Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

Steve Cushing Impresionist Fine Art Photography

Embracing imperfection, recording emotions, one impression at a time…

Deltamar 70 f1.6 NATO De Oude Delft Military Lens from F-16

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The Lens details of a series of images taken by Steve Cushing on mirrorless camera.


Old Delft or Oudelft was an optical company in the Netherlands and was founded in 1939 as NV Van Leer's Optische Industrie by Oscar van Leer , who was a son of Bernard van Leer . The company was initially located at the Oude Delft in Delft as an optical and precision mechanical factory. Soon afterwards Professor Dr. Albert Bouwers joined the company and the name was changed to "Optische Industrie De Oude Delft”.

Oudelft's logo included two semicircular arcs. These symbolized the arch of a bridge over the Oude Delft and its reflection in the water.

The "Oude Delft" produced optical and related fine mechanical products for the photographic, medical and military markets. The Oude Delft line of lenses were highly respected though not so well known as other after market lenses.

Soon after its foundation in 1939, the Netherlands was occupied by the Nazi regime and the companies that the Van Leers owned were taken from them because they were of Jewish descent. Because the owner was Jewish the company was in danger of being liquidated. They were to keep the company, but the Jewish workers were arrested. When nothing more could be done, they made kaleidoscopes , a children's toy consisting of cardboard and a few mirrors.
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Philips employee and inventor Albert Bouwers had just developed a system for optical X-ray monitor photography and he was put in charge of the company, which was given the name: NV Optische Industrie "De Oude Delft" . Also Frits Philips has mediated in this matter. He also became a supervisory director of the new company. Oscar van Leer was given the rights to sell the system in the United States. The activities were expanded and medical, defence and industrial products were developed. A division of work area between the Oude Delft and Philips continued to exist. From then on, Philips bought its optical supplies from De Oude Delft.

After the liberation, protracted and complicated negotiations were conducted to review relations with Philips, which succeeded in 1947. The Recovery Bank became one of the financiers and the well-known physicist Ralph Kronig joined the Supervisory Board, while Frits Philips stepped down. A new building was built on the Oostsingel in Delft and in 1948 the first hall was put into use. However, a few loss-making years follow, marked by numerous internal quarrels. After some reorganizations things got better again. The product range now consisted of X-ray cameras, night vision goggles , scanning stereoscopes for the study of stereographic aerial photographsPhilips film projector lenses, camera lenses, school microscopes, and Cinemascope widescreen projection systems . There was also defining , a process to provide lenses with an anti-reflective layer.

The company was more recently mixed up in a controversy, because their night vision goggles were supplied to and used by Iran during Saddam Hoessein's reign in 1981. In 1990 they fused with Enraf-Nonius to form Delft Instruments.

This Aude Delft Deltamar lense

This is a beautiful 70mm f/1.6 Oude Delft Deltamar lens, which was used in aerial photography by the Dutch 306 squadron. It is marked for NATO use only. According to my friend the lens has been taken off a TA-7M camera during operational use as part of the so-called Orpheus system.

Read this about "equivalence" aperture as I estimate this lens to be f0.95 on a 35mm camera. Click Here

It was used as aerial reconnaissance covering the time period from the end of WWII up to the introduction of digital technology. This lens was used to photograph at low altitude from F-104 Starfighters and later from F-16s. Since this is not a lens intended for private use and was commissioned by the Ministry of Defense, as such no expense was spared in its design and manufacture. Also, not many such lenses will were ever produced, so this is a rarely found lens. The lens is in reasonably good condition. But the diaphragm ring was rusty and needing sorting out. The glass is free of fungus, but it does have some dust on the rear lens element that also needed cleaning. The lens came with two matching yellow filters, one of which is in the original filter holder from Oude Delft.

This double Gauss lens consists of two back-to-back Gauss lenses (a design with a positive meniscus lens on the object side and a negative meniscus lens on the image side) making two positive meniscus lenses on the outside with two negative meniscus lenses inside them. The symmetry of the system and the splitting of the optical power into many elements reduces the optical aberrations within the system.

Lens In Use

Will be completed once images have been uploaded


For general information on lens design and lens elements go to the homepage HERE


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Steve Cushing Photography