Since my Panasonic GH series cameras can be adapted to use just about any lens, I am always keeping an eye out at thrift stores for vintage 35mm still camera and16mm motion picture and TV lenses. Usually when you find a lens in a thrift store it is usually either overpriced, not very special, or is in poor condition. I was very pleasantly surprised when my wife found not one, but two interesting lenses in the same week at the same thrift store.
The first lens is a very rare Canon TV C-16 zoom lens. Usually, if you are lucky enough to find this lens, it has a common C-mount that is typically used for surveillance video cameras.
This lens had an unusual bayonet mount, my best guess through research, is that the lens was for a Cinema Products or Aaton 16mm film camera. But what was really special is that the lens came its original leather case, was in a Canon branded plastic bag with desiccant packet, and had apparently never been used. And at $15, this lens was the steal of the century.
The only problem is adapting the lens to fit the Panasonic micro four-thirds mount, had it been a C-mount lens, adapting it would be as simple as buying the common off-the-shelf adapter. But with the bayonet mount, I had to fabricate my own adapter. I measured the lens barrel and found that it had an outside diameter of 45mm, the closest adapter I could think of is the common M42 to micro 4/3 mount adapter, which has a 42mm threaded mount. I am fortunate enough to have a brother-in-law who has a metal lathe, so I took a M42 to micro 4/3 adapter and machined it to 45mm to allow it to slip onto the lens barrel. I then adjusted the back focus of the lens by moving the adapter forward and back until I had sharp focus throughout it’s zoom and focus range, I then locked the adapter into position using a set screw. The final result is a very versatile 21.5mm-129mm f2.7 cinema zoom lens. When used with my Panasonic GH3 camera with its 2X crop factor, the lens functions as a 43mm-258mm T2.8 zoom. It is now my go-to cinema lens for shooting film–style video.
The second lens that my wife found is a Soligor 135mm f2.8 lens for a mere $8.
Overall, I have to say that these two lenses are the best bargains in my rather extensive vintage lens collection.