Capturing the world with Photography, Painting and Drawing

MIR-1 37mm f/2.8 lens , from 1954 to 2015 – Using old lens

Mir 1b 37mm f2.8 m42 lens Nigel Borrington

Mir 1b 37mm f2.8 m42 lens
Nigel Borrington

Its a while since I posted anything about photography equipment, even though I do keep one eye on making sure I have what I feel to be very good cameras and lenses (Mainly Nikons) , I don’t feel that equipment is what photography is really all about. To me photography is about capturing the world around me and so long As I feel my camera can still do this I am very happy.

Old lenses

At the Same time some of the lenses I have, have been with me for many years and I have used then with many subjects and at many locations with both film and digital cameras.

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My MIR 37mm f2.8 lens, I have had since my very first SLR camera back in the 1980’s and I still have complete confidence in it 🙂 even using a Pentax K3 24 megapixel SLR.

Why Pentax ? , The lens is an M42 lens which means that it connects to a camera body using an adapter and the best camera bodies on the Market for using these lenses are Pentax SLR bodies as they only need a metal lens mount adaptor that allows the lens to function without any changes in focus distance, basically all the lenses setting and scales work as they were originally intended to.

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There are many things I love about using this lens. the focusing is manual as is the setting of the lens apertures but however the dials used for both these settings are just perfect in operation, no modern plastic jumpy manual focus rings here- just smooth and perfectly controlled movements. One thing also great about this lens is the fact that there are no click stops for the aperture blades , there are marking that show ” f 2.8, 4, 5.6, 8. 11 and 16″ but you can set the blades to any setting in between, this is a huge help for video !!

Another great thing for Video is that this lens is 100% silent , simply no noise feeds back through the camera body !!

The back of the lens shows depth of field and focus distant marks, its not a macro lens as its closest distance is only .7 meters so Landscapes only here !

Some History

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The production of this lens originally started all the way back in 1954. It was manufactured in USSR (along with my favourite Helios 44-2) and was mainly made in 2 mounts, M39 and more popular M42 (although both are adaptable to modern cameras). The design of the lens was based on Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm f/2.8 and unlike Helios 44-2 was not a complete clone, but using same optical formal as Flektogon 35mm f/2.8, which is definitely a good sign considering how much more affordable they are than just about any Zeiss glass.

In 1958 Mir-1 received a prestigious Grand-Prix Award during the Brussels World Fair. Russians were probably so proud of the award that every Mir-1 lens produced since the 1958 World Fair, sports the “Grand Prix Brussels 1958” inscription on the side of the lens, so don’t mistake these lenses for some sort of special/limited edition.

Lens Flare

Another great asset of this lens is the lens flare it can produce , this link shows some lovely deep spherical Studio flare results 🙂

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Compared to other Classic M42 lenses and modern lenses

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MIR 37mm f2.8 Gallery

The following are some local Kilkenny landscape images that I feel show just how good this lens still is at capturing some great sharp and contrasty black and white images , even with 24 megapixels to expose any defects!

Kilkenny Landscape Images 5

Kilkenny Landscape Images 4

Kilkenny Landscape Images 3

Kilkenny Landscape Images 2

Kilkenny Landscape Images 1

One response

  1. Well said, Nigel.

    Lens flare is where it’s at!

    🙂

    April 21, 2015 at 12:57 pm

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