Soviet camera lenses are a common sight on eBay these days – but just occasionally one comes along that’s a little out of the ordinary.
This prototype Volna-8N currently being offered by one Ukrainian seller is just such a lens.
This specialist Nikon F-mount 50/1.2 portrait lens – made by Arsenal in what is now Ukraine – was made in very small quantities between 1983 and 1985. In fact, only three lenses with serial numbers are currently confirmed to exist.
This lens, however, appears to be the prototype. The But It Now price is $99,999 (€81,666/£72,250) – plus postage.
The seller says: “[For a]long time the only rumours about this lens around the lens enthusiast and collectors community were, is that it was made with extreme limited quantity of the few samples, never went in production and never appeared on the store shelves, obviously.
“But in 2016 year, one of the fully assembled unit was given for 20 minutes to the one of the most famous manual lens reviewer among of the Russian-speaking part of the internet – to get an impression about the lens and make a historical review about it, which you can read with help of Google Translate.
“At least one unit of Volna-8 survived and lives in the private collection of [an] unknown person. The only other source, where anyone may see three more actual photos of this lens – was Photohistory. From there we may see that Volna-8 were made with two different focal length engraving – 50mm f1.2 [and] 52mm f1.2. More than that, besides of the photos of the three fully assembled units we may see 1 photo of the Prototype version of this lens, with no serial number at all.”
It appears this lens is the prototype, thought to be made in 1983.
The seller shows pictures he says were taken with the lens, which is functional despite lacking an aperture iris (it does have a helicoid).
The Buy It Now price is negotiable, by the way, but this is definitely a Kiev lens with a Leica price tag.