Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Spiratone Portragon 100mm f/4

I found this in a box with a bunch of filters that I got a while back.  What it turned out to be is a lens that seems to be aimed at doing portraits.  It only has one aperture f/4, and only keeps some focus toward the center.

The Portragon is a T-mount lens.  The one here had a adapter for Olympus. So a couple of days ago when we had some temperatures close to freezing I mounted the Portragon on an OM-1 and popped out for some quick pictures.

From what I could find the Portragon appears to be a single element lens.  It doesn't necessarily feel cheap, however it seems to be all plastic.  One source said that it originally sold for $19 back in the 1960's and 1970's. The lens is so simple that I can't think of much else to say about it.  I did like the initial results enough that I will probably give it another try.

Spiratone, the company that sold the Portragon is an interesting story.  I imagine that anyone who was doing photography 30+ years ago has heard the name.  Spiratone was a large mail order seller of mostly photography accessories.  A lot of their stuff was aimed at the amateur market.  They usually had large ads in the major photography magazines. I can remember reading their ads in Popular Photography and Modern Photography.  The company has been gone since 1990 although it had been run into the ground before that by companies who had purchased Spiratone earlier.  Anyway I found some links if you are interested in knowing more about the seller of the Portragon lens.

The New York Times Obit for the founder Fred Spira.

A Facebook page with a lot of info about Spiratone.