the functions are not intuitive, like the silly sequence of pressing the MF button and turning the power on just to use the silent mode. No wonder they had to include a reference card just to use the darn thing. 4) It is a professional/point-and-shoot hybrid. For a lot of people, that is great. In my opinion, that is the problem. I'd rather have a professional quality camera and a separate point and shoot. You still have to think when using the Hexar, not simply point and shoot. When I first used the camera, I had a few out of focus pictures because I forgot that I had to center the subject in the viewfinder to focus. Care must be taken when photographing off-center subjects, or else the Hexar will focus on the background. There is no feedback in the viewfinder like that on the SLR, except for a little green dot that "confirms" when the Hexar is in focus. But what is it in focus with? 5) I would suggest an SLR camera plus a Yashica T4 for those days when you just don't want to worry about setting aperture/shutter speed.

The Hexar is a beautifully made camera. The pictures it takes are great. But I view it more of a novelty and collector's camera. The great thing is that the resale value is great. I sold mine for what I paid for it new. Just my opinion.

Nick Merritt , February 18, 1999; 10:59 A.M.

There's no question about the quality of the photos from the Hexar -- first rate. But I agree with many of the comments others have made about the inconvenience of certain aspects of the camera. For example, the camera would have been much easier to use if the metering were through the lens circle, as with older rangefinders like the Canonet. If you're given the ability to attach filters, doesn't it make sense to have the filter compensation done automatically rather than have to remember filter factors (and then input the proper exposure compensation)? And, while we're on the subject, +/- 2 EV isn't enough, especially if you're going to use a red filter or a polarizer. I'll admit that I mainly use the camera in Program mode, and Manual mode is probably more suitable for this type of use, but it sure would be nice to not have to resort to the added complications of using Manual.

Also, the top speed of 1/250 is really not adequate, especially if you're going to be shooting indoors and out on the same roll of film. While Richard Caruana's review suggested switching film midroll for such occurrences, and making sure to leave the film leader out, my reaction is that that is way too much trouble. An increase to 1/500 would be enough.

OK -- none of the above adds anything new to what others have said. But I do have an observation regarding flash operation, and would like to know if others have experienced this as well. One of the first times I used the camera was at my sister's wedding the end of last year, indoors with the accessory flash unit. I had the camera in Program, 400 speed film, aperture set nominally at f8. The pictures of persons in motion came out blurred. I figured out that the camera was automatically using the 1/30 shutter speed, which was the default "camera shake" speed and too slow to freeze movement. How can you assure a faster shutter speed when using the flash? Playing around with the camera afterward, I set the camera shake speed to 1/60, and presumably that should help. But how can I be assured of a "safe" flash synch speed, like 1/125? Even with the camera shake speed set at 1/60 I noticed that a number of times the shutter speed displayed just before the shutter and flash fired -- and why is that only displayed at the last split second, when it's too late to adjust it? -- was 1/40 or 1/50! How can this be?

All in all, it's a neat camera, though the above and other "idiosyncracies" limit it, in my opinion, even more than its obvious limitation of being a rather large single focal camera. Certainly it has lots of capabilities and is executed in a top quality manner. And if I wanted to shell out almost 4 times as much to buy a Contax G2 with a 35mm f2 lens, I could have done so! In that light, the camera really is a bargain.

Jack Jinkins , February 18, 1999; 07:22 P.M.

Many people have commented having difficulties with the flash on the Hexar. I hope the following will help. The flash has two modes p.full (full power) and auto. With the camera on P and the flash on p.full, the camera is now in flashmatic mode. In this mode the flash fires at full power, the camera adjusts aperture based on the distance form the subject, and the shutter speed will be set for whatever would be necessary for a properly exposed photograph regardless of flash but will not drop below the user set minimum. Setting the user set speed to 1/60 in this set up is obviously advisable. There are two drawbacks to this mode. One is the possiblity of overexposure with fast film. At distances closer than about 4' even f/22 is insufficient to prevent overexposure. The other is the the relatively slow shutter speed. There is little point in using p.full in A or M mode on the camera unless you are a fan of manual flash setting. The auto mode on the flash requires the camera to be set to A or M and the aperture which matches the film speed must be set. 100 speed film aperture is set to f/4, at 200 f/5.6, and at 400 f/8. In this mode the aperture stays put and the flash varies it's output according to it's built in light sensor. In A mode the shutter speed sets to whatever would be necessary for proper exposure regardless of flash. This can result in very long shutter speeds. In M mode the shutter speed is whatever you choose! Up to 1/250. My usual set up for a typical low light scene that requires flash is auto mode on the flash and M mode on the camera with the shutter set to 1/100. I've also had a lot of success with outdoor fill flash. I set the flash to auto mode, the camera to A mode, and the aperture to one value stop less than recommended. For example at ISO 100 I would set to f/5.6 rather than f/4. With the camera in A mode you get properly exposed background and the smaller aperture gives you less flash effect. Try it you'll like it. Finally, the flash whipped me at first, but an e-mail to Richard Caruna set me straight on how it worked. If any profit from this information, thanks should go to him. If it's confusing, it's because I confused his explanation.

Kip Tay , February 19, 1999; 12:39 A.M.

The days of Fixed 35f2 lens Hexar could be over. Cd'I reported that there is a new generation of Hexar call the LS2 that take bayonet mount lens of 28mm 50mm 90mm. And the bayonet mount is Leica compatible! We just have to wait and see to determine whether it is just a rumour. Visit www.photim.com to take a peek

John McCormack , March 01, 1999; 02:25 P.M.

re: "Cd'I reported that there is a new generation of Hexar call the LS2 that take bayonet mount lens of 28mm 50mm 90mm." The news at Photodo News (in English) also claims that the Hexar II will be manual focus and list for US $2,500. with two lenses. Update: 3/1/99. Well, the Hexar II is still vaporware; it did not materialize at PMA.

john hopkins , March 03, 1999; 06:23 P.M.

As far as I can tell upgrading the current Hexar Silver to emulate the "silent mode" of the original model is not possible. I talked to the repair dept. at konica about this and the chap who works on the Hexar said that this upgrade is physically impossible. If you want the silent mode you must buy an original, rhodium, or classic model. Maybe I didn't know the secret "handshake"

Franka Tao Lieu , March 11, 1999; 01:35 A.M.

For your info, The Hexar 35/2.0 lens was also released together with the Hexar camera ( in Japan only ) in a L mount aka old 39mm Leica Screw with outgragious expensive sticker price. Try both, but I must admit though a great camera, it isn't cut out for candid shots. I found my Ricoh GR-1 much more portable. Now if Konica will bring out a Hexar II with interchangeble lens ........

Berth Westman , March 26, 1999; 04:38 A.M.

Hi! I just bought a new HEXAR Titanium. I have not seen any comments on this model so far. I mailed to Konica USA about this, and reciewed a very nice answer from mr Mike Jones, that this model was manufactured for a few countries, and also in rather few numbers. This model has that leather like finish on the house, and a "goldsilver" finish on the metal. It also has all the features except autobracketing. Mine has serial number 0000258. Nice to hear if anyone else have some more info on this model. Regards, Berth.

Jae-Myung Shim , March 30, 1999; 02:37 P.M.

Mine is Hexar Silver. (without silent mode.) It is much louder than I expected ... quite a disappointing because I bought Hexar for its 'reputed' quietness. I wonder why they say it is quiet even at normal (non-silent) mode. There is no differnce from others.

Gerry Siegel (Honolulu) , April 09, 1999; 08:24 P.M.

Things I enjoy about the attractively appointed Hexar Silver after almost a year: The lens is as crisply sharp as one can want. The Hexar, though unintuitive, true ( set one function by pressing select while you turn on the camera- yeah right) be mastered even from the 7 language booklet. The trick I found is to translate your own copy from English to ENGLISH and edit out the wrong info such as that on top of page 42. What is hard to like, still, is the shutter 'detent' for focus- lock. It is not as smoothly controllable as the SLR's I am used to. I don't know why Konica didn't improve that shutter feel. Too often I trip when I want to check focus or aperture. Still, I like the camera and recommend it. If you expect a whisper quiet motor, then the Silver is not for you. By comparison to my Canon winder and the motor in my other SLR, it is quiet. (I can't tell you how many decibels, but it doesn't wake my parakeet.)

festaz laurent , April 12, 1999; 09:14 A.M.

J'ai un Hexar depuis 6 mois et c'est vraiment un appareil extraordinaire avec une optique de premihre qualiti. Toutefois un ditail me chagrine et je vous en fait part :

Lors de l'utilisation du par-soleil, les photos prennent du vignitage sur les coins infhrieurs.

A moins qu'il ne s'agisse de mon filtre UV (Skylight) dont la monture est assez ipaisse (Marque BW).

Laurent

corvisier olivier , May 11, 1999; 04:40 A.M.

J'apporte ma contribution ` l'idifice de l'HEXAR, je posshde le modhle de base depuis sa sortie(le noir avec le silent mode)et je dois me rendre ` l'ividence que ce boitier est tout ` fait ce que j'attendais d'un appareil digne de ce nom. Pratiquant de facon rigulihre le 400 iso, la vitesse de 1/250s ne m'a pas souvent posi problhmes..par contre le bouton de marche/arret a une facheuse tendance ` s'activer au fond d'un sac fourre-tout. superbe images ET pas de vignettage avec le pare-soleil. je le garde !!

John McCormack , June 11, 1999; 09:59 A.M.

I still have the first article I ever clipped on the Hexar - a yellowed review by Frank Van Riper in the Washington Post, dated September 9, 1993. I kept coming back to the Hexar and finally decided to get one for myself. I found a fine, mint Silver version for sale on Photo.Net Classifieds and am enjoying it immensely. Here's my take on the Hexar after a few weeks of use.

1. Learning Curve. The Hexar is not nearly as quirky as some users make it out to be, but then my only other rangefinder experience is with a Canonet QL 17 (To me the Hexar is sort of an updated Canonet with AF.) I found that a close read of the manual and Richard Caruana and Frank van de Wiel's review/comments pages (http://www.vdwiel.demon.nl/hexar/) to be sufficient to get up to speed. Thanks, Richard and Frank!

2. Silent Mode. Is it necessary? I wondered whether the Silver version, without the silent mode, would be adequate for stealthy wedding ceremony shots. It is, especially when using manual focusing for static subjects. Think metrically here.

3. Image Quality. Excellent image quality - sharpness, good color rendition, etc., is all there. The rangefinder attributes of quiet operation, lack of mirror slap and a bright viewfinder all help the photographer, too, and I need all the help I can get, since I still manage to produce mostly mediocre images no matter what equipment I use.

4. Handling. Handling is very good, except for the small buttons.

5. The Strap[let]. I haven't used the skinny little Hexar strap that comes with the camera; it just seemed to narrow to be comfortable. I prefer a Domke one inch strap, which is not easy to attach to the camera using the supplied split rings, and the Domke strap attachment does interfere slightly with the grip of my right hand on the camera. Maybe I should try the Konica straplet after all.

6. Bag/Eveready Case. How do people carry the Hexar? Mine didn't come with the optional Konica case, so I'm interested in hearing what you use. And no, I'm not willing to spring $250. for a Kameraleder case either. Currently I'm using a neoprene Zing zoom bag, which works very nicely - better than the standard bag, which Zing recommends for the Hexar.

7. One Touch Exposure Metering. I like this more than I first realized. In Manual mode a touch of the shutter button locks the meter and then you can increase/decrease the exposure by tapping the up/down buttons - and metering is a 4% spot in manual. Very nice for working a scene with contrasting light or taking a reading from a subject's face.

8. Lens Cap. Easy to lose. I had never lost a piece of camera equipment, but it only took me five days to misplace the Hexar lens cap. Konica will replace it for $25.00. Ouch.

9. Flash. Quite versatile. You can read all about it in the Hexar comments section. I'd just like to note that the flash modes are very forgiving of user error. I shot several low light shots with the camera and flash in incompatible modes and the images turned out fine. Perhaps the aperture and shutter speeds were fortuitously correct anyway.

10. Metering Window. As others have noted it would be nice to have the metering window placed on the lens mount, so that metering would take filter factors into account.

David Gabbé , June 19, 1999; 11:57 A.M.

Good grief, the lens cap is so retro as to be lame. I solved the problem by getting a Contax G2 lens cap. It's stamped 46mm on the inside and the number is GK-41. This one works like the real Nikon lens caps I have. This has pretty much ended my lens cap woes.

Dante Stella , July 14, 1999; 10:11 A.M.

Not metering through the lens circle is actually better for filter use than doing so. (1) That Canonet-style sensor ends up with a funny pattern when you take the filter ring depth and attendant vignetting into account. (2) Camera photocells are not sensitive to light exactly the same way film is - color temperature can have an effect. (3) Depending on your metering and film processing, you might not want any filter compensation at all. I have found that the non-lens-circle meter has been a benefit on my GA645 Fuji, and when my Hexar comes tomorrow, it should be the same.

LIAM P COPAS , September 01, 1999; 12:28 A.M.

On Reading About (HEXAR)I Noticed Not One Picture Taken With The (HEXAR) Let AloneA Picture Of tHE (HEXAR),, except some trick with the inside of a penspring..... ( WHY ? )My First Camera was the KONICA POP.(EARLY 80'S)I Think it Cost 35 Pounds, It Started Me One My Way To Taking Great SHOTS.. But After I Started Using Semi Man/Auto Camera's, The Shots Just GOT BETTER!.. I CANT Understand The Hype Over This (HEXAR) At A Price Of A Digitle Camera, Its Seems to produce a Point and shoot Result

Gerry Siegel (Honolulu) , September 14, 1999; 10:32 P.M.

This is about accessories. I am using a Zing Designs (part of the Tiffen/Saunders company) neoprene accessory pouch, model 575-101. Not bad. It amply holds the Hexar in a padded pocket for shoulder or waist carry.Not an eveready case, just basic protection. Has an envelope flap with a velcro strip,which must be lashed down. Price is reasonable, about twenty dollars at B and H website. I also started using a basic (soft wrap) neoprene wrist"leash" made by OPTECH. Has potential, if you hate neck straps but want modicum of security. Tight fit sliding through the Hexar lug, but it goes. Most of my flash shots employ an old, very compact Vivitar 2500, two AA cell hot shoe unit. ( 12 volts DC trigger circuit) I use it with Hexar in manual. Flash has bounce head and two stops choice. Also has an accessory pistol grip, also discontinued, which beefs up the power supply and recycle time somewhat. That requires a Nikon AS-15 PC- to- hot- shoe gizmo and a couple cords to dangle. The Hexar's matching flash HX-14 is a pretty basic unit,but is also petite, works with some dedication in P mode and that is its plus.

