Super Secret Mystery Lens

Discussion in 'Collector's Corner' started by DennyCrane, Oct 26, 2009.

  1. DennyCrane

    DennyCrane No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    While going through my great aunt & uncles belongings to get things ready for an estate sale, there was a bunch of old camera gear and this lens stuck out like a sore thumb. It's a "Universar Telephoto" 500mm f/8 No. H8 1711.
    It's a big sucker.... 19"-20". Heavy, too. Other than the lens caps, it's all steel and glass. If anyone can give me any insight into this lens, the company Universar, or any remote value, it'd be much appreciated. Thanks!

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  2. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    "Universar" is one of many names that these telephoto lenses of 400-500mm
    focal length were sold under in the USA in the 1970s-80s by retailers like
    Spiratone and Cambron and others. There were many other brand names
    used as well. Who exactly made them is a bit of a mystery but the list of
    usual suspects includes the major Japanese lens makers of that era including
    Komine, Tokyo Trading, Cosina, Asanuma, Tamron and others.

    They usually had simple construction but are regarded as producing pretty
    decent results and being a good "bang for the buck" telephoto.

    If in good condition they seem to sell for around $25-$50 these days.

    From your description your lens seems more robust then most of them
    so it could be worth a bit more.
     
  3. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Show me the mount with out the rear cap please.
     
  4. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    The chrome ring with the milled grooves at the rear end of the lens shows the recessed tensioning screws characteristic of a T-mount lens. Looking at the lens cap at the rear, it looks pretty shallow, so my guess is this lens is currently wearing an M42 thread mount--but with two minutes and a small screwdriver, one could convert it to Canon EF mount, or Nikon F, or Pentax K, etc. Since the lens uses a pre-set diaphragm, there's no need for any type of brand-specific diaphragm actuator at the mount area.

    More recently-manufactured lenses like this are still being made, albeit with slightly different construction techniques, like the newer style of tripod collar that allows rotating the camera from horizontal to vertical. And les steel,and more aluminum and polycarbonate--that fluted,metal focusing ring on the old lens would cost a lot to manufacture today, so now it's just wrapped in textured rubber, which is a LOT cheaper than milling grooves into a cast piece of metal.
     
  5. DennyCrane

    DennyCrane No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    [​IMG]
    This appears to be an aluminum adapter of some sort... smaller in diameter than an EF... I didn't have any hopes there, I'm guessing this hasn't seen the light of day since the 1970s or earlier.
     
  6. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Take the adapter off, I'm guessing that Derrel is correct on the M-42 accessment but, I want to double check.

    The adapter it self almost looks to be a Nikon F mount but I could be wrong, I'll have to double check my lenses, I know I've seen that layout before.
     
  7. DennyCrane

    DennyCrane No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I'll find my Teensy Screwdriver Set and get that later after work today.

    Thanks, all, for the feedback so far.
     
  8. Mike_E

    Mike_E No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Did you try fitting the lens to a camera? might help. :)
     
  9. DennyCrane

    DennyCrane No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    All I know is it's not an EF mount. In fact, I'm pretty sure it predates the EF mount by a good 20 years.
     

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