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Thread: Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Germany
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    Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

    Anyone using some old prewar (before 1945) german lenses?

    What are nice lenses to seek or to grab?

    There were many lenses for the 6x9/ 9x12 / 10x15 folders with Compur (00, 0, 1) shutters that can easily adopted to our modern camera lens plates.

    The classic Tessar is certainly good, and readily availible at least here in germany. You just have to watch the ebay listings of old folders...

    for 6x9 I have the 4.5/105 Contessa-Nettel Sonnar (Xenar), CZJ Tessar, and soon hopefully a good voigtländer Heliar . (compur 00)

    for 9x12 I have the 4.5/135 (Compur 0) Meyer Görlitz DA Helioplan, Schneider DA Isconar, CN Sonnar, Steinheil Unofokal.

    Have to test them all on the baby Technika (in my case) and will see which I like most for real use.


    any suggestions or own experiences with such lenses?

  2. #2

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    6,497

    Re: Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

    I've used a number of pre-1939 f/6.3 Tessars on 2x3. All very good.

    62/18 Protar, borrowed from a friend. I found it very hard to put to use, have since got a 60/14 Perigraphe that's functionally equivalent and easier to put to use.

    40/4.5 Mikrotar, probably pre-1939. Superb.

    130/6.8 Goerz dialyte type Doppel Anastigmat with no serial number or name that was soft and flary. Not all dialyte types are good.

    And a 180/6.8 Fotokopist Spezial Reproduktions Optik that shot poorly at distance. I don't know who made it but Westlicht has offered them as made by Meyer.

    Years ago I found a Busch Nikola Perscheid lens in a junk shop, sold it because I couldn't use it. I don't regret selling it -- there were good reasons -- but it is one of the few lenses I've sold that I sometimes wish I'd kept. Not because of the money it would bring now but because of what it can do.

    If you want go 'round opening oysters, sorry, old folders, looking for pearls, sorry, usable lenses, by all means do. Don't expect to find a broad range of focal lengths -- nearly all of them, perhaps all, have lenses that are normal for their formats -- or lenses that are fully competitive with modern lenses. "Not fully competitive" doesn't mean unusable, it means that focal length for focal length modern lenses will have more coverage. My CZJ 130/6.3 Tessar made in 1912 is a super lens on 2x3. And it came from a Kodak folder.

  3. #3

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    Re: Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

    I have a 150mm Zeiss Tessar, circa 1938, that I use more frequently than I do my 150mm Fujinon. Technically, the Fuji is the better lens in terms of contrast and resolution, but I love the images I get from that Tessar. The Fuji comes out whenever I want to use that focal length on my 5x7 though, because it will cover the format and the Tessar won't.
    Michael W. Graves
    Michael's Pub

    If it ain't broke....don't fix it!

  4. #4

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    Dec 2010
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    Santa Barbara
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    1,233

    Re: Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

    Heliars.. love me my heliars

    seriously..for what I am doing (as of now).. ain't no better lenses

    there are sharper lenses..there are cheaper lenses.. there are faster lenses.. but man o man

    there are no better lenses

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2001
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    4,585

    Re: Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

    I grew up in photography just after WW2, and always thought the reverence that old-timers gave to Zeiss lenses was pure nostalgia or a certain amount of snobbery. After all, there were Goertz, Steinheil, Cooke, Rodenstock, Leitz, Schneider, in fact I don't know how many great optical houses were in existence in those days.
    It is my somewhat surprised experience with hundreds of cameras from the pre-WW2 days, that there is indeed something quite special about Zeiss optics -- they just seem to have better sharpness and contrast, and an unknown quality which I can only call a "brilliance" that others don't seem to have.
    Wilhelm (Sarasota)

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Germany
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    Re: Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

    Dr Tang, you are cruel... due to a german percel service strike my heliar is still on the way to me... Heaven knowns when it gets delivered...

    "o Lord, won't you buy me a Heliar lens,
    my friends all have Petzvals, I must make amends..."

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Leipzig, Germany
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    Re: Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

    Heliar, Dagor, Protar, Weitwinkel-Ariostigmat - I use and love them. I also have a lot of Tessars. They are OK, but I am mostly a wide angle guy. The lenses from old folders are pretty much useless for me.

    Michael

  8. #8
    Foamer
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
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    South Dakota
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    Re: Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

    I have 90mm & 100mm Dagor from 1914 & 1922, Heliar 150mm from 1920s, Tessar 165mm from 1912, 240mm Dagor from 1932. All are really good, the Heliar is my favorite. I use them all on a Chamonix 4x5.


    Kent in SD
    Die Gedanken sind Frei

  9. #9
    Les
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
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    Seattle, WA
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    Re: Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

    I think my Voigtlander 203mm F5.4 is from 1905. Haven't used it yet, presuming the quality is good. Not necessarily into older lenses, but this one fell into my lap.

    Les

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Location
    Germany
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    Re: Old German LF Lenses (pre-1945)

    wich type of the old lenses has a chance to be a good 1:1 macro lens for LF?

    Is the "tessar" a good choice, or maybe others?

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