42 thoughts on “The Konica Hexanon 60mm f/1.2, Special Edition (Review).

  1. This lens has always puzzled me. The odd focal length, combined with such a huge maximum aperture, and the rendering that I, personally, find apalling — I don’t get why it even exists and less why anybody would want to use it …

    But that’s just me, you know! So long as you enjoy it … 😉

    1. Hi Felix,

      I must say I’m a little perplexed by your use of the word “appalling” in connection with this lens (seems harsh and I wonder if you looked carefully at the example images), but in the end I understand that the lens will not appeal to everybody.

      Cheers,

      Peter.

      1. I really mean it! I find this lens has one of the most hideous signatures. This is purely from a perspective of personal aesthetic preference, mind you. Your motives and composition are excellent – you know that I’m a great admirer of your photography. I just can’t get friends with how the “Hex 60” draws. I had similar sensations with the Nokton 35/1.4, but nowhere as strong as with this lens. For example, when I compare the Hex to the Noctilux, I find the Noctilux’s drawing very pleasing, with considerably “softer” bokeh, that distinctive swirl, and its warm colours. The Hex, on the other hand, looks terribly harsh to me, has none of that swirl, and much cooler colours. And I get a little dizzy from its bokeh — while the Noctilux makes me feel warm and comfortable. Strange as it may sound, but that’s how it is 🙂

        1. Thanks for clarifying Felix. I have a better idea of where you’re coming from, though still share a markedly different view (except for certain instances, where the “harsh” bokeh of the Hex is at play). As you write, it’s all a personal thing… the kind of things we crazies obsess over!

  2. Thank you for a lovely and informative write up. Your example photos are excellent.

    Have you experienced any problems adjusting your M9 to focus properly with your Hexanon? I know others have had some difficulty with this and it has made me reluctant to “try” to obtain one.

    Best,

    Bill

    1. Hi Bill, thank you for the comment.

      Indeed, I was experiencing some back-focusing at far distances, but not at near-to-mid distances (which, fortunately, is where most of my shooting is done). However, I recently found a vintage Leica LTM-M adapter to replace the generic adapter I was using, and the focusing now seems to be spot on. I will report more on this in the future, as I gain experience with the Leica adapter.

      Hope that helps,

      Peter.

      1. Interesting that you had the same success with the Leica-brand adapter that I had. In my case the difference in focus accuracy was really amazing.

        1. It was you Guy that inspired me to try it out, although I haven’t had a chance to fully evaluate it. I had previously read some conflicting statements online and then when you wrote to me about your experience, I thought it was worth a try, even though my back-focus issue wasn’t as pronounced as yours.

  3. Very nice write-up, Peter. But most important of all – amazing pictures! You have such a great eye for photography, I am a big fan of the way you convey emotions through an unique mixture of composition and “the right moment” – all saved forever through light. Just great!

    Thanks, Mads

    PS. Any suggestions on a lens that would give a personal and interesting signature but at an amateurs price level? Voigtlander 50 f/1.1? And what about SLR lens for use in film (Nikon)?

    1. Hi Mads,

      That’s just about the best compliment I can get… thank you so much for taking the time write that.

      I haven’t had the pleasure of using the Voigtlander 50/1.1, so I can’t comment with any kind of authority. You probably already know, however, how I feel about the Voigt Nokton 40/1.4, so that would be my best recommendation (on a budget, or even if you’re not on a budget). Alternatively, the Voigtlander 35/1.2 (either version I or II) is excellent too!

      For a Nikon film body (good for you!), I’d go with the old 35/1.4 AIS (manual focus lens) or even the new one if money is no issue, but it’s bigger and heavier. Or, any of the various 50/1.4 formulations. It really depends on what your preferred focal length is.

      Hope that helps and thanks again for your kind words!

      Peter.