John McCormack , October 13, 1999; 09:36 A.M.

There's a Shockwave slide show preview of the new Hexar RF on Konica's Japanese web site at

http://www.konica.co.jp/hexarrf

G Lambert , October 25, 1999; 10:34 A.M.

After contacting B&H, I was informed that the new Hexar RF should be available around Christmas 1999. The expected price should be $1,565 for the body alone, the body + the 50mm lens; $1,999, the 28mm lens; $1120 and the 90 mm lens; $720. Konica has translated in english the Hexar RF shockwave presentation on its website.

Andrew Dimler , November 04, 1999; 09:47 P.M.

I've been using the Konica Hexar for almost a year. I originally got one to serve as my primary 35mm camera. However in truth I found the fixed lens too limiting and went on to get a Nikon. However, I truly love my Hexar and find it to be a great travel camera, a great camera to keep loaded and ready to go all the time to catch the kids and family and of course a great back-up for my primary field camera. Its quietness makes it a great people camera. Often people don't even notice you taking pictures or atleast seem to be more natural as the Hexar is inobtrusive. Its a great little camera and I was so happy to find all this info, and others who appericiate it.

Jae-Myung Shim , November 11, 1999; 04:01 P.M.

While I was photographing my boy at home with my Hexar Silver, I happend to focus a cola can (ordinary 12 oz.), and found out that the camera couldn't focus it correctly. The can was about 1 meter away but the camera was reading about 1.4 meters. (At 0.6~0.7 meters, it read 0.8~0.9). So I tried with another one. I placed, this time a bigger, one-galon juice container beside the can and focused it. The camera read right this time. When it is the cola can, however, Hexar Silver was obviously focusing longer than it should do. Why is that? The shape or the size of the can is a problem? Could anyone tell me what is wrong?

Robert Edwards , November 15, 1999; 12:04 A.M.


AF parallax error shown in red.

I found for close-up work the AF cross hairs in the viewfinder suffer from parallax error. If you look through the Hexar as it focusses the framelines move in but the AF target doesn't move. I find when I photograph small objects close-up I compensate by aiming slightly right and lower of the cross hairs. Each Hexar is different and you can test it by focussing on a vertical pen. Keep focussing from about three feet away until you hear the AF motor wind the lens right out (you will only hear a short whir if it is focussing on the background). In the illustration above the red cross hairs represent where my Hexar focusses at three feet.

Robert Edwards , November 15, 1999; 12:12 A.M.

Thanks to Richard and everyone who commented so far - it it's been a great help. I tried the Leica and Contax but they are too serious for me. The Hexar (AUS$700) is as good as my Nikon AF 35mm f/2 and I use it for film and TV stills with confidence. Konica (Australia) have the best customer service I've come across. They upgraded mine to the Classic specs (silent mode, infrared AF, manual flash GN, AE bracketing, one-step manual, multi-exposure & updated instructions) at no cost and replaced the date back for a standard one (AUS$15) while I waited. Only problem so far is when the numbers on the aperture dial rubbed off - Konica repaired it. Be careful with thick film in silent mode; Fuji Astia won't advance properly in mine.

What I really wanted was a replacement for my Olympus XA which I use as a visual notebook. Reviewing my photos after a year I decided to go back to carrying the XA. Yes the XA vignettes and is softer but I simply preferred the shots I was making with it. This is subjective and a personality thing. Fun as it is to use my Hexar mainly comes out for work.

Kenny C. , January 19, 2000; 03:10 P.M.

I have been using a Hexar silver for a few months. It is too sad I do not get it earlier. Now I do not use the Olympus Stylus Epic anymore. The Hexar lens is so good that I start liking the 35 mm pictures. This also lead me to get Leica M6 just for the Leica lenses and future Konica Hexar RF system. Any body tried the Konica Hexar RF yet?

Joel Brink , February 08, 2000; 11:27 P.M.

After reading this review I'm tempted to give up my old Canon QL 17s, but the slow shutter speed of the Hexar makes me nervous. I find that, especially on a trip when I take only one camera, it's important to be able to use fast film and the Canons go to 1/500. Incidentally, the Canon QL 17 is still widely available used for under $100. It has a sharp f1.7 40 mm four-element lens, a big, bright, parallax-compensating rangefinder ideal for eyeglass wearers, and an accurate center-weighted metering system. Both manual and aperture priority AE modes are supported. What I really wish is that Canon or Konica or Contax would build an up-to-date QL 17, but instead the Hexar has a slower lens and a slower shutter and, to make matters worse, is both bulkier and heavier than the Canon. It seems that, despite the Hexar's useful electronics, the technical problems for which there is no quick and cheap fix--lens quality and shutter speed--are being dodged once again, although I do give Konica a lot of credit credit for producing an outstanding contemporary rangefinder. Incidentally, the rangefinder is what keeps me from locking those old Canons in a closet and buying a modern PnS. Every time I walk into a camera store and peer through those little holes in the back of the camera body, my heart sinks. Once you've looked through a really good rengefinder, you're hooked for life, there's no turning back.

John McCormack , February 20, 2000; 10:59 A.M.

I've used a Canonet QL 17 a lot but finally gave it up for the Hexar because for fast shooting and long term reliability, the Hexar wins out. Why? The Hexar's AF is incredibly fast - important for street shooting or low light situations where the Canonet is not as easy to focus - for me anyway. The slow top shutter speed has never been a problem for me; add an ND filter with fast film and keep on shooting (and it's easy to switch rolls if the light changes drastically). The viewfinder on the Hexar is superior to almost any I've used. The Canonet's are tough, but I'd hate to be on a professional shoot and have one of the old-timer's fail. Just my 02 cents.

Peter van de Haar , March 24, 2000; 02:42 A.M.

It just dawned upon me that the Hexar is able to do flash exposure compensation in P-Mode...

One of the advanced features of a classical Hexar with a software upgrade -or for that matter which is a standard feature of the 'gold', 'rhodium', and 'silver' Hexar models- is manual flash guide number selection. This manually selected guide number will be used by the Hexar in P-Mode to determine the aperture required for the flash to cover a given distance, thus balancing flash and ambient exposure.

By a selecting a guide number on the Hexar that differs from the actual guide number of the flash, this balance can be changed. Enter a larger number, and the Hexar will assume a stronger flash present. It will close the aperture further down for flash exposure and thus result in less flash exposure versus ambient exposure. Enter a smaller number, and things will operate the other way around. The result then will be more flash exposure versus ambient exposure.

The amount of this flash exposure compensation can be determined by multiplying or dividing the guide number by 1.4 for each stop. For instance if your flash has a guide number of 20 and you want a one stop flash under exposure compensation (-1 EV), select guide number 28.

By the way, manual selection of flash guide numbers operates as follows:

  • switch from Off to P-mode while pressing SELECT
  • keep pressing SELECT and use UP/DOWN for GN selection
  • when releasing SELECT, camera displays [PFl].
  • switch to Off, and the selection is deleted.
  • when required GN number is not available, select nearest lower number.

Robert Edwards , April 07, 2000; 08:00 A.M.

I saw the Hexar RF today and did a quick side-by-side comparison with a Leica M6. Here are some observations:

The RF body feels as solid as the M6 but the Leica lenses seem better built. Both cameras weigh about the same. Dials move as smoothly as a M6. Everything falls under the correct finger. Ergonomic. The RF with built in motor winder is noisier than a manual M6. Though not silent the RF is quiet for a motor-driven rangefinder, more quiet than the chirpy Contax twins.

The RF rangefinder is more contrasty. With glasses I can see all frames up to 35mm; I can't see the 28mm brightlines (same with a standard M6). Optically the Konica appears as bright and free from distortion as the M6. A pleasure to use. BTW I prefer manual focus rangefinders. The viewfinder shows shutter speeds! That's all the info I ask to see, no need to take your eye away from the viewfinder. The RF center-weighted metering is much easier to live with than a spot-only meter.

Loading film into a RF is as simple as it should be - open camera, drop in film, close camera. Much more usable than a Leica M anything.

Lens test on general subject matter makes it impractical to distinguish Leica shots from a Hexar. But then again who really can see any difference between brands anyway (bet I open a kettle of worms here).

The Konica RF is less than half the price of an equivalent Leica kit. In Australia the Hexar RF kit including 50mm f2 & flash is $2800 AUD before tax/GST. A Leica M6 body only is $3900 AUD + lens.

I like the Hexar, but with a Leica 35mm Summicron. The Leica still of course has prestige but I am a practical person. I know I would use the RF more.

John McCormack , April 13, 2000; 11:26 A.M.

Peter,

Thanks for your information about flash exposure compensation. I assume this would work with the HX-14 flash as well as other non-Konica flashes. Have you tried it with the HX-14, i.e., changing the GN on the camera while using the HX-14?

<<The amount of this flash exposure compensation can be determined by multiplying or dividing the guide number by 1.4 for each stop. For instance if your flash has a guide number of 20 and you want a one stop flash under exposure compensation (-1 EV), select guide number 28. >>

John McCormack , April 24, 2000; 10:19 A.M.

Another accessory question. Has anyone tried the NEOS 3612 case for the Hexar? It's similar to the ZING cases, but seems a bit more weather/dust resistant. NEOS is part of the Tamrac line and can be seen at http://www.tamrac.com/g_holstertelezoompac.htm

BTW, B&H sells this bag for US $18.95.

Update 4/24/00. The NEOS bags have been discontinued, according to B&H. I'm currently using a LowePro "Camera Pocket," a small curved hip pack that holds the Hexar, HX-14 flash, film and a couple of filters very nicely. I purchased it abroad, but have never seen it advertised on LowePro's web site or in stores in the US. (?)

Peter van de Haar , April 25, 2000; 04:21 A.M.

John,

the flash exposure compensation idea mentioned a few comments earlier works with the HX-14 as well, assuming the HX-14 is in P-Full mode.
Once the Hexar is in manual guide number selection mode (keep Select pressed while switching on), it doesn't listen to the flash ready signal anymore. It will strobe any flash, including the HX-14 in P-full mode.

Note, that the same caveats as under ordinary flash use in P-Mode apply;

In P-Mode with flash, the Hexar operates through adjustment of the aperture during the flash strobing at the end of the total exposure cycle;

When light levels are high, the flash is weak and the distance to be covered is large, an overexposure warning will be given, as the aperture for flash exposure will require a shutter speed in excess of 1/250s to prevent overexposure from ambient light.

Ian Morison , July 14, 2000; 07:12 A.M.

Re the comment about pincushion distortion: The curved brickwork shown in the image appear to be arches, and if so, will natually appear to curve inwards as the their centres will be further away than their edges. The brickwork at the extreme edge of the frame appear to be commendably straight. I have owned a Hexar for 6 years now and it has given me superb results. Its only competition in my heart at present is a Leica IIIc with the Voigtlander 35mm f2.5 lens.

kk cheung , August 03, 2000; 07:38 A.M.

I recently bought a Hexar Silver, and have a chance to do a little side-by-side comparison with Leica Minilux. What amazed me is that the much maligned Minilux's viewfinder is not bad at all. Yes minilux's viewfinder is much smaller, but it is also much brighter, and has much more contrast.

Ragnar Pedersen , October 20, 2000; 05:36 A.M.

Konica Hexar and off-camera flash: It's possible to use the dedicated flash off-camera and maintain full camera-flash communication. The Nikon SC-17 sync cord (and possibly cords from oter makers) will fit. But - remember to direct your flash directly at your subject, the system cannot compensate for bouncing!

don ferrario , November 19, 2000; 08:45 A.M.

I have owned at least 50 35mm cameras, of many brands, and the Hexar is my favorite. If I had to own only one, this is it.

The original article (excellent, by the way) made a comment about the 1/250 shutter being a limitation with outdoor fill flash, vs other competing cameras:

"Anyway, the Hexar's top speed of 1/250 is a problem, not because it is not fast enough to freeze action, but because it limits your choice of aperture when using fast film outdoors. The M6 and G1, which both have focal plane shutters, don't have this problem."

Actually, the focal plane shutters of the M6 and G1 have *lower* flash sync speeds than the 1/250 of the Hexar. I seem to recall that the M6, in fact, is only 1/60 (or is it 1/30?).

So, what is perceived as a limitation, is actually an advantage, vs focal plane shutter cameras of many types.

Frank Gross , November 22, 2000; 10:04 A.M.

I have written a 2 page basic user guide (Acrobat pdf) to try and simplify the Hexar's instructions. If you'd like to use it just send me your email address and I'll attach it to my reply. Frank

Olof Johannesson , February 11, 2001; 03:20 P.M.

Thank you Richard Caruana for an informative site. I´ve recently bought a Hexar (original black) and I´m very satisfied. I´ve made the upgrades and even got the bracketing-mode. What I´ve read on the web that was not possible. Anyway in Sweden it´s possible at Zieger Teknik http://www.zieger.se/foto.html (413 skr).

Robert Edwards , March 12, 2001; 11:39 P.M.

Yes the Hexar Silver has the potential of having all the Classic specs:

  • silent mode
  • infrared AF
  • manual flash GN
  • AE bracketing
  • one-step manual
  • multi-exposure
  • It is up to your local importer whether they will update all the features. In Australia we too are lucky to receive the complete update from Konica Australia:

    22 Giffnock Ave
    North Ryde
    NSW 2113
    Tel: +61 2 9878 5333

    Greg Chappell , May 04, 2001; 04:54 P.M.

    What a wonderful camera! This is just the right combination of weight, size, optical quality and speed of use, yet still letting the operator decide how much input he/she wants to interject into the process.

    I do have one question for users out there, though. There's a warning in the instructions about mounting a flash with too high a voltage jolt. I would like to sometimes use a Vivitar 285HV. Is there a user out there who has used this flash on the Hexar without problems? I just don't want to fry the electronics!!

    Nathan Wong , June 14, 2001; 10:29 A.M.

