Radioactive Lenses

Radioactive Lenses

There are a significant number of lenses produced from the 1940s through the 1970s that are measurably radioactive. Main source of radioactivity is the use of thorium oxide (up to 30% by weight) as a component of the glass used in the lens elements. Thorium oxide has a crystalline structural similar to calcium fluoride (fluorite). Like fluorite, its optical properties of high refractivity and low dispersion allows lens designers to minimize chromatic aberration and use lenses of lower curvature, which are less expensive to produce. Despite statements to the contrary, lenses containing lanthanum are not appreciably radioactive - lanthanum is only 1/10,000th as radioactive as thorium. Radioactivity in lanthanum containing lenses is due to the intentional inclusion of thorium in the optical glass mix. The presence of thorium can sometimes, depending on the mixture of other elements in the lens, cause moderate to severe browning of the lens elements. Other common misconceptions hold that it is the coatings of these lenses which are radioactive and brown over time, and that the browning occurs in the balsam between cemented elements. It is the glass itself that contains the radioactive ThO2, and the browning therein is caused by the radiation-induced formation of color centers in the glass matrix.

Radiation Levels[]

Typical radiation levels can approach 10 mR/hr (100 μSv/h) as measured at the lens element's surface, decreasing substantially with distance; at a distance of 3 ft. (.9 m.) the radiation level is difficult to detect over typical background levels. For reference, a typical chest x-ray consists of about about 10 mR, a round-trip cross country airline flight exposes a passenger to 5 mR, and a full set of dental x-rays exposes the patient to 10 mR to 40mR. A study carried out by the Physics department of Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology estimates that total exposure to a professional photographer using a typical thoriated lens would amount to only 0.2% yearly allowable exposure to the eye and 0.17% to the whole body under the conservative standards of the Swedish Radiation Protection Authority.

Most smaller lenses with thorium elements pose a negligible risk to human health. However, thoriated glass eyepieces are significantly more dangerous. They can give a very large alpha and beta particle dose to the cornea of the eye, potentially causing cataracts and other problems. Normally these particles are stopped by skin, but the surface of the eye can be quickly damaged by them, and at close range, the dose can be very high.

Kodak Lenses[]

By far the most prolific known producer of radioactive lenses was Eastman Kodak. From the 1940s through the 1960s, substantial numbers of amateur cameras were produced and sold with thoriated (containing thorium oxide) lenses, including some of the Pony, Signet, and high end Instamatic (e.g. 800 and 814, but not 100 or 124) cameras. In addition, many professional level Ektar lenses from this era contain thorium. Perhaps the most famous radioactive lenses of all were the Kodak Aero-Ektars.

Curiously, in his notable book, A History Of The Photographic Lens, Rudolf Kingslake (head of the Eastman Kodak lens design department 1937-1968), makes only a single passing comment on the possible use of thorium in Kodak lenses.

Lenses with elements made of radioisotope-containing glass[]

Some lenses of the 1960s, such as early Minolta Rokkor lenses, have elements to made of glass formulas which include small traces of radioactive rare-earth elements. Sometimes this incidental radioactivity causes a significant browning of these lens elements. Some users of such lenses reported in camera blogs that they reduced the browning by exposing these lenses to the ultraviolet rays of the sun. The procedure requires several days of sunny weather to have a positive effect.

The effective diminishment of radiation-induced browning by exposure to sunlight has also been reported for some lenses with thorium glass elements, for example for the Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 lens and the Asahi Super Takumar 50mm f/1.4 lens. Exposure to UV light from artificial sources, including fluorescent bulbs and UV-emitting LEDs is an even more efficient method for reducing the appearance of browning.

Tested lenses[]

This section contains a list of lenses that the contributors of this page have personally tested with their own Geiger counter [i.e. gentle plea NOT to add lenses based on second-hand accounts, no matter how reliable these may be]

Lenses Tested Radioactive (by contributors to this page)[]

Some other lenses not listed here may be radioactive: "The absence of the proof is not the proof of the absence"

Please include the serial number of the lens if known, device used, and radiation levels for front and rear. Each row should be for each lens sample.

