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Thread: Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

  1. #1

    Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

    Hi.
    Iīm new to the forum. I have been a medium format photographer for the last few of years but I have waited for the opportunity to move into large format.
    To give a little background, my great grandfather, Magnus Olafsson, was one of the pioneers of professional photography in Iceland in the beginning of last century. He is often called the photographer of Reykjavik. I grew up with his glass plates in the garage but many decades ago his collection of glass plates and much of the equipment was donated to the Reykjavik Photography Museum were it has been very well archived and displayed.
    2-3 years back I found a mint condition Voigtlander Bessa II medium format folding camera (6X9) from my grandfather (the son of the photographer). This rekindled my interest in film and I have been photographing extensively since then, using various medium format gear, mostly my beloved Mamiya 7. Recently, when we were going through my late parents garage we found two boxes with old stuff. In there was a mint condition Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm lens with a yellow filter. Aperture movements are smooth and glass appears very clean.
    I would like use this opportunity to jump into large format and would absolutely love to try this legendary portrait lens. Here is the question. What kind setup should I consider to use this lens? I had always planned to go to 4X5, especially given the fact that I have a very good DeVere 504 enlarger and do not foresee buying the monster enlargers needed for bigger formats.
    The barrel diameter of the lens is 12 cm (almost 5 inches) and obviously doesnīt have a shutter. Is there any way to fit this huge lens to a 4X5 camera? Should I rather be looking at 8X10? Any recommendations on camera type that can be fitted with a shutter (Sinar?).
    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    jp's Avatar
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    Re: Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

    You could use on 8x10 studio camera (big fixed front standard) with a Packard shutter. If it's strictly for indoor use you might be able to skip the shutter and use any 8x10 with a big enough lensboard.

    Don't worry about enlarging. Contact prints of that size but are nice.

  3. #3
    (Shrek)
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    Re: Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

    It's an 8x10 lens and I don't know of any 4x5 cameras that could carry a 42cm f4.5 lens. There are very few 8x10 cameras, for that matter, that can support the lens. You'll need a studio camera, which would be prohibitively expensive to ship to Iceland if you can't find one locally. Or you might be able to mount it on either a Kodak 2d or possibly a Burke & James 8x10 field camera (with support under the lens barrel).

    Shutter: it's a studio portrait lens. You remove the lens cap, fire the strobes, put the lens cap back on. Some people make shutters out of Speed Graphic camera bodies, like the antique Thornton-Pickard roller-blind shutters.

    Most people don't enlarge 8x10. They either contact print, or use a hybrid analog/digital workflow (scan either the negative or a contact print for editing and digital printing).

    Someone will be along shortly offering to purchase the lens, and should you wish to sell it, you will make enough money to purchase an entire top quality 4x5 kit. In the meantime, just make sure you store it properly, it would be a shame if such a lens were degraded by fungus from kicking around in a box in a garage.

  4. #4

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    Re: Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jody_S View Post
    It's an 8x10 lens and I don't know of any 4x5 cameras that could carry a 42cm f4.5 lens.
    unless you get a trusty old Gandolfi... I have a5x4 Gandolfi where I am sure that lens could fit....

    But You could get a 8x10 camera - fit the lens and get a reducing back to fit the camera - then you could opt for 4x5 if you wish...

    I have a former student living in Iceland - I gave her a 24x30cm camera to use - you might get in touch with her and play with her and the lens?

    Fantastic find - a long time dream for me to own that one... congrats

  5. #5

    Re: Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

    Thanks for the wonderful responses, very helpful. I will also be consulting some experts I know here locally. The lens will hopefully be an inspiration to adventure into new (or should I say old) territories.

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    Re: Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

    It wouldn't surprise me if your great grandfather's camera collection has already been passed on to the local museum and the Nicola is part of the forgotten items back in the 50's! You seem to suggest they have some cameras.

    Museums are quite progressive and "hands on" these days, so perhaps you could try out, or loan, some of the cameras they might have in the basement? Especialy with the family connection.

    42cm is a big one, but there is a 48cm around in Europe at the moment!

  7. #7

    Re: Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Here is a quick photo of the lens (from my iPhone!).
    Steven Tribe: Regarding the museum, I will talk to them. I know them well but I havenīt asked them if the studio camera is in their collection. But your suggestion is very good.

  8. #8

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    Re: Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

    Perhaps you should check about the paperwork that the Museum has concerning the testament/deed of gift, as it may say "All his photographic equipment and glass plates". Your "ownership" of the Nicola could be in dispute!! Although deed of gift in usual these days, transfer to Museums in the good old days was morE informal. The value of the Nicola has risen substantial in the last decade as Pictorialism has gathered interest again.

    You mention enlargers, but the really good thing about 8x10 and ULF is contact printing.

  9. #9

    Re: Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    Perhaps you should check about the paperwork that the Museum has concerning the testament/deed of gift, as it may say "All his photographic equipment and glass plates". Your "ownership" of the Nicola could be in dispute!! Although deed of gift in usual these days, transfer to Museums in the good old days was morE informal. The value of the Nicola has risen substantial in the last decade as Pictorialism has gathered interest again..
    I am in good contact with the museum. I will tell about the lens and it is actually my intention to make sure the lens is in the end stored at a good place.

  10. #10

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    Re: Soft focus lens, Emil Busch "Nicola Perscheid" F:4.5 F=42cm.

    They probably already have the missing flange on a studio camera lens board in their posession!

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