View Full Version : Landscape Lens for Wet Plate

Joseph Kayne
4-Aug-2017, 09:59
Just wondering what some of you favorite lenses for making landscape wet plate images, as opposed to the soft focus and petzval lenses for portraits... Thanks.

Steven Tribe
4-Aug-2017, 10:49
Really depends on what you mean by landscape!

I am not a fan of wide angle total views - too easily becomes replicas of picture postcards of yesteryear - so I use longer meniscus landscape lenses like:

- pre-1870 meniscus achromats from Petzvals (Very easy when they are designed to be convertible!).
- longer Dallmeyer meniscus lenses size 4 and upwards.
- Dallmeyer RV(P) on smaller formats.
- Port-land on smaller formats.

Mark Sawyer
4-Aug-2017, 12:39
Keep in mind that, technically, "Landscape Lens" defines a particular type of lens: a meniscus or plano-convex single cell with a single or cemented multiple elements. Various landscape lenses were manufactured for camera use from the dawn of photography until quite recently.

But as far as lenses giving a wider field appropriate to traditional landscape views...

Historically, the early lenses available for landscape and general wide-ish angle use during the wet plate era were, in more-or-less chronological order:

1.) the "Landscape Lenses" (mentioned above), including the Wollaston (single meniscus), English Landscape (plano-convex doublet), and French Landscape (meniscus doublet) designs. (Dallmeyer also made a triplet meniscus Landscape Lens.) Some of these arguably predate photography, going back to Chester Moore Hall's 1733 achromatic doublet made for improving telescopes, and Wollaston's meniscus of 1812, made for camera obscuras.
2.) the early symmetrical Periscopes, (two single menisci arranged symmetrically)
3.) the "Orthoscop" (Petzvals original "Landscape Lens" as opposed to his much-better-known "Portrait Lens", designed in 1840 but not produced until 1856)
4.) Grubb's Aplanat of 1857, the best corrected of the early Landscape Lenses
5.) Harrison & Schnitzer's Globe Lens of 1862.
6.) Emil Busch's Pantoscop of 1865
7.) Dallmeyer's Rapid Rectilinear and Wide-angle Rectilinear, and Steinheil's virtually identical Aplanat, both of 1866. (a slew of W.A.R.s and variations on them followed)
8.) Morrison's Wide Angle of 1872

(Yeah, I left out a few weird ones like Sutton's Water Lens, as it was never practical and you'll never find one anyways... )

Mark Sawyer
4-Aug-2017, 12:59
BTW, the Orthoscop is probably the most interesting of the above, being so historically related to Petzval's Portrait Lens. He designed the two concurrently, one for portraits and one for views. Portraits were what sold in studios, so the Portrait Lens dominated, while the design for the landscape lens sat in Petzval's files until 1854, when Petzval contracted with Dietzler to make them, sales starting in 1856. It was popular enough that Voigtlander, Ross, CC Harrison, and others copied it. Petzval originally called it the Dialyte, meaning "separated (as the back elements were, a design featured in both Petzval's lens designs), but Voigtlander called it the Orthoscop, (meaning "non-distorting"), and because their version was more popular, Petzval and the other makers soon called theirs Orthoscops too.

It's an important lens historically, a good user, and one surprisingly few of us know much about. Here are a few good pages on the Orthoscop:




11-Aug-2017, 07:15
thanks for all the info, mark!

9-Dec-2017, 05:48
I've seen your Orthoscop Mark, and It's a beaut!

I always like Morrison lenses, just got another big one yesterday.

Here's a nice page that shows many of them: http://www.piercevaubel.com/cam/lenses.htm

Mark Sawyer
9-Dec-2017, 11:37
Shhh, you'll drive the prices up! I only have one Morrison, a little 11-inch landscape lens.

9-Dec-2017, 20:26
I use this Anthony lens with sheet film.