Radioactive lenses
Lens Focal length Aperture Serial ☢ Radioactivity Notes
Argus Cintagon 50 mm f/2.8
Agfa Color Solinar 50 mm f/2.8 S51644 ~70 cpm (front)
Agfa Solinar 50 mm f/2.8 S01812 385 cpm/2.4 µSv/h (front), ~100 cpm/0.7 µSv/h (rear) Agfa Karat 36, front element group
Bell & Howell Director Series (Model 1208?) XL Super 8 9-22.5 mm f/1.2 movie camera zoom lens
Canon FL 50 mm f/1.4 15324 up to 770 cpm (rear lens) very early version (archive)
Canon FL I 50 mm f/1.8 58233 up to 450 cpm/26 µSv/h (rear lens), up to 7 cpm/0.4 µSv/h (behind camera or at the lens barrel) early version with graphic hyperfocal distance scale) (archive)
Canon FL 58 mm f/1.2 25516, 44528 which one? up to 180 cpm/10 µSv/h (back lens), up to 30 cpm/1.7 µSv/h (behind camera or at the lens barrel) (archive) YouTube
Canon FD 17 mm f/4
Canon FD 35 mm f/2.0 versions from the early 1970's - concave front element
Canon FD L 50 mm f/1.2 Early versions
Canon FD S.S.C. Aspherical 55 mm f/1.2 46,532 cpm (front element) S.S.C non-Aspherical is not radioactive YouTube
Canon FL 50 mm f/1.4 18974 700 cpm (front element), 25,000 cpm (rear element) with Johnson HP-265 (α, β, γ) probe; 175 cpm (front element), 1200 cpm (rear element) with Johnson GP-1001 (γ only) probe; 1.35 µSv/h (front element), 9.4 µSv/h (rear element) with Better Geiger S-1 scintillator dose rate meter
Canon (SUPER-CANOMATIC LENS) R 50 mm f/1.8 78xxx YouTube
Canon (SUPER-CANOMATIC LENS) R 58 mm f/1.12 10050 0.32 µSv/h (front), 1.02 µSv/h (rear)
Canon TV Zoom J6X13 13-76 mm f/1.9
Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 55 mm f/1.4 2.36 μSv/h MF Lenses forum
Carl Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50 mm f/1.8 "Zebra" 1964-67, up to serial number 8552600
Carl Zeiss Sonnar 180 mm f/4.8 0.65-0.7 µSv/h (rear element) for Linhof Super Technika IV 6x9
Carl Zeiss Jena Biometar 80 mm f/2.8 "Zebra" Only P6 mount version
Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 50 mm f/4 2.5-3.0 µSv/h "Zebra" Only P6 mount version YouTube YouTube
Carl Zeiss Jena Flektogon 50 mm f/4 23.6 µSv/h "Pre-Zebra" Only P6 mount version YouTube
Carl Zeiss Jena Prakticar 50 mm f/1.4 first version with engravings around the outer side of barrel
Carl Zeiss Tessar 80 mm f/2.8 old silver Hasselblad version YouTube
Enna München Lithagon 35 mm f/3.5 4021100 zebra version, 0.34 µSv/h (through rear plastic cap), 0.44 µSv/h (rear lens wihtout cap), 0.85-1 µSv/h (rear element taken out and measured separately) M42, tested by me with GQ GMC-300E. See also for a non-quantitative mention
Focal 35 mm f/2.8 Kmart store brand
Fujica Fujinon EBC 19 mm f/3.5 Arkku at
Fujica Fujinon EBC 35 mm f/1.9 Arkku at
Fujica Fujinon (non-EBC) 35 mm f/3.5 0.30 µSv/h - rear element
Fujica Fujinon 50 mm f/1.4 35,137 cpm (rear element) non-EBC early style = non-uniformly segmented focusing ring
Fujica Fujinon EBC 50 mm f/1.4 EBC early style = non-uniformly segmented focusing ring YouTube (unspecified EBC or not)
