Konica Hexar AF + Ricoh GR1s + Ilford HP5+


Well, here are my two precious babies.
I’ve had many, many cameras over the years but there’s something that connects me deeply to these 2 objects.

The first time I had an Hexar AF and a Ricoh GR1s I had to sell both due to financial problems but these cameras are also special in that way. I sold my black Hexar to a friend and I sold the Rioch to another.

One year after selling both cameras, friendship came through again.
I managed to get this 120 Years Hexar AF Limited Edition for a great price thanks to a dear friend and the Ricoh… well… that baby is the same one I sold a year ago. It was given to me, for free, by the same friend who bought it from me.

Here they are again, together… giving me moments of joy… all thanks to friends.

So, thank you Paulo and thank you Hugo.

As for this recipe, it was the last time I’ve developed HP5+ in Adox APH 09.






  1. Steve Barnes said:

    I’m very happy for you! That Konica looks lovely! 🙂

  2. Derek said:

    Good cameras are great, but good friends are priceless.

  3. jeremy north said:

    Pure magic. Your blog posts are a regular reminder of what I should be doing. I love your enthusiasm and art

    • Thank you over and over Jeremy. It is me that feels honored for having kind people, like yourself, stopping by and leaving words of motivation.
      What else can I say but to thank you once again…

  4. iamamro said:

    I recently bought a Konica Hexar from a friend, and I absolutely agree – it’s the best camera I’ve had. It has an amazing lens, and the automatic focussing is very good indeed. Load it with film and press the button – you’ll get great photos!

    • Ah!! Once you go Hexar you can never go back 🙂
      P mode is awesome, silent mode is awesome, a lens opening at f2 is awesome, manual ISO… I think Konica will send me a Christmas card this year 🙂

      • iamamro said:

        Yup. P mode is the best thing ever. More cameras should be like that. I can honestly say, it’s the best camera I’ve had.

      • Can’t agree more 🙂

  5. Hi! I too use GR1(v) and and considering a Hexar AF. I would love to ask you a few questions since you know both cameras. Hope you don’t mind..

    1) How the Hexar’s viewfinder compare with the tiny one of the GR1 (is it maybe a bit larger, easier to use with glasses?)
    2) How does the Hexar’s AF performs in low light and when shooting through a window (does it focus on the glass like most stupid IR-based autofocus cameras do, or does it focus on what you want on the other side of the window?)
    3) And do you have any example of portraits at closest focusing range & F2? If so, I’d really love to see one. It may be your next post, or you may send it to me (allegro.andrea@gmail.com).

    Thanks so much and keep on the excellent work!!

    • Well, the viewfinder of the Hexar is much bigger but it does not display any info apart from a basic distance scale on the upper right corner. No speed and no aperture. The Ricoh displays the speed. The Hexar viewfinder is also more clean with less distracting lines. If you hear glasses, yes, it is much better with a much better eye relief.

      In low light the Hexar is a terrific performer. The AF dos not fool around and it pretty much nails focus if there’s a minimum amount of light. Great low light performer but… yes the AF beam always try to focus on the window unless you focus on some very contrasted scene. Otherwise the AF is pretty basic and as soon as it hits the glass it comes back and the camera gets fooled.


      Not really portraits but you can get the feel of that sweet lens.
      All I can say is, if you are thinking about an Hexar, it will not replace the Ricoh but you will be getting one hell of a camera. Sweet solid, fast AF, silent, very silent and lot’s of manual controls. It will not let you down in any way. It’s a sure shot 🙂

      • Thanks a lot for your quick and good answer. The Hexar seems capable of very good out of focus background when focusing near at f2, that is for me an important point as I like to get close and isolate subjects sometimes. It’s getting hard not to think about this little gem… 😉

      • Nothing to thank me for Andrea. It’s my favorite camera and despite the classic “erratic shutter” problem (which you can solve in about an hour, I did it three times on three different cameras) the Hexar is a jewel.

        And I would not worry too much with the top speed. I’ve used the Hexar at night with a 20 ISO film on it and also in broad daylight with 3200 film.

        Yes, a lot of red lights may flash around but the Hexar as never let me down.

        F2? Nailed! 🙂

        Yes it focus on the window glass, however…

        Action shots 🙂

        20 ISO film. Dark night, almost no light! Look at what the Hexar did.

        Sure shot my friend, it is my favorite camera.

  6. I know, I know, I’m going to get one sooner rather than later.. But does it always focus on the glass (IR autofocuses do, because the IR bounces off the glass) or only when the subject on the other side has low contrast (contrast-based autofocuses have a hard time when there is no or little contrast)? And if it always focus on the glass, how easy is it to use manual focus? Finally, I promise no more questions (at least for today;): How do you scan your negatives with so much border? I have an Epson 4490 but am not very happy with the cheesy plastic of the negative holders, that does not manage to keep the negative flat (and the border is hidden, anyway)…

    • Andrea, it does not always focus on the glass. If there’s enough contrast it will nail focus. Many times I look for a part of the view with more contrast and lock focus on that and then recompose and shoot. There are always alternatives.

      As always, like talking to a friend, that focus “limitation” should not be of any concern. It takes very little contrast for the Hexar AF to focus. You will easily learn how to deal with that. On the other hand, forget about manual focusing the Hexar. Too slow, to… confusing. The AF will nail focus on what you want 99,9% of the times.

      These were all taken is a somehow low contrast situations and through a window.


      I have a Canon 9000F. When I pre-scan the negative strip I always do it manually. In some automatic modes, the scanner will only select the image without any border. By doing it manually the holders on the Canon allow me to make a selection outside the image area and I can get that much border. But the holders on the Canon are very poor quality too but the negatives flatten up nicely.

      • Man, those (especially the last two samples) are amazing shots. Remind me of Michael Akerman’s photos, which I love immensely. You got me, I’m buying one tonight! I see only one problem: My M6 and FM2 have been collecting dust since I bought the GR1v, from now on they’ll be almost forgotten.. 😉

      • That’s too funny! After so many months of using the Ricoh and the Hexar everyday, sometimes I did not feel taking the Hasselblad with me on the weekends so I ended up getting a CL and an Olympus OM2n 🙂

        If you don’t need to sell, keep them. Those are classics!

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