Silver and black metal Japanese enlarger lens. Probably AKA Corona 75/3.5, Minette Corona 75/3.5 and Dixons Autocrat Deluxe 75/3.5.
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Based on a Dot.Med advert from 2014, this Japanese enlarger lens – which appears outwardly identical to the Minette and Corona Minette 75/3.5 – was reputedly fitted to a vitrectomy instrument made by Volk in America. Minette (which is both the name of a lamprophyre ore, and French for ‘female kitten’) has been applied to numerous photographic accessories, including a 1938 enlarger, but no evidence has yet come to light establishing a Japanese ‘Minette’ as a lens manufacturer in the 1950-1970 period when these lenses were probably in production – variously labeled Minette, Corona and Minette Corona. Dating clues lie to a lesser extent in the typography; more so in the silver metal bodies and circular apertures – which drifted out of fashion in the mid-1970s as composites technology took over and diaphragms with fewer blades become fashionable. They seem to crop up more frequently for sale in Russia and Japan than Europe and the US.
Given the propensity of Japanese manufacturers to choose brand names befitting the local market, and the blurred nomenclature of this lens, it seems more likely that they originate with a currently unknown maker. The same lens appears to have been marketed by Dixons as the Autocrat Deluxe 75/3.5 and also sold as the Kaginon 75/3.5. All serials of the Minette so far located have been 6xxxxx.
According to Thomas Lövgren’s excellent article, which includes images shot with this lens, build quality is impressive.