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Thread: Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Dec 2001

    Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

    In the thread goamules remarked "Fads come and go. Look at the Dagors, several sold for under $200 the past few weeks. I mean, they made them for what, 50 years? How many people really use these thousands and thousands of Dagors out there?"

    This is an interesting question that deserves its own thread. And while we're at it, let's generalize a little. Dagors and Eidoscopes (we know Galli uses his) aren't the only cult lenses around.

    Since I started the thread, I'll confess:

    100/2 Taylor Hobson Anastigmat (as fitted to Vinten F-95 and early Agiflite aerial cameras). I use it, it is my normal lens of choice for 2x3 when I'm willing to put up with its weight. These days they bring silly prices on eBay, especially from bidders in the far east.

    160/5.6 Pro Raptar. I don't know if these are still cult lenses, but when dagor77 had a heap of them he puffed hard and sold them at prices well above those of equivalent used Sironars and Symmars. Not sure why, but I hardly use mine even though it is a fine lens.

    210/6.8 Beryl and 210/7.7 Beryl-S. Not really cult lenses, but they are Dagor clones, with focus shift on stopping down removed. I use the -S, not the plain Beryl.



  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Tonopah, Nevada, USA

    Re: Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

    Dan answered for me so I'm exempt. But first we should define a "cult" lens. Ordinary Dagors, the billions of them in brass barrels or old shutters are not cult lenses. They are fine user lenses and priced accordingly. Dagor's with a factory golden rim or a gold dot are "cult" lenses. Go figure that one out. Zeiss f9 wide field Dagor's, definitely cult. Rarity does not define cult status. There are 1,000 '65 Mustangs for 1 Edsel.

    Usually but not always there is something to the cult status. We aren't all just dumb sheep. I DO see that extra sparkle in my 355 Gold Dot. It's in how the contrast gets controlled and rendered.

    Any of the f9 Computar's are Cult lenses. And they should be. At this point any design driven legitimate soft focus lens has some following down to the lowly Velostigmat.

    Tessar's are not cult lenses. 98% of Rapid Rectilinears are not cult lenses. A couple are.

    Well that should get the discussion fired up. I've probably not mentioned your favorite cult lens wannabe and DID mention one you thought should be.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Isle Of Man

    Re: Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

    I use my Cooke XV sometimes even though I also have a XVa, I prefer the 'look' for some subjects, I also use my 165mm F8 WA Gold Dot Dagor when backpacking but prefer to use my 165mm F8 Super Angulon if I don't have to carry it any distance.

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jul 2006

    Re: Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

    I use a hundred year old 180/6,8 serie III Dagor (proper German one from Goertz) that I have on my Korona.

    Reason I use it, is it's one of my only LF lenses. My grandfather gave me it with the intention that I might be able to use it for something, maybe as an enlarger lens. Stuck it in a shutter and I take pictures with it.

    I'm sure it's not a cult lens, but hey

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Milford Pa.

    Re: Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

    i got an 11.5 verito and a SF wolly 14.5.

    i have been shooting wedding photos with them...actually i have used the verito much more....just too much pressure to try and do all.....i have gotten some excellent results wit hthem so far. i print VDB.

    i am attempting to work in my own niche market. i would like to shoot LF portraits at weddings (and NOT be the main photographer at the same having a videographer). i would let the digital guy shoot his memory cards full and i would just shoot "old fashion " style stuff and then print them with alt. process....someday adding wet plate to the mix. obviously shooting studio stuff as well. i will use my bigger petzvals as soon as i can get them mounted on a portable camera....or make my studio camera portable.

    i have a wedding that i happen to be the "main" photog on oct 11. i will shoot 8x10 as well. they are very excited and love the stuff i have shown them. i have an assistant and about 2 hours to work on formal photos....should be perfect! stay tuned.

    here are some photos from the last outing. two silver gelatin prints two VDB the first is toned in selenium

    Last edited by eddie; 15-Sep-2008 at 08:43. Reason: maybe not cult lenses by Galli's definition.....but have you seen the prices paid for them? may be becoming cult...
    My YouTube Channel has many interesting videos on Soft Focus Lenses and Wood Cameras. Check it out.

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  6. #6
    IanG's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Aegean (Turkey & UK)

    Re: Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

    My late 30's coated Dagor is my main 10x8 lens, I've been using a 1920 & 1932 Tessar, a 12" approx Ross Symmetrical on a 5x4 (covers 8x5) plus a Eurynar.


  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2000
    Boulder, CO

    Re: Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

    Yes and no.

    I bought a 12" Dagor for 8x10 because it was cheap at the time, and I just couldn't justify the cost of a more modern lens. But I subsequently decided that 12" on 8x10 wasn't right for me, and I mounted it a different board to use for 4x5. Mostly, it collects dust. Likewise, my Turner Riech convertible languishes unused; wrong focal length and poor contrast.

    But my 6-1/4" Velostigmat (a lens with a small but growing following) has become my workhorse for 8x10. My reasons are simple; I have found no other lens this wide for 8x10 that I can afford.

    For me, on a personal level, photography is more about dramatic composition and picking the right subject than things like absolute sharpness and perfect bokeh. I don't even mind "consumer" zooms on 35mm and digital. If you're transfixed by the subject matter and the composition and use of light, you really aren't going to notice a little barrel distortion. I understand that others will totally disagree (and no doubt produce better photos) but it's my philosophy, and I'm sticking to it.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Nov 2001

    Re: Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

    Are G-Clarons "cult" lenses?

    If so, I use quite a few of them.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

    i confess, i use my cult lenses.
    the Dagors deserve their fame, but i only have normal ones, i don't believe in the gold dot/rim myth.
    some of my favorites - Protar, Petzvals (Wollensak Vitax, Voigtlaender, Darlot, Derogy, Dallmeyer in that order), P&S, Ernemann.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Isle Of Man

    Re: Does anyone actually use cult lenses?

    Hi again
    Following on to my previous post which I was obviously typing at the same time as Jim Galli as when I submitted mine Jims was there, he reminds me about Computars, I had'nt really thought of them as cult lenses I use both the 210mm and 240mm versions regularly and they are great lenses and probably deserve the 'cult' tag.

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