Photographer and videographer Mathieu Stern is known for his passion for weird lenses. He recently repurposed a Russian spy lens Cyclop h3t-1. It comes attached to a night vision device, and it was used by the Russian army and even the KGB. However, Mathieu tested how it performs for shooting portraits- and the results are surprisingly good.
The Cyclop h3t-1is an 85mm f1.5 lens without a diaphragm. It’s basically a part of a night vision device with a built-in infrared illuminator to improve visibility in the dark. Mathieu was lucky to find the whole set for only $40, and I learn that this device used to be way, way more expensive. If you look for it on eBay, it ranges somewhere between $65 and $500.
First, Mathieu had some fun with the spy device and tested it out. Okay, it’s kinda fun – but what I find more fun is that the lens has an M-42 mount. So, Mathieu used an adapter to attach the lens to his Sony camera and shoot some portraits. I have to admit, they look much better than the night vision view you get with the device. And just look at that bokeh!
Since Cyclop h3t-1 has a wide aperture, it’s great for low-light portraits. And thanks to that same wide aperture, it produces swirly and soft bokeh which really adds nicely to the photos. I always find it interesting to see how vintage lenses perform on modern cameras, but it’s even more interesting to see how you can repurpose a lens and use it for something completely different than it was made for.
[This Crazy Lens Was used by Russian SPIES (CYCLOP) | Mathieu Stern]