Two self-described rangefinder lens geeks — Hamish Gill and Chris Andreyo — have teamed up to create a new lens manufacturer, Omnar Lenses. The company’s first product is the Omnar CN26-6, a 26mm f/6 fixed-aperture M-mount lens which is constructed using repurposed Canon AF-10 optical elements.
Gill runs a community blog 35mmc, which focuses primarily on film photography, while Andreyo is a manual focus lens design, repair, and customization specialist for Skyllaney Optomechanics, based in Scotland, United Kingdom. Both decided to collaborate in making lenses that they themselves would be excited to shoot with, which is how the concept of Omnar Lenses was born.
The first prototype of the new Omnar CN26-6 lens has just been announced and the optic of the lens comes from the almost two-decade-old Canon AF-10 point-and-shoot. The company explains that it is a simple optic with a combination of glass and plastic elements, but that the glass is coated and “surprisingly sharp,” while still giving photographers a “strong point-and-shoot aesthetic to images.” Its rangefinder coupled from 0.67m (26 inches) to infinity and optionally can have uncoupled focusing down to approximately 0.3m (12 inches).
The company is proud of its design, manufacturing, painting, hand-assembling, and testing processes, which all take place in the United Kingdom, including packaging. Gill tells PetaPixel that the lenses are made to “to extremely high tolerances, not cutting any corners at all, the build quality makes them feel wonderful to use.” He also believes that the company is the first brand to make Leica-mount rangefinder lenses in the United Kingdom for over 50 years.
The new lens will come with three color choices — Matte Black Chrome Cerakote, Silver Chrome Cerakote, and High Gloss Black Lacquer. As with every stage of the process, the color will also be hand-painted. For a unique look, the company will offer an upgrade option to paint the lens in any color the photographer can think of, so as long as it can be sourced. The “Omnar Lenses” engraving on the front will be optional and photographers will be able to order custom engraving, too.
In the future, the company plans to rehouse the Contax T2 lens, the Yashica T-series 35mm f/3.5 lenses, and some of the Contax RF 50mm Sonnar lenses. Any other options will be based on demand and produced in batches. So far, the company has received numerous requests and will collate them to see what potential customers demand the most. That said, Gill adds that the production will go ahead if they both like the idea. Omnar Lenses also have plans for making its own lenses as the company has an optical formula already designed.
The price for the new lens is yet to be confirmed and the company plans to make 20 to 30 units, depending on the quality of the optics sources. The company’s website is set to launch shortly where pre-orders will be available. Until then, interested photographers can sign up for the newsletter on the Omnar Lenses website to keep up to date with the latest product news.
Image credits: Photos by Omnar Lenses and used with permission.