This 348-pound lens was once mounted on a Soviet spy satellite — and it’s for sale

yantar 4k2 lens electronics photo optics objectives 1 800
SS.ua
If the phrase “super spy camera” conjures up ideas of tiny cameras hidden inside fancy lapel pins or eye glasses, you’ve been watching too much James Bond. While tiny stealth cameras are probably in more than a few top-secret tech kits, one 348-pound Soviet-era lens that popped up on a Ukrainian online classified site really puts the “super” in super spy camera.

The lens was reportedly mounted on the Yantar 4K2 satellite during orbit, paired with a Zhemchug-18 film camera, and used to photograph images of the Earth. Besides being pretty hefty, the lens is nearly 4.5 feet long and about 1.5 feet wide — wider than two regulation size basketballs side by side, Petapixel noted.

Launched by the Russian Federation after the Soviet Union dissolved, the Yantar 4K2 is one of 179 total reconnaissance satellites. The Yantar 4K2 was first launched in 1981; using the Zenit launch vehicle, it was sent into orbit a total of 82 times, with the last launch in 2002.

Compared to earlier satellites, the 4K2 included a few more advanced features for military surveillance. The satellite could remain in orbit for 180 days instead of 120, using 22 film return capsules. The camera on board was developed for taking detailed panoramas. The satellite was eventually developed after the Yantar 2K was deemed insufficient at providing early warning of an attack.

The lens, listed on a Ukraine classified-ads site, is priced at $18,500 — but the seller says the price is negotiable. Sure, it’s pricey, but keep in mind that it DOES come with it’s own carrying case. Still, unless you have a satellite in your garage, it’s probably nothing more than a conversation piece — and an expensive one at that.

Photography

Get up close and personal with this telephoto lens for your phone

Moment is replacing its aging 60mm telephoto lens with a new 58mm tele lens, redesigned from the ground up for the latest iPhone, Pixel, and Galaxy phones. Mount it onto the phone via a case and get closer with 2x optical zoom.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in November, from 'Buster Scruggs’ to ‘Dracula’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, witty humor, or anything else.
Emerging Tech

SpaceX makes rocketry look easy, sticks yet another Falcon 9 landing

SpaceX is due to perform its latest Falcon 9 rocket launch and landing on November 15 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Here's how you can watch the proceedings live.
Cars

Jeep’s outdoorsy Gladiator pickup truck bares it all ahead of schedule

Jeep will introduce the long-promised Wrangler-based pickup truck at the 2018 Los Angeles Auto Show. Named Gladiator, the model was designed to conquer the great outdoors, not for the construction site.
Photography

Alpha Female: Sony awards five women grants to support artisan diversity

Women can face several challenges in launching a photography career -- Sony's latest initiative aims to help propel women in the industry forward. Sony recently announced the winners of the Alpha Female program.
Emerging Tech

The best drone photos from around the world

Most of today's drones come equipped with high-end cameras, which are quickly revolutionizing the world of aerial photography as we know it. Here are some of the best drone photos from around the world.
Product Review

Fewer pixels, better camera? The Nikon Z6 shows the beauty of restraint

The Nikon Z6 is the sibling to the new mirrorless Z7 -- but for some photographers, the cheaper Z6 may be the better option. Read where the $2,000 camera beats the $3,400 one (and where it doesn’t) in our Nikon Z6 review.
Social Media

Build a wish list and shop videos with Instagram’s latest shopping update

Eyeing a product on Instagram? Now there are more ways to shop from the social network. Instagram just rolled out options to save products in a collection as users can also now shop from videos.
Photography

See the National Forests like never before in these awe-inspiring drone videos

What's the difference between a National Park and a National Forest? Drones. With no ban on drones in National Forests -- at least, not yet -- filmmakers have a way to capture the immensity of these locations with stunning results.
Product Review

With outstanding image quality, the ‘basic’ Sony A7 III excels in every way

Replacing the four-year-old A7 II as the new entry-level model in Sony's full-frame line, the A7 III is an impressively capable camera that gives more expensive models a run for their money.
Social Media

Addicted to Instagram? Its new ‘activity dashboard’ is here to help

Ever get that nagging feeling you're spending too much time on Instagram? Well, a new "activity dashboard" has a bunch of features designed to help you better control how you use the addictive photo-sharing app.
Photography

Photography news: Best spot for fall photos, new firmware from Fuji and Nikon

Where's the best spot to take fall photos? Michigan, according to social media and a Nikon contest. The results and more in this week's photography news, including significant firmware updates for the Fujifilm X-T3, X-H1, and GFX 50S.
Mobile

How to take great photos with the Pixel 3, the best camera phone around

You’ve scored yourself a new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, and you want to take advantage of that incredible camera. We’ve got everything you need to know right here about how to snap the best photos with your Pixel 3.
Emerging Tech

DJI Mavic 2 Pro vs Mavic 2 Zoom: What’s the real difference?

DJI's Mavic 2 series drones are ready to fly -- but which one is right for you? The Mavic 2 Pro and Mavic 2 Zoom are nearly identical save for their cameras. Here's what you need to know about these powerful new UAVs.