PDA

View Full Version : Playing with Meniscus Lenses



Jim Cole
3-Nov-2014, 16:00
I bought a 250mm Wollaston meniscus lens a while back and finally decided to play with it while at the Grand Canyon last week. First, this isn't the best subject matter for a meniscus lens, but I wanted to see how it rendered foreground OOF (out of focus) areas as well as background OOF areas.

I made this shot on 4x5 Acros at f/11. I was trying for f/8 (supposedly optimal for this lens), but I couldn't get the shutter speed where I wanted it while using a front mounted Packard shutter. I thought about using my 10 stop ND filter, but it was too windy for that. This shot was done at about 1/25 sec, the automatic speed on the Packard with a yellow filter hand held against the front of the Packard.

The background of the canyon behind the tree is rendered nicely with the buttery smoothness that I expected, however, the foreground bush on the left side appears lumpy and rather odd looking

Lesson learned: Only have OOF areas behind the subject.

I usually reserve complicated shots for the studio, but it was fun (and time consuming) to get this set up never having used the lens or the front mounted Packard before.

The bottom of the image was cropped to make it square.


https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7481/15702545461_ddc2f58ef1_o.jpg

Randy Moe
3-Nov-2014, 16:15
Looks great, but that darn bush needs help...

AuditorOne
3-Nov-2014, 21:57
I am going to be rebuilding an 11x14 and intend to use a Wollaston Meniscus. It is nice to get a sense for what it can do.

StoneNYC
3-Nov-2014, 22:01
Where within the canyon was the shot? Very nice, I did something of a test like this before using another meniscus lens and everyone told me it wasn't even possible, but sometimes simple glass can be just as effective. But good to know that the background out of focus is more pleasing.

Jim Cole
3-Nov-2014, 22:13
Where within the canyon was the shot? Very nice, I did something of a test like this before using another meniscus lens and everyone told me it wasn't even possible, but sometimes simple glass can be just as effective. But good to know that the background out of focus is more pleasing.

Stone,

It was shot along the south rim near Yavapai. It would have been a great image if I could have eliminated that foreground tree (yeah, it was a small tree). I'll try this type of shot again next time I'm up there. I'll find a more isolated tree, where the canyon still looms in the background.

Jim Cole
3-Nov-2014, 22:16
I am going to be rebuilding an 11x14 and intend to use a Wollaston Meniscus. It is nice to get a sense for what it can do.

It will be great fun with the 11x14. I hope to try using it in more situations that have a properly isolated subject and a background that will work.

Emil Schildt
4-Nov-2014, 04:57
The background of the canyon behind the tree is rendered nicely with the buttery smoothness that I expected, however, the foreground bush on the left side appears lumpy and rather odd looking

Lesson learned: Only have OOF areas behind the subject.

]

well - I don't know whether this thread is for Wollaston lenses only, bu tI noticed your "lesson learned" and thought of this image...

Not Wollaston but a Plasticca..

So maybe it is different from lens to lens?

Jim Cole
4-Nov-2014, 07:41
well - I don't know whether this thread is for Wollaston lenses only, bu tI noticed your "lesson learned" and thought of this image...

Not Wollaston but a Plasticca..

So maybe it is different from lens to lens?

Nope, let's consider all meniscus lenses.

Thanks for sharing. Nice image. Your foreground works a little better, but I see the same sort of issue where the foreground effects are more "graphic" in nature instead of a smooth transition between elements. In your image the foreground elements are long leaves which take on a tubular look. In mine, the foreground was small bunches of juniper needles which took on a circular or "lumpy" appearance. The background in yours is smooth as silk, so I think we're getting the same results with some exaggeration going on in the foreground OOF areas.

This is interesting. I hope more people post.

mdarnton
4-Nov-2014, 09:25
Just FYI, I've been following a group on Flickr called "Monocle", which apparently is Russian for single element lens. There's lots of good stuff there. I ran through that whole group's photos before I ordered a Reinhold Wollaston, to see what it would be able to do.
https://www.flickr.com/groups/monocle_lens/

Jim Noel
4-Nov-2014, 09:46
well - I don't know whether this thread is for Wollaston lenses only, bu tI noticed your "lesson learned" and thought of this image...

Not Wollaston but a Plasticca..

So maybe it is different from lens to lens?

I'm not surprised at the differing result with the Plastica. My experience is that every SF lens produces a different image from its cousins. A few years ago I made the same image with 10 different lenses and they definitely were different.
I tape ND, and other filters behind my Wollaston lenses

Emil Schildt
4-Nov-2014, 09:49
I like the way the "foreground" kind of frames this motive...

Stine is enjoying a cup of coffee..