    I've been using the original, black Hexar for years now and it's actually turned into my primary camera (which I have Nikons and Hasselblads at my disposal). I bought it to replace my Nikon L35AF (Nikon's first AF point/shoot camera, which was a fantastic and well thought out camera that had abilities no other p/s had). The camera has proven to be well worth the money and I highly recommend you buy it for whatever you can get it for, especially the original models with the silent mode. I saw a couple black ones just a few months ago for $400. The photos that come out of it are nothing less than spectactular. I have hundreds of photographs taken with the camera and each one is as sharp, detailed and contrasty as anything I've taken with a 'blad or Nikon single focal length lens.

    Yes, the camera has small buttons, but once you get the camera set up it's not a problem. Most of the time I never need to press them except to turn on the silent mode or to set the film speed or the occasional "one touch" manual exposure setting (I got the Rhodium upgrade).

    People seem to complain about the 1/250 shutter speed a lot and seem to make it a strong point for not buying the camera. To tell you the truth I have no idea why. I've used Kodak 3200 speed film in it in daylight without any problems. I guess people aren't used to stopping their lens down to f/22 or something. I shoot at 1/250 with my Nikons and Hasselblads all the time regardless of the film I use. Why do people make an issue of this?

    Once you learn the controls the camera is a total joy to use.

    Image Attachment: B&wball1.tif

    Martin Fahey , July 03, 2001; 04:25 A.M.

    Fill in flash:

    I have just recently purchased a "pre owned" Hexar Classic, and was wondering how to adjust fill-in flash for more subtle fill in daylight using the HX-14 flash. I came across an excellent suggestion from Jack Jinkins in this thread, dated February 18, 1999, about using a smaller aperture in A mode (A on both flash and camera) than recommended for the particular film speed. Also, the suggestion - from Peter van de Haar, March 24, 2000 - regarding adjusting Guide Number in P mode, but that adjustment is not available in non-upgraded classic models. Does anyone have any other clever way of reducing the fill in P mode (short of coming up with a makeshift diffuser over the flash maybe)?

    Tse-Sung Wu , July 12, 2001; 12:03 P.M.

    Until recently, I have been shooting with the orginal black Hexar exclusively, leaving behind my SLRs and MF gear. I'm trying a new camera now, which is why my Hexar is empty of film for the first time in a few years. I typically shoot Reala and sometimes E100VS and lately Provia F.

    I cannot say enough about this camera, although I can't compare with other high-end P&S, like the Leica, Contax or Ricoh GR1.. It's the kind of situation where, when people look at your pictures and get impressed, they ask you what kind of camera you have. Usually, you'd reply, all puffy and indignant, "W-hell it's not the camera! It's the eye behind it, the skill of the photographer...!" In this case, sister, it is the camera.

    Rather consistently, with the Hexar I have gotten rolls of color 4x6 prints and color slides that impress everyone who sees them. The sharpness, clarity, and even 'three dimensional' quality of the images always impress me. This '3D' quality has to do with how the out of focus parts of the image are rendered. Most people can't articulate this- they just say, "Wow, what a great picture!"

    I can think of one image (of many) taken by this camera, which is of a yucca plant in the Anza-Borrego Desert outside of San Diego. Totally blue sky (99%), with desert and mountains in the background. The background is just lightly blurred, but enough so that the subject snaps into sharp, crisp focus. Yet, the background is intelligble to the viewer: you can make out the mountains, the valley, the whisps of clouds. This makes the clarity of the subject all the stronger, and approximates what the eye/brain system really comprehends. If we were to look at the real scene, our eyes would shift focus quickly from yucca plant to background, and the totality of the scene would become apparent to us. The challenge of photography is to render this 3D reality into a 2D representation.

    Reality, i.e,"I am standing in front of a yucca plant 8 feet away from me, and I can see and know of the desert and mountains 50 miles further"- wonderfully rendered into a photograph: "Here's what it's like to be standing in front of a yucca plant in the desert, and know of it and of the mountains, etc..."

    This subtlety between what's in focus and what's ever so lightly out of focus can only be done by optics that have really superb sharpness as well as very nice out-of-focus qualities.

    Another recent example, a portrait, backlit by the setting sun. The subjects are wearing fleece, and the outline of light on the fleece on the edge of their figures can be seen. Glowing, but no flair- a precise, delicate golden line as if drawn in by a fine, fine paint brush.

    I've never seen this in any of my other thousands of SLR (Pentax) shots.

    Lastly, on a recent shot of a beautifully bent eucalyptus tree in Point Reyes, there is a rich, milky quality in the tonality of the whitish bark, bathed in a mix of direct sun and dappled light. Now, I have seen that- in medium format (NHP on a Rollei Xenar).

    As for ergonomics, of the hundreds of shots I've made, not one has been incorrectly focused- the system works really well. Even when handed to strangers for self portraits: I compose the shot, capture the focus, press MF (manual focus) to lock it, and hand over the camera to take the shot. This way, if it's a portrait with a scenic background, I won't have to worry that they've accidentally focussed on the background and not the subjects in the foreground.

    Fill flash works great too (1/250 sync). While I'm never sure what's really happening in 'P' mode (it seems to be like a flashmatic- in which a second aperture setting is made to limit the amount of reflected flash light; but I'm not sure how the exposure is chosen- anyone know if can we bias the aperture setting?), A and M modes are very intuitive and simple. And it's rear curtain sync too.

    As for top shutter speed- I do think this is a problem with slide film; neg film doesn't seem as much bothered by over-exposure, but this is from my limited experience. I've also had some weird situations in bright light trying to do fill flash. I've followed Rich's advice and gotten a 4x ND filter, but haven't used it yet. Also, some have argued that in using ISO 400 film, you lose the detail and information that the fine lens can give you. I tend to shoot only 100 on this camera.

    Nits: battery dependent (I like to do time exposures of the night sky, sometimes hours long), a little large, some of the controls not so easy to use, so I rarely shoot metered manual; it doesn't feel nearly as solid as those pricey German Lxxxx cameras.

    They're not flashy- they're sort of non-descript. I have to remind people which camera it is when they see the photos.

    If you want to try something really different, outstanding, fast optic, the discipline of a single focal length, fit in your coat pocket, and super quiet (even in non-silent mode, many people unfamiliar with this camera can't tell easily if an exposure has been made, in operating the camera, let alone being its subject), all for not a lot (typically less than those other luxury P&S'), go out and get yourself one!

    Would it be my all time single camera? Very probably!

    Greg Chappell , July 12, 2001; 05:56 P.M.

    If you happen to be looking for a second camera to carry around with your Hexar and cannot afford a second Hexar (like me right now), the Canonet GIII QL has one other nicety I just noticed. The Konica flash HX-14 that comes with the Hexar has a guide # of 14 meters at ISO 100, 20 meters at ISO 200 and 28 meters at ISO 400. The Canonet has three manual guide number settings on it's scale for use with other flash units other than it's own dedicated flash that just happen to match those same guide numbers at those film speeds. That's really a nice, convenient coincidence. BTW, if you're looking for a nice compact, more powerful flash to mate with the Hexar and not be too big, look into the Metz 34CS-2. Very thin & powerful, fits into your shirt pocket, provides 3 auto apertures and is around $125-$130 at B&H.

    Jeffery Smith , July 23, 2001; 05:36 P.M.

    The Konica Hexar is, to me, the best street camera out there. I bought one as a knee-jerk reaction to losing my Konica Auto S3, and have been overjoyed with the quality of this camera. It is the only camera that I'm going to buy twice, with the second one as insurance in case Konica decides to discontinue it. Great build, great optics (on a par with Zeiss), and deadly accurate on autofocus. I have some B&W images that appear to have been taken with a MF camera. The flash is better behaved than the default flash that comes with Contax G2. If you have any inclination to buy a Leica Minilux or a Contax T3, save your money and buy a Konica for $500. In 10 years, you can sell it for more than $500.

    dave leo , July 26, 2001; 09:37 P.M.

    Yes.... I have to agree with Tse-Sung Wu (July 12, 2001) ..... the Metz 34CS-2 flash is a great companion to the Hexar.... I set the flash on manual and use the camera's PFL-mode (first change the flash GN setting in the camera to 29 meters) ..... you may also set the camera on manual, and use the flash on automatic (but I rather do it the first way)...... to activate the PFL mode, hold down the set button while you turn the camera on to the P mode. "PFL" will appear in the LCD. the Metz has a neat little case with a belt loop (so it's always with you)..... and I got a leather case made for the camera...... it's a great setup for vacation and pop shooting..... and of course without the flash, the hexar is a great street camera.

    daveleo

    John Blodgett , August 07, 2001; 02:53 P.M.

    I checked out this review because I found a great deal locally on a Hexar and flash. Great review, thanks! But I would like to stick up for the Nikon 35TI, which I should never have sold - it is indeed much more than a point-and-shoot. The flash wasn't a big deal to me, and the camera was a joy to use with outstanding image quality.

    Then again, I may just buy another Stylus Epic...

    Jacob von Post , September 17, 2001; 08:18 A.M.

    I got my hands on an original black Hexar a couple of weeks ago. I can really recommend this small, anonymous-looking camera. But the one feature that really counts is the silent mode. It's a must have. And the optics are almost better than I expected it to be. My thoughts are: Don't by this camera without the silent mode. Happy days Jacob.

    Elton Stewart , December 01, 2001; 07:52 A.M.

    I have just taken the advice of a friend and purchased the Konica Hexar Silver... What a great camera, wonderful lens, very easy to use, point and shoot qualities as well as room for creative freedom. I was very suprised and pleased with the first roll processed. You have to learn to work with the 1/250 shutter speed which can be limiting. Other than that it's great camera for a great price. I have just recently added some photos from the first roll, take a look if you like. http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=166113

    Charles Clemens , January 25, 2002; 05:10 P.M.

    In response to 2 previous comments concerning focusing issues. I ran some experiments with my Hexar. I think one problem is trying to focus on a cylindrical object. The Hexar uses 2 converging IR sensors reading the angle of return of the IR beam. If that beam hits a smooth cylinder it will be reflected off at an angle and not return to either sensor. I got the same effect of non-accuracy on a soda can; but all was well as soon as I substituted a flat card of the same size.

    The sensors are slightly to the right of the lens; but I don't believe there is a real shift necessary in the virtual position of the targeting crosshairs with close focusing. I do find, when at less than 3 feet, the right arm of the crosshairs does need to be entirely on the object which one wishes to focus upon. If you stray to the right about midway in to the crosshairs, the beam (being slightly more to the right) may miss and go to infinity or some object behind the primary target. Basically however one should put the crosshairs on the thing one wishes to be focused upon. If you move to the right and down as suggested, you will miss the target. I tried it, and I did.

    Charles Clemens , April 03, 2002; 05:17 P.M.

    The soft leather case and corection diopters for the viewfinder for the Hexar AF are still available, while they last, from Konica Parts and Service (800) 422-1788 M-F 9-5 EST. Hopefully you'll be talking to Kathi, who is extremely helpful and friendly.

    I obtained the official hexar case. It is rather like a simple sack that you fold over at the top and "Velcro" shut. It leaves fairly large gaps at the side and is not very stylish. It is leather and it will protect the camera from scratches. You must remove it and shove it in your pocket or elsewhere to operate the camera. At first I was put off by it; but I'm beginning to appreciate it.

    Ken Chi , May 30, 2002; 05:02 A.M.

    After reading all of the personal comments and raving reviews about the Hexar, I couldn't help but went and bought one! I actually traded in my first SLR system which was a Nikon F65 with a Tamaron 28-200XRs2 Super lens for the Hexar Silver, no regret! (I do still have a Fm3a )

    Thought I would put in my 3cents that may add to 'fill in' the gaps.

    The Lens: What they all say about it is all true. Sharpest lens I have ever used (I have a 50/f1.4 nikon and 105/f2.5) However there seems to be slight distortion shooting up at close distance... but maybe that's what 35mm primes do, I will not know the difference since I never owned a 35mm primes.

    Ergonomics: Good, just nice in the hand, lighter than my SLR, 'portable' enough to fit in a 'big' jackat pocket. I particularly like where the viewfinder is, more nose space. The shutter feels nice, dials and controls are good and kept to minimum. However I prefer to have the Manual Focus(MF) lock somewhere else, for if I want to lock focus but NOT use the 'locked metered values' I will have to hold the focus whilst trying to use my left hand to press the MF, a bit fiddly but not the end of the world, especially if you think of all the starving children.

    Interface: Programme mode is smart, I use it in uncertain lightings situations because it gives you the 'closest aperture to what's been set on the dial with a preset minimum shutter speed. I find this useful more so in bright light than dark. Aperture Priority: my most used mode, straight forward, but you do have to check whether you're 'beyond' the shutter limit such as 1/250 or 1/8 (which is my 'critical' handholding limit) MANUAL mode: it is quite strange that it doesn't want to 'hold' to my preset shutter speed. However it shows what the 'correct' shutter speed is... not a major issue, but confused me at first.

    SPOT metering: very important for me as I shoot a lot of avalible and low light, and it is 'appropriate' that it is on MANUAL mode, as you may want to spend a bit more time just to make sure everything is right.

    250shutter speed: I have no problem with it even when using 400 speed (I shoot b/w mostly with Ifford XP2 400), in daytime I just use a higher f like 11 or 16... (note: I believe this camera is designed more for the 'avalible' low light photographers, so having a max shutter of 250 make sense to me!)

    What I love this camera the most:

    35mm perspective: I find this is a great focal length for general photography, I particularly like shooting people in 'context' and this focal length is just right to cover everything without making people look tiny like in 28mm. It is also good for covering 'environments', as some legends say this focal length is closest to a normal human perspective, this helps to 'prepare' the shot for myself, and I now prefer this focal length than the standard 50mm, it is just more useful!

    fast f2/handheldability: I am now shooting in more low light situations than I ever COULD before, even though I still have a 50 f1.4 Nikkor on my FM3A, it is just risky to shoot anything below 1/30sec, whereas Hexar's weight is balanced enough to allow me to shoot confidently at 1/10sec!

    Stealth-factor: you can shoot this from the 'hip!' with a bit of practice! (plus the 'silent mode' if I decided to upgrade it with Konica Australia... but I cannot part with this camera yet! It's simply too much fun!)

