Care to add a mystery military lens in your collection of vintage gear?
Items with actual or supposed military value or history seem to be turning up more frequently on ebay lately. The latest we’ve found is a “rare” 400mm “aerial” or military lens that has left us scratching our heads. If any of you out there have even the slightest idea what this actually is, maybe you can also tell the rest of us why it costs $99,995.
Even ebay seller dallsom seems to be unaware of what the lens is actually called, but is absolutely sure that it’s a rare item with “unique historical value.” The 400mm f/4.5 vintage lens is described as an “AERIAL Lens” and “RB40/12 VOLK LENS”, “VERY USED” (battered, in other words) but in “GREAT SHAPE.” A mount was not specified, but it will reportedly fit some Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine camera systems using 18 cm x 24 m roll films (so perhaps larger counterparts of the Leica Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine cameras?).
It’s also implied that this is a Soviet Era military lens made in the best “early aeronautic developments” and were used in USSR’s satellite probes and stations in the 1960s. Further claims say that, as with most of the best Soviet lenses, it’s derived from German Zeiss lenses and “can be related to Zeiss’ World War II Luftwaffe lens.”
With the slew of confusing details in the actual listing, perhaps the real value of this lens lies in the mystery of what it really is and what it was for. It’s not clear where this was made. Despite the mention of Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine cameras and the roll films they used, the 82mm “rear fitting screw” doesn’t really give us a clue on what camera can take this military lens.
Here’s the link if you’d like to check the listing out and try to make some sense of it yourself, and maybe weigh in if it’s worth the $99,995 buy-it-now price.