come a little bit closer

Mallard duck taken with a Tele-Arton lens and SONY NEX-5

Toronto. Sometimes when we see a shot, a closer view crops out extraneous stuff while keeping the subject still and in focus. Instead of moving closer (possibly frightening the subject), we can use a zoom lens at the tele end to mimic a closer shot.

While today we are accustomed to using zooms rather than prime lenses, it wasn’t always the case. For many years after their introduction zooms suffered from short variations in focal lengths, high cost and geometric distortion. As a result prime lenses of long focus or telephoto design were quite common.

Around 1985, I bought a Tele-Arton  f/5.6 240mm Schneider lens. The screw mount lens (mis-engraved as ‘Arlon’) attaches to a Leitz Bellow II. The previous owner, Jim McKeen sold it to me at one of our Photographica Fairs. Jim was from Hamilton and had a hardware store in that city. His passion was birding and he once used the lightweight lens to capture images of birds in the area.

I took this shot years later with a mirrorless digital camera and conversion ring. The equivalent focal length is about 360mm. The original  image is very crisp, and in good focus and contrast (coated lens elements). Compared to a standard lens of 50mm, I can get an image that appears to be about seven times closer.

If you would like a Tele-Arton  or another tele-lens for use or your collection, you may find it at one of our events this year – dates and places are shown in the right hand side bar. The most current coming event is our April 30th Spring Auction.

Note: the title of this post is a 1964 song made popular by Jay and the Americans who sing it here.

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