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  1. #11

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    fashion, pure and simple. Chrome used to be the norm -- leica and Exakta all made chrome lenses.
    But in the 50s and 60s photographers wanted black because they figured it made them less noticeable--suddenly black cameras and lenses were the preferred mode, Chrome less so.

    Funny thing, for modern lenses with all their elements, black gets hot and expands too easily, which is why Canon makes their long lenses white.

  2. #12
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    Even more than fashion I think weight and cost were the big issues.

    Even today, Cosina Voigtlander has produced the Nokton 50 1.5 lens (and maybe others) in chrome and black versions. And I have read several comments from people how the chromed version is wayy too heavy and they want the lighter, black version instead. And the chromed version is quite a bit more expensive for the same lens. A good chrome job costs money!

  3. #13

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    Leica chrome lenses were brass and their black lenses were aluminum-cheaper & lighter.

  4. #14

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    The early Nikon series E 5cm f/1.8 for the EM series was all black polycarb.
    People grumbled so Nikon did a 'chromed' aluminium ring version, 5gms heavier.
    Id a preferred fitting rabbits ears, but bling won out instead.

  5. #15

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    Old Yashica DX 1:1.4 f= 50 mm
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Y_DX_50mm.jpg  

  6. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by wombat2go View Post
    Old Yashica DX 1:1.4 f= 50 mm
    Interesting. I have the same camera with a DX 50/2, which has a silver nose and the rear section which on yours is silver (clear anodised aluminium, not chrome) is black on mine. I guess they thought the f;1.4 lens should be shinier!
    BTW, the same focussing mount was used on both lenses.

  7. #17

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    Quote Originally Posted by summicron1 View Post
    black gets hot and expands too easily, which is why Canon makes their long lenses white.
    I believe the reason they did this is so they standout when being used by pro photos at sporting events; much like Apple has the backlit Apple on the covers of Apple laptop machines.

  8. #18
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    On large lenses the white reduces heating and expansion, which could degrade the optical performance. With modern compact lenses, I doubt there is a significant advantage. But old ideas die hard, and the white is seen as a serious lens. To the unknowing.


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD

  9. #19

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    When lens barrels were made of brass, chrome plating was the easiest way to finish them. Chrome plates readily onto brass and its hardness protects the softer brass. Once aluminum became the material of choice for lens barrels, chrome plating was no longer needed or practical. Chrome plating aluminum is difficult and problematic. Anodizing is the natural finishing process for aluminum and it can be dyed various colors. To avoid being garish, black was the natural choice. It also matches the rubber grips that were put onto SLR lenses.

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by thuggins View Post
    When lens barrels were made of brass, chrome plating was the easiest way to finish them. Chrome plates readily onto brass and its hardness protects the softer brass.
    And brass tarnishes, so it has to have a coating of something.

    Once aluminum became the material of choice for lens barrels, chrome plating was no longer needed or practical. Chrome plating aluminum is difficult and problematic. Anodizing is the natural finishing process for aluminum and it can be dyed various colors. To avoid being garish, black was the natural choice. It also matches the rubber grips that were put onto SLR lenses.
    Anodizing also imparts a hard layer to the aluminum, increasing its durability.
    Last edited by lxdude; 10-12-2013 at 03:13 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
    When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.

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