Fujica Fujinon (non-EBC) 55 mm f/2.2 front element only some versions with flat printed text and 2 screws holding the apperture scale ring
Fujica Funinon EBC 100 mm f/2.8 Arkku at YouTube
Fujica Fujinon EBC 400 mm f/4.5 Arkku at
Fujica Fujinon EBC 600 mm f/5.6 Arkku at
GAF Anscomatic 38 mm f/2.8 GAF Anscomatic 726 camera
Heinz Kilfitt 40 mm f/2.8 Makro-Kilar all variants
Heinz Kilfitt 90 mm f/2.8 Makro Kilar all variants
Kodak Ektar 101 mm f/4.5 Miniature Crown Graphic camera. lens mfg. 1946
Kodak Ektar 38 mm f/2.8 Kodak Instamatic 814 & 714 camera lens. mfg. 1968-1970
Kodak pocket Instamatic 500 25mm f/5.6 1.10 µSv/h (β+γ) 0.3 µSv/h (γ) (Terra-P MKS-05) Kodak pocket Instamatic 500 lens. mfg. 1972-1976
Kodak Ektanar 50 mm f/2.8 Kodak Signet 80 camera. lens mfg. 1958-1962 (3 examples)
Kodak Ektanar 90 mm f/4 Kodak Signet 80 camera. lens mfg. 1958-1962
Kodak Ektanar 44 mm f/2.8 Kodak Signet 30, Kodak Signet 50, Kodak Automatic 35/Motormatic 35 cameras. lenses mfg. 1959-1969
Kodak Ektanon 50 mm f/3.9 Kodak Bantam RF camera. lens mfg. 1954-1957
Kodak Ektanon 46 mm f/3.5 Kodak Signet 40 camera. lens mfg. 1956-1959
Kodak Anastar 44 mm f/3.5 Kodak Pony IV camera
Kodak Color Printing Ektar 96 mm f/4.5 lens mfg. 1963
Kodak Aero-Ektars various models YouTube
Kodak Ektanon 4-inch Projection Lens f/3.5
Kodak Ektar 80 mm f/2.8 for Hasselblad 1600F and 1000F, made 1948-1950
Kodak Ektar 135 mm f/3.5 for Hasselblad 1600F and 1000F, made 1949
Kodak Instamatic M24/26 Super 8 Camera YouTube
Konica Hexanon AR 50 mm f/1.4 smallest aperture 16; green AE marking
Konica Hexanon 21 mm f/4 7029xxx primarily thorium and thorium decay products YouTube
Konica Hexanon 57 mm f/1.2 YouTube
Kinoptik Paris S16 12.5 mm f/2.5 up to 150 cpm C mount. Likely neutron contamination from nuclear power plant install.
Leica Summicron 50 mm f/2 SummicronYouTube
Leitz Wetzlar Summicron 50 mm f/2 M39
Mamiya/Sekor 55 mm f/1.4 5-10 µSv/h (direct touch), 1,720 cpm M42, chrome+black, flat rear element. Measured by specialists on April 25th, 2014, at Poissy, France.
Mamiya/Sekor 58 mm f/1.7 1.19 µSv/h M42 version. Lenslegend
Mamiya/Sekor SX 55 mm f/1.8 6.8 µSv/h YouTube
Meyer-Optik Görlitz Primotar 50 mm f/2.8 Seems to be only the rear element. Gamma spectroscopy confirms thorium: Flickr
Minolta MC W. Rokkor-SI 28mm f/2.5 early variants
Minolta MC Rokkor-PG 58 mm f/1.2 early variants only; SN 2571225 and later should be non-radioactive
Minolta MC Rokkor 85 mm f/1.7 the earliest variant of the MC line Dominique Guebey Jungle Photographie
Mitakon (Zhongyi) Ver I Speedmaster 50 mm f/0.95 4 Lanthanum optic elements
Nikkor 35 mm f/1.4 early variant with thorium glass elements
Noritar 17 mm f/4 11720277 2.31 µSv/h (front) 1.14 µSv/h (rear) sold as Soligor, Ricoh, Miranda and others
Olympus Zuiko MC Macro 20 mm f/3.5 s58y Flickr
Olympus Zuiko Auto-S 1:1 55 mm f/2 119xxx 12.8 µSv/h (rear element) first version with thorium glass elements
Olympus Zuiko Auto-S 1:1 50 mm f/4 only early first version "Silvernose" is radioactive; later silvernoses (s/n 409xxx) are