      1. Thank you so much for your recommendations. I’m interested in trying out rangefinder photography so time in the future. For now, I’m shooting film on my Nikon FE2. I got the Nikkor-s 50mm 1.4 (Ai-converted), so it sounds like I’m on the right track. 🙂

        Merry X-mas to you and your family!

  4. Wow, I’m jealous 🙂

    I’m also one of those turned onto this lens by Yanidel’s blog and love the varied character it exhibits. I very much enjoyed your photos with it, as well as the write up, and the one for the Voigtlander 40mm f/1.4, which I finally acquired last week. I’m looking forward to learning it… and will continue to casually search for a copy of the elusive 60 Hex… you never know!

    1. Ron, you could photograph ANYTHING and EVERYTHING with the Nokton 40/1.4…it can be the one and only lens anybody ever needs (I should heed my own advice!). Congratulations on acquiring it!

  5. A noble effort Peter.

    And one many will refer to over time – of that I have no doubt. I admire your dedication and passion in this pursuit and your generosity in sharing only enhances my respect for you, both as a person and a photographer.

    I too have been fortunate enough to secure a good copy of this lens and it has greatly enhanced the joy I derive from photography. While I am not in the habit of comparing lenses I own, just reading your notes on this lens and the Noctilux, I would like to add that one of the more important attributes for me is the not insignificant weight and bulk advantage the Hex possesses. It certainly finds more time in front of my camera than the beautiful and large Leica fast lens.

    I appreciate the time you must have put into this little task. Thank you.

    David

    1. Hello Dear David!

      Thank you so much for taking the time to stop by.

      As always, you are as perceptive as ever… I was walking around for days (in a daze!) trying to string my thoughts together for this post…

      I couldn’t agree more with you about the size/weight issue… that’s why I made it a point of mentioning it in the article. When I recently went on holiday, it was the KH 60/1.2 I reached for, over any other exotic lens. In fact, the whole experience made me re-think my lens line up.

      Thanks again for taking the time to read and comment, and my best wishes to you and your family for 2012 and beyond!

      Peter.

    1. Thank you! I owned the Konica Hexanon 60/1.2 for several months and was shooting with it almost daily before I decided to organize my thoughts and write about it.

  6. I also have the Hex and still learn to use and appreciate it. It is no Disney-perfect Leica renderer to be sure. That’s why I like it. Of course all sweet-as-a-pie picture lovers have all the right to disdain it for the sake of their own glass.

  7. Peter
    Do you mind sharing your reasons for selling the Hex 60? You seemed to enjoy it so much until I read the above comment.

    1. Hi Glen,

      I enjoyed it immensely. Photographed with it daily for a year.

      I love the images I made with it.

      But every year I make the decision to start new… I sell almost every lens and start again.

  8. Great review, and wonderful images to go with it. You make some very interesting points, of ‘coaxing’ the best out of the lens. Glad you’ve been able to push the lens to get some very remarkable imagery.

  9. Hi Peter,

    First please excuse my English as I am from Hong Kong. 😀 Today I discovered your site while googling the Konica 60 1.2. What can I say? Stunning review and images. The M9 and 60 1.2 really shine on your hands! I managed to convince a collector in Hong Kong to sell me his brand new 60 1.2 at a great price – 50k HKD! Am off to London in early Feb, will bring both my A7R and MM to test the lens out and hopefully can share with you some alright images! HAHA. Have a nice day!

    Regards,

    Chris H

  10. Hi Peter,

    Nice write up and thanks for sharing with us. What is your opinion of other old lens like the Rokkor 58 mm f/1.2, especially when it comes to the “bokeh” compared to KH 60 lens?

    Appreciate your thoughts

    Tom

  11. Hex years later after this “user report”, someone in my country posts the “want-to-buy” this lens to the manual focus group.

    His offer price?
    Well, if the lens condition is good, he is willing to pay $18,000.

    O-M-G !

  12. Some fast 1.2-1.7 KH lenses have those bokeh characters you mentioned. That’s what I love about KH lenses

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