007 | Modifying a Voigtländer 50mm f1.8 for my digital camera

Mitchel Lensink
Jan 7, 2021
2 min read

My afternoon was marked by de- and reassembling a vintage Voigtländer Color-Ultron 50mm f1.8.

You might think I’m crazy dismantling such intricate and technical objects but I think it can be quite fun! To me it’s a little challenge and it’s nice when it works out as you planned.

What was I to succeed in though?

To understand my goal, I have to tell you about how this lens works.

To avoid making this a history lesson, an important trait of many vintage lenses is that they have a little pin on the back that needs to be pushed in to give you access to the full range of apertures.

Using this lens on my digital Fujifilm camera, this pin isn’t pushed in automatically. Some vintages lenses have an switch that allows the lens to be set to ‘manual aperture control’ which basically locks the pin in a pushed down position. This allows you to use the lens on modern day cameras without any issues.

My lens does not have such a switch.

What now?

Well, I could buy an adaptor that is made to push the pin in. That’s the easy solution. I could also open up the lens and modify it to have the pin pushed down permanently.

Guess which option I’ve chosen.

It took me a solid 5 hours from start to finish. Especially putting it all back together properly is tricky business!

I’ve taken a few photos along the way. They only were for myself as a reference, so that's why those hideous scribbles are on there, but I’ll share them here so you can have a quick look as well. I converted them to black and white for A E S T H E T I C S.

Eventually I managed to keep the pin pressed in. Success! The only issue is that the focusing is now reversed. Sigh… I’m saving that for a different day.

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