not YouTube

Olympus M-System G.Zuiko Auto-W 28mm f/3.5 early modelYouTube
Olympus Zuiko Pen F 38 mm f/1.8 ~7.5 µSv/h (rear element)
26 µSv/h
Olympus Zuiko Pen F 40 mm f/1.4 (rear element)
Porst Color Reflex MC Auto 55 mm f/1.2 37 µSv/h only a specific version? another copy reported as non-radioactive #000670
Porst Color Reflex MC Auto 55 mm f/1.2 000543 10 µSv/h f/22 version-Tomioka serial until 00xxxx. #000543 Instagram
Rikenon AUTO 55 mm f/1.4 22,937 cpm (rear element)
Rodenstock XR-Heligon 50 mm f/0.75 5 µSv/h (10 cm from front lens) Note: this lens was listed as non-radioactive. It might be that my sample was activated during usage in the X-Ray machine.
Rollei XF 35 Sonnar 40 mm f/2.3 ~1.0–1.20 µSv/h or ~180–210 cpm The front triplet seems to contain thoriated glass. The same should hold for the Voigtländer VF135 since they are essentially the same camera with the same lens but slightly different body and functional design.
Schneider Repro-Claron 210mm f/9 10268660 front element 3cps, rear element 126 cps (Bq), ~30 µSv/h. Background < 1cps 1967 lens, it seems that only the rear element is thoriated
Schneider Kreuznach Retina-Xenon C (3962395) 50 mm f/2.8 ~140 cpm, 0.95 µSv/h Kodak Retina IIc front lens
Schneider Kreuznach Retina-Curtagon C 28 mm f/4 ~200 cpm, 1.30 µSv/h (rear element)
Schneider Xenotar 80 mm f/2.8 2 µSv/h (front element surface), 0.4 µSv/h (at 10 cm), negligible (at 20 cm) Rolleiflex 2.8C 1954
Schneider Xenotar 135 mm f/3.5
Sigma 18 mm f/3.5 Σ-7205000204 2.95 uSV/h (front), 3.69 uSv/hr (rear) also sold as Spiratone
Sigma 18 mm f/3.2 τ-74010303 2.68 uSv/h (front), 5.25 uSV/hr (rear) also sold as Spiratone
SMC Pentax 50 mm f/1.4 1034094 original "K line" YouTube
SMC Takumar 20 mm f/4.5 s58y Flickr
SMC Takumar 35 mm f/2.0 Asahi Optical Co.
Super Takumar 35 mm f/2.0 Asahi Optical Co.
Super Multi Coated Takumar 50 mm f/1.4 Asahi Optical Co. both knurled and rubber focus ring grip versions YouTube
5588066 Rear element: ~8.2 µSv/h

Front element: ~1.1 µSv/h Ambient: ~0.10 µSv/h

Measured with a GC GMC-500+
Super Takumar (7-element) 50 mm f/1.4 ~30 µSv/h (rear element) All 7-element variants contain Thorium – thoriated glass!, no 8-element variants contain thorium. Tested with both a personal counter as well as at a medical lab.
Super Takumar (8-element) 50 mm f/1.4 1357066 Rear element: ~0.34 µSv/h

Front element: ~0.15 µSv/h Ambient: ~0.10 µSv/h

Measured with a GC GMC-500+
~0.57 µSv/h (rear element), ~0.23 µSv/h (behind Spotmatic SP camera), ~0.14 µSv/h behind (Pentax K-1 camera) Some copies have tested (moderately) radioactive, others have tested not radioactive. Comparison between a hot/a cold one YouTube. See below for more information about the Super Takumar.
1398520 ~250–270 cpm, ~1.63–1.71 µSv/h min/max average measured over ~3h
1554826 YouTube
1557034 YouTube
Macro Takumar 50 mm f/4.0 790115 ~58 µSv/h (rear element) early 1:1 version.
Asahi Super-Macro-Takumar 50 mm f/4 335xxxx tested positive, but the lowest of my positive results so far
SMC Macro Takumar 50 mm f/4.0 MFLenses YouTube
Super-Takumar 55 mm f/1.8 231xxx 1.83-1.88 µSv/h (rear element), 0.3 µSv/h (front element) Asahi Optical Co. After approx. SN 1.5 million YouTube
1717437 470 cpm, 4.35 µSv/h (rear element), background level (front element) measured with GM Counting System 975011-1
3199041 81.7cpm, 12.82 µSv/h (rear element) YouTube numbers according to the video (conversion cpm to µSv/h nonsensical)
Super-Takumar 55 mm f/2.0 3221829 ~800 cpm, 7.41 µSv/h Asahi Optical Co. - This lens is the same design as the f/1.8 but has a ring to limit max aperture. YouTube
4667078 Rear element: ~3 µSv/h

