In some ways it has no peer, justifying its "cult" camera status as the ideal stealth street camera. High points include a fast sharp lens combined with incredibly quiet and fast operation -- quieter and faster in operation than a Leica M6!! It would be great for film sets or courtrooms. Major Features With its autofocus combined with Aperture or Programmed exposure modes, the Hexar AF offers considerably faster operation than any classic manual focus rangefinder, including the Leica M series.
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To me, the Hexar feels a little like a complicated camera trapped in the body of a simple one. If you use it in a simple way — much I think like Rob does — I suspect it can be very rewarding; Rob certainly seems to enjoy his, and gets great shots too.
Along side the automatic functions common to the genre of cameras the Konica Hexar best fits into, it features aperture priority and even a full manual mode. As I mention in this post , I find a preference in cameras that have clarity of function. To my mind, this is something the Hexar lacks.
That being said, I made the comment because I already had a fairly strong feeling about not wanting to talk about these features in the same way others have. What I can only assume has happened is that over the years since the Konica Hexar was released people have bought them second hand without the manuals.
More specifically, I guess most people who see the features as hidden must have just not seen the quick reference guide that no doubt came in the box when the camera was new.
As you can see, to access a lot of it, you have to go into various modes then press a combination of buttons. Looking back at my review of the Contax T3 and its custom menu — something that I spoke about favourably in the context of that camera — I do feel I am being a little unfair to the Konica Hexar here. I just think it again comes down to the lack of clarity of function. With the Hexar, we are talking about some pretty major features that you have to fumble through the user interface to find.
Yet, it has a dedicated button just for the self-timer. If button space is as limited as it feels the designers felt, surely a self-timer could have been put in a menu along with these other features…? Crap manual focus modes Next on my hit list of frustrations is the crap manual focus modes. As you can see looking back again at the quick guide there are a whole bunch of manual focus modes.
One touch infinity has its uses and is easy enough to access, but as soon as you want to set focus to a distance, you are into the world of button pressing. It also has a focus hold function that could be useful on a camera like this for the separation of either autoexposure or autofocus from the half shutter press. The issue is, you have to press two buttons at the same time to activate it.
In the case of the Konica Hexar, the button is on the top quite close to the shutter button. To start with, the most useful information is displayed on the top of the camera via the LCD.
In program mode, it tells you either not both the set shutter speed or the aperture. Inside the viewfinder, you do get a basic distance indicator, parallax correction and a few little lights that tell you useful information. But none of the information is nearly as useful as having a shutter speed and or set aperture readout display.
Silent mode My final complaint is with the silent mode. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the silent mode — at least depending on the version you have — is that it might actually be the only truly hidden mode on the camera. Of course, if you have set a manual focus distance, you will have to reset it again after you turn it on, but never mind that… Silent Slow mode This silent mode is actually just a slow mode. This camera is very fast, and in normal use, pretty quiet.
Despite all the complaints though, I do now want to draw your attention back to two things I said at the beginning of this review. The first is that I believe the Konica Hexar is in essence very good, if not excellent.
It sets an intelligent average of shutter and aperture to get the best average results in any given lighting. That being said, I feel I have a growing awareness of my own pickiness. Setting aside my cynical attitude, even the silent mode is pretty damned impressive and brings another layer of unique function to this type of camera. Ultimately, my point here was not to pull apart this camera entirely. I know I am becoming pickier, but in this instance, I just felt my pickiness might shed some light on a few caveats that seem to me to be often overlooked by those who favour it.
The Konica Hexar AF
However, due to some sort of patent or copyright infringement, this feature was removed The later versions of the Hexar AF required a specific order of buttons to be pressed before silent mode could be activated read here. So be sure to consider using lower speed films if shooting in bright day light. Wait for the "L" to appear on the small LCD screen.
Picking a few holes in the untouchable – A Konica Hexar review
The release of the Hexar in came as a suprise to the photography community. The Hexar was shockingly good, despite its quirky button use to set the cameras functions with. It was hailed as the viable alternative for a Leica M6, and AutoFocus too! In this digital day and era, I feel safe to say the Hexar is the best compact film camera ever produced.
5 Frames with a Konica Hexar AF – By James Nguyen
This is a camera that is easy to get spoilt by. It is small, quick, exposes perfectly, is sharp and is silent. No wonder I have come to enjoy it! But… would you believe it! When I grabbed the Hexar for a walk the other day it refused to work! It did not react to anything!
Konica Hexar AF – Under the Radar
But not really. The first time I ever saw one was on the streets of NYC while doing a shoot. Almost directly across the street from me was Peter Lindbergh doing a shoot with Helena Christensen. While I could see he was using a Nikon F5 for the shoot, during stylist or lighting breaks, he was snapping away with another little camera. So I thought I should check it out. But sharpness and contrast? Holy mackerel!