Kronarette 305mm

jcoldslabs
4-Nov-2014, 12:23
For the record, there is already a "meniscus" lens thread. Perhaps the two could be combined?

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?64954-Miscl-Meniscii

Jonathan

Randy Moe
4-Nov-2014, 12:43
Do we play meniscus vinyl. Oops...

Sorry. Still peaking on morning coffee.

Jim Cole
4-Nov-2014, 13:19
For the record, there is already a "meniscus" lens thread. Perhaps the two could be combined?

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?64954-Miscl-Meniscii

Jonathan

I did look for that and couldn't find it before I posted. Oh well. I agree that the two threads should be combined.

Dan Dozer
4-Nov-2014, 13:45
Here are two images taken with the front half only of an old projection Petzval lens, so I guess in a sense you can say they were taken with a meniscus lens.

Randy Moe
4-Nov-2014, 14:05
Here are two images taken with the front half only of an old projection Petzval lens, so I guess in a sense you can say they were taken with a meniscus lens.

Very interesting. I have 1/2 of a big Petzval and I have been staring at it too long. I need to mount it up and try this.

jcoldslabs
4-Nov-2014, 14:36
I did look for that and couldn't find it before I posted. Oh well. I agree that the two threads should be combined.

Well, to be fair, the other thread does not have the word 'meniscus' in the title. I had to dig deep to find it myself.

J.

StoneNYC
4-Nov-2014, 22:00
I hacked up a Kodak folder with a Kodar 122mm f/7.8 meniscus behind the shutter lens.

Everyone said it wouldn't work, not only did it work, the quality was really great.

124590

Shot on 4x5 TMY-2 developed in Rodinal

ostrygad
5-Nov-2014, 07:55
What a great thread !

If you don`t mind i will upload my recent meniscus shot :)


124596

Scan of a lith print. Ilford Warmtone + selenium toning.

ImSoNegative
5-Nov-2014, 08:10
I hacked up a Kodak folder with a Kodar 122mm f/7.8 meniscus behind the shutter lens.

Everyone said it wouldn't work, not only did it work, the quality was really great.

124590

Shot on 4x5 TMY-2 developed in Rodinal

Yes i would say it worked : ) nice image, ya know ya just gotta love the nay sayers

ImSoNegative
5-Nov-2014, 08:11
What a great thread !

If you don`t mind i will upload my recent meniscus shot :)


124596

Scan of a lith print. Ilford Warmtone + selenium toning.

very nice

Jim Galli
5-Nov-2014, 08:16
I hacked up a Kodak folder with a Kodar 122mm f/7.8 meniscus behind the shutter lens.

Everyone said it wouldn't work, not only did it work, the quality was really great.

124590

Shot on 4x5 TMY-2 developed in Rodinal

The Japanese discovered and used this a century ago. Search under TAISHO PICTORIAL PHOTOGRAPHY for some of the lovely pictorial images they did quite apart, I think, from what was happening in Europe and the US. I remember reading that many were done with Vest Pocket Kodak, uncorked, so to speak.


What a great thread !

If you don`t mind i will upload my recent meniscus shot :)


124596

Scan of a lith print. Ilford Warmtone + selenium toning.

Beautifully seen and executed shot.

Jim Cole
5-Nov-2014, 09:48
very nice

Yes, a very nice one, ostrygad

northcarolinajack
6-Nov-2014, 09:56
I have several meniscus lens and enjoy shooting each one. The one I have shot more in recent days has been and old Sears and Roebuck marked lens made by B&L, also marked on the lens. The focal length is about 5 inch at about F6. I have in mounted on an old Graflex 3A
that I converted to use 120 film. Some perhaps will not consider this to be large format, but I feel it is the same or better that using a roll
film back on a 4x5.

Jack

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7489/15540533730_280062246d_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/pFgifJ)13038-Dead Tree in Sea Grass - 3A copy (https://flic.kr/p/pFgifJ) by jackharrisphotography (https://www.flickr.com/people/56479130@N08/), on Flickr

https://farm4.staticflickr.com/3941/15105433104_efd30fe52a_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/p1PhZN)13094-Friends Village House-Graflex 3A copy (https://flic.kr/p/p1PhZN) by jackharrisphotography (https://www.flickr.com/people/56479130@N08/), on Flickr

StoneNYC
6-Nov-2014, 13:42
Question, I don't have that heavy "warping" except at the very edge, I was under the impression that the lens I have on the kodak folder that originally was for 116 film was a Meniscus and it certainly looks like a meniscus physically, but is it possible it's something else?

It's a lens that exists only behind the shutter and is a single element originally from a folding brownie.

Everything I can find says its a meniscus but the clarity makes me wonder if it's not?

