2 comments on “Meet the Lens: Konishiroku Hexanon 50mm f/1.9 LTM

  1. This is something of a secret that some people like David Duncan Douglas knew back in the day, but recent photographers are just catching on to.

    I have found similar with the (admittedly) more well known W-Nikkor 50’s. I have an LTM version of the F2 and an S mount version of the F1.4 (and recently an adapter), both of which I have been using with the 5th version of the Leica 50 Summicron for comparison purposes, on my M4.

    The f2 is easily the nicest, followed closely by the f1.4 which is as good as the f2 when it gets to f2.8, but is not as nice to handle with the adapter.

    The Summicron which cost me more than three times the sum of the other two is good, but not as good as its price.

    Reading up on the F2, it seems that it came into existence after the Zeiss factory was “liberated”… Somehow the designs of the Zeiss lenses found their way via America, to the Nikon people, who did Zeiss, only better. What they have built is a bullet proof 50mm Sonnar with some very good coating and beautiful rendering.

    • Yes, the Leica-mount Nikkor lenses are quite well-regarded. I’ve so far resisted getting a 50, as I have a Canon 50/1.5 Sonnar LTM, but don’t think I haven’t been tempted; I’m very happy with my Nikkor 85/2 and 135/3.5, which are also Sonnar-formula lenses. As far as I know, DDD used the earliest 50/1.5 Nikkor for his Korea work, with the 50/1.4 an improved version coming out a bit later.

      Without a doubt, there are many older lenses that come very close to modern ones at a fraction of the price. Only in terms of contrast and absolute sharpness do modern lenses tend to surpass the earlier models, but these qualities are important only in academic discussions, as they have no meaningful impact on the vast majority of photos.

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