Sunday, January 2, 2011

Kern-Paillard 50mm f1.3 Projection Lens

After making my own NEX Focusing Helicoid, I dug out some projection lenses I have collected and tried them on.  The Kern-Paillard 50mm f1.3 projection lens stood out and struck me with its sharpness wide open.  Like most short projection lenses, this one has a very short lens to film plane distance, making it almost impossible to be used on most DSLRs.  I was able to make a lens out of it using the helicoid I made, but even with the NEX, the lens is very close to the sensor.  Of course, projection lenses do not have apertures.  I took a few shots around the house and I am very impressed with the lens.  It's bitingly sharp at full aperture.  I can't imagine how much sharp the lens will be by stopping down just a little.  Unfortunately, I will probably never be able to find out.  Even as the way it is, this lens can make some wonderful images.  I am sure I will use it more in the future.

Megan -- NEX-5 & Kern-Paillard 50mm f1.3 @ f1.3. Click for larger picture.

Bokeh -- NEX-5 & Kern-Paillard 50mm f1.3 @ f1.3. Click for larger picture.


  1. a nice find indeed.
    you could try stopping it down manually by making your own waterhouse-style aperture - cut a hole in a piece of cardboard and place it in front of the lens. you might argue that placing it outside the lens is not the best optical position but it might be worth a try.

  2. @John, I think I am going to do it behind the lens with a black disc made of paper. Will see how it works out. I find that there is too much purple fringing wide open outdoors.