Collectables @ B&H, April 2008
We'll start off this month's Collectables column with the fastest 300mm lens ever designed for a 35mm camera; the Nikkor 300/2 AI-S. Originally designed for the sports photography world, it was (and is) also used for law enforcement surveillance due to its amazing ability to shoot "though" window blinds thanks to the paper-thin depth of field afforded by the lens' ridiculously wide aperture.
Surveillance aside, the Nikkor 300/2 can be used for striking portraiture, birding (just keep in mind this lens is manual, not AF), and any other application where extreme selective focus is desirable.
And if an ultra-fast 300mm isn't enough, keep in mind a 1.4x teleconverter turns this puppy into a 420/2.8, and a 2x turns it into a 600/4!
If going long isn't your thing and you're a Pentax fan have a look-see at the Pentax Fish-Eye 17mm f/4 Takumar Lens for M42/Universal screw mount. A full-frame fisheye lens, this lens was also available in K-mount and considered quite an advance from the 18mm f/11 that preceded it, offering a faster maximum aperture and focusing control.
If speed isn't an issue and you'd like a full-frame fisheye for your Pentax- fixed-focus no less, the Pentax 18/11 Fisheye for M42/Universal and similar screw mount camera systems just might float your boat. Barely thicker than the lens cap that protects the lens' front element, the Pentax 18/11 offers you a choice of four f-stops; 11, 16, 22, and 32. But that's the price you pay for the skinniest fisheye known to modern mankind.
If fisheyes don't do it for you but you're still looking for an ultra-wide for your Pentax system K-mount system we have a Pentax Super Wide Angle 15mm f/3.5 SMCP-M manual focus lens that might work well for your needs. Rectilinear in design, this ultra-wide delivers 100-plus degree coverage that is all-but distortion-free when aimed dead-on level to your subject.
And speaking of Pentax, if portraiture is your thing we currently have a real sweet 85/1.4 SMCP-A available that would be a fine addition to your lens arsenal. Extremely low production numbers have made the long-discontinued SMCP-A* 85mm f/1.4 manual focus lens a rarity and its value has soared accordingly. Collectors and users of recent Pentax digital SLR cameras also appreciate its high standard of construction and quality control.
Unfortunately Minolta is gone. They have, however, left a long legacy of photographic innovation, with product lines that always contained a full lens system - from super telephotos to ultra-wide angle options such as this Minolta Fisheye 18mm f/9.5 UW Rokkor-PG manual focus lens. And like the 18mm Takumar fisheye, this lens is slow but rather cool.
Want to go weird with your Nikon? How's about a Nikon Fisheye 7.5mm f/5.6 Nikkor Lens with Viewfinder, Caps and Case (for Nikon F ONLY). Nikon made a few variations of their ultra-wide circular fish-eye lenses. Their original intended uses were industrial; inspecting robot welding inside of large pipes and judging the even-ness of street lighting (shot from the air). These round image fish-eye lenses quickly gained use in commercial advertising for their dramatic perspectives and are still in demand today – by collectors and users alike.
And if you're really looking to have fun Nikon's 13mm f/5.6 AIS manual focus lens with a rectilinear, angle-of-view of 118°, is the widest – and rarest – full-frame ultra-wide Nikon ever made.
And lastly, we offer the Linhof Super Technika IV with 150mm f/4.5 Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar (Factory Set). The legendary Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar lens set color reproduction standards for its time (1950's). Most people with the money to spend went for speed, optioning their Technika IV or V with an f/3.5 Xenotar or Planar. A factory Apo-Lanthar equipped 4x5 Technika is a rare item.
But remember, B&H is a store and what's here today may not necessarily be here tomorrow, or in 10-minutes for that matter. The good news is, we're always getting more, so bookmark us and stop by often.