The Most Interesting Lenses in the History of Photography
Lenses are like superpowers for photographers. The mystery is in the camera’s lens. Lenses are like superpowers for photographers. They define what the image is going to look like. Even though we are used to thinking that the best lense is the ones that represent the reality, it was not always the case.
Some photo lenses go beyond that. They twist our perspectives and make things that you could never observe with a human eye visible. So, here are some of the most interesting lenses that have shifted our perspectives and will continue doing so in the future.
Lomography Petzval 85mm f/2.2
One of the most beautiful lenses both inside and out. Lomography Petzval 85mm f/2.2 not only creates stunning images that are easily recognizable but also look pretty in and of itself. It does not look anything like a conventional lens and has a brass barrel that is instantly recognizable. Its gorgeous design that reminds of its almost 200-year-old sibling is what makes it one of the most interesting lenses in the history of photography.
Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo
It is the dream lens of any macro photographer. The lens allows creating sharp close-up images with crazy details. Using the lens, you can create high-magnification shoots. It is rarely used on its own and is usually paired with another lens. The Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro Photo does not look as weird as some of the other lenses on the list, but it does not mean it is any less special. What it does is almost fantastical.
Another lens in our list of the most interesting lenses in history is Zeiss f/0.7. In the sixties, Carl Zeiss created 50mm Planar f/0.7 for NASA. The special lens was so sensitive to light that allowed scientists to view the darker side of the moon. Overall, only 10 lenses were created two of which Stanley Kubrick modified to shoot Barry Lyndon.
The camera allowed to capture the authentic vibe of 1844 using only the light from candles. It might not sound like a big deal now, considering that many digital cameras can do that now. However, back in 1975, it was almost impossible. But only almost impossible — the famous director completely transformed the camera to do the unthinkable. Each lens cost him about $23 million… Talk about dedication to the craft!
Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH
One of the best lenses that are famous for the visually stunning portraits they create. It has earned popularity right after its successful debut in 2008. Still, the Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH is a dream lens for any photographer. The lens has a f/0.95 aperture (which means that it allows for a lot of light to come in and gives control over the depth of field). The lens costs around $9,700 and is an expensive investment. But all professionals will agree that it is definitely a worthy one.
Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DG
We bet that you will hardly forget the look of this quirky looking lens. Sigma 200-500mm f/2.8 APO EX DG is definitely not the most comfortable one to carry around, considering it weighs around 16 kg and is more than 72 cm length. But it is the one that wildlife photographers cannot do without. It is currently the longest zoom lens with F2.8 aperture. Its properties allow the lens to capture images from long distances in low light, and with an incredible depth of field.
Nikon Fisheye-Nikkor 6mm f/2.8
Here is another lens that you would never think will exists. A ridiculously sized fisheye lens with the widest lens in the world. And it also just looks bizarre. The lens was initially developed for surveillance purposes, which makes a lot of sense considering that the lens takes 220 degree wide images and can practically look behind itself. Even though the lens has been discontinued, you can probably find one at $160,000 on eBay.
Nikkor 19mm F2.8 Macro
Another one of the most interesting lenses is Nikkor 19mm F2.8 Macro. It is also a macro lens, but while many of the lenses we looked at above were unusually large, this one is incredibly small. The lens has no distortions and is aimed at reproducing the image as close to the reality as possible. The lens is difficult to find and is meant to be used in the in-door settings only, considering that the focusing distance is about 20 mm.
Here you have it — the most interesting lenses in the history
Of course, there are many more lenses worth knowing about. The people have been experimenting with the lenses for as long as the cameras have been around. It is fair to say that they create the image and their names are worth to be known. If you are interested in the photography and want to find a cool location then should read our guide on How to Look for a New Photo Shoot Location. All the knowledge will help you create images that would not be easy to forget.
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