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Need info on an old lens

Matthijs Velsink , Jul 24, 2011; 09:02 a.m.

Hi everybody,
Yesterday my granduncle gave me this Novoflex Noflexar 1:5.6 f=40cm lens. He bought the lens in 1962 for 250 guilders (the Dutch currency back then). He told me that was a month's salary! Anyways, since he cant see very well anymore, he decided to give the lens, and some other photographic equipment, to me. He figured I would make good use of it as a hobby photographer. I tried to find some information on the web about this lens, but nothing can be found about it. I can find tons of information on the newer Noflexar lenses with the pistol grip, but not on this telescopic type of lens. The long, thin part of the lens can be pushed into the thicker part of the lens, making it very compact to store. Focusing can be done by turning the nob that can be seen in the middle of the lens. A mechanical linkage makes it impossible to focus or change the aperture when the lens is in its compact version.
I know quite a bit about the lens now, but I was wondering if anybody else has some experience with this lens, or can give me some more info about it. Thanks in advance.
Regards, Matthijs


The lens, mounted on an Asahi Pentax SP1000

Responses

Colin Carron , Jul 24, 2011; 10:45 a.m.

No actual experience of using one but here is some data from the Vade Mecum : It was made by Novoflex Fotogeraetbau (Karl Muller) Memmingen, Germany during the 1960's up to early 1970's. According to the VM Novoflex specialised in long focus lenses often in quick focus push pull mounts. The VM mentions that in some lenses this allowed 1:2 close-ups. The design is long focus rather than telephoto as the physical length is the same as the focal length. VM notes These were quite expensive for the period so your granduncle was not exaggerating the cost.

john robison , Jul 24, 2011; 11:47 a.m.

This may be just photo-lore but I remember a story that Novoflex tested each lens with glass plate negatives, one that went with the lens when sold, another held at the factory. If the lens was ever returned for service the negative on file for that lens was compared to a new test negative exposed by the repair dept. This way they could tell if there had been a change in performance do to what ever wear and tear and care and handling the lens had recieved while in consumer hands.

How's that for trivia?

Robert Marvin , Jul 24, 2011; 01:24 p.m.

I think that was Kilfit, rather than Novoflex.

john robison , Jul 24, 2011; 02:02 p.m.

Robert, now we see how false photo lore spreads. Thanks for correction of my shaky memory of something I heard 30+ years ago. Seems like I remember a photograph of a long wood box with a lens and a slot for the little glass plate and a caption explaining the glass test negs. As I get older I have more and more episodes of memories that are at least suspect.

Robert Marvin , Jul 24, 2011; 02:57 p.m.

John,

Since I often mix Kilfit up with Novoflex, you might well be right. My one Kilfit lens ( a 300 mm in LTM mount, for a Visoflex) came without the box, or glass plate, but I recall seeing a 400 mm Kilfitt in a box with such a plate a number at a flea market years ago. The lens was in beautiful shape EXCEPT for the worst case of element separation (or Canada balsam deterioration) you could possibly imagine--a real shame.

Marc Bergman , Jul 24, 2011; 05:10 p.m.

Matthijs,

Here is a lens test I found in the June 1962 issue of Modern Photography. The tester, Herb Keppler, really liked these lenses.

As an aside, this was also the first issue of Herb Keppler's column. His column in Modern Photography continued until 1989 and then switched over to Popular Photography.

Marc Bergman , Jul 24, 2011; 05:11 p.m.

Here is the second part of the test.


Lens Test 2

Matthijs Velsink , Jul 25, 2011; 07:26 a.m.

Thank you all for your kind responses. Colin, thank you for your bit of background info on the lens. John and Robert, thank you for your nice anecdote, and although it isn't about the Novoflex lens (I Googled a bit, and it turned out it indeed was Kilfitt who used those glass plates) it's still an interesting tale. Marc, thank you for looking up that lens test, it was very useful to me. Now I know that the left knob can also be used for fixing the focus, and that I can screw the lens part off for cleaning.
If there is anyone else who knows something about this lens, please share it with us.
Regards, Matthijs

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