Projection lenses, WTF?

In this wonderful digital age, nobody uses slide projectors any more.
So the lenses are plentiful and can be found rather cheaply. They are not designed to be used as camera lenses, but they work surprisingly well. There are no aperture or focusing mechanism, and you need to tinker a bit, but the results can be very rewarding.

I have a vast collection of very fine “real” lenses, so what’s the point in using these old triplets? Well, they render the subject so beautifully. The image is sharp at the center, but degrades rapidly towards the corners. Remember we’re shooting lens fully open. You can’t stop down. Often there is nice halo in highlights and the non-sharp areas of the image look great. Many times the background looks like it was painted with a paintbrush. I love the look, and I use my cheap projection lenses more than my Micro Nikkors.

The easiest way to get started is to get a camera bellows, and attach the projection lens to it. My personal favourite lens at the moment is Diaplan 100/2,8 by Meyer Optik Görlitz, but there are many other fine lenses available on Ebay for instance. I have a big bag full of them. Not all of them are great. I’ve bought lenses that are rubbish, but there are some real gems there too.

OK. I will update this page soon, so please come back and check the new images!

Jukka Korhonen, Oulu, Finland

Pentacon AV 100/2,8 & Nikon D800.