    Styling: Retro and unassuming, it makes it less serious shooting people comparing with an SLR.

    Noise level: My version is the Silver one and IMHO it is "quiet" for my uses which is mainly street photograph. However, with 'silent mode' I believe one can shoot even in theater plays.

    Viewfinder: Bright/ But it'd be nice to show aperture/shutter details.

    Lens Cap: I Love it! Don't have to fiddle with the conventional SLR cap, you just CAP it... But I am concerned with losing it as many others have raised this concern!

    Film leader:on rewind you can leave the film leader out! Great for mid-roll change

    Flash: quite complicated, I don't like using flash, but on test pictures it seems to work fine.

    Leather Pouch: just enough to hold the camera, quite unassuming and convenient.

    Dislikes: The view finder parrallex bars are not accurate up close, well, compared to SLR, but since I haven't used other rangefinder type cameras I suspect this applies to them as well. It is slightly 'off' to the left... but I am learning to adjust from 'memory'.

    Lens seem to have slight distortion up close, but I heard this is the best 35mm around for the bucks?!!!(the shop owner reckons it is as good as Leica's! I wouldn't know because I can buy 3 of these Hexar for that money!) So i am not complaining.

    More DOF scale on lens would be nice, it only shows f8 and f16.

    It may replace my trusty FM3a nikon due to weight, handheldability and picture quality! ARH!!!

    Summary: An excellent 'fun/stealthy' camera/lens for street/low light photography, good value if you can find one second hand! I am an industrial design graduate, and I applaud the industrial designers who designed this camera, well done!

    Ken Chi

    Rav Walia , June 21, 2002; 11:24 A.M.


    If you want more depth of field scales do what I did which is add them yourself.

    Paul Shambroom , September 23, 2002; 12:41 P.M.

    The new compact Nikon SB-30 flash is perfect for the Hexar. It has 2 extra manual settings: 1/8 and 1/32 power, which mean you can dial in custom GNs to the Hexar in PFL mode (select/on). At the lower power settings you get almost instant recycling and much closer minimum working distances. My initial calculations with a flash meter (Guide Numbers in meters at ISO100 for input in PFL mode): Full power GN 13, 2-22 ft; 1/8 power GN 6.3, .9-10 ft; 1/32 power (I measured to be actually 1/16) GN 4.5, .7-8 ft. Surprisingly, if you use it in standard P mode (not PFL) the flash foot contacts seem compatible and will activate the camera's flash ready indicator. The only downside is that the flash uses CR123 lithium battery only, not rechargeables. This is made up for by the compact size, I think.

    Naki P. , October 10, 2002; 09:59 P.M.

    New RF from Rollei check it out... http://www.komamura.co.jp/press/rollei10.html, http://www.komamura.co.jp/press/img/35rf03.jpg

    David Bindle , November 05, 2002; 12:53 P.M.

    Quick Hexar tips: Self timer self portrait (focused on you) 1. position your tripod, then, go stand where you will be standing for the self portrait (with camera in hand) 2. Raise the camera to eye and focus on tripod top. While holding the shutter button down halfway, hit the MF (manual focus) button. This locks the correct focusing distance. 3. Take note of exactly where you were standing, then go place the camera on the tripod and set your composition and exposure... hit the self timer button and go stand exactly where you were before. You can even use a fairly wide aperture at a pretty close distance and it should be focusing your eyes just fine Self portrait in mirror: Of course when you do this type of self portrait, you have to focus through the mirror. Problem is, the Hexar only AF's from the camera to the surface of the mirror. Solution... set the mode button to view AF distance when focusing into the mirror. Take note of the distance. Change to MF. Set the focus to double of the original distance you took note of. It will now be focusing properly to give you a well focused, in mirror self portrait. (note: staring at yourself in the mirror for long periods of time is not great for your character) David Bindle www.davidbindle.com

    Michael Guravich , March 30, 2003; 02:03 P.M.

    Although I've owned a original black Hexar since it first came out, this site is a godsend - I now know much more about how to use the camera than I ever did before. Thanks to Richard and all the others who have sent comments and suggestions. I have a couple of my own to add: First, for those who wonder about the leather pouch/bag that comes with the camera, and why it's designed like it is, with gapes at the sides for the camera strap... Well, it's meant to be on the camera with the camera hanging by its strap from around your neck. When you are ready to take a picture, the pouch can simply be ripped off by pulling up on the velcro closure with one hand and pulling down on the bag with the other. Voila! Just shove the soft pouch in your pocket and you're good to go. (Personally, I don't use it when travelling. Instead, I have a nice leather banana bag that can hold the camera and its flash, which I wear around my waist. Works fine that way.) Secondly, I have lost two lens caps, so I can vouch for the fact that this is the weakest feature of the camera, by far. The interior plastic tension ring on the Hexar's lens cap tends to break and, although the cap would still "work", it wasn't tight and secure anymore, and I wasted lots of mental energy thinking about it and checking and double-checking that it was still on the camera. Konica replaced it for me the first time, but I couldn't be bothered getting another one replaced because the problem was simply inherent in the design and couldn't be fixed. Finally, while in NY last fall, I visited a camera store and bought a nice, generic 46 mm lens cap for about $4 (sorry, I've forgotten the brand), and it fits like a dream, nice and tight and sturdy. No more worries. Looks good, too - black with a large silver disc on the front. Michael Guravich Fredericton, N.B. Canada

    Peter van de Haar , June 13, 2003; 02:16 A.M.

    In the camera equipment forum, somebody asked about the HX14/Hexar combination. I think it's more appropriately placed here, so...

    Operation with dedicated HX14 flash attached
    Hexar mode
    HX14 mode
    Procedure
    P-Mode P-Flash
    1. Camera sets shutter speed for correct ambient exposure at the given aperture. If the Camera Shake Critical Speed or fastest shutter speed are exceeded, the aperture is opened up or stopped down.
    2. Camera starts ambient exposure.
    3. Just before the shutter closes (rear sync), camera sets aperture to f=GN/m.
    4. Camera strobes the flash.
    5. No blur.
    A-Mode A-Flash
    1. Set aperture to f4 @ 100ASA
    2. Camera sets shutter speed for correct exposure in ambient light, even if this is longer than Camera Shake Critical Speed.
    3. Rear sync, so blur behind object if time too large, or if no tripod was used.
    M-Mode A-Flash
    1. Set aperture to f4 @ 100ASA
    2. Select shutter speed to balance flash vs. ambient.
    3. Rear curtain sync, so blur behind object if time too large, or if no tripod was used.
    M-Mode P-Flash
    1. Set aperture to f=GN/m
    2. Select shutter speed to balance flash vs. ambient.
    3. Rear curtain sync, so blur behind object if time too large, or if no tripod was used.

    Note, that in A-Mode, another aperture can be set than the working aperture of the flash unit. This will result in a non-standard (hence creative) balance of ambient light vs. flash exposure.

    Also note, that in P-Mode, a Hexar with the software upgrade allows another guide number to be set than the working guide number of the flash. This will also result in a non-standard (hence creative) balance of ambient light vs. flash exposure.

    S. Linke , June 25, 2003; 03:48 P.M.

    I recently purchased a like-new Konica Hexar Silver AF on a well-known internet auction site. I've been wanting one for years after reading so many very positive reviews and comments about it, especially its lens quality, and from seeing its photos on this and other sites. Richard Caruana's web review and follow-up comments herein have been extremely helpful. The camera/lens is all and more it's claimed to be. A real gem. Also, I obtained the recommended filter shim from Konica USA Customer Service--gratis, too. Very nice of them. The Hexar AF has its quirks (small buttons, relatively slow top-end shutter speed, etc.), but overall these are minor and do not detract from its image quality and handling once you know how to utilize all the functions. One can always find something to quibble about with any camera, even a L***a. There are Hexar AFs out there (it was discontinued in 1999, I believe), but collectors and knowledgeable users are gobbling them up fast. Get one--or more--if you can before it's too late. You won't regret it.

    thomy keat , July 15, 2003; 04:22 A.M.


    hello everyone, with all the crazyness about the numeric (got a Canon G2), i decided to buy a... Hexar, your comment about this camera did a lot in my choice of a new camera, and i am very pleased with this choice, it is a great one, i haven t been so hapy since i got my Mamiya6 five years ago, at first i wanted a Leica M6 but the price and the tiny "telemetre" (in comparaison with the Mamiya) decided me to look 4 another camera and finally got the chance to find one nice and almost new Black HEXAR on eBay for 300euros (same in dollars), i still don t understand why u can sell such a good camera, it has AF which is great and very accurate, and the silence whouahhhh, so quiet (more than the Mamiya6 a reference 4 me). Of course everything isnt perfect, the instruction book is a real mess, the top speed (1/250), got to get a ND4 or 8 filter, the place of the AE sensor (have to be careful with my finger) and not able to lock the "Stealth" mode all the time... But the bottom line is the LENS, an Amazing 35/2 that is just GREAT, so sharp and smooth at the same time, thank u mister Konica ! Well as u can tell, i am very pleased with camera even if it isnt a numeric (kidding!). Don t hesitated if u can find one, u cannot be dissapointed.

    thomy from FRANCE.

    ps; the flash unit is also very good for it size, iam not using it with the Hexar (use mostly Black and White rolls) but i did with the Canon G2 and it is workin just fine so...

    S. Linke , July 18, 2003; 02:19 P.M.

    Thanks to Thomy for being the one to finally (!) post a photo taken with the Hexar AF. And a very good photo at that.

    S. Linke

    patrick van den hurk , December 14, 2003; 05:28 P.M.

    To probably put and end to the discussion about the possibility of silent mode on the Hexar silver: yes, it is possible and no, you don't have to send it to Australia and dish out $80 to get it done. You can do it yourself without opening the camera! I found this method on a Hong Kong photography site and all it takes is some fumbling with the buttons of your Hexar. Great camera by the way!

    Okay, this how it goes: First make sure your camera is powered off. Then: 1: Turn the aperture dial to F22 2: Turn the camera on and press SELECT. The display will show +/-0.0 3: Press SELECT again. The display will show [0] 4: Turn the camera off, then on. Do not press any buttons. Display shows [0] 5: Enter ROM wit the exposure compensation buttons: Press right button 1 time Press left button 2 times Press right button 3 times Press left button 4 times Press right button 3 times Press left button 2 times Press right button 1 time The camera will rattle and buzz and the display will show the flashing number '232' 6: Turn aperture dial from f22 to f13 (between f11 and f16). Display shows A[38] Use the left exposure compensation button to go to A[00] 7: Turn aperture dial to f16. The display shows D[FB] 8: Set display to D[FA] with the exposure compensation button. 9: Power off. The display shows f16 10: Press shutter release button for 2 secs. f16 disappears, camera switches off 11: Press MF while turning camera on, and the display will show the much desired L[0] It really works! My Hexar silver whispers, although I had to do the whole procedure twice because I made a little mistake which disabled all the other extra's like ABC and infrared focusing. Everything's working fine again though after following the instructions more carefully. Good luck, and remember that I can't be held responsible for camera's that stop working!

    Charles Clemens , December 21, 2003; 11:38 A.M.

    Adding Stealth Mode to Konica Hexar Silver

    Hurrah!!!

    I concur with the above. In fact I also went to the chinese site, and combined with other sites used the data to make this little table. Use at your own risk, however. I will accept no responsibility for problems. It might be possible to ruin your camera.

    Charles Clemens

    randall wirth , December 22, 2003; 06:01 P.M.

    Yes, it somehow all adds up to silent mode. I just bought a used silver version, and it's pretty quiet after setting it that way. However, it's not SILENT, or even as quiet as I'd been led to think after reading reviews. The AF motor and film advance motor are still audible, about 1/2 or 1/3 the noise level of the original setting (which is about as loud as a decent point-and-shoot).

    Randall

    Carlton Somes , January 03, 2004; 07:29 P.M.

    I just followed these instructions and added "silent mode" to my Hexar Silver. It worked perfectly. A very quiet camera became even more so.

    rennies rennies , January 04, 2004; 08:11 P.M.

    The tip placed above in Upgrading the Hexar Silver works! I owned a Black hexar en the Silver is now as Quiet as is the Black.. with silent mode it's only the photographer who hears something...same with the Black. if a person is about a meter away from you , they will have a hard time hearing you opperate te camera.... so , there goes the cult-status of the Black.

    If you try out the scedule , do excectly as stated...it works!

    and , just as with the Black Hexar , you'r out of silent mode as soon as you switch off the camera...

    Great Tip !

    Robert Edwards , January 06, 2004; 07:31 A.M.

    The usual disclaimers apply - do the following at your own risk! It is definitely possible to ruin your camera by pushing the buttons in the wrong sequence and frying the circuits.

    Nevertheless after some mad button pushing I found how to add AE Bracketing. Follow the steps as above. At step 8, instead of setting D[FA] set D[FE]. Power off, then hold the shutter release as described above. You should then get Silent Mode, AEB as well as all the extra Hexar Classic features.

    rennies rennies , January 06, 2004; 11:10 A.M.

    I am happy with the extra features i now have on the hexar silver.

    thanks to the scedule-above...

    but , I lost the IR focussing abbility... not a big deal By the way... Konica 's film is hard too get ( and has to be pre-ordered (in holland)) en the Kodak HIE is screeming'expensive..($ 24.- a roll ,over here...)...and , ir focus ability is not something what will be missed if you are shooting at infinity.... I always rated the Konica ir film at iso 8(25-on my nikon) and used a red-filter....on the hexar..

    I tried to get IR-Focussing back by going over the scedule again but i don't seem to manage it..maybe someone out there knows? which setting to use?..

    AUTO bracketing is not something thats so important IMO... Hexar makes manual bracketing easy and (imo)more usefull , now you can bracket to one side..over or under...

    What is very useful I think is the ONE-STEP EXPOSURE LOCK in manual-spot-mode.... (i did'nt had that before...)

    SILENT MODE.i'v now got it and i am happy it works.... but..is'nt it an over-appriciated feature? I guess it's worthwhile , by shooting in a church during prayer ,or when shooting film/tv stills....or at the library but stealth shooting in the street? the normal hexar is already quiet.you won't hear it when you are outside...in a city... or in a metro/bus....and , when you want to shoot stealth , you probably won't be looking through the vieuwfinder...so the composition will be a guess.....but..OK , it can be usefull... but not enough to make ' a saintlike-status ' of the Black hexar... but maybe i'm overlooking something , so please let me know...

