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Thread: Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

  1. #1

    Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

    Hi

    Anyone have a serial number list, the 9" example I just picked up is number 147 which seems early? also it came with the element what I would assume was the wrong way around ie ) I've switched it round to ( , so can someone confirm the cell orientation? I've seen jim galli's page illutrating the sharp to soft but has anyone landscapes examples recent or historical?
    Thanks and Regards
    Sven

  2. #2

    Re: Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

    Just got the same lens, mine is #447 and I wondered if there would be more info about it.

    Any idea if focusing wide open, stepping down and taking a shot OR refosusing after stepping down wouldbe better?

    Thanks!
    Klaus

    http://www.macrolenses.de for macro and special lens info
    http://www.pbase.com/kds315/ for UV Images and lens/filter info
    http://photographyoftheinvisibleworld.blogspot.com/ my UV diary

  3. #3

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Blue Ridge of Virginia
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    171

    Re: Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

    Gentlemen-

    This is the soft focus lens that Ansel Adams used up until 1932. I have four of them of various focal lengths and they are IMHO as fine as any soft focus lenses ever made but greatly undervalued today. I have the 9" on the 4x5 Graflex, a combination made in heaven.

    Because of the spherical aberration (which causes focus to move as aperture is changed), you MUST focus at the shooting aperture.

    Enjoy them!
    Russ Young

  4. #4

    Re: Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

    Thanks Ross, appreciate your comments!

    Which other focal lengths do you know/have?
    Klaus

    http://www.macrolenses.de for macro and special lens info
    http://www.pbase.com/kds315/ for UV Images and lens/filter info
    http://photographyoftheinvisibleworld.blogspot.com/ my UV diary

  5. #5

    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Suffolk, UK
    Posts
    138

    Re: Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

    I have a 15" version. Not sure of serial #.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Blue Ridge of Virginia
    Posts
    171

    Re: Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

    Klaus-

    There were five focal lengths: 6 9 11.5 15 18
    I have all but the 15. The literature notes that the 11.5" will cover 8x10, a remarkable achievement for a soft focus lens.

    The nine inch will easily fit on a Graflex "B" board for my 4x5 Graflex and unlike the Verito, the door flap will close with the lens in place (you can find a sunken-mount Verito on very rare occasions). IMHO the 18" is marvelous for 8x10 even though it was designed for 14x17.

    Camera lenses were a side-line for them. Charles Spencer, the founder of the company, made the first commercially produced microscopes in America in the 1830s. Throughout the life of the company, microscopes were their main product. They were taken over by American Optical Co. in 1935 and I have seen ONE Portland lens so marked. The Port-Land (PORTrait-LANDscape) came into production in 1911 and had lost its hypen (Portland) by 1920.

    Hope this was helpful, Klaus.

    Russ

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2000
    Location
    Tonopah, Nevada, USA
    Posts
    5,794

    Re: Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

    I love learning the tid bits. That explains why this lens felt so much like a Goerz product in my hands. I bought it because of interest in the Spencer name.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

  8. #8

    Re: Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

    Quote Originally Posted by Sven Schroder View Post
    ...I've switched it round to ( , so can someone confirm the cell orientation?...
    From what I have seen, the flat side should face the subject, and round side should face the film.

  9. #9

    Re: Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

    Thanks Jason

    When it arrived the flat side wasn't facing the subject, so from experience I switched it,
    It was also thicker than I was expecting.

    Regards
    Sven

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Denmark
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    Re: Spencer lens co Port-land -soft focus- info

    A small contribution to Port-Land knowledge! The "flat" side which should face the subject is slightly concave. My newly arrived 18" has the serial number 843. How is the general status of your balsam? I have about 30% edge breakdown but only about 1 mm fortunately. A few single crystalline flecks in the balsam - otherwise clear and colorless. The 18" fits perfectly on a sinar board.

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