Leningrad Optical, LOMO process lens

This is taken from a sequence of three FB posts, placed here under one heading as this story may be important for the Naked Portrait Portfolio for my late 2017 Survey Show. This, with the Eclection Portfolio will be the newest portfolio to be represented in t his exhibition


LENINGRAD OPTICAL, also known as LOMO, not the new overpriced plastic fantastic, but perhaps SSSR’s finest optical manufacturer. The one shown is a 360mm dialyte process lens (according to one of the Wise and Wonderful Web’s experts this is an Apo-Tessar derivative, gladly they are wrong). Being a dialyte, a design with a relatively narrow angle of view, it is doubtful if it will do any more than just cover 10×8 inches at infinity. But as these lenses are rarely used at infinity, meaning extended a bit, and as the angle of view remains the same the circle of coverage increases with lens extension I feel sure it will cover. There are lots of drawings of this stuff in the books

This lens arrived today, to be mounted tomorrow to try out. I actually bought this lens as it was the cheapest way I could get a 60 x 0.75mm flange to mount my Schneider Repro-Claron lens. I am amazed at the construction quality of the LOMO, vastly superior to any other Russian lens I have seen. The lens mounting flange is a perfect fit for the R-Claron, which, as I have stated, is why I bought it

More tomorrow, as at the price these can be got for they are a very serious cheap option for new 10×8″ workers and as they stop down to f64 they can be used with a lens cap shutter, or better, the Galli Shutter


Mounted it this morning instead of gardening. To have a lens of my favourite 10×8″ focal length, 36cm, that is very sharp and stops to very small apertures to use as an alternative to the 36cm Heliar is great. The 420mm R-Claron is superb, but used close the bellows extension is very long

To have two different lenses of the same focal length for the 10×8″ portfolios is perhaps too much. I do not keep unused gear, but I am no longer clearing it out at stupid prices. However, when I see friends making great images I am glad to give stuff to them

First check was to see if it would cover 10×8″ at infinity, it does. However, I live in the forest, so there is no infinity and no horizon. To find infinity I have to go to the desert or mountains or the coast. Anyway, this is for studio use


I have finally done the deed on testing my two dialyte lenses, a 420mm f9 Schneider Repro-Claron and the 360mm f10 LOMO. I used to earn a lot of my keep with a 240mm f9 shutter mounted Apo-Ronar, but that is now with a friend

These lenses are for use with the 10×8″ camera and rely on the Sinar Shutter for use. I have had the R-Claron since the 10×8″ camera, but so far I have only used the camera with a 36cm Heliar, which is kind of special. The Sinar shutter is shared between the 10 x 8″ and 5×4″ Sinar Norma. It was bought many whiles ago for the 5×4″

jbaphoto1509809s002jbaphoto1509809sCrop002The results, as were expected, are that at mid apertures of f12 to about f24 the dialytes are wonderful. At the extreme small apertures diffraction makes the lenses unusable for negs for enlargement. For contact prints they should be quite gentle and beautiful. (The senior Mr Weston used a Rapid Rectillinear at f64 for his shell and pepper still lifes, long after these lenses were considered obsolete)

Now to do the work, watch this space for posts about the images, the printing and the presentation

Looking at the image quality of these negs I may end up just using the LOMO for both 10×8″ portfolios. By quality I don’t mean mere sharpness, but the tonal quality of the image, particularly the depth of shadow detail, which is better in the LOMO than any other 10×8″ lens I have. Also the beautiful rendering of the out of focus areas, or boke aji, which translates as the scent of mist

(Note; These is a 450mm LOMO process lens out there at the moment, but the only reason I would buy that is so I could have a lens with a focal length of almost a cubit, that is standard Roman cubit, not the silly Hittite one)