The Konica AR 2.8/100 mm is a relatively fast small telephoto lens with a unusual Sonnar-Xenotar hybrid structure. It has a famous brethren such as the Nikkor Ai/AiS 2.5/105 mm, the Minolta MC/MD 2.5/100 mm, and the Canon FD 2.8/100 mm (a Xenotar type lens) - but we shouldn't forget the less famous ones such as the RE Topcor 2.8/100 mm (a beautiful Sonnar type lens) and the Olympus 2.8/100 mm, and the Pentax 2.8/100 mm variants. 

The Konica AR 2.8/100 mm was produced in two main versions; it is said that they share the same optical construction. The earlier version has an all-metal focusing grip; the later has a rubber grip similar to the Canon new FD lenses. As with most Konica AR lenses, the lens barrel is precisely machined. All engravings are nicely made. Focusing is not as smooth as with contemporary Minolta MC-X or Leica R lenses, but that's a typical characteristic of all "rubber grip" Konica AR lenses. Another typical - and more annoying - feature of these lenses is their slightly weird aperture ring: it is much more difficult to turn than, say, the Minolta aperture ring. Turning it requires more torque, and it locks easily in its "EE/AE" position. While none of these disadvantages is really serious, toghether they are a bit bothersome - especially if one is used to the flawless aperture rings from Minolta (or Nikon, or Canon, or ...).

The optical performance of the AR 2.8/100 mm is very good - and so is the performance of most other lenses of its class. At infinity on 24 MP FF, the corners are sharp even wide open. Chromatic aberration is well controlled, but not as good as with the AR 1.8/85 mm. Wide open, the contrast is very good, and it remains nearly identical when stopping down from f2.8 to f11 (unlike the AR 1.8/85 mm which has a low contrast wide open, a medium contrast at f2.8, and a high contrast from f4-f5.6 onwards).

The bokeh is good, but of course a 100 mm f2 or a 105mm f1.8 lens can dissolve the background even better. However, a focal length of 100 mm and an aperture of f2.8 or even f4 often results in well balanced portraits. Those preferring a shallower depth-of field might go for the Konica AR 1.8/85 mm (slightly softer wide open than the 100 mm f2.8), or the Konica AR 2.5/135 mm.

 

Konica Hexanon AR 100mmf28 section Konica AR 100mmf28 Var II KONICA HEXANON 100mm 1:2.8                
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