    Beside all of this:If I could save only one camera...yes! it would be a Hexar (any type...besides the RF)

    Andrew Nemeth , January 16, 2004; 02:30 P.M.

    Good to hear this mod is so easy to do yourself. I'll now discontinue the service I used to offer in Australia off my nemeng.com www site. (I wonder if Stephen Gandy at cameraquest will likewise discontinue the silent-mode-mod service he offers?...)

    Mind you, I never did the mod myself, but rather forwarded the camera to a tech. who did the mod for me. He never really told me what he did though, just a vague "I reprogram the camera's EPROM chip" - and then charged me for the service (to which I would then add a 20% mark-up).

    No problems in this guy (my tech) charging for inside/technical knowledge of course. But now the knowledge is available publically for free, there's no need to pay a specialist anymore is there?

    Jacob von Post , January 23, 2004; 10:54 A.M.

    Has anyone tried to do this upgrade with an original black HEXAR. I'd like to find out if it is possible to get the bracketing function and the GN setting function.

    /Jacob vP

    Peter van de Haar , January 26, 2004; 01:45 A.M.

    I've had an upgraded Hexar Classic for five years until about 2001, when I traded it in. I've been severely regretting this ever since, that is, until today when I scooped up a second hand Hexar Silver.

    First thing I did is program the silent mode, using D[FE] as indicated. Got the auto exposure bracketing on top of what I had with the upgraded Classic. This made me wonder whether the Classic which I had upgraded by the importer could also have been mod by just pressing the buttons. By the way, I've read that Konica can read out the number of rolls the Hexar's been through. Might this explain why people find different codes during reprogramming?

    Another apparent difference between the Classic and Silver -apart from the top finish of the body of course- is the lens cap. The silver one is metal and lined with velvet. A definite improvement over the thingy with the 'breaks when you point at it' plastic springs design of the original one.

    Peter van de Haar , January 27, 2004; 01:51 A.M.

    Oh, by the way, to those who seem to have lost IR-Mode on the Hexar Silver after programming the Silent Mode, use the following procedure (exactly!):

    • load film, and switch camera on (P, A, or M mode)
    • IR film is non DX, so press the shutter release button to advance to frame 1. (Note that IR-Mode does not work with DX coded film!!)
    • switch to A mode, then press SELECT until ISO values are displayed.
    • Within 3 secs, press DOWN untill [---] is shown.
    • Immediately press MF once to display [750] (corresponding to Konica IR750 film) press MF twice to display [850] (corresponding to Kodak's 850 film) (the numbers correspond to the wavelength the films are sensitive for)
    • after 3 secs, the display will show [iso 100], acknowledging successful setting of IR value.
    • for correct exposure, consult the data sheet of the film

    Z. A. Cyr , March 14, 2004; 01:12 A.M.

    I recently reprogrammed my Hexar Silver to have silent mode capability. Is it possible for someone with more experience with the several Hexar models' options (such as autobracketing) to add a table of the reprogramming steps? And -- just as important -- could someone list the camera operation steps needed to turn on each function (such as how to enable silent mode by pressing and holding MF while turning the camera on). For example, I saw the autobracketing reprogramming above, but how do you turn that on?

    Many thanks.

    S. Linke , March 17, 2004; 06:18 P.M.

    I am interested in reconfiguring my Hexar Silver to silent mode via the do-it-yourself process recently reported in this review. But I am hesitant for fear of possibly turning it into a non-functioning paperweight. Could others who have successfully done this reconfiguration please write in with comments?

    Peter van de Haar , April 02, 2004; 04:14 A.M.

    Somebody asked how to engage all the advanced functions. Here's a list..

    1. Multi-exposure
      • switch from Off to P-mode while pressing SELF
      • the display will show 0 left of number of shot, e.g. 0[03]
      • with each exposure, the left number increases, e.g. 1[03], 2[03] etc..
      • switch to Off, and the film is transported to the next frame.
      • more than 9 exposures are possible, but not indicated.

    2. Manual selection of flash guide number
      • switch from Off to P-mode while pressing SELECT
      • keep pressing SELECT and use UP/DOWN for GN selection
      • when releasing SELECT, camera displays [PFl].
      • switch to Off, and the selection is deleted.
      • when required GN number is not available, select nearest lower number, e,g. GN24 not available, then select GN23.

    3. Infrared auto focus
      • load film, and switch camera on (P, A, or M mode)
      • IR film is non DX, so requires pressing the shutter release button to advance to frame 1.
      • switch to A mode, then press SELECT until ISO values are displayed. Within 3 secs, press DOWN untill [---] is shown. press MF once to display [750] (corresponding to Konica IR750 film) press MF twice to display [850] (corresponding to Kodak's 850 film) (the numbers correspond to the wavelength the films are sensitive for)
      • after 3 secs, the display will show [iso 100], acknowledging successful setting of IR value.
      • for correct exposure, consult the data sheet of the film.

    4. Fast exposure setting (fast related to setting, not exposure!)
      • select aperture in M-mode.
      • partially press shutter release button.
      • display shows proper shutter time.
      • press UP or DOWN, and that time is selected. This allows for a very quick spotmetering. When now the composition is changed, including DOF, the measured time still is used.

    5. Auto-bracketing
      • switch to M-mode and press SELECT until [+/- 0.0] is shown.
      • use UP/DOWN to select increment, from 1/3 to 2 stops.
      • when pressing shutter release, three exposures are taken.

      Important:

      • though engaged in M-mode, switching to A or P is possible before pressing shutter release.
      • bracketing varies shutter release time. When in P-mode this is outside of the range 1/250 - camera shake critical speed, the aperture is changed.
      • autofocus is activated before the first exposure and maintained for second and third.
      • shutter release time indication shown in A or P mode is only calculated for the first exposure. Under low light conditions, the shutter time may end up under the camera shake critical speed. When in doubt use a tripod.
      • when the aperture/shutter time combination falls entirely out of the range of the Hexar, the exposure is not made. This results in only 1 or 2 exposures.
      • when the film is full, the bracketing is stopped, and the film gets rewinded.
      • when using bracketing together with EV-compensation in A or P mode, the entire bracket moves up or down the amount of the compensation.
      • no bracketing is possible with flash or T(time) exposures.
      • bracketing has to be cancelled by setting the EV to [+/-0.0] again.

    Jacob von Post , April 07, 2004; 04:06 P.M.

    Hello. I have the original black Hexar. As you all probably know, it allready has the SILENT mode, but it lacks functions like auto bracketing and manual GN setting, etc. And the other night I felt brave enough to reprogram it. I used the above descrition but instead of the D[FA] I entered D[FE] and I got the full feature set. I am now a happier Hexar owner. And a great thanks to the description above, how to engage all the new functions.

    /Jacob vP

    Martin Fahey , April 20, 2004; 10:18 P.M.

    Jacob

    Thanks very much for your tip! Yes, it works! My Black Hexar now has GN setting, etc. Does anyone know what is the time delay between exposures in the bracketing mode?

    The engineers who built this camera must have had so much fun building in all these hidden features - what geeks!

    When the GN is set to anything other than 14, does the P mode with flash still operate just as is does with the Hx-14 flash - ie "double exposure" - settings for ambient light, and then aperture adjusted to correspond to flash (distance/GN) just before shutter closes? I have found the HX-14 in P-mode disappointing - this 'double exposure' often results in ghost images. Hence I usually use a Metz 34 CS-2, with the camera in either A or M modes.

    BTW, as with an earlier poster, the HX-14 is the perfect flash to match with a Canonet QL17 GIII, with the GN on the canonet set at 14, and the flash to manual mode. So, when your Canonlite D dies (as both of mine have done), don't dispair, just use the Hx-14.

    L Wang , May 31, 2004; 01:13 P.M.

    I can confirm that using the programming steps detailed by Patrick Van Den Hurk and Charles Clemens but entering D[FE} instead of D[FA] as per Jacob vP will add the advanced functions such as GN setting and auto bracketing to a black Hexar.

    Thank you to all for this great advice, so that the beloved Hexar does not have to endure any shipping to far off points for these functions to be enabled.

    Darryn Richter , July 08, 2004; 10:41 P.M.

    I tried the procedure on my black Hexar and nothing happenend. I tried every which way to access the functions as listed previously. I would like to add the GN flash as a first priority, not really interested in the others. Maybe my black Hexar is different from Jacobs. My serial number is 0028981. Maybe mine is an earlier version or somthing like that?

    John Sidlo , July 09, 2004; 09:26 A.M.

    I've been shooting this for a couple years, now, and have *lots* of images taken with it on my site. To view only the "Hexar" images, go to chronological listing of images on my site (http://www.johnsidlo.com/imagesTitlesc.html) and search for the string "hexar".

    Although I still use the Hexar, I'm using a Nikon D100 more now, but if there were a digital version of the Hexar, that would be my favorite.

    I applied the "silent conversion" successfully last night, but frankly, the camera is quiet enough already, and I don't think I'll be using that feature much.

    Jacob von Post , July 09, 2004; 06:28 P.M.

    Hello,

    My black Hexar has serial nr: 0017297. So I think it's an early one. Had no problems with the programming. Keep on trying!

    /Jacob vP

    Paul de Luna , July 15, 2004; 06:16 P.M.

    Holy Smokes!!! Thanks guys, it worked for my Black Hexar Classic, too! I was going to send it in, but never got around to it...now I just have to print out a big 'cheat sheet' so I can remember how to use all the functions when I'm shooting with it...I wonder what other little easter eggs the programmers put in there?

    Paul de Luna , July 15, 2004; 06:24 P.M.

    The link for the Hexar Silver manual below has changed. Here's the updated one. It's in Japanese, though. http://ca.konicaminolta.jp/support/manual/ls/hexsj0.pdf

    Adam G , December 28, 2004; 04:24 P.M.

    I would like to add two points to this wonderfully informative thread, about programming stealth mode for those who wish to try it and about the quality of the Hexar's lens:

    First, I have the Silver, and I had no problem programming the silent mode into it. So, if you're worried about messing up the wiring of your Hexar, as I was (I took several deep breaths before programming), there have been others who have tried it and succeeded. I had the Silver for some time before deciding to go with the stealth mode. I rarely need stealth, but when I do, it's indispensable. (If there is any ambient noise, you won't be able to hear your shutter, and that can be disorienting to you at first.)

    Second, regarding the lens quality: It's darn nice, and it renders the out-of-focus areas pleasingly. The Hexar AF is as easy and pleasurable to use as it is touted to be. For those who are still interested in film, I recommend the Hexar without reservation.

    Maestro Logos , February 08, 2005; 11:05 A.M.

    I have also followed the procedure for adding stealth mode and other functionalities to the Hexar, and it worked perfectly. Now my Hexar Silver has all of those extra features listed above.

    The Hexar really is a lovely camera. It is not as quite (even in stealth mode) as I imagined, plus I think Konica could used better viewfinder optics (as there can be bit of flare at times), the camera is otherwise superb. The lens is top class and the camera has just the right set of features. I love how it holds in my hands (with or without the flash).

    George Kloppenburg , February 27, 2005; 11:06 A.M.

    Richard Caruana wrote an amazingly helpful description of the Hexar (already back in '96!), and I am grateful to others for their contribution, especially Peter van de Haar who succeeded to make the Hexar's flash functions tranparent to me. The camera's instruction manual is incomplete and lacks coherence. I was particularly astonished to learn that the camera, which I already use for 9 years, features a spot metering mode (M-mode). Why the hell doesn't the manual mention that? Almost all contributions about the Hexar's optics praise its sharpness and freedom of severe distortion. All of this is certainly true and I can confirm the excellent lens quality with the help of thousands of slide exposures, some of them enlarged to posters sizing 1x1,5 meters. One thing, however, is a drawback that nobody has mentioned so far: that is the vignetting, i.e. the darkening of the frame corners at pictures taken with low aperture value, which is most evident on exposures with a blue sky stretching from one side of the frame to the other. Care must be taken when using a wide aperture to avoid vignetting. The 2,0 aperture, by the way, was the mean reason for me to prefer the Hexar over other camera types.

    I am very sad to write here that I recently lost my beloved black Hexar, for it was stolen out of my car when visiting the city of Prague. However, I contacted the Konica Minolta dealer and got the address of a shop in Munich which still keeps a few Hexar Silver cameras. Last week I chose the best looking one, without any sign of use and in its original case. However, when looking very carefully at the lens system's black lock ring (located below the 46mm filter thread, having about the same diameter as that thread and not moving while focusing), one can see that that ring has been disassembled before. I wonder if anyone knows the most likely cause why that ring had to be removed in the past. Maybe somebody reading this can tell me which kind of repair requires removal of that ring. That would enable me to pay attention to a specific performance feature of my Hexar.

    Peter van de Haar , March 01, 2005; 03:13 A.M.

    George,

    I assume there's been a spacer inserted that prevents the lens from hitting a filter when focussing close. It's a modification that could be done in the past by Konica or the importer.

    Lili Elrod , March 09, 2005; 03:01 P.M.

    This thread has been very helpful. I love my Classic Hexar; razor sharp lens, silence and fast, effortless usage. It has been my primary camera for 6 years and hasn't had any problems at all. I note others have upgraded their Classics via a modification of Charles Clemens instructions. I have been scared to try this, not wanting fry my beloved camera. Has anyone had trouble doing this?

    Lutz Konermann , March 14, 2005; 12:40 P.M.

    I, too, have been encouraged to go for a Hexar Silver thru this most helpful page. I'm really impressed by this little gem! I converted it to stealth in three minutes following each of the detailed steps above. No problem encountered. The stealth mode is really impressive, although all it does is just to delay the winding for as long as you keep the shutter triggered and to slow down the winding speed from a quarter to about a second. But that makes all the difference! Despite of being a longtime Leica M shooter, the Hexar has instanttly become *the* carry-always-and-everywhere-camera for me. Even to places where you aren't supposed to be snapping - but who could tell you are...? :-)

    Lili Elrod , March 14, 2005; 05:38 P.M.

