Wednesday, February 22, 2012

M42 lens mount - Auto Cosinon 50mm f/1.8

If you have been around photography for a while you will be familiar with the M42 lens mount.  Back when I first encountered it in the 70's it was most commonly called the Pentax mount since it was used on the prominent Pentax cameras of the 60's to the mid-70's.  M42 lenses screwed into the camera rather than use some form of bayonet mount.  The M42 mount was not owned by any one camera company so it can be found on many of the cameras made in the 60's and 70's.  Here is more info on the M42 mount if you are interested.

One great thing about the M42 mount is that there were a lot of lenses made for it.  First there was the companies who made these lenses for their own cameras, and then there were the third-party lens makers.  So today there are vast numbers of these lenses and they are mostly affordable.  Now since they were originally made to use with film cameras that may not seem like a big deal in this time of digital dominance.  However it is easy to use this vast supply of often very good quality lenses with almost any digital camera that that can use interchangeable lenses. And with the prices of these lenses still being fairly low it is easy to get a nice assortment of M42 lenses for the same amount of money that a new lens for you digital camera would cost.  At least I know that is the case with the Canon EF lenses.

So if you want to try these lenses it is easy to get started.  First you need to find an adapter that works for your camera.  There are lots of these on Ebay that usually sell somewhere between $10 and $20.  Then find a lens.  Ebay again is one good place to look.  Yard sales, thrift shops, and antique shops are another source.  

The Auto Cosinon f/1.8 50mm was one of the standard lenses offered with the Argus/Cosina STL 1000.

The Argus/Cosina STL 1000 is one of my favorite classic all mechanical SLRs. So I was interested to seen how its lens would work with a digital camera. For the most part I was pleased by the results and will let the images speak to that issue.

The lens at f/1.8

Again at 1.8

I like the way this lens handles color.

If at this point you would like to see more here is a gallery.  The Auto Cosinon f/1.8 50mm is one of the least expensive of what I think are the good quality standard M42 lenses.  They still often sell on Ebay for less than $20.  Although since people have discovered the usability of old lenses with the new digital cameras many of these lenses are seeing a rise in price. 


  1. The blue tinge on the auto-repair place is very nice. That looks like one of those once-ubiquitous gas stations made with the porcelain enameled steel plates.

    I have a growing number of SLRs in my collection but so far have steered clear of the M42 mount. The Pentax K mount is doing a fine job of consuming my life all by itself!

    1. The Pentax K mount is very tempting to me. There sure are a lot of nice cameras and lenses for that mount. I think the only thing that stops me is that at the moment I have three systems EOS, FD, and M42 to feed.

    2. I forgot to add that you are correct about the building being an old gas station. I believe it originally was a Marathon Oil Station.