Knowing if Your Vintage Lens is Toxic and Radioactive


Radioactive lens does exist after all. Friendly neighborhood lens tinkerer and vintage lens innovator Mathieu Stern tests the radioactive properties of a vintage lens from the 1940's to 1970', which was manufactured with thorium.

Thorium was used to coat on the lens elements and is deemed measurable deadly. In this video, Stern does his everyday routine with the presence of the lens near him --- eating, sleeping, cooking, bathing, and more. For the final test of its toxicity, he tried to burn a plant or moss using the lens.

The preview image was taken from the video.

2017-08-09 #tutorials #videos #lens #tipster #mathieu-stern


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  1. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    Kodak's Aero Ektar 7" (178mm) f/2.5 from a WWII aero camera is the one you want. You can fade the amber cast in the thorium glass by shining a strong actinic light source through it for enough hours. The thorium is a weak alpha emitter. Very sharpest lens, huge image circle. Fastest lens you can put on your 4x5 or 5x7 camera. Enjoy!!

  2. herbert-4
    herbert-4 ·

    BTW... your Canon 55mm f/1.2 FL is possibly not radioactive depending on when manufactured. Canon 58mm f/1.2 FL definately is.

  3. mtsteve
    mtsteve ·

    I'll never give up my SMC Pentax 105mm f/2.4 Takumar!!

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