    Lutz, I agree with your opinion about the camera and Silent Mode and appreciate your input. I have the Classic Black Hexar that came with the Silent Mode. I had seen other posts where users had employed a modified procedure to add the feature of the Silver and Rhodium models. I was mainly interested in IR focusing. I may give this a try.

    Ian Sheh , March 15, 2005; 04:12 A.M.

    I bought my original Hexar about a month ago and was looking for a manual that details all or most of the hidden functions. I stumbled upon this site, and decided to try out the upgrade on my Hexar. IT WORKED!!! I have all the functions from manual GN to multi-exposure. And thanks to Peter I know how to access all the new functions. This is a great thread!!!

    Lili Elrod , March 22, 2005; 09:12 A.M.

    I did it! My Classic Hexar now has IR focusing, GN, all the later features plus it kept the Silent Mode. Woo Hoo! Thanks, this thread is great help with a great camera!

    Menico Snider , April 16, 2005; 08:43 A.M.

    I wish to thanks all folks of this photo.net Konika Hexar Review, for their precious advise and help in desclose and revealing software upgrade codes. A very special thank to Peter van de Haar. (I've just successfully upgrade my original Hexar, introducing D[FE] code and getting so all the functions, even bracketing!)

    Menico Snider

    Cindy H. , October 31, 2005; 02:15 A.M.

    I also have a black Hexar and concur that the above codes work when using d[fE]. Thanks for sharing the codes! Now if someone could reveal how to check how many rolls of film each Hexar has gone through...

    Raid W. Amin , November 05, 2005; 07:19 P.M.

    I just want to say what a great posting this is. I use a Hexar Silver and have sold my Black model a while ago (actually, traded for a Leica CL).

    Andrew Murphy , December 03, 2005; 11:34 A.M.


    But, Daaaaad...

    Excellent review that sold me on the KHAF. I picked up a fully-enabled Silver a few days later and the results are exceptional.

    Andy Coach , December 05, 2005; 07:00 P.M.

    Thank you for the amazingly informative review and insightful comments. I recently acquired a silver Hexar and love everything about it - the quality of the pictures, how well it sits in my hand, and especially the autofocus. I am hoping to get further advice from this forum. I normally use a Zorki 4K (I got it for my 8th birthday many, many moons ago) and recently started playing with the Voigtlander R3A (40mm and 15 mm lenses). I enjoy both but after shooting about 25 rolls with the Hexar AF, I found I like the autofocus a lot. I want to further upgrade my rangefinder equipment and am agonizing over whether to get a Hexar RF which most users report does a good job with Leica lenses or go after the Contax G2, whose prime lenses are reportedly amazing. My dilemma is the autofocus feature of the G2 - I like it! There seems to be more of a 50/50 good/not-so-good split among user opinions about the G2 while most say that Hexar RF is great. Has anyone had to make a similar choice?

    Andy

    michael bach , December 26, 2005; 07:35 A.M.

    Hi all and thank you for the best site on photonet. I have had my black, Konica Hexar AF , for more than 6 years now, and shot close to a 1000 film with it. Take a look at my new web site with 95% Konica Hexar photos.

    www.micbach.dk

    "Photography workshops in Spain"

    michael bach , December 26, 2005; 07:36 A.M.

    Hi all and thank you for the best site on photonet. I have had my black, Konica Hexar AF , for more than 6 years now, and shot close to a 1000 film with it. Take a look at my new web site with 95% Konica Hexar photos.

    www.micbach.dk

    "Photography workshops in Spain"

    John-Paul Bogart , January 20, 2006; 06:43 P.M.

    As a point of interest, and wishing to make a small contribution to this very edifying and useful thread, I would like to call attention to the fact that the Hexar's 'stealth' qualities are greatly aided by the use of the old Leica 'AYOOC' waist-level finder.

    For those unfamiliar with it, this small accessory fits in the flash shoe. It enables the photographer to take photos discretely at waist level when he appears to be simply looking at the top of his camera or to be 'fiddling around' with it... should anyone even notice him, that is. If a camera is not brought up to the photographer's eye, no one imagines for a moment that he is taking pictures with it, least of all a non-initiate. The public at large is ignorant of waist level finders today as they are completely absent on modern 35mm cameras.

    I have used the 'AYOOC' to good effect on several occasions, both in public and in delicate situations where discretion was essential. The subjects photographed were completely unaware of my ruse.

    Another advantage of the 'AYOOC' is that it may be affixed onto the Hexar accessory shoe in two different manners - for viewing in either horizontal or vertical format.

    It is a bit more cumbersome to take vertical photos, but practically as discrete.

    Two other waist level finders were made by Leitz: the 'AUFSU' (50mm frame), and the 'AHOOT' (28 and 50mm frame combination).

    These may both be pressed into service on the Hexar, but the advantage of the 'AYOOC' resides in its 35mm frame which corresponds to the camera's field of view.

    In closing, I am extremely greatful to those who have so generously contributed to the Hexar thread and who have enabled us all to exploit the full potential of this superb and ingenious photographic tool.

    John-Paul Bogart

    michael bach , January 31, 2006; 05:28 A.M.

    I looks like my Black Hexar ned a new "shuter contact" again, is ther any repaier shop in EU that can fix the problem for good.

    www.micbach.dk.........Photography workshops in Spain"

    Chris Lee , March 26, 2006; 04:15 P.M.

    The Hexar allows for a very useful manual focusing trick. While the shutter release is pressed half way, if you now press the 'MF' button the focus will be locked and the distance to subject will be shown on the LCD display. Very convenient feature for a number of different situations

    - if you want to lock focus for a sequence of shots

    - if you want to know the distance to subject

    - if you want to deploy flashmatic ('P mode') on an off-center subject while TTL meter the background for ambient exposure.

    etc.

    [Pressing the MF button again re-engages the AF.]

    Chris Lee , March 26, 2006; 04:41 P.M.

    I'd also like to clarify some points about manually entering guide numbers. Recall that to manually enter a GN, you press and hold the 'Select' button while turning the camera on to 'P' mode. With the 'Select' button still held down, you can now modify the GN. Important points to remember are

    - Once you let go of the 'Select' button, the LCD shows 'PFL'. Only in this 'PFL' state is the manually entered GN in effect and can the camera strobe a third-party flash.

    - Once you've switched off the camera, the next time you switch the camera on to the 'P' mode, if you don't press and hold the 'Select' button you will not enter the 'PFL' state and the word 'PFL' will not appear. As such the camera will use the default GN of 14 and cannot strobe a third-party flash. Note, however, that the previously entered GN is still stored somewhere in the camera. To reactivate it you just need re-enter the 'PFL' state. (i.e. Hold the 'Select' button while turning the camera on to 'P' mode, and then let go of the 'Select' button).

    Scott Sandler , March 31, 2006; 07:43 P.M.

    I just got my Hexar Silver...looking forward to shooting with it. I am going to try to enable the silent mode??..wish me luck..

    Klaus Tuma , April 02, 2006; 03:17 P.M.

    first of all a big "thank you very much" to everybody involved in this great thread and for all the invaluable informations. I came across the Hexar by accident at "Matt Alof's Hexar AF review". Being so much impressed of the picture quality shown there I had to learn more about that "little wonder" and ended up in getting a 'Silver' in mint condition from that wellknown internet auction platform. For my personal use I made a summary of the most important informations I gathered on the web (mainly from this thread). If anybody is interested in this "manual substitution" I'm happy to spread it on email-request as a pdf-file (ktuma@web.de, subject "requesting Hexar informations" (or similar)) so I better can differentiate from all the spam stuff). As I started to translate it into German it's a mixture of English and German in the very moment, but I would re-translate it into English if there is any interest. Activating "silent mode/aeb/GN-setting" was no problem thanks to the schedules published here. As long as you haven't entered the "ROM-mode" you can cancel the operation via switching off the camera without any harm (that at least is my experience). However, after having entered "ROM mode" I wouldn't do this (I have no experience what will happen in this case!). Having entered the "ROM mode" you can keep the "up / down"-buttons pressed until the needed value is shown in the display.

    david brights , April 05, 2006; 03:52 P.M.

    I just picked up the original black model. Where can I get a case for thi? Are there companies that custom make a case. I am reffering to a case with a neck strap attached.

    Thanks!

    David

    Vladimir Ferdman , April 05, 2006; 09:14 P.M.

    I have owned Hexar AF Silver for a bit over two years and can not praise it enough. It is by far my most used camera. It is the camera I take on trips and it is the camera I usually have with me in my briefcase. Because of this the viewfinder got a bit dusty and I wanted to clean it. I removed all the visible screws that hold the top deck to the body, but the thing did not budge. I asked around and one kind person finally came through and informed me that there are two more screws holding the top cover. They are located under the leatherette on either side of the lens near the border between camera body and the top cover. The leatherette must be carefully peeled away for access to the screws. Once the cleaning is complete the leatherette can be glued back with a bit of rubber cement or in my case it was still sticky enough to just stick right back in its place. Once the cover was free of the body I carefully lifted it up taking care not to break the small wires connecting the circuit board on the camera with the hot shoe. There is not much length to the wires so take care. I carefully maneuvered the cover such that I could take a lens cloth to the front element of the viewfinder. It tuned out that all of the lint and dust has collected between the front element of the viewfinder and the protective glass (plastic?) that's built into the top cover. Once that was done I was distracted by my young son and put the unfinished project down for a moment and my older son following up on his curiosity grabbed the open camera and broke one of the wires. Good thing I am handy with the soldering iron. I have soldered the wire back and observed no other damage, so put it back together and it is working fine. I have forgotten how nice it is to be looking through a clean viewfinder. It is truly a joy!

    I hope some one finds this useful.

    Klaus Tuma , April 08, 2006; 06:14 P.M.


    For me the Hexar Af is a wonderful tool and supplement to my slr when photographing concerts in small clubs. The shown samples were made at a distance of 2.5-3m on ILFORD 3200. Scanned with film scanner NIKON CoolScan 4000ED, cropping and adjustment of brightness and contrast was done with PhotoShop. The scanning enhanced the grain quite a lot, the negative-prints show less grain (maybe one can get better results with some finetuning with the scanner-software). What do you think of the results ?

    Klaus Tuma , April 08, 2006; 07:08 P.M.


    2nd sample

    Klaus Tuma , April 08, 2006; 07:39 P.M.


    3rd sample

    Ben Kopman , April 11, 2006; 05:52 P.M.

    Hello all, thanks for the wealth of information here. I've recently purchased a Hexar black, and I have a question about just how quiet the silent mode should be. Perhaps my expectations are too high, but the film winder and auto focus motors do not even aproach what I would call 'silent.' When I fist turn the camera on there is a distinct mechanical sound as the aperture is stopped down. Then there is the focusing and winding sounds, which while not loud per se, are definately not the almost inaudible hum that I'd read about. It is definately quieter in silent mode but still quite audible.

    The silent feature is not the most important to me, so I could live with the current volume, but I'm worried that the sound is caused by something physically wrong with the camera. Are the motors something that could be/should be serviced? Should the camera be returned (please say no... :) Am I paranoid?

    thanks again!

    Ben Kopman

    François Courtois , April 25, 2006; 11:13 A.M.

    Hello, excellent information here. Being a real fan of this Hexar AF (and also a Leica shooter) I am currently working on a website (in French) dedicated to the Hexar AF, with many pictures exclusively taken with this camera. I'll keep you posted when its ready for viewing

    Regarding the precision of focus, I have noticed that my camera focusses up to 5m, then immediately jumps to 20m ... I did the test outdoors, walking backwards from a big object (my garden shed) by steps of 1 meter and reading the AF selected distance by pressing [MF] while holding shutter release halfway down.

    Between 3 & 4 meters distance, it indicates 4 meters; from 4 meters to 7 meters, it indicates 5 meters; then it immediately jumps to 20 meters ...

    Is this normal? Have any of you guys experienced that?

    Thank you and best regards

    Heinz Eriksson , May 02, 2006; 05:51 A.M.

    I have a black Hexar since '98.

    >Regarding the precision of focus:

    I tried this yesterday and it displays 4, 5, 7, 10 and 20 when moving away from a wall. I did not do any precision measurements but it appeard to shift focus properly. So, no, I have not had that problem.

    Heinz Eriksson , May 17, 2006; 04:30 A.M.

    Hexar AF QUICK-REFEENCE

    Heinz Eriksson , May 17, 2006; 04:46 A.M.

    Hexar AF QUICK-REFEENCE (back)

    Andrew Benson , July 20, 2006; 07:07 A.M.

    Just a quick thank you to everyone who has posted here. In particular, thanks to Heinz Errikson for posting the reference cards (now printed on gloss photo paper and in my wallet). I would also like to add, like others, how impressed I am with the this camera (have a 2nd hand Classic) and in particular the lens, what a lens - sharp, contrasty, great with out of focus areas (bokeh??), etc.

    Thanks!

    Ryuji Suzuki , July 27, 2006; 11:34 P.M.

    I found a solution to very common erratic shutter release button problem. Typical symptoms caused by this problem include: halfway depression of the button fails to prefocus the lens; halfway depression can focuses the lens, but the camera loses the focus for no reason; full depression may not fire the shutter reliably. In any case, the problem is related to unreliable function of the shuttre release button.

    The problem is contact failure in the double-action tactile switch used in the camera. This switch can be unsoldered off the PCB, and disassembled to clean the contact. The switch should be reassembled and the camera should be put back together.

    The whole process is described with lots of closeup photo at:

    Konica Hexar AF

    Michael Koch-Schulte , September 05, 2006; 01:30 A.M.

    I recently performed the upgrade to my "original" black Hexar AF. I played around with the aperture wheel a little bit and found out there is more diagnostic information and possibly different modes available on the hexar. Use at your own risk. The following is a description of what I observed after entering the ROM sequence.

    Other Information: As I dialed to f13 and f16 I noticed other numbers flying by on the screen. From some basic poking around this is what I can report:

    F22 = the number "232" flashing (I have no idea, possibly a version number).

    F19 = T (the letter "T" is displayed -- again -- no idea).

    F16 = d[16] is displayed (One of the two programming hex registers on the chip, changable using the UP/DN buttons.).

    F13 = A[3F] (The second of the two programming hex registers on the chip.).

