Saturday, August 25, 2012

Steinheil Munchen Culminar 135mm

Earlier this year I picked up a Steinheil Munchen Culminar 135mm ƒ/4.5 lens for my Exakta.  I know, why such a slow lens?
Aside from the price?  No other reason.  I had priced out many other 135mm lenses, whether from Schneider, or Carl Zeiss, or even Sun Optical, and decided that the Culminar would give me the best bang for the buck.  I mean, I only paid $10.00 for the lens, so how much less expensive can you get?

I have used it sparingly, as it takes a fair amount of light for focusing, as it is a slower lens, but it has very nice sharpness even wide-open.

I recently tried it with some Adox CHS20 film, and if you remember from a previous post that I printed and developed an image in Caffenol-C from this particular roll of film.  Well, I didn't have the proper lighting for using such a film, as the highlights were clipped, and the images were not what I was hoping for.  By the time I had the lighting that would suit this type of film, using anything longer than my Carl Zeiss 50mm would be a wasted endeavor.

Sure enough, out in Port Colborne, I managed to get a few images taken with this lens.  Although some were mediocre, and not really worth mentioning, one stood out above the rest, and rightly so.
Scritching - B/W
Scritching - Exakta VXIIa - Steinheil Munchen Culminar 135mm ƒ4/5 - Kodak Gold 200
Developed in JOBO C-41 Press Kit - Toned in Photoshop CS5
Although this was originally taken on Kodak Gold 200, the colour image truly doesn't do it justice.  The feel to the colour image is nice, really it is, and you can see it here, but the B&W toning draws the eyes to the subject far better than the colour image will.  Perhaps I am a little biased toward B&W than colour, but the truth be told, I just love it in B&W.  The Bokeh produced with this lens is smooth, transitions from focused to out of focus are clean, clear, and very nicely rendered, and the 15 blades on the iris add for some incredibly fine Bokeh!  It's near circular in design, the iris is.  The interesting part of this is that the lens is a Triplet.  That, on its own, really gives it a special place on my shelf, where it shall stay.

I am intending on giving it a whirl in studio, with some strobist work, and see how it'll render some images that way.
Really looking forward to seeing this lens used in a way it probably hasn't in at least a quarter century!
Exakta VXIIa

That's my VXIIa alongside the Steinheil Munchen Culminar lens.  The beauty is in the long tube!  The silvered body just seems to belong paired up with the silvered body of the Exakta.  The sleekness to the lens make  it far more desirable to hold and shoot the Exakta.

Steinheil Munchen Culminar 135mm ƒ/4.5
3 Elements in 3 Groups Coated
15 Bladed Iris with Max Aperture of ƒ/4.5 and Minimum of ƒ/32

Until next time, keep those shutters firing!