Sunday, May 26, 2013

The Photographic Historical Society of Canada Camera Show

The Photographic Historical Society of Canada (phsc) Camera Show is one of the largest annual used camera shows in the Toronto area, and it has been held at the Soccer Centre in Vaughan, usually in May for many years. If you are into old lenses/cameras, be sure to subscribe to the free phsc news letter for show information. They also held an annual auction as well. I bought many of my lenses at this show before, though I had not attended it for two years until today.

As usual, I hesitated before going, always afraid of not being able to control my urge to buy stuff that I don't need. Today I told myself, don't be impulsive, and it helped.  I only spent $50 on lenses today, and got three lenses; one of them quite interesting, in fact. There were so many unique and desirable lenses to be had at today's show. Saw a Steinheil 100mm f2.8 macro, a beautiful beautiful lens, for a cool $800, but aperture not working. Also an Olympus 50mm f1.2 at a cool $700, and a rarer Konica 57mm f1.2 (it's gorgeous!). There is also this French Angenieux 50mm f1.5, in Exakta mount I believe, and the asking price was $9800. No, it's not a typo. The lens was in very rough shape too. You see, there were unique stuff to be had, but they were all selling at eBay prices (or more). In fact, when asked how much a lens was, some would check eBay on the spot, and then gave me an eBay price. If I wanted to pay this kind of price, I would buy from eBay, because there would be more choices and usually in better condition.

Still, it was worth going. I bought an Olympus Zuiko 50mm f1.8 lens, not in its usual OM bayonet mount, but in M42 mount. That's right, Olympus made a small number of M42 lenses, and this is one of them. I am sure the optic is nothing spectacular, and likely the same as the garden variety OM mount 50mm f1.8 that came with pretty much all OM SLRs at the time. One unique/proprietory feature of the lens is the locking pin, very similar to the Mamiya-Seikor screw mount lenses. It would not mount properly on most other cameras. This leads me to think they also made at least one M42 camera.

The second of the three lenses was the Schacht Travegar 100mm f3.3 lens in Exakta mount. Strikingly similar to the Isconar 100mm f4 that I also have, but the Schacht is larger. One interesting feature is that the lens can be unscrewed and be used as an enlarging or macro lens, a la Leitz 135mm f4.5. The Schacht 100mm f3.3 focuses much closer at 0.9m than the Isconar at 1.5m. I expect the two would be optically similar, which means nothing special, but I hope I am wrong and be surprised.

The last lens is the Soligor 105mm f2.8. I have a few variants of this focal length. Hansa, Hanimex, Spiratone, etc, all have something similar, or 105mm f2.5. Only reason I bought it, because it was only $10. The 105mm was a popular focal length and I am sure an easy lens to design and make. Without exception, these low cost lenses all have a T-Mount, and thus a pre-set aperture. It makes sense since these companies made lenses for various camera mounts, and a T-mount is ideal for this purpose. Just use a different mount for different cameras, like the Tamron Adaptall system, but without any sort of automation.

Olympus Zuiko 50mm f1.8 in M42 Mount. Note the red lettering on the name ring. OM mount lenses have white colors. Click for larger.

Like some Mamiya-Seiko lenses, this one has a locking pin too. It needs to be filed down in order to mount flat with the adapter. Click for larger.

Schacht Travegar 100mm f3.3 in EXA mount. Click for larger.

Soligor 105mm f2.8. This lens has an unsual 46mm filter size. Click for larger.


  1. Love the unique OM 50mm. Good purchase. Everyone checks fleBay and there inflated prices. There is quantity and variety but sometimes outrageous prices. Not good for bargaining with sellers thinking that a price is the floor for all sales. Shame.

    1. It's getting harder and harder to get a fair deal. Sigh.

  2. The Olympus 50mm f1.8 M42 was not made by Olympus and has not the optical quality of the OM-mount version - which is BTW excellent...

    1. Thanks for the information, MAWK. That's interesting news to me. I must check out the lens and see how it performs.

    2. If you are interested:
      You new 1.8/50 M42 was part of the Olympus FTL Foto Camera only built in 1971.
      Taken from this web site (German only):

      " ... Actually, the FTL is not a design of Olympus. It is bought from another company to fill the production vacuum between the Pen and OM cameras. The OM camera was released in 1972 after five years of design, research and improvement. All the lenses are of the latest design. They are completely different from the FTL lenses and also the Pen lenses. ..."

    3. I feel like a lazy fool :) should have done some research. Thanks again for the information.

  3. The Angenieux 50mm f1.5 S21 is a rare lens of excellent quality but not worth the price you noted. It is a collector's price caused by rareness.

    From OM I own the 1.2/50, 1.4/50, 1.8/50 and the 3.5/50 macro. Optically the 1.8 and the 3.5 are equally excellent. I use the 1.8/50 as portrait lens. It has a nice bokeh @1.8

    I paid 300$ for the 1.2/50, 100$ for the 1.4/50 and also for the 1.8/50 in mint condition(boxed) with lens hood which fits on all three lenses.

    I highly recommend the 1.8/50 OM for portraits.

    1. Rare and expensive stuff is for deep pocket collectors. For me, just want to buy lenses to take pictures.

      I also love OM lenses. Too bad I don't have too many. There are hardly any bad lenses from them.

  4. I second the OM 50 f1.8 for portraits on the m4/3 series :-)

    still, ten bucks is cheap ... but at this price you can pop to $30 and still not break the bank ;-)

    An old favourite taken with the 50mm f1.8


    1. Now I guess I will have to buy an OM 50mm f1.8!

      Beautiful picture of the baby.