The Hexanon AR 1.8/85mm is a well made small portrait lens - fast, but not extremely fast. During the late 1960s and early 1970s nearly every SLR manufacturer had a lens with similar specifications. Some of these (e. g. the Nikkor 1.8/85 mm and the Minolta MC/MD 1.7/85 mm) have become legendary, others are well known perfomers (Canon FD/nFD 1.8/85 mm, Pentax Takumar 1.8/85 mm) and a few are quite rare birds (e. g. the Topcor RE 1.8/85 mm, the Mamiya SX 1.8/85mm  and the Zeiss Jena Prakticar 1.8/85 mm).

Among these lenses, the Konica AR 1.8/85 mm certainly is one of the nicest lenses. Wide open (at f1.8) and in the infinity range, its contrast is quite a bit lower than at f4 or f5.6. Fine details however are reproduced well even at f1.8. Such a behaviour - the gradual change from low contrast to hight contrast when stopping down - is quite useful, especially when shooting portraits. Stopped down to f4 or f5.6 the AR 1.8/85mm is remarkably free from lateral CAs, a feature that sets it apart from most other contemporary fast portrait lenses. Other Konica primes such as the fast AR 2.5/135mm telephoto are equally free from CAs when stopped down to f5.6. 

The lens barrel of the AR 1.8/85mm is completely made from metal. It feels solid and rugged. As with most Hexanon lenses, focusing is precise but a bit stiff, and the aperture ring is a pain to use.

The AR 1.8/85mm is not really a rare lens. Around 1975, the catalogue price of the AR 1.8/85mm even was lower than the price of the Konica AR 3.5/28mm. These days, a used AR 1.8/85mm will cost about CHF/USD/EUR 100.-- to 150.--.

 

Konica Hexanon AR 85mmf18 section Konica AR 85mmf18 Var I KONICA HEXANON 85mm 1:1.8                
(6 Linsen / 5 Glieder)
Konica Hexanon AR 85mmf18 section Konica AR 85mmf18 Var II KONICA HEXANON 85mm 1:1.8                
(6 Linsen / 5 Glieder)

 

 

 

artaphot DSC02763 Konica 85mm web
 

Three generations of the Konica 1.8/85mm: At left the extremely rare Konica 1.8/85mm for the original Konica F SLR. In the middle the all-metal AR 1.8/85mm, and on the right the last version with rubber grip. The last two versions are said to have the same optical computation, however i doubt it: my sample of the all-metal AR 1.8/85mm has a slightly yellow color cast which the later version hasn't (indicating different glass), and wide open it is clearly sharper than the later  rubber-grip version. Probably - while the basic construction did remain the same - some glass was exchanged for another one, and the radii were slightly adjusted.