    F11 = ###/0.6 (Nothing happens except a flashing number followed by 0.6 on the LCD screen, probably a focus sensor. 0.6 is the closest the camera can focus coincidentally. Point the camera at infinity now and the screen reads 000, at very close range the read out say 160.) I'm guessing that this and the following seven menus have to do with distance sensor calibration used by Konica technicians.

    F9.5 = ###/0.8 (Same as above except flashes 0.8 and next readable distance on the hexar's lens. Again read out is affected by pointing the camera at different distances.).

    F8 = ###/3.8 (Same as above except flashed 3.8 ie. about 12.5 feet.).

    F6.7 = ###/7.6 (Same as above except flashed 7.6 ie. about 25 feet.)

    F5.6 = This is interesting. The lens jumps (and you get a little bit scared) to its closest focus .6 m and the LCD read 300.

    F4.8 = Same as previous, except the lens sets itself to .8 and the LCD reads 222.

    F4 = Same. Except lens focuses at 3 metres and LCD reads 055 (not so scared anymore).

    F3.4 = Same. Except lens focuses at infinity and LCD reads 013.

    F2.8 = Something else happens this time. The lens doesn't move but the screen reads 28.4 and changes a little. Not sure what causes the change. Light? Power?.

    F2.4 = Same as f2.8 except number read 212 and tends to change a bit.

    F2 = Something new happens again. The LCD screen becomes active "ISO" and "+/-" are lit and seems to turn on extra pixels in the number. If I had to guess it appears the number "1/88.8" is displayed except the first "8" is pixelated more.

    That's all. I didn't push a lot of buttons, I just tried to observe changes as I moved through the different aperture modes. I went back to F16 and F13 and continued the upgrade sequence to add the extra functions like GN, Bracketing, Multi etc using "FE". Maybe an ex Konica tech can chime in and comment on what is servicable in these modes. Incidentally, I couldn't get my camera to drop into IR mode after the update. Also, has anyone use the IR mode on the original black hexars? All the other functions now seem to work.

    ~m

    Dave Schmidt , October 05, 2006; 04:55 P.M.

    For those looking to add a Hexar, be careful. It took me 3 tries to get one without a failing shutter button. I got one at kurland photo, then one at KEH, before getting a good one from KEH. I've called a few places including precision camera and repair parts are practically non-existent.

    Andy Coach , December 07, 2006; 09:45 P.M.

    The do-it-yourself fix for the lazy shutter button is here:

    http://wiki.silvergrain.org/wiki/index.php/Konica_Hexar#Shutter_release_.28erratic_pre-focus.29_problem

    Todd Walderman , January 23, 2007; 02:44 P.M.

    I purchased a Gold Hexar Classic. It is in mint condition and I like it very much. It has all the great features that the classic has and a distinct look. In this day and age of cell phone cams and small HG digital point and shoots, how valuable is stealthiness these days? this gold and brown hexar screams BLING.

    Tom Diaz , July 04, 2007; 11:03 A.M.

    Does anyone know more about the date back--how to turn it on and how to use it? My Hexar Rhodium (which I think is wonderful) has a date back, but I can't see any evidence that it actually puts a date on the film. I have tried different settings on the little LCD panel on the date back. Thanks in advance!

    Barend Jan van Spaendonck , August 06, 2007; 09:23 A.M.

    On the basis of Richard Caruana's wonderful review I decided to finally get a used Hexar AF, just to experience this camera for myself. I have always been rather snobbish when it came to auto everything point-and-shoot cameras, using several Leicas and a Crown Graphic myself. Well, I managed to get a Hexar Silver databack with dedicated HX-14 flash (wiht some cosmetic issues, far from mint)on eBay for EUR 185 (US$ 250 at the present rate of exchange. I haven't run film through it yet, but the first thing I did was program the silent mode and other hidden functions as described above. Although the readout in the LCD screen was different from what I was expecting during the first four steps, it did go into hexadecimal programming mode after step 6. It now has silent mode (at least silent enough for me) and the other goodies. When you get to pushing the + and - buttons to get to A[00] and to A[FE], it helps if you know that these are hexadecimal steps, so you'll know which button to push and how many times (00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, 06, 08, 09, 0A, 0B, 0C, 0D, 0E, 0F, 10, etc.)

    I am afraid I can't help Tom Diaz with his data back: mine has it too, but I still have to get a manual. I only know that the battery in my data back is OK: it displays -- -- --. Pushing the mode button rotates the display between 8 6 07, 6 8 07, 07 8 6, 6 15:24 (which is the correct time) and -- -- -- again. I don't dare to touch the set or select butons, lest I change anything that I can't change back again.

    Robert Crigan , September 26, 2007; 06:04 P.M.

    I'm a new and very happy Hexar owner, and am looking for a flash to use when travelling. Haven't been able to find a HX-14, so I'll have to go for a third party unit. The Sunpak PF20XD looks suitable, small, light and with five-step manual control. There's one thing I don't understand about the Hexar though. Will it treat a third-party flash the same way it treats a HX-14? By this I mean will it expose for the ambient light and then adjust the aperture to give correct flash exposure at the focussed distance? This assumes the user has first set the proper guide number. My Hexar is an original black model, and I'd have to reprogram it to enable the guide number to be set. All advice appreciated. Thanks guys.

    Curtis Polk , September 26, 2007; 06:47 P.M.

    I'm still stuggling with the guide number adjustment. My understanding is that (1) changing the guide number will change the flash's output in P mode, and (2) the guide number will revert to 14 when the camera is turned off and subsequently turned back on without pressing Reset. Turning the camera back on to P mode while holding down Reset will show the new guide number. Once you do, is this the operative GN?

    Robert Crigan , September 26, 2007; 07:32 P.M.

    Thanks for your comments. It seems unlikely that setting the guide number will change the output of the flash. After all, the ability to set the guide number would have been incorporated in order to allow the use of non-dedicated flash units, ie flash units that don't communicate with the camera. Fundamentally, I'd like to know the purpose of that extra contact on the hot-shoe of the HX-14. Is it to adjust the output of the flash to suit the focussed distance? This is most likely. Others have suggested that during flash exposure, the aperture is first set to suit ambient, then on second-curtain closing the aperture is set to suit the flash at that distance. This is unlikely, as I don't believe the apereture could respond quickly enough. Even if it could, it's umlikely that the mechanism would have been built to allow the aperture to be set at the start of the exposure as well as at the end of the exposure. That would be complicated. If I had a HX-14 or some other, low-voltage flash, a few simple tests would answer these questions. Anyone?

    Lili Elrod , October 07, 2007; 01:39 P.M.

    If you all are referring to manually setting the Gide Number on the Hexar, then what happens is this. You are telling the camera that the flash has a givien output. As you focus it changes the aperture to give proper exposure. The flash is going full blast for every shot. This GN system has the advantage of not being 'fooled' by reflectivity. It sounds crazy but it works beautifully, especially with a camera that can focus in total darkness. Perfect exposures everytime :)

    Curtis Polk , October 26, 2007; 08:57 A.M.

    Thanks for the help. I have since purchased a Sunpak 383, so that I can attach a soft box and adjust its ouput manually. I intend to use the flash for fill when there's enough ambient light, and as the main source when there's not, with ambient as fill. The Hexar won't fire the 383 in P mode, so I set the Hexar to A and the flash's ISO two stops higher than the Hexar's. I will be developing a test roll this weekend.

    W.A. Gerrard , October 28, 2007; 11:44 A.M.

    The DIY shutter release fix at the Silvergrain site seems to be unavailable. Apparently, they are rebuilding after a server crash. Anyone know if that fix is posted elsewhere?

    mark moskovitz , October 29, 2007; 02:18 A.M.

    Waiting for mine to come from Ebay. Reading all these posts has me excited. I've been more of a digital person (as far as my chronology for really becoming an enthusiast about photography) and still mostly use cameras to document my other art (sculpture, furniture, etc.) But am constantly snapping shots of everything else too. have loved my canon eos20D and Fuji f31fd for P&S but am going back in time and have been pulled into this hexar cult. Probably overpaid but got a black classic from an American with perfect feedback and over 2000 transactions (ebay camera shop) that was brand new so it seemed worth it.

    Anyhow, 2 things.

    Can someone recommend some good film to get for this? Both B&W and Color. Remember, I'm new to the old school (film) so be specific. I know virtually nothing.(I do own a Nikon FM2 which has been great but it's been so long since I used it, what little I used to know about film is gone).

    Also: I'd love to see some more results all of you posters have had with your Hexars. Not too many functioning links w/i all of these posts.

    One last thing. Anyone still repair these if there is a problem?

    Thanks

    Milan Kovacs , October 30, 2007; 05:51 A.M.

    I've had bought an original black with flash and everything completely new last Friday from eBay.de and I must say that this is a dream camera. With all its "faults" (tiny buttons, wrongly placed neckstrap) it's truly a gem.
    After I did the hexhack every feature is available and it WORKS nicely :)

    This time I only attach one photograph I made the day I got it: technically happy

    [details: some shitty Fuji Superia 400, at f2 and probably above 1/100]

    Christoph Gremmer , February 13, 2008; 03:21 P.M.

    Hello everybody, thank you for this very informative thread with enormous information. A week ago I bought a very early black Hexar (serial number 0000018) which was described as defect. For I know a good repairsman I risked the 120 Euro and then only had to pay another 30 Euros for the the cleaning of a corroded control button. If someone lives in Munich, Germany I could recommend this guy.

    Michael Bruner , March 19, 2008; 08:46 P.M.

    Hello all. A few years ago I programed my Silver to Silent mode using the steps outlined above. No problems. My Silver also has multi-exposure capacity, etc. BUT, for some reason, I can't seem to activate the aeb function (auto-bracketing). When I switch to "M" mode and push the "Select" button, the only two options I get in the viewfinder are the shutter speed and the counter number. There is no 0+/- option, which apparently is what tells me that the aeb feature is activated. Can anyone out there give me a tip?? (Just for kicks, I reprogrammed my Silver again and this time went to D/FE on step #8 instead of D/FA, which was supposed to engage the aeb funciton... no luck.) You can reply here or send a reply to malibru@hotmail.com.

    Thanks to anyone who's still reading this 12-year old post... must be a record!

    Marcus Perkins , February 08, 2009; 05:33 P.M.

    Anybody out there?

    Anybody out there know where I can buy a Konica Hexar AF? I managed to wear out three of these great cameras through heavy professional use in the 1990's. I'm fully digital now (except for my Leica's) but I do miss the Konica Hexar AF. I always hoped a digital version would eventually come out with that fantastic infrared focussing - which was probably the best system ever for quick and discreet documentary photography, nothing since has touched it for sheer speed and accuracy!

    Here's Hoping...

    By the way, is this the longest thread in camera history? Amazing - clearly says something for the Konica Hexar AF!

    Danaher Dempsey, Jr. , February 13, 2009; 01:31 P.M.

    Help!!! .... is my Hexar fried?

    My Hexar has stopped functioning. It managed to rewind film but that is about it. (This was not long after I attempted some of the stealth modifications. It was however still active after the mods. ... but now not.)

    Upon putting new film in, it does NOT wind it to first frame. When I turn on Camera I get upon pressing select "E 22" Nothing is happening when pressing shutter release button half way down.

    Where do I send this to get it fixed? Is there a place that fixes Hexars?

    Thanks,

    Dan

    Barend Jan van Spaendonck , February 17, 2009; 02:52 P.M.

    Resuscitation, Availability

    There should be some way to restore the factory settings. I would first take out and replace the batteries and see if that helps.

    Used Hexars? There always seem to be half a dozen on ebay, though prices are higher now than two years ago. I bought mine used in 2007 for about US$ 250 with the flash. Concluded auctions on ebay are now around US$ 400 or more. Bide your time: the recession will bring those prices down pretty soon ...

    Danaher Dempsey, Jr. , February 18, 2009; 01:55 A.M.

    Thanks I tried the removal of batteries to no avail. Still the same.

    I think I shall contact KEH and see what they have to say.

    Sander den Haag , February 27, 2009; 07:43 A.M.

    This is a wonderful page. I purchased a Hexar Silver yesterday and have just upgraded it to stealth capability. Many thanks to Charles Clemens for putting together his table of the secret command sequence (see above). It really works! My Hexar also has the AEB feature & other small enhancements now, after following the hint of Robert Edwards (also somewhere above). I don't think I will ever use these features, but they are nice to have. It's all extra and free in any case.

    My new-old Hexar came with the problem of the indecisive shutter release. I previously owned another Hexar Silver. This one had the same problem, to about the same degree. I sold it a year ago because I thought I would not use it very much anymore. A little while later I rediscovered the fun of doing b&w yourself. This made me regret the selling of my first Hexar. So after a few weeks of searching I found my second Hexar. I got it from a gone-digital guy, for 200 euros, with flash and data back (not a problem, just took out the battery). For a short while, those 200 euros felt like too much money for a 10+ year old analogue camera. But then you won't find them for much less and they should keep their value well. Above all, the camera is worth the amount to me; this counts most.

    Initially I was a bit disappointed with the poor shutter release. The camera would do a lock focus + shutter release without fault in only about 50% of cases. Of course I had tried the camera before purchasing it, but for some reason the problem seemed far less pronounced then. Added to the frustration from the same problem with my first Hexar, I felt a bit silly. A few weeks earlier, I had tried an old, ugly black Hexar in a shop. This Hexar had a terrible shutter release and I decided it wasn't worth the money (225 euros). Now I had bought myself into the same problem after all.

    Thankfully I ran into Ryuji's Hexar-article on the silvergrain site. Ryuji describes exactly how to solve the problem with the shutter release. The procedure appeared much easier than it had seemed at first glance. Just follow the steps and you will be done in 15-20 minutes. Ryuji suggests taking out (desoldering) the entire tactile switch and then cleaning it. I found that the metal contacts are just as easily cleaned with the switch left in place. This saves some risky soldering, which is good if you are not too experienced with it, like me. Just be careful not to spill any cleaning stuff onto the circuits. In any case, take out the battery before you start.

    My Hexar has a perfect shutter release now. It makes the camera so much more fun to operate. Thanks a lot to Ryuji for his thorough explanation! Without it I would probably have never dared open the camera and I would have been stuck with the same problem once more. I can recommend the cleaning procedure to anybody. It's not difficult and the reward is huge.

