Unique vintage lens

Started 5 months ago | Questions
nemesis1337 New Member • Posts: 1
Unique vintage lens

Hi All,

I am new to this forum so I apologize if the question has already been asked. I am researching on vintage lens optics, and wanted to know which lenses according to you mark a big leap in terms of lens technology. I would also appreciate if you count point out interesting facts about these lenses.

For example:

1) Carl zeiss ultron 50mm f1.7 This was designed as a bet by Trannier and is one of the very few lenses with concave front element.

2) Auto Miranada 50mm f1.4: The non E or EC marked lenses feature a highly corrected 8 element design and (afaik) only other lens in 50mm to share 8 element in vintage lens along with 8element Super Takumar

Thank you!

ANSWER:
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Lightshow
Lightshow Veteran Member • Posts: 7,458
Re: Unique vintage lens

nemesis1337 wrote:

Hi All,

I am new to this forum so I apologize if the question has already been asked. I am researching on vintage lens optics, and wanted to know which lenses according to you mark a big leap in terms of lens technology.

IMO there are many lenses that can fit that description...

Petzval https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Petzval

Anastigmat, achromatic and apochromatic lenses

Biotar and Planar

Double Gauss https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double-Gauss_lens

Angénieux retrofocus (Which made wide angle SLR lenses possible) https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Angénieux

I would also appreciate if you count point out interesting facts about these lenses.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photographic_lens_design

For example:

1) Carl zeiss ultron 50mm f1.7 This was designed as a bet by Trannier and is one of the very few lenses with concave front element.

2) Auto Miranada 50mm f1.4: The non E or EC marked lenses feature a highly corrected 8 element design and (afaik) only other lens in 50mm to share 8 element in vintage lens along with 8element Super Takumar

Thank you!

Here's a couple links

http://forum.mflenses.com/list-of-lens-diagrams-triplets-planars-and-hybrid-lenses-t22934.html

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MOD Tom Caldwell Forum Pro • Posts: 42,278
Re: Unique vintage lens

Add the first triplet, the Tessar, .... the list could be a long one.

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Tons o Glass 0 Class
Tons o Glass 0 Class Contributing Member • Posts: 768
Re: Unique vintage lens
1

I've been bringing this one up a lot (sorry y'all) - the Kilfitt / Zoomar 90/2.8 Makro-Kilar is very unique as far as I can tell. It produces bokeh that's unlike any other that is apparently due to a "biradially ground" lens element. Aside from that optical oddity, it's a Tessar-type design that was pushed hard to cover up to 6x6 medium format and had a triple helical to allow 1:1 magnification natively (i.e. without extension tubes, teleconverters, or diopters). Kilfitt made quite a few mount adapters for their lens system including some for cine cameras (this 90/2.8 did see some use in the film industry - Stanley Kubrick owned one, for example).

This thread contains lots of sample images that are textbook examples of how wacky the bokeh can be.

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SQLGuy
SQLGuy Forum Pro • Posts: 10,370
Re: Unique vintage lens

I would add the early Sonnars which were, I think, the first coated lenses for 35mm use.

Several current lenses seem to have concave front elements, like the Sony 55/1.8 and the Samyang 35/2.8, but, among vintage lenses, I agree that it seems pretty rare. The main example that comes to mind is the Canon FD 35/2.0.

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walter g1 Senior Member • Posts: 1,020
Re: Unique vintage lens

nemesis1337 wrote:

Hi All,

I am new to this forum so I apologize if the question has already been asked. I am researching on vintage lens optics, and wanted to know which lenses according to you mark a big leap in terms of lens technology. I would also appreciate if you count point out interesting facts about these lenses.

For example:

1) Carl zeiss ultron 50mm f1.7 This was designed as a bet by Trannier and is one of the very few lenses with concave front element.

2) Auto Miranada 50mm f1.4: The non E or EC marked lenses feature a highly corrected 8 element design and (afaik) only other lens in 50mm to share 8 element in vintage lens along with 8element Super Takumar

Thank you!

The first version of the Auto Miranda 50mm f1.4 is a 7/5 design. This lens has an arm and no click stops. The second version they removed the arm and added click stops, this one is the 8/6 version.

And, like you said the E and EC versions are 7/5.

Rod McD Veteran Member • Posts: 7,337
Re: Unique vintage lens

Hi,

I can't name a 'first' lens, but would suggest that lenses that explored the use of special glasses to improve their optics should be in your list.  As should the development of aspheric elements.

