Slide projector lens. Silver body. Fitted to 1960’s era Diamator series. Likely identical, optically, to [V1].
– May 2, 2022
The 52mm outer barrel of this Agfa Agomar detaches to reveal a much more adaptable inner cell of 47mm diameter and just 51mm in length from the top of the ‘hood’ to the rear retaining ring. Technically, it’s a failing when a lens has such a wild propensity to flare, and is prone to dramatic contrast loss. This slide projector lens isn’t even very sharp in Zone 1, scoring just 6.9 and even in undemanding lighting scenarios contrast and saturation of this barely-single-coated optic is lower than the average enlarger or process lens.
It’s rendition is pure one-trick pony – but it’s a good trick: 100mm, f2.5, mild spherical aberration and plenty of dreamy, creamy bokeh and unexpected veils of light-induced flare. And yet the look is different to old-school portrait lenses: even on full-frame there is minimal vignetting and CA is surprisingly well controlled. This isn’t a lens you will shoot every day, but it’s a superior kind of ‘vintage vibe’ that produces appealing, not-soo-soft-focus images with subtle transitions. The shorter, later Agfa Agomar 85mm ([V1] without the aperture marking) is considerably sharper across the frame, especially in Zone 1, but this triplet is worth seeking out – even if only because of the subject-separation possibilities of this desirable combination of focal length and aperture.
There’s a lot of bokeh at 100/2.5, and the Agfa Agomar sometimes does squirrely stuff with it. The bubble is strong with this one, and it doesn’t come with the penalty of harsh, edgy rendition – it’s just too soft for that. And the large image circle keeps those bubbles circular to the edge of the frame. It’s a Marmite lens, but the point of seeking out projector optics is to find those with special character, and the old-school Agomar 100 is quirky but genteel, and my heavily pre-abused copy has wormed its way into my permanent kit bag.
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