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Excellent Kodak Retina Ysarex f/2.8 50mm lens on Fuji X-T1

In this post I’m going to show some pictures I took on my Fuji X-T1 mirrorless camera using a vintage Kodak Retina Ysarex f/2.8 50mm lens, made by Rodenstock, which was supplied as a standard lens on the Retina Reflex series of cameras.

Of course, the Kodak Retina Ysarex won’t fit onto a Fuji X-T1 without an adapter, so to shoot these pictures I bought a cheap adapter from eBay to fit the lens on the camera. In fact, the adapter I bought doesn’t directly adapt the Retina DKL mount to Fuji X mount; I bought an adapter which allows the lens to fit onto a camera with a Pentax K mount.

In my case, this gives me the maximum flexibility, because I have K mount adapters for all my digital cameras so with this adapter I can use the lens on my Pentax K-5 directly and the Ricoh GXR or Fuji X-T1 via their K mount adapters. Since I also have a variety of Pentax film cameras with the K mount I can also use the Retina Ysarex on those as well with this adapter.

The Retina lens is one of a variety of vintage lenses which has the aperture control on the camera body rather than the lens, so the adapter I bought has an adjustment ring to set the aperture with the f stop settings marked. I don’t know that it is completely accurate, but it looked pretty close.

In order to see how the lens performed with the Fuji X-T1, my wife and I took our 8 month old puppy Freddy down to the local park for a walk / photo shoot. Jan looked after Freddy, and I looked after the Fuji / Retina Ysarex combination – I have to say I had the easier task!

To use the lens I set the Fuji X-T1 to auto ISO and auto shutter speed with manual focusing. In effect, this puts the camera in aperture priority mode and although the ISO can float to quite high values using this setting it was very bright and sunny on the day I took these pictures, so I didn’t worry about the ISO at all.

For metering, I set the X-T1 to matrix metering for the majority of these shots.

Kodak Retina Ysarex pictures

The pictures below show the best of the pictures I took.

In my view the Ysarex performed extremely well. I expected it to be good because I’ve seen pictures taken with the Retina Reflex and was very impressed, but I didn’t realise just how good the lens is. The contrast and colour rendition is really good and certainly puts the lens into the top category of vintage lens I own. The only slight downside is that it is a 50mm lens, which when the crop factor of the APS-C sensor in the Fuji X-T1 is taken into account makes the lens a 75mm short telephoto. That makes it ideal for portraits, but not really suited for general picture taking.

Perhaps I’ll look out for a 35mm or 28mm version of the lens because that would be a really good lens to own.

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I’m a software developer by profession but I’ve been taking pictures since I was about 8 years old. In that time I’ve owned cameras of all types and sizes from 120 roll film thro’ 35mm to my current Pentax K-5, Ricoh GXR + P10/S10/A12 28mm/A12 50mm, Canon S95 and recently acquired Sony NEX 6.

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