Brass 35mm lenses exist?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by art_major, Jan 8, 2021.

  1. Besides a couple of leica lenses. Are there any 35mm lenses made of Brass? thanks.
  2. Aren't some of the similarly aged Contax lenses made of brass?
  3. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    "In terms of quality, 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s vintage Nikon NIKKOR manual focus lenses are built like tanks...," quoted from this article:

    Sleepers: Great Lenses that Are Truly Affordable

    I believe the aforementioned Nikkors are made of aluminum and stainless steel.
  4. William Michael

    William Michael Moderator Staff Member

    Lomography make (specialty) Brass Lenses for 135 Format Cameras.

  5. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I found this... I wonder if it's too late to give $300 to their Kickstarter campaign in return for a Petzval lens for Nikon F? NOT!!!
  6. Some Canon rangefinder lenses were chromed brass.
    Fiddlefye likes this.
  7. I don't understand the question. Lenses need all different materials. A huge number of lenses use brass for some components, but threads and sliding components work best with dissimilar materials. If one is brass, the other often isn't. Brass is heavy, so large brass parts aren't a great choice. Make them thin enough for low weight and they're more apt to get bent. Aluminum on aluminum isn't really a good combination either, but is commonly used for light weight. With precision and the right lubricants it works well and is common in Nikkor and other lenses. The anti-rotation components are often brass. Element retaining rings can be brass, steel or aluminum. I suspect small diameter lenses that are chrome or nickel plated on small older cameras are usually brass. It would be a very common material if the final finish were plating and for several other reasons. Older instruments that sat on a bench, like microscopes and optical equipment, were often brass and often works of art. They were usually clear lacquered or painted black.

    Anodizing has been used since 1923 but I don't know when black and color anodizing became popular. Bare aluminum doesn't hold up well so brass was extremely popular until parts could be anodized. That said, some cameras had cast aluminum alloy bodies that darkened with age. The Mercury II comes to mind. Brass machines easily and, very important for camera parts, it threads with a good finish. Before 1886 aluminum was an expensive precious metal. Note that brass is quite expensive today compared to the past.

    Just random thoughts that could be better organized!
    steve_gallimore|1 and orsetto like this.
  8. You wouldn't be able to see through a brass lens. Glass, resin or acrylic are much better choices of material.
    10999173 and Vincent Peri like this.
  9. You go, Joe!!
  10. Very many older lenses are made of brass, but plated with nickel or some other metal.

    Modern lenses tend to be various kinds of high-tech plastics and are generally much more durable than the old metal ones, even if they seem flimsy to some who grew up in the 1950s.

    If you look at the lens barrel of this Maksutov Mirror lens you can see where the brass is showing through.
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2021
  11. I am not sure if this means 35m focal length, or lenses for 35mm cameras.

    If the latter, I believe that the Canon 135mm f/4 LTM lens is mostly brass.
    This was the first telephoto lens that I knew, as my father bought it just about
    when I was born.

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