Shooting with a 136-Year-Old Lens from 1880

For his latest Weird Lens Challenge experiment, French photographer Mathieu Stern found a 136-year-old lens and mounted it to his Sony a7 II mirrorless camera to see what the results would look like. You can see his test footage in the short video above.

Stern found the simple metal lens on a large format camera from 1880, and says it’s one of the first to have a mechanical iris aperture system.



“After mounting it with some cardboard pieces to keep it tightly blocked in a M42 macro tube, I then screwed it on different macro M42 tubes and to a M42 helicoidal ring that was screwed to a M42 to NEX Adaptor ring, then to the Sony A7II,” Stern says. “Thus, the lens was able to focus.”



“The lens is incredibly sharp for a 136 years old simple metallic lens, from my test it’s even sharper than most of my modern canon lenses,” Stern writes. “The results are amazing… but it also gives some strange lens flares and light leaks that are pretty dreamy (some would say it’s horrible).”





We previously shared a similar experiment Stern did with a 1910 lens from a 105-year-old folding camera.

Image credits: Video and photographs by Mathieu Stern and used with permission