Thorium glass, which is radioactive, was used in a number of lenses from Canon and Takumar.  Canon and Konica explored Fluorite glass, Konica with their 300/6.3 Fluorite - now impossible to find - and Canon with artificial Fluorite in the FL-F 300/5/6 and FL-F 500/5.6 lenses.  Thorium had radioactivity issues - and there are thousands of threads in this site about radioactive lenses.  Fluorite also had its difficulties - expense and fragility - and both fell out of favor.

There followed an expanding alphabet soup of glass developments.  Eg  'ED',  'L' 'SLD', HLD, HRI, and rare earth glasses.  These were essential to  improvements in telephoto designs.  The 'ED' and 'L' tags we see on Canon's and Nikon's long lens naming conventions reflect their use.  As does the 'Apo' tag on Leica, Minolta, Sigma, Laowa and other makes.  These glasses are now used in most lenses available today.

Aspheric elements also seem to be prevalent today, but were pretty novel earlier in my interest in photography.  Again I don't know who used them first.... It might not have been in photography, but possibly other specialised or industrial lenses.

FWIW, concave elements are certainly a minority, but there are a few around - Fuji's 18/2 and 50/1 to name two current examples.

Cheers, Rod

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fferreres Veteran Member • Posts: 6,376
Re: Unique vintage lens
1

The Macro sagas are interesting too:

The Killfit 40/3.5 is also special. While it’s a Tessar part it uses rare, expensive glass And it’s quite amazing how it performs for being a 3 element lens. I don’t think a lens could do so well from inf to 1:2 but it does so. Only much later would come some of the most striking lenses, the redesigned Ai micro Nikkor.

Today, Some macro lenses are just bliss, but the reason we have them is that that lens really pushed the boundaries very early on. Of the Xenotar macro lenses, the Nikkor 55/3.5 (original 2:1 version) is pretty special, so good close up. I also like the Topcor version a lot which is a little longer, 58mm.

The zoomarlenses are also connected with Killfit, and made Zoom viable in terms of quality. Today, we call them Zoom because those guys called their lenses with variable FL, Zoomar. And they were good. The Killfit 49/3.5 is also a lens who’s impact defined a class of lenses: Macro lenses. It happens so that lens brand name was Makro Killar, and it later became a norm to call all lenses that can foxus very closely natively, Makro.

Another lens I like a lot is the old Dagor type. These are 6/2, quite unusual. We don’t see any for 35mm because the produce a large image circle on larger formats. But they have amazing contrast and are small.

The a Rollei, Contarex and Arri 85/1.4 and 35/1.4 from Zeiss are also the only lenses I know were someone though an aperture in the shape of a triangle would be a good idea. Nobody has ever tried that since then that I am aware off.

If you want to discover many rare lenses, Marco Cavina page in Italian (google translate it, it works really well), is full of rarities and ode to wild designs that end up having interesting attributes.

The Pentax K, not Pentax M nor Pentax A nor Pentax Takumar nor Pentax SupernTakumar is a nice 8 element designed that was done for a very short period of time. Many people love it. It’s the slowest/bestest 28mm for many. But the Zeiss 28/2 is the “creamiest” for shooting people, a mix of a soft lens wide open but with very high resolution. The curvature gives the appearance of an even faster 28mm and has a very shot MFD.

There is only one Sonnar 35mm in the normal range, made very briefly by Pentax. And there’s a 35mm lens by Schatch that largely extends with additional elements, rendering like a Sonnar but at 35mm, the Travegon.

I think as you keep reading, you will find infinite variety of optics that have remarkable things. The ones I mentioned are for photos in 35mm except Dagor. It’s never ending.

The Ultron is one such lens, as you mention, that does something unusual. And so it’s the redesigned 1.8 Ultron (Named aplanar but which isn’t much that) which is one of many iconic lenses designed by Edhard Glatzel, along with Rollei 50/1.4, an evolved double gauss. But he also computer the Hyperion, and made the 60mm Macro Planar.

This page is a nice one:

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_photographic_lens_design

MHshooter
MHshooter Senior Member • Posts: 1,010
Re: Unique vintage lens

Hard to say.  Olympus 300mm f/4.5 Zuiko was one of the first I believe to use a kind of ED glass to control chromatic aberration.

stephang Regular Member • Posts: 155
Re: Unique vintage lens
1

For its unique zoom mechanism, you may want to check the Minolta gearbox zoom... see

the-clockwork-lens-lensrentals-tears-down-famed-minolta-40-80mm-f2-8-gearbox-zoom

or

a-forgotten-solution-why-this-strange-1975-zoom-lens-is-so-sharp

for explanations much better than what I could ever come up with

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