Front element: ~0.31 µSv/h Ambient: ~0.10 µSv/h

Measured with a GC GMC-500+
Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 55mm f/1.8 8-10 µSv/h (rear element) Asahi Opt. Co.
SMC Takumar 55 mm f/1.8 Asahi Optical Co. YouTube YouTube not all
SMC Takumar 55 mm f/2.0 Asahi Optical Co. not all
Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 85 mm f/1.8 5888634 front element only, not measurable at the back
SMC Takumar 85 mm f/1.8 Asahi Optical Co. MFlenses
Super Takumar 6x7 105 mm f/2.4 691xxxx Asahi Optical Co. I tested 3 such lenses using the same Gamma-Scout Geiger counter. Gamma-Scout reads it (691xxxx) much higher than any of my other lenses. Slightly yellow.
? I tested 3 such lenses using the same Gamma-Scout Geiger counter. Two of them, with clear yellowing, tested radioactive. The third one (8259881) did not test radioactive & had no yellowing.
Tele-Takumar 300 mm f/6.3 2953276 ~0.38 µSv/h (front barrel), ~0.5 µSv/h (rear barrel), ~1.5 µSv/h (through the metal lens housing) Asahi Optical Co. Tested with Pudibei NR-750.
? JB Media (archive)
Soligor 35 mm f/2.8 17000xxx YouTube
Steinheil Auto-Quinon 55 mm f/1.9 KE mount
Tamron adaptmatic 24 mm f/3.5 4.37 µSv/hr (front), 0.071 µSv/h (rear)
Taylor Hobson Rank Sopelem 8-26 mm f/1.6 greater than 250 cpm, 1.5 mSv/h Danger C mt. Zoom. (the unit is obviously wrong, theres no chance a vintage lens puts out milisieverts, it should be 1.5 µSv/h)
Tokina 21 mm f/3.8 17100658 3.69 µSv/h (front), 0.44 µSv/h (rear) sold as Soligor, Vivitar and others
Topcon RE GN Topcor 50 mm f/1.4 YouTube
Topcon UV Topcor 50 mm f/2 0.283 μSv/h
Yashinon-DX 28 mm f/2.8 0.210 μSv/h Yashica
Yashinon-DS 50 mm f/1.4 0.680 μSv/h Yashica
Yashinon-DS 50 mm f/1.7 0.762 μSv/h Yashica
Yashinon-DX 50 mm f/1.4 1.359 μSv/h (Not all) Yashica
Yashinon-DX 50 mm f/1.8 Yashica. YouTube
Yashinon-DS-M 50 mm f/1.4 0.572 μSv/h Yashica
Yashinon-DS-M 50 mm f/1.7 0.798 μSv/h Yashica. YouTube Not all, earlier version serial 20034462, 0 measured radiation.
Yashinon-DS-M 55 mm f/1.2 1.056 μSv/h Yashica
Yashinon-ML 50 mm f/1.7 Yashica. YouTube Likely, only the older design with 'YASHICA LENS ML 50mm 1:1.7 YASHICA MADE IN JAPAN' writings is radioactive. This version is most probably a rebrand of DS-M 50mm f/1.7.
Yashinon 55 mm f/1.2 0.981 μSv/h Tomioka. Also branded as Cosinon, Chinon, Tominon, Tomioka or Revuenon.
Vivitar Auto Wide-Angle 35 mm f/1.9 28411420 4.6 μSv/h
Vivitar Series 1 28 mm f/1.9
Voigtlander Nokton Prominent 50 mm
Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar 150 mm 16 μSv/h Voigtländer Large Format Lenses from 1949-1972
Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar 210 mm 27 μSv/h Voigtländer Large Format Lenses from 1949-1972
Voigtlander Apo-Lanthar 30 mm 35 μSv/h Voigtländer Large Format Lenses from 1949-1972
Voigtlander Skoparex 35 mm f/3.4 DKL mount
Voigtlander Ultragon 115 mm f/5.5 1.5 μSv/h Voigtländer Large Format Lenses from 1949-1972
Voigtlander Zoomar 36-82 mm f/2.8 5033439 3.1 μSv/h
Wollensak Raptar 28-75 mm f/2.3 YouTube

Super Takumar

Some copies have tested (moderately) radioactive, others have tested not radioactive. Comparison between a hot/a cold one YouTube. There are several confirmed cases of both kinds, overall suggesting that the "hot" lenses are only weakly to moderately radioactive. In particular: mounting them on digital cameras (Sony Alpha 7RII, Pentax K-1) blocks most of the radiation or entirely, while old film cameras (Pentax Spotmatic SP) usually block a significant amount. The non-radioactive lenses have smaller serial numbers than the radioactive ones - the cut-off must be somewhere between s.n. 1338400 (not radioactive) and s.n. 1377428 (radioactive; ~0.57 µSv/h, rear element; ~0.23 µSv/h behind Spotmatic SP; ~0.14 µSv/h behind Pentax K-1).

Although some of the hot 8-element Super-Takumars that may have significantly higher levels of radiation compared to other radioactive ones (e.g. serial 1398520: ~250–270 CPM or ~163–1.71 µSv/h; min/max average measured over ~3h), the radiation is way below the readings of the 7-element version and the later 55/1.8s which are definitely radioactive (test of five 8-element examples (with serial numbers ranging from 106xxxx to 158xxxx) and six 7-element examples with a Gamma-Scout, which detects Alpha, Beta, and Gamma radiation.).

The versions slightly differ cosmetically, mainly in the fonts used for the focus & aperture numbers (the non-radioactive ones appear to have thinner characters and somewhat 'older looking' fonts). However, there are multiple revisions of the Super-Takumar lenses that cannot be clearly identified due to (presumably) re-use of parts of previous batches. A comprehensive overview of all (most) known different revisions can be found at: Takumar Field Guide. Another source describes an identification by the exact naming order on the name ring (German).

