Beauty and the Beast: Another oddball comparison. Konica Hexar RF and Canon T80.

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First off this is not a this is better than that post. That is why I pivoted away from saying “vs.” to “and” in these post titles. I find it less clickbait-ish-ey.

What this is intended to do is point out the fact that unappreciated or even maligned cameras, which can be bargains, are often capable of creating great images. Speaking of which…

The Beast.

Might sound harsh but the Canon T80 teamed with the AC 35-70mm f/3.5-4.5 is the Beast in this scenario.

Canon T80 - AC 35-70mm 3.5-4.5

I chose the 35-70mm in particular instead of the 50mm f/1.8 lens because I always have a soft spot for fast 50mm lenses. As I pointed out in my “This Old Camera” post the T80 catches a lot of flack with the 50mm f/1.8. But given the slower variable aperture of the 35-70mm lens it is supposed to be even worse. But that just makes me more curious. I tried to buy one from KEH but they sent me a normal, old EF 35-70mm variant. Yawn. So I sent it back. Then one day soon after I was perusing the camera shop old SLR lens display and there it was. A T80 compatible AC 35-70mm for relative peanuts.

Canon AC 50mm f/1.8

So I bought it.

Value Sidebar: This kit is inexpensive. You can often find the T80 with 50mm f/1.8 for far less than $100, usually around $50 or so. The AC 35-70mm can be had for even less. Why would you do this? You may be an odd duck that appreciates odd ducks like me.

And if I am honest this is just as exciting to me as any manner of high fallutin’ good lookin’ gear. Speaking of which…

The Beauty.

The Konica Hexar RF is a goodlooking rig. While the 50mm f/1.1 is a fine-looking lens the TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6 raises the stakes to another level.

TTArtisan M 28mm F5.6

Value Sidebar: While significantly more expensive than the T80 set up this is currently about the least expensive rangefinder option. Especially if you desire in body exposure automation.

On to the comparison.

Ground rules.

  • Number of shots.
    • In the past, I have spent all or most of two rolls of film doing back to back shots.
    • Yeah… Not doing that this time. Main reason? Was shooting the two cameras in an environment that I would not call “dangerous”, but it raised my “I have lived in NYC.” Spidey sense enough where the idea of walking about with two cameras slung around my neck by myself did not seem to be a good idea. I always listen to that little voice in my head. Will not go into details, but this was warranted based on my experiences this day.
  • Framing.
    • These lenses are different focal lengths so the shots taken used the widest focal length of the zoom while taking a step back if possible.
    • This is fine because I am not testing focal length here.
  • Shooting methodology.
    • Wildly different levels of automation calls for different exposure and focusing techniques.
      • Exposure
        • Konica Hexar RF: Shot wide open at f/5.6.
        • Canon T80: You can suggest with the T80, not control. I chose the Program mode that leaned to the widest aperture possible.
      • Focus
        • Konica Hexar RF: Manual focus rather than zone focus.
        • Canon T80: Autofocus is a bit of a game. A game I have learned how to play. Look for contrast and vertical lines. If not available in the exact area of focus find a friendly focus patch area at roughly the same distance and turn the camera a bit to find a friendly vertical line. Sounds odd. Is odd. But I have managed to hit focus far more than I expect to on the regular. Plus with the f/3.5-4.5 35-70mm lens one not need be as worried when focusing as with the narrower depth of field 50mm f/1.8.
  • Film.
Rollei RPX 400

Developed together at home with Cinestill df96.

Rollei RPX 400
Rollei RPX 400
Cinestill df96

On to the pics. One caveat. Time passed between shots so lighting changed between the samples. Shown in the order of Beast and then the Beauty.

Canon T80 - AC 35-70mm 3.5-4.5
The Beast
Konica Hexar RF - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6
The Beauty.
Canon T80 - AC 35-70mm 3.5-4.5
The Beast.
Konica Hexar RF - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6
The Beauty.
Canon T80 - AC 35-70mm 3.5-4.5
The Beast.
Konica Hexar RF - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6
The Beauty.
Canon T80 - AC 35-70mm 3.5-4.5
The Beast.
Konica Hexar RF - TTArtisans 28mm f/5.6
The Beauty.

So. Differences.


The Hexar RF/TTArtisans combo is sharper.


The Hexar RF/TTArtisans combo has more contrast.


Focus with the Hexar/RF is pretty straightforward rangefinder stuff. If you are ok with that you are good to go. As mentioned above T80 AF is a bit of a game and once you learn how to play it you are pretty good to go.

In both cases, the change in lighting likely played a part. That is about it.

Is either “better”?

For me the answer is a solid nope. But as I stated at the open that was not the point of this post.

What I will say is that both are capable of creating images I like. This will be on display a bit more in future posts.


Hey. I was just having fun comparing cameras that have little to nothing in common other than being cameras.

What I will say is that none of us should worry about what we have available to us. Cannot swing one of the Insta-twit-face darlings? (None of which are represented here for the record.) Run what you brung. There are a ton of affordable SLRs on the market. Secure yourself a dirt cheap 50mm f/1.8-ish prime lens and you are good to go.

Pentax SF10
A dirt cheap Pentax 50mm f/1.7 with a so worthless it was given to me Pentax SF10.

Stuck on getting a rangefinder? Find yourself something like a Canon Canonet QL17 GIII.

Fujifilm 200 w/ Canonet QL17 GIII
Canon Canonet QL17 GIII

If you can find a working copy they can usually be had for less than $100.

If you want something a bit nicer on a budget you can get creative. One of my favorite SLRs and film cameras in general is the Contax 137 MA Quartz I spent little for. Its value drop compared to other Contax SLRs that cost more than I am willing to pay like the Aria is largely due to its tattered leather it seems, which is quite common. Have read that the material was made to be grippy but it did not last and breaks down over time.

Contax 137 MA Quartz w/ Zeiss Planar 50mm f/1.7
After I removed the tattered leatherette.

But I spruced it up with a $13 skin kit and now it is a prized member of my analog camera club (With a healthy selection of compatible Yashica lenses or third-party lenses on the market if Contax Zeiss lenses are too rich for your blood.).

Contax 137 MA Quartz
Film Test - Lomography Metropolis 400
Contax 137 MA Quartz - Ilford HP5

I am not against seeking high-end gear. I am as susceptible as anyone actually. But that is an option, not a necessity. The same applies to digital and I am pondering a post about that as I write this one. All three of these images below were taken years ago with my first ever interchangeable lens digital camera, the Olympus E-PL5, and one the least expensive lenses ever, the Olympus 40-150mm f/4-5.6 zoom. Two of these are among a group of images that won a photo contest at work and were displayed in UNC IT offices for a couple of years.

NYC - Archives, Central Park
Central Park, NYC
Co-Op City, The Bronx
Co-Op City Courts, The Bronx
Butterfly house
Durham Museum of Life and Science

Both the camera and lens or newer options with a similar sensor can be had for peanuts. Regardless of what I may purchase I am perfectly aware that a great outlay of funds is not a requirement for capturing pleasing images. Ok. Back to film.

Bottom line, secure yourself a solid, operating camera from your local camera shop (mine here) or online stores like and have at it. Have your film developed at your local camera shop or from an online developer or learn how to develop your own black and white and color film. Learn a new technique. A benefit to buying into an inexpensive camera system is that more inexpensive lenses can usually be had. Add flash, etc. so on and so forth.

Fun can be had regardless of price point or camera type.

Rollei RPX 400

Happy capturing.


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