Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Koristka Salex Anastigmat 5 2/5 Inch f4.5 - Weird and Wonderous

I did some search on the web, but couldn't really find much information on this particular lens.  A lot of references of Koristka are on microscopes and binoculars.  In any case, it was quite easy to mount this lens on some tubes and focusing helicoid (two in fact, I will have a post on this later) to get the lens to focus to about 0.5 meters.  Normally, lenses like this have very long minimum focus distance.

When I first tested this lens, my first impression was that it's very soft, so soft in fact, that I think it might have been designed as a soft focus lens.  But I decided to go to Allen Garden to give it a go yesterday.  Unfortunately I was there about 35 minutes before it was closed and the light was fading fast, I had to shoot at high ISOs.

Koristka Salex Anastigmat 5 2/5 inch f4.5 with its own shutter and in exceptionally good shape.

As it turned out, this old Italian lens, though soft, has its charms.  It renders pictures with some very unique characters.  Yes, it's soft wide open, but it's so pleasing to look at, unlike the soft focus lenses that use uncorrected lens aberrations to achieve softness, which in most cases make the colours go wonky; this lens produces some of the most beautiful colours I have seen in an old lens. I think it will make a wonderful portrait lens.  Hopefully I will be able to take some portraits with it soon.

Blue, Pink and Yellow - Sony A7 & Koristka Salex Anastigmat 5 2/5 inch f4.5

Soft and Pretty  - Sony A7 & Koristka Salex Anastigmat 5 2/5 inch f4.5

Pomelo, shot through a pane of glass  - Sony A7 & Koristka Salex Anastigmat 5 2/5 inch f4.5


  1. Lovely images - was the adapting easy?


    1. It's actually quite easy to adapt to even DSLRs, since the flange distance is a few inches.

    2. 40 mm Macro Kilar Sorry I Googled old post on Macro Kilar. I used it with a Rectoflex for many years as my basic lense for geology and paleontology fieldwork. My daughter has the antique lense now. (I bought it used in 1961; previous owner as professional photographer.)

    3. what was your method to connect the lens to the camera? can you share please :) Thank you! Great job yu-lin Chan.

    4. @Bill, the rear of the lens has threads and the lens came with a retention ring. I inserted a 37-52mm step-up ring on the rear thread and secured it with the retention ring. This in turn is screwed onto a helicoid with 52mm opening. Really easy and no tools required. Of course infinity is not exact but with live view, that's not an issue.

  2. Sorry for the new comment on an old post, but from where did you harvest this lens? It screams steam punk :)