[I quite like Theoria Apophasis - cool guy. But: no good here, sorry. Please list only lenses that you have tested PERSONALLY with a Geiger counter. This is to keep the page reliable, free from conspiracies & myths that abound on the Internet]

Nikkor Lenses tested radioactive (Theoria Apophasis YouTube) and radioactivity measure: There are many comments at the video and different messurements, that could NOT verify any radioactivity! The geiger counter could have some miss calibration.

  • Nikkor AiS 15/3,5 : 187
  • Nikkor AF 16/2,8 D : 185
  • Nikkor AFS 17-35/2,8 ED : 214 (rear)
  • Nikkor AiS 20/2,8 : 194
  • Nikkor-O 2,1cm f/4 : 199
  • Nikkor AF 24-120/3,5-5,6 D : 214
  • Nikkor Ai 25-50/4 : 23 (this should not count as radioactive!)
  • Nikkor AF 28/1,4 D : 225 (front) 215 (rear) Nikkor Ai 28/2 : 211
  • Nikkor 28/2,8 (Nikon 28Ti) : 221 Nikkor AiS 28/2,8 : 178 Nikkor F 28/3,5 : 178 Nikkor PC 28/3,5 : 190 Nikkor F 35/2 : 229
  • Nikkor AiS 35/1,4 : 198 (front) 210 (rear)
  • Nikkor F 43-86/3,5 : 192 Nikkor F GN 45/2,8 : 178
  • Nikkor Ai 50/2 : 178
  • Nikkor AiS 50/1,8 : 178
  • Nikkor F 50/1,4 S : 178
  • Nikkor F 50/1,4 SC : 192 (front) 200 (rear)
  • Nikkor AF 50/1,4 : 191 (rear) 178 (front)
  • Nikkor F Micro 55/3,5 : 178
  • Nikkor Ai MIcro 55/3,5 : 191
  • Nikkor AiS Micro 55/2,8 : 178
  • Nikkor Ultra-Micro 55/2 : 212 (front) 204 (rear)
  • Nikkor AiS NOCT 58/1,2 : 211 (front) 183 (rear)
  • Nikkor AF Micro 60/2,8 : 199
  • Nikkor AF 85/1,8 : 178
  • Nikkor AiS 85/1,4 : 221
  • Nikkor AiS 105/1,8 : 211
  • Nikkor Ai 105/4 micro: 197

Lenses Tested non-Radioactive (by contributors to this page)[]

Vintage lenses that could have been radioactive, but turned out not to be. A bit of good news!

