Things of beauty. How cute can a lens get ?

This morning my best friend the mailman (a total stranger, but he always brings me photo related goodies, hence I love him) brought me this :

Which at first didn’t register well with my brains since I was expecting an Olympus OM 100mm F:2.8 prime. I guess this needs a bit of clarification. “Prime” lenses are fixed focals (no zooming in and out, you have to move your feet to change your field of view) and usually “faster” (wider apertures = smaller “F” numbers), which normally translates into relatively LARGE items, because of the BIG, BEAUTIFUL, HEAVY (and expensive) glass elemens they’re made of.

Hmm… maybe I should have put an everyday life object reference next to that case so you get an idea of how smallish it really is.

Never mind, I’ll show you right here. This is the very small and awfully cute OM 100/2.8 side by side with the much bigger, longer, badder, Canon FD 135mm F:2.5. Given, the Canon has indeed a further focal length AND faster yet aperture (2.5 vs. 2.8) so in all logic should be bigger. But not THAT much.

Then, I remembered why I wanted to get this specific Olympus lens in the first place. The whole OM system was a family of film gear (bodies and a bunch of lenses) based on excellent performance in a SMALL package. So all OM lenses are actually much smaller at equivalent values that their counterparts of most brands.

I was still taken a bit aback (in a very positive way !) by how tiny this 100/2.8 is :

It’s not only small but also very, very beautiful, with just enough wear to justify its vintage status, and a tiny scratch on the front element that I sure hope won’t appear in pictures. And here’s another member of the OM family, the 50mm F:1.8 prime.

A hobbyist was selling a bunch of older lenses and he nearly gave this one away for free (not quite, but close). Which makes it a terrific bargain because this sample is one of the better, later series with the best glass coating. I’m happy !

Lenses, particularly older ones, can easily become an object of desire, sometimes even of worship ! And I can relate to why, they are truly beautiful objects, with infinitely poetic names (ah, the Carl Zeiss Planar, Biotar, Sonnar, Biogon, etc, not to mention the Russian Jupiter, Helios !…) and a deeply satisfying feel in the hand.

Absolutely nothing to do with modern lenses, some of which are very appealing with their colder, high tech look.

But whatever lenses you use (which is basically more important than what camera body you mount them on), don’t forget what truly count is what you do with them. Buying sexy gear is immensely fun. But capturing The Moment remains the ultimate reward πŸ˜‰

About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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4 Responses to Things of beauty. How cute can a lens get ?

  1. anangelu says:

    Same could be said about camera bodies, Some of them are sooo beautiful and sexy. I share the feeling!

  2. Kirk Tuck says:

    Fun. I feel that way about lenses too.

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