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Michael Schroers

Astro Berlin lenses

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I just want to ask, what's so special about Astro Berlin lenses, like for example the Gauss-Tachar lenses.


Is there any especialness (look, quality etc) ?


Or are they so expensive, because they are very rare ?




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Probably because they made pretty fast lenses in long focal lengths, and savvy ebay sellers realise there's a whole swag of digital shooters out there just begging to get fleeced while looking for an ultra shallow depth of field vintage lens edge in order to stand out. :)


I've been hunting around for old D and C mount lenses to test out and I noticed the prices on 1930s era Dr Rudolph Meyer Kino-Plasmats were just astronomical - one nitwit in Hong Kong is asking $13,000 for one! Check it out:




They pop up regularly so I don't think they're that rare, but they were quite a sensation back in the day because an aperture of f1.5 was unheard of. So when an old cameraman I know dug one out of his basement for me (in quite good condition) I was curious to throw it up on projection. Needless to say, it looked a bit like a 60s lens with less contrast and more abberations. Fun to play around with maybe, but certainly not worth hundreds, let alone thousands.


I'm not saying vintage lenses can't produce beautiful images, but the idea that ancient optics might have some secret recipe that will unleash masterpieces and so be worth paying a fortune for is a fallacy. The whole point of using older glass should be that it's affordable!

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Dom, if you've got one, go ahead and sell it for thousands. If the buyers are paying that much, let them. There's absolutely nothing wrong with you making a profit in the sub-prime lens market.... ;-)





-- J.S.

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