Radioactive Sony Camera Lens Test With GQ GMC-600 Plus Geiger Counter

Radioactive Sony Lens

Radioactive Sony Camera Lens Test With GQ GMC-600 Plus Geiger Counter.

Testing out the Sony TV 12.5-50mm f1.8 Super 16 vintage camera lens for radiation. If a cameras lens is radioactive it usually has thorium imbedded in the glass elements. I use the GQ GMC-600 Plus Geiger Counter to check for Alpha, Beta, and Gamma partials. These Sony lenses were produced from the 1970s through the 1980s. They still work very well with current MFT Micro Four Thirds still and cinema cameras.

You can find the Sony TV 12.5-50mm f1.8 here. The GQ GMC-600 Plus here. The MFT adapter here.

Some vintage camera lenses, including certain models produced by Sony and other manufacturers, are known to be radioactive due to the use of thorium glass elements in their construction. Thorium was added to glass to increase its refractive index and reduce dispersion, thereby enhancing the optical qualities of the lens, such as sharpness and contrast. This practice was more common from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Sony, inheriting some of Minolta’s lens designs after acquiring Minolta’s camera division in 2006, might have lenses in its historical lineup that contain thorium, especially if they are based on or similar to older Minolta designs known to use thorium-infused glass. It’s important to note that the levels of radiation emitted by these lenses are generally considered low and not harmful under normal use. However, collectors and users are advised to store and handle these lenses carefully, especially avoiding prolonged skin contact or placing them near sensitive areas of the body for extended periods.

To identify a radioactive lens, one might look for a yellowish tint in the glass, which is a common indicator of thorium presence, though this is not a definitive test as there can be other reasons for glass discoloration. Using a Geiger counter, as mentioned in your video title, is a direct method to test for radioactivity.

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