    I haven't shot any film yet with my new Hexar. The weather is grey and wet, and I want some outdoor pictures as well to see how well the lens does. I kind of know what to expect, since I had a Hexar before, but I have never shot b&w with it yet. I wonder how it does in comparison to the Leica Minilux, the Contax G1 and the Nikon 35Ti that I also own (shame on me). Pretty stiff competition for sure. I will post an update (new post) once I get a subjective comparison done.

    It is fun to see btw how the flow of comments on this page hasn't dried up yet. I think this is testament to the uniqueness of the Hexar. Digital is great, but the f/2.0 lens and the unique package still hold additional value to many. I will never sell mine again. (I'd rather get one extra for when this one dies.)

    Roland R , March 01, 2009; 01:56 P.M.

    Hi,

    First, I wanted to thank everyone who contributed to this great thread.

    Second, if you are interested in how the above info can be used to adjust the focusing of your AF, have a look here:

    http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=70654

    Best,

    Roland.

    Vincent DiPietro , March 12, 2009; 09:48 A.M.

    I purchased a Black w/stealth mode AF last year and liked it so much that I recently purchased a silver w/o the stealth mode. These are great for street and gallery photography. In fact my street photography has changed since I've been using the Hexars. During the cold days of winter I was missing a number of shots because of the shutter release problem. However, I notice that since the milder weather has set in the shutter release problem doesn't seem to exist anymore. I love the Hexar AF.

    iztok mrzljak , March 13, 2009; 09:10 A.M.

    which af models are there? till now, i know there's: -black -silver -rhodium -titanium -gold anything else? is that true that titanium model was limited edition (i know gold version was for some anniversary or something)? if somebody knows, please tell what were production figures for every model, etc. i'm most interested in titanium version. thank you.

    Menico Snider , March 13, 2009; 03:11 P.M.

    As far as I know (and own) there is also a Classic model in silver chrome finish commemorating the 120th Anniversary of Konica in 1993. Only 2000 were made in a special gray presentation box, top plate engraved "120 Years, Since 1873." It's the only Hexar AF factory released with auto bracketing.

    Carl-Erik Kopseng , March 26, 2009; 06:21 P.M.

    I also got my own Hexar this last fall (s/n 0039978), and I absolutely love it! It's so quiet and the lens is wonderful. It really makes working with film easy. as long as you don't touch the advanced functions - then you really need to lug the instruction manual with you :p

    It's really great that these threads continue to exist as a resource for information years after they started. I have found so much info here that I couldn't find anywhere else.

    Here is my tip of the day: If you load non-dx film the Hexar does not forward the film to the first frame automatically. This drove me insane, but it turns out that all you need to do is press the shutter ... (bonk!) Then of course set the ISO manually (see above posts/manual).

    I scanned some pictures from the Hexar onto Flickr if anyone wonders how it performs.

    One of them:
    Petter

    Simon Gascoigne , May 11, 2009; 02:46 P.M.

    I just thought I would let any potential Hexar Black 'needers' know that my Mother has one listed on eBayUK her Id is quickflash36, it is a 7 day auction and started 10/05/2009.

    The camera belonged to my uncle who used it only 3 times, needless to say he aint no camera expert or photography buff, he is however very careful and looks after his possessions, Ive just been looking at this one and it is genuinely like a new camera the condition is that good.

    I have seen some holiday pics he took whilst on safari in Kenya with this camera and I can vouch for and see why it gets such good reviews...if my uncle can get shots like those then they certainly knew what they were doing when they set to work building the Hexar.....might even have a bid myself after reading some of your reviews (damn, I couldve have had it for free before the auction started). Anyway a big DITTO for the praise lavished on the originator of this thread, well deserved....fantastic! Thank You.

    Mark Walberg , July 31, 2009; 01:37 P.M.

    Can someone help me with a few questions about using a Nikon flash on a Hexar AF?

    The GN of the original Hexar HX-14 flash is 14 (meters at ISO 100). The Nikon SB-20 has GN 100 (feet at ISO 100), which is about 30 in meters at ISO 100. So, the SB-20 has a GN about twice that of the HX-14, which I think makes it about four times brighter.

    So, to use the SB-20 (let's say in P mode for fill flash using ISO 100 film), I set the GN on the camera to about 30, or some higher number for a bit less fill flash. The highest GN that can be entered in my Hexar is 64.

    So, am I right that setting the camera GN to 57 or 64 would be in the neighborhood of two stops less exposure from the SB-20 relative to the ambient light/background exposure? This assumes that the SB-20 is set to full output (manual) and is set at the "N" (normal) setting (which covers the 35mm frame).

    So, then setting camera's GN to about 45 would give me closer to one stop down for the flash exposure relative to ambient.

    The relative output of the flash could also be changed by setting the SB-20 at less than full power. For example, one could set GN on the camera to 30, but reduce the flash output to 1/2. (Of course, this would limit the brightness of the flash that might be needed in bright ambient light.)

    Another way to adjust the brightness of the SB-20 would be to change the angle of the flash to Wide, which cuts the GN to 22, or to Telephoto, which increases the GN to 36 (both in meters at ISO 100). Of course, the tele setting would only fill the center of the 35mm frame.

    So, let me know if I've got it right so far.

    Now, for what I'm really trying to figure out. How does film speed affect what GN should be entered into the camera? Let's say we are using ISO 400 film. Clearly, the GN of any flash is twice as high at ISO 400, relative to ISO 100. So, the GN of the HX-14 is 28 at ISO 400. In spite of that, for the original Konica HX-14, I don't think one needs to enter any different guide number into the camera when swithching to ISO 400 film. I think the camera makes the adjustment for you. Otherwise, those Hexars that aren't yet set to allow entering a GN would not work right with anything other than ISO 100 film when using flash. Is this correct?

    If that is the case, and the camera does not require a GN entry adjustment for the Konica HX-14flash at ISO 400, then I'd assume that one would enter the same ISO 100 GN for the SB-20 regardless of film speed. So, then, it would not be right to enter the real ISO 400 GN using ISO 400 film. Yes, I can and will test this. Just thought someone here might already know.

    The Hexar AF is a great camera. I need to hone my fill flash skills to get the most out of it. Thanks to all who have contributed to this great thread. -Mark Walberg

    Carl-Erik Kopseng , September 10, 2009; 07:46 P.M.

    @Mark Wahlberg: So what did you end up finding out? Does one need to change the GN?

    Hazem Abuwatfa , November 13, 2009; 07:02 A.M.

    Hello Guys, I am a photographer from London, I am looking for the Konica Hexfar RF, i was wondering what is the best way to buy this camera with 50mm f1.2 apart from the ebay?? Any thoughts?? Many thanks, Che

    Barend Jan van Spaendonck , November 13, 2009; 11:13 A.M.

    This page is dedicated exclusively to the Konica Hexar AF (for auto focus) which is an entirely different camera from the Konica Hexar RF (for range finder). I doubt that you will find what you are looking for here. Why don't you do yourself a favour and get a very affordable, very versatile 35 mm camera with a fantastic lens? Curious? Just hit control+home and read on....

    iztok mrzljak , November 13, 2009; 11:44 A.M.

    hazem, try at http://www.rangefinderforum.com/ under buy/sell section.

    Hazem Abuwatfa , November 13, 2009; 12:42 P.M.

    Thank you iztok mrzljak , very useful, sorry Barend Jan van Spaendonck I didn't realise it was about the Hexar AF. Cheers

    edwin cheong , December 16, 2009; 02:00 A.M.

    Awesome Thread! After 13years and this thread is still going strong. I now have every reason to expect myself loving this Hexar Sliver camera that i had won on eBay today for US$380! (looks like the price is going up :):) I should never sell it away!

    thor smith , May 27, 2010; 12:05 P.M.

    After carefully reading the many laudatory reviews of the Hexar AF, I now feel that the downsides should be exposed.  The autofocus is horrible!  Being fast and sharp and not having a proper shutter release is very frustrating.  Unfortunately, everything else about the camera is perfect.  Pre-focusing and getting the green light, then re-framing and and fully depressing the shutter results with a maybe.  Furthermore, manual focusing consists of selective measurements, which is not bad, although twisting a lens barrel would have been great.  After shooting a handful of rolls I feel selective focus is always a gamble.  I love the camera, but reliability is not favored. 

    Frank Groeliken , June 29, 2010; 09:05 A.M.

    I recently bought a Hexar (silver) and it is the camera I was looking for.  Although I love my Leica M6, depend on a Canon 1DS MK2 for an income, the Hexar opened my eyes.  For street and documentary photography this is the tool i've been missing. It lets me focus on the subject instead of fumbling around with my camera. At first I thought the 1/250 would be my main concern but since I do B&W most of the time and use filters a lot this isn't really a problem. During the day Tri-X (sometimes I even push it 1 stop) is perfect and I haven't been in a situation at night where Delta 3200 couldn't do the trick. And this for a cheap, ugly camera. I am about to buy a second (black) as a back up. I am a happy man...

    Robert Edwards , October 25, 2010; 04:25 P.M.

    Fujifilm X100

    The recently announced Fuji X100 is the closest digital equivalent of the beloved Hexar:

    http://www.fujifilm.com/news/n100920.html

    Retro style and fixed 35mm lens (equivalent) with manual over-ride. Expected early 2011 with a price around $1 000.

    Skye Poier Nott , December 16, 2010; 01:47 A.M.

    Just wanted to add my thanks for the ROM programming steps above.  I just came into possession of a black Hexar AF that did not have the extended features, and using d[FA] as described enabled all the extra features.  Excited to go shoot with this camera!

    I don't have big fingers, and boy are these buttons small and fiddly... otherwise excellent!  AF is so fast and accurate, I love the motorized frame lines for instant feedback.  Feels very solid in hand.  A real "sleeper" camera that looks cheap enough to go travel with.

    Alex S. , February 06, 2011; 07:49 A.M.

    This will mark the beginning of the fifteenth year that this discussion has been going on.  I've had my black Hexar AF since it came out and it still works brilliantly.  I have only one piece of advice, which is about a small nagging problem:  the lens hood that never can stay in place.  I used some double-sided tape to hold it in the down position.  I screwed on an old Contax 28mm hood into the filter (46mm).  It is silver but matches the Hexar's silver dial.  

    dee tox , February 13, 2011; 12:47 A.M.

    The quality and depth of the comments on this page is impressive. The Hexar certainly has a following. Sadly, after spending some time with one, I didn't fall in love.  The short version is that it isn't small enough to be a 'go everywhere' camera and not flexible enough to be my 'do everything' serious camera. The longer version is in my Hexar review. I sold the camera on eBay last year.

    Cortès marc , March 16, 2011; 09:22 A.M.

    Hi,

    I've just reprogrammed my Hexar black to use in P mode a H-18w flash... and it works perfectly, i can now change the guide number ! thanks a lot

    1: With camera off and empty of film, turn the aperture dial to F22.

    2: Turn the camera on and press SELECT button. The LCD display will show +/-0.0

    3: Press SELECT button again. The LCD display will show [0]

    4: Turn the camera off, turn camera on. Do not press any buttons. LCD Display shows [0]

    5: The following button sequence put the camera into ROM mode. Use the Left-Right exposure compensation buttons:

    Press right button 1 time
    Press left button 2 times
    Press right button 3 times
    Press left button 4 times
    Press right button 3 times
    Press left button 2 times
    Press right button 1 time

    The camera will cycle and the display will show the flashing number '232'

    6: Turn aperture dial from f22 to f13 (the spot between f11 and f16). LCD display shows A[3F] (or maybe A[38]) Use the left exposure compensation button to set this value to A[00]

    7: Turn aperture dial to f16. The LCD display shows D[22] (or possibly D[FB])

    8: Set this value to D[FE] with the exposure compensation button.

    9: Power off. The display shows f16

    10: Press shutter release button for 2 secs. f16 disappears, camera switches off

    The original black hexars should have the full set of functions.

     

     

    Bruce Robbins , September 07, 2012; 02:06 P.M.

    The Hexar can be a little fiddly but there's no denying the lens is special and has a look all of its own. The going rate for one in the UK is now around £300-£350 which is still good value for such a fine camera.

     

     

    jules cann , June 29, 2013; 02:46 A.M.

    As a former 20 year pro photographer, I am just now after a 5 year break, hankering to shoot again. I bought a pristine Hexar AF Black plus HX-14 flash on ebay from Japan recently, where I believe most of them were sold. It's a beautiful thing and I'm enjoying shooting and processing B&W again on this little jewel. It is obviously a fairly early model with the amazing "Silent Mode" and after much research I tried the ROM upgrade to give me AE bracketing. The process goes well until I'm in ROM mode after showing the "232" and selecting f13 at which point the display shows what looks like a segmented letter "T" or "7". I somehow manage to then find the D[FE] and complete the process, but with no result. I have tried this very carefully, now twice with the same result and have not seen this symbol reported in the forums. Is my Hexar too old to upgrade? General consensus is that they all are upgradeable. I can live without the upgrade but it would be nice to have the extra features, especially as the camera is in such perfect condition. I guess this makes this forum now 17 years on. I bet that's a record. Any suggestions gratefully received.

    jules cann , June 29, 2013; 02:49 A.M.

    As an adjunct to my last post, the serial no. of my Hexar is   0013159. Hope this helps.

    Rosemary H. , November 08, 2013; 01:44 A.M.

    Hi

    I have a black original Hexar AF and I just love it.  Love it. Amazing lens.  However I am also trying to do the upgrade and though I've twice gone through the steps, it hasn't worked.  I mainly want the manual iso setting for IR film purposes.  I've tried it with non-DX film from the Film Photography Project store, but it just flashes "100" when I load it and goes back to the bracketing symbol on the A setting.  I am wondering if my model is just old and maybe the buttons don't respond well enough to pull off the upgraded features.

    So I am wondering - if I buy a Silver model, will the date back affect IR film at all?  As in letting light onto the IR film?

    Thanks a lot.  Great, great camera.

    James Mann , February 28, 2014; 04:10 P.M.

    Thank you to Richard and everyone who has contributed to the article over the years. This is still the best online resource for such an amazing camera. If anyone is looking for the Silvergrain Wiki mentioned above it can be found, in all its glory, on the Internet Archive website:

    http://web.archive.org/web/20060821231847/http://wiki.silvergrain.org/wiki/index.php/Konica_Hexar


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