The old Hexar AF is a wonderful camera in so many ways, but this one is just a bit extra special.
The Hexar AF is one of our favorite film point and shoots of all time. It was designed for street photography from the ground up. There’s a lot to love, from the stealthy film advance to the 35mm f2 lens attached. For years, no point-and-shoot camera has ever really come close to being like it. Some may argue that the Sony RX1 Mk II is close, but not the same. For what it’s worth, you should know that prices on the Hexar AF have come down. And if you just want the Konica 35mm f2 Lens in M mount, that’s available too. However, we found one is a bit extra special.
So what could make this lens a bit extra special for street photography? Well, if you’re into the whole street portraiture trend, then check this out! Seller breguetcamera has this listing for a specially modified Hexar AF that shoots half frames. So instead of getting 36 shots a roll, you’d get 72. It does this by shooting only half a vertical frame at a time. The idea was originally put in place by the old Olympus Pen film cameras.
This makes the camera arguably better for portraits if you shoot a lot vertically. In practice, you can shoot holding the camera in landscape mode and get vertical photos. Cool, huh?
Shooting half-frame is an acquired taste. Some of us become savants at it. Photographer Matt Osbourne on Flickr positively slays with the half-frame format. When scanned, the photos are side by side as a 35mm frame.
Of course, this special Hexar AF comes at $6,400. That’s the most pricey we’ve seen this camera. However, it’s understandable. We’ve seen something like this before, but it’s rare. There’s surely a bit of patina, but it works!
We reviewed the Hexar AF a while back. And here’s what we said:
“Where this camera really excels is candid, everyday shooting. At parties, events, weddings, etc is where I personally had the most fun with this camera. Your experience and those of thousands of other photographers may be very different considering that it’s widely known as a street photography camera. Again though, I’ve never been one to trust autofocus when it comes to shooting street.”
“Pretty much anyone can pick this camera up and take great pictures. With a bit of ingenuity, you’ll also be able to find ways to do more with the camera and use it to its fullest potential.”
“It’s totally a camera for a hobbyist, though serious professional work can be done with it too. I’d gladly do documentary, portrait and travel projects with this camera.”
For what it’s worth, if you grab this camera, then make the most of it. The controls can be a bit of a pain to learn. But there are loads of good YouTube videos that taught me how to use it. The lens on it is incredibly sharp when stopped down. I’ve made great use of Tri-X, T-Max 400, CineStill 800T, and other films.
Rumors have long circulated that the lens is a Leica copy. In my tests, I always found black and white images to be sharper. This is especially the case shooting wide open. But if you shoot stopped down, you’ll have no problems at all.
One small quirk: the shutter is maxed out to 1/250th. That means you’re best shooting with slower film realistically for more aperture variance. But we’re sure you’re a photographer skilled enough to give it a good home.