Jim Cole
6-Nov-2014, 14:50
Question, I don't have that heavy "warping" except at the very edge, I was under the impression that the lens I have on the kodak folder that originally was for 116 film was a Meniscus and it certainly looks like a meniscus physically, but is it possible it's something else?

It's a lens that exists only behind the shutter and is a single element originally from a folding brownie.

Everything I can find says its a meniscus but the clarity makes me wonder if it's not?

I don't see that kind of "warping" in my Reinhold Wollaston meniscus either. Of course, the only shot I have made so far was at f/11, the one in my OP. Perhaps wide open it will act a little more crazy.

StoneNYC
6-Nov-2014, 17:17
I don't see that kind of "warping" in my Reinhold Wollaston meniscus either. Of course, the only shot I have made so far was at f/11, the one in my OP. Perhaps wide open it will act a little more crazy.

Hmm ok thanks, that's acceptable and makes sense.

djdister
6-Nov-2014, 17:26
What a great thread !

If you don`t mind i will upload my recent meniscus shot :)


124596

Scan of a lith print. Ilford Warmtone + selenium toning.

More than some other soft focus shots, this one really captures the Pictorialist look - great job! It probably has to do with the meniscus lens AND the lith printing. Would love to see more shots...

ostrygad
7-Nov-2014, 09:20
More than some other soft focus shots, this one really captures the Pictorialist look - great job! It probably has to do with the meniscus lens AND the lith printing. Would love to see more shots...


...i`m glad that you mentioned about Pictorialism. I'm quite fascinating by it. Another shots are on the way...

northcarolinajack
7-Nov-2014, 10:40
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7047/6953009073_55d26a03dc_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/bApZmM)Jonquil-Scovill-PlusX (https://flic.kr/p/bApZmM) by jackharrisphotography (https://www.flickr.com/people/56479130@N08/), on Flickr

https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7061/6797701108_f8f70b9ac6_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/bmFZHf)Stairs to House to-WAbyMEDanforth-front element copy (https://flic.kr/p/bmFZHf) by jackharrisphotography (https://www.flickr.com/people/56479130@N08/), on Flickr

Here are two more shots with Meniscus lens I have that renders the photograph with sharpness fall of at the edges, which I like.
The lenses are:

M.E.Danforth wide angle about 5 F5.6+- that will cover up to 4x5
Sears & Roebuck (B&L) about 6 about 5 F5.6+- cover up to 4x5
Waterbury-Scovill- about 7 about F5.6 at least to full plate

The Scoville and Danforth had rotor F stop wheels that have been removed.
The B&L has waterhouse stops and fall off is better wide open.

Jack

Jim Galli
7-Nov-2014, 10:50
There are multiples of personalities possible in the achromatic meniscus doublet. Some are nearly sharp, some are soft and lovely. I dug this one out of the trash at work. It was a damaged front element of a spotting scope.


http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/MisclMenisci/OldTTRSpottingScope/SnappyCarsandFastBoatsS.jpg
snappy cars and speedy boats

Drew Wiley
7-Nov-2014, 10:54
I wonder if Struss also scrounged around trash cans?

Jim Galli
7-Nov-2014, 10:57
I wonder if Struss also scrounged around trash cans?

I don't think Struss did, but I do think Pinkham probably did. Struss approached it with a design all his own. Single glass. Where most of these are achromatic doublets.

Here's one done with the little lenses I make up and sell (http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?67483-Antique-4X5-Achromatic-Meniscus-Lens-in-modern-Copal-Shutter!&highlight=antique+meniscus) to folks who want to get their feet wet with an antique lens in modern shutter.


http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com/MisclMenisci/CokeGlassSoftS.jpg
coke glass wheat grass

Have one of these ready to go that no one's jumped on.

Andrew O'Neill
7-Nov-2014, 11:04
I've got a Wollaston for my 14x17 that I hope to be playing around with more in the New Year...

AtlantaTerry
7-Nov-2014, 18:43
... it was too windy...

This shot was done at about 1/25 sec...

The background of the canyon behind the tree is rendered nicely with the buttery smoothness that I expected, however, the foreground bush on the left side appears lumpy and rather odd looking.


I wonder if the bush was "odd looking" because the wind was blowing it around and at 1/25th it is blurry whereas the more solid background was not affected by the wind.

Jim Cole
7-Nov-2014, 21:47
I wonder if the bush was "odd looking" because the wind was blowing it around and at 1/25th it is blurry whereas the more solid background was not affected by the wind.

It's a possibility, but I picked a moment to fire the shutter when the wind was relatively calm. It was easier to do at 1/25 sec than at 2 or more seconds. I need some more experience with the lens to see what its characteristics really are.

