Introduction: Converting Konica AR Lenses to Olympus DSLR
I like to take photos with shallow depth of field and in low light situations without a flash. To do this, you need to use "fast" lenses (smaller f numbers like f1.4 or f2.0). Unfortunately, fast modern lenses could easily cost you hundreds (even thousands) of dollars, which I don't have. Fortunately, you can find fast lenses built for film SLRs for a lot less money.
I'm not the first one to work this out, and if you look online, you'll find adapters for various brands of legacy lenses to fit modern DSLRs. You'll also notice that the quality lenses that are easiest to adapt go for much higher prices. A lens is easily adaptable if its flange distance (distance from the back of the lens to the film/sensor) is longer than the most popular DSLR cameras. For example, Canon EOS cameras have a flange distance 44mm so you can find adapters for Olympus OM lenses (46mm) and Nikon (46.5mm) & Pentax M42 (46.5mm) etc...
Konica AR lenses are fantastic lenses but they have a very short flange distance (40.7mm) so they can't be adapted to Canon, Pentax, Nikon, etc.. without losing infinity focus. As a result, they sell for much less than the others.
What about Olympus? Olympus developed its 4/3 lens system with a flange distance of 38.67mm, making most lenses adaptable to their cameras. Also, the later model Olympus DSLRs have image stabilization (IS) built into the the camera body instead of the lenses, so you get IS with the adapted lenses. You can even manually set to the focal length to optimize the IS for any lens.
But where can I find Konica to Olympus adapters? If you look online, you won't find adapters to fit Konica AR lenses to Olympus cameras. The reason for this is that they already fit! The 4/3 flange is very similar to the Konica AR flange except that the Konica AR has a larger gap behind. All you need to do is:
1. Get rid of anything that sticks out past the flange.
2. Put a spacer at the back of the flange.
3. Rotate the lens until it fits in the slots, then twist until it stops.
The slide show is of 4 lenses I've "adapted" and sample pics from 3 of them.
1. Konica 50mm F1.4 - My favourite lens. Very sharp even when wide open
A. Slice, cut, or grind off the protruding part of the inner ring (black part in pic).
B. Unscrew the 2 screws holding auto aperture lever and remove (silver part in pic)
C. Find a continuous hair tie (doesn't have a metal crimped joiner) and slide it over the flange.
D. (Optional) Remove the sprung auto aperture button (brass part in pic)
E. (Optional) Unscrew the mount and rotate 90 degrees. This moves the aperture indicator from the bottom of the lens to where you can see it from the top of the camera. You may need to attach the aperture spring to a different post.
2. Konica 50mm F1.8 - Good sharp lens that can be found almost everywhere.
Same procedure as 1.
3. Konica 40mm F1.8 - This pancake lens as sharp as the F1.4 from 2.8 and higher.
Same procedure as 1.
4. Tokina 28mm F2.8 - Reasonable "normal" lens for 4/3
A. Remove the inner plate (black) which has the protruding post on it. Even if you remove the post, the screws that hold the plate stick out too much.
B. Same as 1B
C. Same as 1C
D. Same as 1D
E. Same as 1E except that this has 3 screws so you rotate it 120 degrees.
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