a super lens

The 5cm f/2 Super Rokkor lens c 1950s

Toronto. In the late 1950s, I volunteered to serve in Labrador on a then new Tropospheric Scatter telephone network joining a few remote towns and mines to the outside world.

While training for the job, I bought my first 35mm camera – a Minolta Rangefinder camera equipped with a leaf shutter and a fixed 5cm f/2 lens. Until I owned a camera made in Japan, I was unaware of the quality build and resolution of Japanese photographic products.

The Super Rokkor lens was coated and incredibly clear to my eyes. The image shown is courtesy of the Canon Rangefinder web site.

A year or so later, I sold the camera and lens to buy a USSR made 35mm SLR, the Exakta VX IIa from Dresden, East Germany. I also bought two well made German Steinheil lenses and an equally well made French lens (an early retro-focus 28mm wide angle design that allowed the SLR mirror to move freely at the cost of severe geometric distortion).

The Super Rokkor? Beautiful. Only later did I understand that even a ‘normal’ prime lens for my SLR was slightly retro-focus in design affecting its resolution (if measured, but not especially evident in practical use) and focal length.


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