Non-radioactive lenses
Lens Focal length Aperture Serials Notes
Albinar ADG MC Macro Zoom 80-200mm f/3.9 83965938 Tested with Pudibei NR-750.
Aires H Coral 45mm f/1.9 605711 Tested with Pudibei NR-750.
Argus Cintar 50mm f/3.5 Tested with Pudibei NR-750.
Asahi SMC Pentax 85mm f/1.8 52285527
Asahi SMC Pentax-FA Limited 43mm f/1.9 0006247 Relatively early Made in Japan version with presumably original "leaded" glass design. Later batches should not be radioactive either.
Asahi SMC Pentax-K 135mm f/2.5 5379584
Asahi Pentax-M SMC Shift 28mm f/3.5 5144203
Asahi SMC Pentax-M 35mm f/2.8 6381843
Asahi SMC Pentax-K 50mm f/1.2 1451004
Asahi SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.4 YouTube
Asahi SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 2596025, 2650094
Asahi SMC Pentax-M 50mm f/2 4286229 YouTube
Asahi SMC Pentax-M 85mm f/2.0 7708192
Asahi SMC Pentax-M 135mm f/3.5 6429171
Asahi Super Multi-Coated Takumar 28mm f/3.5 6138088
Asahi Super Multi-Coated Takumar 35mm f/3.5 7190055
Asahi Super Takumar (8 Element) 50mm f/1.4 765818 Early version. Red dot instead of diamond for focusing point scale.
Asahi Super Takumar 55mm f/1.8 802344 Early version. Examples before approximately 1.5 million are not radioactive.
Asahi Super Takumar 55mm f/2 Early version. YouTube
Asahi SMC Takumar 55mm f/2.0 8049617, 8119078 Late version.
Asahi Auto Takumar "Zebra" 55mm f/1.8 169372
Asahi Auto Takumar 55mm f/2.2 641779
Asahi Auto Takumar 85mm f/1.8 412250 aperture ring at the front, spring-operated auto aperture
Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 105mm f/2.4 8259881 6x7 format
Asahi Super Takumar 105mm f/2.8 2353009
Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135mm f/2.5 4968162 5 Element version
Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 135mm f/2.5 6407586 6 Element version
Asahi Super Takumar 135mm f/3.5 3088850
Asahi Super Multi Coated Takumar 135mm f/3.5 4568738
Asahi Super-Multi-Coated MACRO-TAKUMAR 135mm 8468869 6x7 format
Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 200mm f/4.0 7161552
Asahi Super-Multi-Coated Takumar 300mm f/4.0 6923607
Auto Revuetar 55mm f/2.8 64882
Canon FD S.C. 28mm f/2.8 233953 chrome mount ring
Canon FL 35mm f/2.5 78xxx
Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 YouTube
Canon FL 50mm f/1.4 168xxx
Canon 35mm f/2 24684 Leica Screw Mount (LTM/L39)
Canon 50mm f/1.2 13214 Leica Screw Mount (LTM/L39)
Canon 50mm f/1.4 29792 Leica Screw Mount (LTM/L39)
Canon 50mm f/1.8 256884 Leica Screw Mount, late model, chrome-and-black
Carl Zeiss Distagon 60mm f/3.5 5735453 C-Version, black, for Hasselblad
Carl Zeiss Planar 80 mm f/2.8 1242942 Rolleiflex 2.8D, taking lens: rear element measured at 0.12-0.18 uSv/h. This is in the normal natural radioactive range > no radiactive material in the objective used.
Carl Zeiss Planar T* 80m f/2.8 5783145 C-Version, black, for Hasselblad
Carl Zeiss Sonnar 85mm f/2.8 555345 Made in West Germany. Rollei QBM
Carl Zeiss Sonnar T* 150mm f/4 5799964 C-Version, black, for Hasselblad
Fujinon EBC 50mm f/1.4 537963 Late version with diamond-texture and rubber focus ring. Warning: Other samples may be highly radioactive!
Fujinon 55mm f/1.8 562120 Silver aperture ring, non-EBC variant
Fujinon EBC 55mm f/1.8 Rainbow aperture markings, rubber focusing grip
Helios 44 58mm f/2.0 8013900 Zebra
Helios 44-2 58mm f/2.0 7513556
Helios 44M 58mm f/2.0 8077187
Helios 44M-4 58mm f/2.0 8990138
Helios 44M-6 58mm f/2.0 92621308
Hoya HMC Wide-Auto 24mm f/2.8 211453 also RMC Tokina etc.
Industar 28mm f/2.8
Industar 52mm f/2.8 Industar 61, Leica screw mount, non-L/D (Л/Д) version
Kodak Anastar 51mm f/4.5 Pony 135, Pony 828, Pony 135 Model B
Kodak Anastigmat 130mm f/6.3 Tested with Pudibei NR-750. On a Kodak No. 1 Diomatic Vigilant Six-20 folding camera.
Konica Hexanon 135mm f/3.5 7322086
Mamiya Sekor 55mm f/4.5 74382, 74610 C330 TLR
Mamiya Sekor 65mm f/3.5 5790310 C330 TLR
Mamiya Sekor 80mm f/2.8 672606, 672341 C330 TLR, brown/yellowish coating
Mamiya Sekor Super 180mm f/4.5 84462, 85060 C330 TLR
Minolta MD Rokkor-X 50mm f/1.4
Mitakon Zhongyi II 'Speedmaster' 50mm f/0.95 001525
Nikon W-Nikkor 3.5cm f/2.5 270769 Late version, black paint in chrome-nose W-Nikkor 3.5cm f/1.8 housing
