Sunday, October 12, 2014

Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f2 from Diax IIb

Funny how things sometimes come together.  Today I was at the antique market and saw this rangefinder with the mount semi-detached, but on it is the Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f2 lens, just like the one from the Kodak Retina Reflex, except this one can be removed from the camera.  After some price haggling, the deal was done at $30; cheaper than the Kodak Retina.

At first I didn't know the lens was removable but a bit of Googling told me more about the Diax IIb. The camera body was in very bad shape, but thankfully the lens is great condition. After removing the lens from the camera, I mounted the lens the same way I did with the Retina-Xenon; with a 52mm filter ring at the rear, and then attached to the Yeenon 18-33mm focus helicoid.

Diax IIb with lens detached.  Click for larger.

Brothers: Retina-Xenon on the left, Diax IIb Xenon on right - Click for larger.

I briefly tested the Diax IIb Xenon 50mm f2 this afternoon, and I am overjoyed. This version of the lens is even slightly better than the Kodak Retina version.  At f2, the lens is sharp corner to corner, with just a bit of loss of contrast. One stop down, it's excellent.  As expected, there is just a bit of vignetting wide open but not worse than modern lenses. A nice bonus, the lens comes with a 14-blade (could be 13, couldn't count) aperture, whereas the Retina version has only 5 blades.

Like the Retina version, this lens renders bokeh with such silky and exquisite smoothness that I am quite enamored of. This could become one of my favourite lenses.

All pictures below were shot with the Sony A7 and the Schneider-Kreuznach Xenon 50mm f2 lens from the Diax IIb, at f2.


  1. wow, oof areas are very nice.
    can you remind me how you adapt this lens to nex?