Vintage wide angle lenses are expensive; vintage wide angle CINE lenses are very expensive, and there are LOMO lenses. They are CINE lenses that cost less that many PHOTO lenses. Anyone familiar with LOMO lenses will know that they come and many variations. One of these is the “LENKINAP”. Right away, I must say, LOMO LENKINAP lenses are some of the most good looking lenses I have ever seen, but there are even better reasons why they are worth checking out!
Built Quality & Usability:
My LOMO Lenkinap is a 22mm F2.8 / T3.1, OCT19 mount wide angle lens from 1962 (two first digits on the serial number). It’s an absolute beast in terms of its weight (just under 1kg). You can certainly use one as a weapon, but I can assure you there are better uses for it. As you might have noticed, this lens has an integrated follow focus ring, which is not something I’ve ever seen on other older LOMO lenses. I was pleased to find out that it has an industry standard 0.8 pitch gearing, so it will work with your modern follow focus, that is of course if your follow focus will get on with a rather dry, grinding follow focus. Mechanics is probably the biggest downside of this lens and it’s not just this particular lens. I have a 6 other LOMOs and only one or two actually feel fully usable. I will eventually have to service all the others. They just aren’t great when you pick them up on ebay (unless serviced recently). Back LENKINAP, the aperture ring has the same dry feel, grinding feel as the focus ring, but it doesn’t matter as much unless you do a lot of iris pulls, which you can do with this lens because it has a click-less aperture adjustment as you’d expect from a proper cine lens. What’s not so great is the placement of the aperture ring, which is right on the front of the lens and when aperture is adjusted, the whole front of the lens rotates. Good luck using this lens with a matte box! It’s worth noting that unlike most cine and even other LOMO lenses, Lenkinap focuses into the same direction as Nikon lenses. The focus throw is quite a something too. It travels about 200 degrees from infinity to 0.5m, which is fine, but then it will travel further 270 degrees to its closest focusing distance, which is about 0.25m. All these are the quirks you’ll have to deal with if you decide to use LOMO, but once you see the images it produces, you realize it’s worth it!
Image Quality & Character:
LOMO lenses are often called “poor man’s COOKEs” and they called that for a reason! There is a legendary “COOKE LOOK” and LOMOs have their own, magical look that is very comparable to older COOKEs at a fraction of the price! Some might even argue that LOMOs have more character than COOKEs. I will not take sides because “character” is a very subjective. Either way, LENKINAP 22mm has plenty of it! Colours, contrast, bokeh – all have very distinct characteristics. Then there are flares: from blue circles to psychedelic rainbows, it has them all! With all this character you’d expect this lens to be quite soft, but actually it’s not bad at all even wide open and becomes really crisp by T4. Distortion is quite minimal for a 22mm lens, producing very natural looking images, even when used up close.
Availability & Mounts:
If you look up “LENKINAP” on ebay, you will most likely to find a whole bunch of different lenses that won’t look like this one. Unfortunately this particular model is quite rare and many aren’t even sold under a Lenkinap name. I’ve seen quite a few that are sold simply as LOMO, but there are some obvious ways to tell if you found this LOMO model. As mentioned already, Lenkinap lenses have an integrated focus gear and also have a brass finish, but there is even a better way to tell them apart: ‘Lenskinap” are the only OCT19 mount LOMOs that I know of which focus clockwise from foreground to infinity (like Nikon lenses), so look out for that infinity mark on the focus ring.
What you then need to look out for is the mount. As mentioned already my one has a popular OCT19 mount (OSK19 as it should really be translated), but these lenses can also come in all sorts of other unusual Russian mounts that you won’t be able to find adapters for and you will most likely have to splash out on a PL remounting service which will sometimes be available straight from the seller, but is also done by many companies around the world. That is additional cost of $200-400 per lens, so unless PL is something that want to go for anyway, keep that in mind.
PL or OCT19, adapters for these lenses are not cheap. I use a RAFcamera OCT19 Adapter for my LOMO lenses, which is the best value for money one I know off.
- Sensor Coverage: Super35
- Aperture Blades: 8
- Aperture Range: T3.1-16
- Focus Throw: approx 470 degrees
- Mount: OCT19 (on this particular copy)
- Closest Focusing Distance: 25cm
- Made in USSR
There are plenty of Pros and Cons in with this lens, so let’s round them up!
- Good optical performance
- Great closest focusing distance
- Loads of character
- Follow focus Gear
- Step-less aperture adjustment
- Bad mechanics
- Rotating front
- Awkward aperture ring placement
- 470 degree focus throw
- Inconsistent mounts
Owning LOMOs is a bit of a commitment and not for everyone, but with modern ultra sharp, clinical camera sensors, that desperately need some “soul”, these lenses are becoming more and more popular every year. I will keep building my LOMO set, but since most of my other LOMOs have a different kind of construction (all black “Konvas” design), I will not be keeping my Lenkinap. However if you are willing to spend a year or a few building a set of Lenkinap lenses and then spend some money servicing them, you will have an amazing cine set that you’ll probably want to keep for the rest life!
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