Nikon Nikkor-S 5cm 5cm f/1.4 387258 Both "C" and non-C versions
Nikon Nikkor-P 8.5cm f/2 401567 Chrome "C" Version
Nikon Nikkor-P 10.5cm f/2.5 918851 Black Paint
Nikon Nikkor-Q 13.5cm f/3.5 268169 Black Paint
Olympus OM-System Zuiko Auto-S 50mm f/1.4 1,15x,xxx Late version. YouTube
Pentacon 135mm f/2.8 8477438 Meyer Orestor Preset aperture non-MC version
Pentax-110 Zoom 20-40mm f/2.8 1019740 Tested with Pudibei NR-750. Says "Asahi Opt. Co. Japan" on lens.
Pentax-110 24mm f/2.8 2023699 Tested with Pudibei NR-750. Says "Asahi Opt. Co. Japan" on lens.
Petri CC Auto 55mm f/1.8 691631
Ricoh Color Rikenon 40mm f/2.8 Rikoh 500GX. Could be slightly radioactive, but too low to be measured at my sample.
Ricoh Rikenon 43mm f/1.7 59889 Tested with Pudibei NR-750.
Ricoh Rikenon 400mm f/6.3 10443
Rodenstock Retina-Eurygon 35mm f/4 4203237 DKL mount
Rodenstock Heligon 50mm f/2 2052276 Kodak Retina II
Rodenstock Retina-Heligon 50mm f/1.9 4471524, 4752831 DKL mount. Could be slightly radioactive, but too low to be measured.
Rodenstock XR-Heligon 50mm f/0.75 9723511 Another sample was measured to be radioactive (see above).
Rodenstock Retina-Rotelar 85mm f/4 4477941 DKL mount. Could be slightly radioactive, but too low to be measured.
Rodenstock Retina-Rotelar 135mm f/4 4204704 DKL mount. Could be slightly radioactive, but too low to be measured.
Rodenstock-Rotelar 135mm f/4 3712416 DKL mount. Could be slightly radioactive, but too low to be measured.
Rollei HFT-Planar 50mm f/1.8 1078508 Made by Rollei Singapore. Early/metal version.
Rollei SL-Angulon 35mm f/2.8 12 620 084 Schneider-Kreuznach
Rollei SL-Xenon 50mm f/1.8 11 870 983, 12 081 833, 12 186 091 Schneider-Kreuznach
MC Rubinar makro 500mm f/5.6 080007 Russian telephoto mirror lens
Sankyo Kohki Komura 85mm f/1.4 3563280 Tested non-radioactive despite minor yellowing of the glass
Schneider-Kreuznach Edixa-Curtagon 35mm f/2.8 8900488
Schneider-Kreuznach Edixa-Xenar 50mm f/2.8 8188922
Schneider Kreuznach Retina-Xenar 50mm f/3.5 2216414 Kodak Retina Ia
Schneider Kreuznach Retina-Xenar C 50mm f/2.8 4832242 Kodak Retina Ib
Schneider Kreuznach Retina-Xenon 50mm f/2.0 1982005 Kodak Retina II
Schneider Kreuznach Retina-Xenar 50mm f/2.8 9596917 DKL mount
Schneider Kreuznach Retina-Xenon C 50mm f/2.0 5347221 Kodak Retina IIIC. f/2.8 version is radioactive (see above).
Super Takumar 50 mm f/1.4 1338400 8-element. Many other serial numbers are radioactive.
Sears (Auto Sears) 55 mm f/1.4 253170 M42 mount. See also: Tested non-radioactive despite minor yellowing.
Super Takumar 6x7 105 mm f/2.4 8259881 Asahi Optical Co. I tested 3 such lenses using the same Geiger counter. Two of them, with clear yellowing, tested radioactive. The third one (8259881) did not.
Syoptic 50mm f/1.1 E-mount version
Tamron-F Zoom 85-210mm f/4.5 540671 Tested with Pudibei NR-750.
Tokina Wide-Auto 35mm f/2.8 708205 also applies to early Vivitar/Soligor auto wide: knurled metal focus ring
Topcon UV Topcor 53mm f/2 54281653 Tested with Pudibei NR-750.
Topcon UV Topcor 100mm f/4 9734009 Tested with Pudibei NR-750.
Vivitar Auto Tele-Zoom 85-205mm f/3.8 22115389
Vivitar Close Focusing Auto Zoom 75-205mm f/3.8 22616531 early Kiron made version, two-ring zoom
Yashinon-DS-M 50 mm f/1.7 20034462 Yashica. Some measured radioactive.
Yashinon-DX 50mm f/1.4 YouTube
Yashinon DX 45mm f/1.4 Fixed lens on the Yashica 1C, Lynx 14-E rangefinder camera.
Yashinon-DX 45mm f/1.7 Fixed lens on the Yashica Electro 35 GSN. Made in Hong Kong.
Zeiss Jena Flektogon Auto 35mm f/2.4 74736
Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm f/2.8 5993475 leatherette version
Zeiss Jena Flektogon 35mm f/2.8 9060041 Zebra version
Zeiss Jena Pancolar 50mm f/1.8 9093379 Zebra version
Zeiss Opton Sonnar 50mm f/2 887108 T coating, contax mount

Geiger Counters used and methodology[]

Modern, affordable dosimeters which provide quick, useful detection of dangerous conditions/levels, and approximation of cumulative radioactive exposure, such as the GQ GMC 300 or 500+ series, or products from Thermo-Fisher, Radex, Souk, and others are available new. Testing to differentiate alpha, beta and gamma, x rays and neutrons generally requires more expensive equipment, and/or calculation methods.