- Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD
- Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro
- Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH
- Lomography Petzval 85mm f/2.2
- Sigma 200-500mm f/28 APO EX DG
- Venus Optics Laowa 15mm f/4 Macro
- Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM
- Where to Buy Your Crazy Camera Lenses
Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash
People have been fascinated with crazy camera lenses since the dawn of photography, when crazy camera lenses were any camera lenses.
Now, unique camera lenses are a sight to behold. Sometimes, they’re ridiculously large and sometimes they’re ridiculously vintage. However, I’d bet money you’ve never seen all of these 7 rare camera lenses.
Table of Contents
Fujifilm XF 56mm f/1.2 R APD
The first on my list of unique camera lenses is this apodization filter Fujifilm lens. Fujifilm released an XF 56mm f/1.2R exactly 9 months before they released this lens, the exact same lens except for the addition of the apodization filter.
Now, apodization filters are very rarely included in lenses because you could just as easily buy an attachable apodization filter. An apodization filter is a type of graduated neutral density filter that allows you to achieve very creamy bokeh and a very dramatic blurring in shallow depth-of-field photos.
It also features 2 aperture values: one aperture value for the f/stop value and one for the depth of field.
See this lens in action in the video above by Zed Pro Media.
Canon MP-E 65mm f/2.8 1-5x Macro
The Canon MP-E has an insane range for macro photography, and no range for anything else. If you’re looking to photograph something in high-magnification, though, this bad boy is for you.
As an example of the power behind this macro lens, you can fill a full-frame sensor with just one ant, and the way it pulls it off is by only allow photographers to shoot objects up to 4 inches away from the front of the lens.
You heard me right, in order to use this macro lens, you have a whole 3.4 inches of wiggle room; you can shoot from 1.6 inches to 4 inches away from your subject.
The interesting focusing range aside, this camera comes with an Ultra Low Dispersion glass element which helps clear your photos of any distortions or chromatic aberrations so those ants look as crisp as they do vibrantly black or red.
Learn more about this lens in the video above by Snazzy Labs.
Leica Noctilux-M 50mm f/0.95 ASPH
Okay, I admit you may have heard of this Leica lens before but I had to touch on it because of its cult status.
This Noctilux was a replacement that came out in 2008, a mere 30 years after it’s predecessor, the f/1.2 Noctilux of 1966 was released.
This lens features an incredibly bright maximum aperture (obviously) which lets you shoot incredibly well in low light. But, it also shoots unlike any lens I’ve ever shot with. No, it isn’t even close to Leica’s sharpest lens but it has character. Your shots come out looking almost vintage with a softness that can make even the ugliest of places look almost pristine.
Plus, it’s only 1.5 pounds which is a feat for the unique camera lenses on this list.
Check out this lens in the video above by Leica Review.
Lomography Petzval 85mm f/2.2
This is hands down the most beautiful, unique camera lens on this list, and that’s because it’s a recreation of the 175-year-old Lomo Petzval lens (except this time you can use it on Canon and Nikon DSLRs).
The Kickstarter for this Petzval recreation rapidly raised over $1 million from over 3,000 camera enthusiasts. This happened, in part, thanks to the glowing history of the original Petzval lens which revolutionized photography.
Each one of these recreated Petzval lenses are crafted out of brass, and comes with a Waterhouse aperture set (f/2.2, f/4, f/5.6, f/8, f/11 and f/16).
This Petzval also does what the original Petzval did: it takes incredible portraits.
Get a hands-on review of this lens in the video above by Irene Rudnyk.
Sigma 200-500mm f/28 APO EX DG
I’ve always hated the look of this Sigma lens because it looks like it belongs on the top of a tank shooting missiles instead of in the hands of a photographer.
This lens remains the longest zoom to feature a f/2.8 max aperture. It also weighs 25 pounds and features a rechargeable battery to power the incredible zoom.
My favorite aspect of this crazy camera lens is that it doesn’t unscrew from its camera, the back of the lens unlocks so you can unscrew the camera out of the lens.
However, you really need to watch the above video in order to see what this ridiculous creature looks like.
See Matt Granger with this massive lens in the video above by PhotoNewsReviews.
Venus Optics Laowa 15mm f/4 Macro
I actually got the chance to use this macro lens a few years back, and everything they say is true. You can shoot from 0.2” away from your subject with this funky little lens and create a 1:1 magnification ratio.
It’s known as a wide angle lens and a macro lens because it does both. It comes with a shift mechanism to move the optics up or down the lens mount (hint: panoramas, anyone?).
Plus, I love a camera lens maker that thinks about the little people, the little people being broke photographers. The filter thread allows you to use filters easily without splurging on expensive square filter systems.
When you’re using this camera lens as a wide-angle, you’ll either love or hate the results. The center of your photo will be extremely sharp if you’re shooting at a close distance, but the corners of your shot may appear almost smudged like a painting.
But, for a macro/wide-angle/do-it-all lens, it handles chromatic aberrations like a champion. Your shots may still suffer from chromatic aberrations in the corners (like the above-mentioned problem), but they will be very consistent, easy to take out in post-production, and won’t happen when shooting low contrast shots stopped down.
DSLR Video Shooter takes a closer look at this lens in the video above.
Canon EF 1200mm f/5.6L USM
One of these beautiful lenses was sold on B&H back in 2016 for just $180,000, which is a steal if you ask me.
It only took the lens 8 years on the market to sell (who woulda’ guessed).
This lens is the longest fixed telephoto lens ever built by Canon and it focuses down to 49.5-feet. It’s rumored that Canon never made more than 20 of these lenses, which helped me to understand why someone would buy this instead of a home.
The lenses were made in the 1990s, and Canon was only able to produce 2 of them a year thanks to the time it took to “grow fluorite crystals large enough to be ground and polished for use in the lens.”
It weighs 36 pounds, which also makes it the heaviest crazy camera lens on our list, and looks seriously hilarious when strapped onto a regular-sized DSLR.
Get a complete overview of this lens in the video above by B&H Photo Video.
Where to Buy Your Crazy Camera Lenses
Though many of these crazy camera lenses are tough to come by, you might be able to find a few of them on the used market.
And even if you can’t, the used market is a great place to find more traditional lenses that you can use every day.
I use Lensfinder for buying my used glass because it’s such an easy process.
Just logon to the site, search for what you need, and peruse the listings other folks have posted.
But unlike eBay, you don’t have to look through tons of unrelated search results (or pay tons of fees, either).
And unlike Craigslist, you don’t have to worry about scams because Lensfinder has built-in fraud protection. You also can communicate with sellers directly on the platform if you need to ask questions.
It’s just a clean, simple way to buy used gear. You can sell your old gear on Lensfinder and make a bit of money too!