Russian Vega 5U enlarging lens

Russian Vega 5U enlarging lens

That’s the Russian-made Vega 5U 105mm f4 enlarging lens. Pretty isn’t it? Enlarging lenses are used in film darkrooms to project film onto paper to make physical prints. For this reason, they have been designed to be nearly distortion (flat field) and CA (chromatic aberration) free. Here’s the Vega lens adapted to my modern digital Micro Four-Thirds Olympus camera:

Vega enlarging lens adapted

Vega enlarging lens adapted

It’s impressively large isn’t it? Through the use of some extension tubes and an M42 focussing helicoid, I am now able to focus from just over 1 metre to infinity with this lens. Due to their optical design, they are amongst the sharpest (and cheapest nowadays) lenses you can get and adapt to your digital camera. I also have an Nikon EL Nikkor 50mm that needs a clean due to fungal growth, and a very sharp Rodenstock Rodagon that I look forward to testing out.

In use, the Vega lens is heavy and a little cumbersome on such a small digital body. It’s not an especially characterful piece of glass, but it does display excellent acuity and sharpness across the Micro Four-Thirds frame. I was only able to make these photos with it a few sunsets ago, but even at f4 and infinity, the Vega 5U lens seems sharp.

Vega enlarging lens - focussed at infinity

Vega enlarging lens – focussed at infinity

Vega enlarging lens - a lovely sunset

Vega enlarging lens – a lovely sunset

Vega 5U - backlit

Vega 5U – backlit

 

 

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