So you think your lens is fast?

Posted on by Bellamy


So you think your lens is fast?
During the course of my job I have seen and heard of more ‘superfast’ lenses than you can shake a stick at. And after a while it just becomes a parade of the same old thing. But then something comes along that completely blows it all away. Meet the De Oude Delft 50mm 0.75! Faster than greased lightning.

We have seen them all, the ‘superfast’ lenses. I am talking about the 0.95′s of this world. The ones that make folks weak at the knees with bokehlust™. And then we have all heard of the Zeiss 0.7 50mm, the one that Kubrick was so fond of that of the 10 lenses made, he bought 3 of them.
But the Leica and Canon fast lenses of this world are pretty easily accessible if you have the cash. And no amount of money in the world is going to get you near one of the Kubrick lenses (unless you are prepared to sell your organs). So how to you get that extra speed? Well, you get one of these…

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This is the remarkable De Oude Delft Rayxar E50mm 0.75 lens. Yes, read it and weep. That is 0.75! If that doesn’t get your Bokehlust™ flowing then I don’t know what will.

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This hefty (and frankly impractical) lens was made for Xray systems and is actually not all that hard to find if you are prepared to look. But this one has been engineered by Miyazaki R&D to fit an M mount. So now you can have this incredibly fast lens on your M-mount camera. If you are prepared to, as this is a bit of an unusual lens. You see, because it was made for Xray, it doesn’t have an aperture or a focusing system. The lens is permanently set at 0.75 and permanently set with a focus area of about 2 metres. I say about, as it is different for each camera that it is mounted on and the depth of field is so impossibly shallow that you really need to have live view working to get things right. Added to the fact that it almost obscures the finder, this is a challenging lens. It looks cool though.

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As this lens was not designed with a 35mm camera in mind the image circle doesn’t actually cover the whole frame, instead giving you ‘halo’ effect images. You can see some images taken with the lens here (link). It certainly has some interesting effects.

I was commissioned to have this lens made by a customer and it certainly threw up some challenges. But it was a great deal of fun and it has produced an interesting lens. If you have one and want to get it converted then get in touch. Sorry, this particular lens is not for sale.

Cheers
JCH

7 Responses to So you think your lens is fast?

ZDP-189 March 7, 2014 at 3:17 pm

These aren’t expensive lenses and would make a fun project. I am sad that a man of his talents couldn’t add focusing, RF-coupling and an iris, though.

Reply
Anders W March 7, 2014 at 10:20 pm

I bought a Rodenstock TV Heliar lens 0,75/50mm. I converted it with a M42 thread adapter, which I glued in place. Then I bought a EOS – M42 adapter with a diaphragm. Very nice for macro work and surprisingly good contrast when smaller apertures are used. The lens is HEAVY!!

Reply
Andreas Kaufmann May 9, 2014 at 6:34 pm

Well, a lens where you can’t focus (which means no helical mount – this lens is just a huge piece of glass in my opinion!) is in my understanding a fixed focus lens – Elcan did a 1/90 for M-Mount in the 70ies, but at least they added focus rings which you could screw in at the back. And no iris, hmmm, so there are no mechanical parts involved…

Reply
Jukka Vatanen November 1, 2014 at 5:00 pm

To me the portrait images look like the ones I got with a magnifying glass glued into a metal tube and a nikon slide copying bellows. I think I should have engraved “Jukka 75mm f: 0,9″ to it and sell for a couple thousand US Dollars…

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