Donnerstag, 15. Dezember 2016

Fujimoto E-Lucky 38mm f/2.8 - A simple and cheap enlarging lens

Fujimoto is a Japanese company that made cameras at some time and currently makes enlargers and other equipment. Fujimoto was founded in Osaka in 1913 by Fujimoto Tōjirō. In 1935, the production of enlargers began under the brand "Lucky" and it still continues today. These enlarging lenses were used for 4x5" oder 6x6" Magnifiers (the most famous device was for years the "450M-D") in photo darkrooms.

Here are a few technical data:

Focal length: 38mm
Apertures: 2.8 up to 16
Maximum diameter: 40mm
Length: 30mm (with thread, M42-mount)
Weight: ca. 80 gr.
The Lens has no focal ring.

I bought this magnifying glass from pure curiosity. Once it was very cheap - only 10, - Euro and for the second it had an M39 thread, like most magnifying lenses. An old Leitz bellows I had already from my Leica-Visoflex in the closet. The bellows is from the thirties of the last century and still uses a 3/8 "female thread. A modern camera does not fit. Most photo cameras use 1/4 "thread as a tripod thread. So I removed the old fixing screw with an iron saw and inserted an M6 screw. Now everything fit. Only a spacer of cardboard for the camera mount and I could try the magnifying lens.

First the bad news: the enlarging lens was built for a darkroom, that is, it can tolerate direct or indirect light. Even heavily stopped down to aperture 8 or aperture 11, the images become contrastless and fuzzy.

Sony NEX-3N with Fujimoto E-Lucky 38mm f/2.8 at 2.8, 1/30s, ISO 200

Sony NEX-3N with Fujimoto E-Lucky 38mm f/2.8 at f/8.0, 1/13s, ISO 200

However, the images are very sharp right from the start, at least in the center of the image. Here is a photo at open aperture f/2.8 and a 100% cut. I have focused on the eyes of the dragon.

This enlarging glass is not suitable for daily shooting. The combination of lens, bellows and camera is simply too big and heavy. You can not just put it all into the photo bag and go.
The main area of application is certainly macro photography. Rather less outdoors, because in the studio. You can reach enlargements up to 4: 1. This is significantly more than the best macro lens to perform. Now I admit that I am not a good macro photographer. I do not have the necessary peace and patience until finally the longed-for motive finds itself.
Nevertheless, I have tried with simple means to show what enormous abilities the Fujimoto magnifying glass actually has. Here is an example with a 2 cent piece. Is amazing how great the coin can be enlarged, right?

The used 38mm lens is actually a little too short for macro photography with the help of a bellows. Better would be focal lengths of at least 70 to 100mm. If such a glass is offered to me, I dare to try a second experiment with the same arrangement.
Until then I stay with "normal" lenses. At the moment I have a Minolta MD 28mm f/2.8 and an old Porst 35mm f/2.8 on my desk. The next time I will look at it closely and introduce myself on the blog.
Also in the future, I am always looking for inexpensive old lenses that sometimes deliver amazing performance. Until then, stay curious.
To all my readers, I wish you a merry Christmas.

Sony NEX-3N with Fujimoto E-Lucky38mm f/2.8 at f/8.0, 1/60s, ISO 200

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