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Lomo 8x 0.20 microscope lens

by Güray Dere

My first microscope lens is 1970 model Russian made Lomo 8x 0.20. It’s much smaller than I thought. When I got the lens, I didn’t have an RMS adapter, so I tied it up with a paper tape and attached it to my camera. My first impressions are very promising 🙂

The Lomo has a very narrow depth of field with a 0.20 numerical aperture, giving a much sharper image compared to the 8-10x magnification I had with the agransor lenses. It is necessary to combine a large number of photos by applying focus stacking.

Since it is an old lens, it is possible to get it for free. The working distance is just under 1cm and this value is pretty good for 8X. At this magnification, we will not be doing deep focus stack works because we will concentrate on very small insects or a certain detail.

The size of the lens is really small and gives a great advantage in lighting. Thanks to the small structure that allows the front lighting of the subject, we can work comfortably even if the distance is too close.

It gives very satisfactory results in terms of sharpness. At the same magnification, I’m sure you’ll have to pay a considerable amount of money for sharper results. So this lens is enough to make us all happy. CA color distortion is easily visible. That’s a disadvantage. We can correct it with a photo processing software. It’s not a big problem.

I can recommend Lomo 8X to anyone. You should pay a little attention when buying because of the old age. They can be in bad shape.

Update 01.06.2015

I’ve used lomo 8x in a variety of studies over the past time. It works very well for the price. After the publication of this article, other friends bought it and they use it extensively.

Lomo 8X attached to bellows
Lomo 8X attached to bellows

The only disadvantage of the lens is the sharpness that begins to deteriorate on the edges. The edge distortions on the full-frame cameras are more obvious, but they are not too much of a problem for the APS-C. You can see the status in the sample photos. But that depends on the way you use it. If you use the lens at full magnification or slightly above, it gives satisfactory results in full-frame frames. I know this from the photos of my cousin Özgür Kerem Bulur. He uses the Lomo 8X better than me.

It is also necessary to have precision accessories for this level of magnification. The Lomo 8X alone will not make you happy if you buy it before you get the equipment like a micrometer rail system.

Lomo 8x sample photos

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Arnstein Bjone 02 August 2020 - 15:17

Please have a look at this collage (Canon 5Ds R (50 MP), Lomo 8x, 279 images stacked, 100% crops inserted), 1 MB; http://www.bjonefoto.no/Lomo_8x_279_images_ISO-50_ZS_PMax_ACR_2048p.jpg

What are those “stars”/cross in “A” and “F”? “Distortions” to be expected? Have I got a bad copy? It was supposed to be a brand new lens, according to the Russian seller (reputable and professional, 28 USD). Signed factory documentation from 1983 was included. P.s. I have a Mitutoyo 10x 0.28 on its way. I’m very curious about how much better it will be….? The edges will of course be much better, but what about the center..? We’ll see…

Güray Dere 09 August 2020 - 20:02

Hello, the stars seen on the edges are completely normal for this lens. The Lomo 8X has a small image circle. It is more convenient to use it with crop sensor bodies. It is possible to see vignetting or such star shaped distortions on the edges of full frame sensors. I suggest increasing the amount of magnification to reduce this. By using a longer tube, you can exclude the weakest edge parts.

Mitutoyo will give a much better image quality. I have used both lenses. Mitutoyo can be extremely sharp. Sometimes it feels like the photo has been oversharpened.

Jayanta Bordoloi 26 August 2021 - 16:44

I have recently purchased a Lomo 8X from ebay. Cost me only 15 (GBP)..considering the price I paid the performance is amazing. I understand that the Mitutoyo is the gold standard and gives a long working distance and high resolving power…however considering it costs 700 (GBP). When it comes to the price one pays and the output it delivers Lomo is a winner for sure.


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