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Lomo 3.7x 0.11 microscope lens

by Güray Dere

Russian optics are known for being cheap but high quality and durable. Since I am satisfied with my first microscope lens Lomo 8X, I decided on another affordable Lomo microscope lens, which I still had no idea about: The Lomo 3.7X 0.11.

The 1984 model 3.7X lens is wider and heavier then its brother 8X and has the same RMS connection. The NA value is 0.11. This value exceeds even the values we are used to seeing at 5X level. Thus, it gives a clue to the ability to solve high details. The working distance offers a great value of 3-3.5 cm. During the focus stacking, we are very comfortable in lighting and we can work easily.

I guess the standard tube length is 160mm. In my test I set this distance roughly and got 3.8X magnification. This is the factory-set magnification. As you know, instead of 160mm, a different bellows length changes the magnification. The longer the bellows, the higher the magnification … So we can go up to 5X, but don’t push it further.

The 3.7X looks like a bit of a strange magnification, but it’s a very common choice for insect portraits. So far I’ve used reversed enlarger lenses for these magnification levels. I was really wondering what kind of difference a microscope lens would make.

I just ran my first test on a dead insect I kept in the jar for this kind of testing. Lomo stunned me with a feature: I could not observe chromatic aberration! Of course, that’s great. The color correction seen in expensive APO lenses is obviously also available in the Lomo 3.7X. I can easily say Lomo 3.7X is an APO lens.

Lomo 3.7X 0.11 microscope lens, horse fly (3.8X magnification)

When I look at the result, it is clear that the general detail and contrast are better than the enlarger lenses. It will be a lens I will use very often in studio style shots.

Lomo 3.7X 0.11 microscope lens. Detail crop from the above horse fly photo (3.8X magnification)

Update – 05.08.2015

I had the opportunity to use a large number of microscope lenses. I’ve tried magnification from 2.5X to 40X. But I can still say that the best microscope lens I have is the Lomo 3.7X. Of course I immediately backed up the lens. I shared the sample photos here and in some other forums. Usually attracted great attention and increased the number of people who want to try the lens.

The Lomo 3.7X is not only sharp, it’s easy to use and gets on very well with full-frame cameras. Many microscope lenses cause heavy vignetting in full-frames. Lomo is also very affordable. A lens to be preferred with these features. Some friends have acquired the lens after the article on the site and have the same idea with me. One of them said: “Let’s collect all the Lomo 3.7Xs on the market!”

I guess I don’t need to say anything else 🙂

Update – 23.09.2018

After using the Mitutoyo 5X lens for about the same magnification area as the Lomo 3.7X, I wanted to re-emphasize what a great lens the Lomo 3.7X is. Don’t worry if you can’t buy expensive lenses. The Lomo 3.7X delivers sharp images to compete with Mitutoyo.

Photos taken with the Lomo 3.7X lens

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