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Thread: A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

  1. #1
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

    Well, it's like this...

    We've been covering photo-history in my high school classes lately, and when we looked at the soft focus stuff from the Photo-Secession through Hurrell, I also brought in some stuff made with my vintage and home-made soft focus lenses.

    The kids liked them, and a few wanted to try out the soft-focus look, but I didn't want to bring in the expensive old ones (teen-agers are pretty rough on photo equipment...), and my home-made ones are just for me. So I decided there must be a good third option...

    Down to the 99-cent store I went, and bought a few magnifying glasses, cheap but made with real glass at least... There were two (small and medium) together for 99 cents, and a larger one for 99 cents by itself. The focal lengths turned out to be 9.5", 12", and 14", and all had an f/stop of about f/3.8. Perfect!

    I ground the plastic handle off the 9.5" lens, and attached it to a blank lensboard with a bead of "liquid nails". We put it on the Cambo 4x5 at school, and tried it out. Without a shutter, we'd focus, cover the lens, pull the darkslide, turn off the room lights, pop the flash (bounced off an umbrella), cover the lens, flip on the room lights and reinsert the darkslide. These are from the first day's work, some by me, some by students. I could tell you which were which, but it doesn't really matter...

    A few from the 2F99c (2 for 99 cents!) lens:







    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  2. #2

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    Re: A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

    Very cool--those look pretty nice for a one buck lens. I recently got a bag of mixed lens elements with some darkroom gear and I'd like to build some of my own simple view camera lenses.

  3. #3
    Vaughn's Avatar
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    Re: A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

    Beautiful...and such a wonderful way to move students away from the idea that the art of photography is not about the latest and greatest piece of equipment!

    (but did you have to sharpen the images in PhotoShop?)

    Vaughn

  4. #4
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

    Thanks, guys! The only manipulation in photoshop was to match the tone and contrast to the prints (at least as close as I can get it on my monitor!) and take out the dust on the underside of the scanner's glass.

    It really is a nice project with the students, so simple they can understand it on the most basic levels, and the equipment is cheap enough they could do it on their own after high school.

    I'll scan the one 8x10 we did with the 14" 1F99c lens and post it in a little bit...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  5. #5

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    Smile Re: A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

    Mark,

    These pictures are very unique and beautiful! Quite an eye opening experience!

    Hugo

  6. #6

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    Re: A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

    All those suckers who spent an extra $1298.37 on their lens are kicking themselves right now, lol, great stuff!

  7. #7
    Just waiting to be developed..
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    Re: A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

    Wow! These are great shots. It makes me really want to go out and try this with my Crown Graphic.
    I wonder if i could find a lens big enough to cover my 12x20? I really like the soft focus dreamy look.
    -Ian Mazursky
    www.ianmazursky.com Travel, Landscape, Portraits and my 12x20 diary
    PrePress Express

  8. #8
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

    And this is the first and only 8x10 image we've done with the 14" 1F99c lens. Also Regina's first 8x10 ever. I think she done good...

    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  9. #9

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    Re: A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

    "Values plummeted on rare and ancient soft focus optics today as a new line of foreign lenses was unveiled at an attractive pricepoint."

    Several students were heard to ask "...who would pay $3000 for a lens when a 99 one will work just as well?" Jim Galli commented that this has been tried before but people have short memories and Pinkhams, Eidoscop's and the like will be back up to stupid money by next week, ten days tops.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  10. #10
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: A new line of Chinese pictorial lenses!

    Great project!

    The 8x10" looks almost like a drawing. It would make an interesting gum print.

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