Emil Schildt
8-Nov-2014, 03:14
Plasticca... just love that glass...

13x18cm film

jp
8-Nov-2014, 05:44
Plasticca... just love that glass...

13x18cm film

That's the first time I've seen dappled light + soft focus + person handled together well since White/Day a hundred years ago! That combination is one of my soft focus goals for next summer (as I have access to similar woods that are nearby to where they worked)

Emil Schildt
8-Nov-2014, 06:39
That's the first time I've seen dappled light + soft focus + person handled together well since White/Day a hundred years ago! That combination is one of my soft focus goals for next summer (as I have access to similar woods that are nearby to where they worked)

thanks - yes, this lens is magic outdoors...

Jim Cole
8-Nov-2014, 07:02
Plasticca... just love that glass...

13x18cm film

Rally nicely done and a fine use of the Plasticca!

ImSoNegative
8-Nov-2014, 07:54
Plasticca... just love that glass...

13x18cm film

nice!!

captainscot
22-Jul-2015, 12:27
137357

My new to me 335 Wollaston Meniscus that i got from forum member "Randy"...8x10 Deardorff @ 5.6 with 4 stops ND filter.

captainscot
22-Jul-2015, 12:29
137358

One more with the same lens and settings.

jp
22-Jul-2015, 13:05
137357

My new to me 335 Wollaston Meniscus that i got from forum member "Randy"...8x10 Deardorff @ 5.6 with 4 stops ND filter.

That looks great! Keep at it!

David Lobato
22-Jul-2015, 16:51
I found a meniscus lens on the road one day, scratched and chipped, ugly. Looks like it's from an overhead projector. What the heck, taped it to a Deardorff lens board and tried it out. This is Spanish Moss at Brazos Bend State Park, dark cloth for a shutter, and crazy amount of back tilt.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/55432652/Brazos%20Bend%20SP%20001%20459LFF.jpg

8x10 Arista 125 at ISO 64.

captainscot
22-Jul-2015, 18:13
That looks great! Keep at it!

Thanx jp! its going to be a fun lens i think.

captainscot
9-Aug-2015, 12:04
Here is one more with a 335mm Reinhold meniscus at f5.6...8x10 Deardorff and FP4138127

captainscot
9-Sep-2015, 12:06
335mm Meniscus at f 5.6 ....8x10 Deardorff and FP4 in Pyrocat HD.139434

Jim Galli
9-Sep-2015, 12:43
335mm Meniscus at f 5.6 ....8x10 Deardorff and FP4 in Pyrocat HD.139434

Nice! Good subject, although if the car is yours, you should have closed the hood, if not, nothing else to be done but take the picture. '53 Buick. First year of the nailhead V8

Scott --
9-Sep-2015, 13:09
Perhaps my favorite image of my son.
https://farm8.staticflickr.com/7380/12916063655_92e0e4fdfa_z.jpg (https://flic.kr/p/kFmcJF)img206 (https://flic.kr/p/kFmcJF) by Scott (https://www.flickr.com/photos/scott--/), on Flickr

Not a true meniscus, per se, but a biconvex magnifying glass lens.

captainscot
9-Sep-2015, 13:16
Nice! Good subject, although if the car is yours, you should have closed the hood, if not, nothing else to be done but take the picture. '53 Buick. First year of the nailhead V8

Thanx Jim! Nope not mine, so i didnt want to try and close it so i just shot it as i found it. I may go back with other lenses and try different angles, but its pretty cramped and not much light coming in to work with.

Jiri Vasina
9-Sep-2015, 13:29
Very nice portrait, Scott...

Michael Graves
9-Sep-2015, 16:43
Even though it is not (gasp!!!) large format, I purchased last week a TLR from the fifties just because all it had was a meniscus lens. I have film in it right now and plan on taking it on my afternoon walk tomorrow. Today we had torrential rain and lighting, so it was more of a 35mm day.

Scott --
10-Sep-2015, 07:21
Very nice portrait, Scott...
Thanks, Jiri!

Greg
8-Aug-2016, 16:02
Waterbury Scoville lens at largest aperture f/15 "bi-convex crown glass cemented to another plank-convex flint glass lens" Either "B for 5x8" or "BB for 6 1/3 x 8 1/3". Fortunately a Polaroid self cocking Copal shutter slips over the front of lens

Maris Rusis
8-Aug-2016, 16:41
https://c1.staticflickr.com/5/4153/5164956743_8c53b9f021_b.jpg
Bottles and Pears
Gelatin-silver photograph on Fomabrom Variant 111 FB VC, image area 24.7cm X 19.6cm, from a Fomapan 200 negative exposed in a Tachihara 8x10 camera fitted with a 400mm single meniscus lens set at f11.