Hexanon 55mm f/3.5 macro questions

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Does anyone have any experience regarding the relative performance of the Hexanon 55 mm macro versus other third party macro lenses (such as the Tamron SP 90 f/2.5, the Tokina AT-X 90 f/2.5 or the Kiron 105 f/2.8)?

Also, I saw in a recent Ebay listing the Hexanon 55mm macro being described as a "floating element" design. Does anyone know if this is correct? If so, it must have been a very advanced lens design for its time. The only Hexanon lens described as having floating elements on my lens chart is the UC 28mm f/1.8.

Thanks for any info you may have ....

-- Anonymous, August 24, 2000


Hexanon 55mm Macro

Gerald, Aside from the obvious difference in focal length, you should see no practical differences in performance. All the lenses you mention are excellent. The Hexanon was considered a top-drawer optic. As to being a floating element design (something first used in zooms), this, as far as I know, is true. Now, whether the first models were unit-focussing and later ones floating element, I can't say. The floater was initially used for correcting macro lenses, but later extended to other lenses, usually the most expensive in any maker's line. Just another expensive marketing ploy, IMHO. BTW, I use an old Vivitar 55mm f/2.8 and a Novoflex bellows with 105mm f/4 and Pentax/Praktica adaptor AR. Both are VERY sharp.

Jon Hart

-- Anonymous, August 24, 2000

Konica 55mm Hexanon

Hello, I tried one of these lenses out the other day and it is unbelievably sharp! A truly gorgeous lens that I would have purchased on the spot had the store not had a Konica / Pentax Universal adapter and a 17mm SMC Pentax Fisheye (which I did buy) - EXCELLENT lens as well. Anyways getting back to the 55mm Hexanon, I tried it at f5.6, 8,and f11 and I believe that it is as good as my 85mm f1.8 which is saying a LOT!

I am looking for a 100mm macro so if someone has a Vivitar Series One, Tokina 90mm ATX or a Kiron 105mm please let me know!


James Burris

-- Anonymous, August 25, 2000

55 mm Macro

I have used, and I am using the 55 mm macro more than any other lens. It has no floating elements - in fact it is a very classical design; to me it seems to owe quite a lot to the Zeis Tessar design. It is flat field meaning that you can photograph stamps and get sharp corners as the field of sharpness does not curve as in normal lenses (where this curvature has no effect at longer distances). There is a price to pay for the flat field correction no doubt; which one I do not know. I have tried hard to make it perform in combination with the bellows at larger than life size magnifications. It is not great for that. Use it at half life size and smaller magnifications, and it is indeed a very good and sharp lens. It has one curious feature, which is that it has a setting in which the aperture diameter responds to the degree of magnification in such a way that it corrects for light lost to extension. Relevant to manual flash calculations where you may leave light loss correction to the lens. I have also the 105 mm short mount macro Hexanon for bellows. My tests do not qualify as really systematic, but in comparison to the 100 mm f 2.8 Hexanon it gets in trouble. I have used both 100 mm lenses for botanical photography, i.e. in the 40 - 80 cm range, and the macro is hard pressed to keep up with the regular 100 mm. Now the non-macro 100 mm is a really excellent piece of optics so maybe we should be forgiving!? If butterflies and flowers are the objects to be photographed, rather than mosquitos, then the 100 mm f 2.8 may well be the superior choice.

Yours Peter

-- Anonymous, August 28, 2000

Hexanon 55mm macro lens

I have a 55mm Hexanon macro lens that I use for medical photography - close up of skin lesions, etc. It is one of the sharpest lenses I have ever used - very flat field, and supeb resolution. I use an attched ring flash for even light. I have no experience with the Tamron, but the Hexanon was generally considered to be one of the sharpest lenses available when I bought it.

-- Anonymous, September 01, 2000

Cost of 55mm macro?

Can anyone suggest a reasonable price range for this lens?

-- Anonymous, October 18, 2000

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