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Thread: Old, REALLY Old Lenses

  1. #1
    Foamer
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    Old, REALLY Old Lenses

    I'm looking for a lens or two for my Shen Hao 4x5 field camera. (Takes Wista lensboards.) First, I want a really old relatively fast lens. I'm thinking of a Petzval. Second lens I want is a traditional landscape lens. I know they aren't fast. I'm looking for something wider than a "normal" lens, say the equiv. of ~35mm on a Nikon camera. I'd like both to be brass, like a hood, have either Waterhouse or wheel stops, and be no older than 1880. Top price around $600 for the Petzval, less for the landscape lens.

    I don't think I want a shutter added. I shoot at night a lot so I can simply count out the seconds and use a black hat or lens cap. I can use heavy ND filters during the daytime. Another option is I have about 8,000 watt seconds of portable monolight power and can simply use flash duration as my "shutter" at night.

    I am mostly an outdoor shooter, and shoot at night quite a bit. My subjects are abandoned farmhouses (especially interiors,) old country churches, railroads, small towns at night, and traditional landscapes. I currently use a 1937 Voigtlander Bessa and love the look of the shots. I've been shooting LF for about five years and am used to it. I mostly only shoot Ilford HP5 with my film cameras (also have a restored 1915 Kodak Autograhic Special No. 1 with Taylor & Hobson Cooke triplet lens.)

    Although I have pro Nikon digital gear, I really enjoy using the older historical gear too. I like the finely crafted lenses, hand assembled precision cameras. I also like the sense of connection to photographers of long ago. Especially, I like the challenge of using this older gear! The look and feel of the gear is just as important to me as the results.

    SO, what do you suggest? I'm thinking a Petzval from Dallmeyer or Darlot would probably work well for the "fast" lens, but what about a wider angle landscape lens? Lensboard is 3.75 inches wide, and distance from lensboard to GG is about 2 inches, maybe 2 & 1/16 inches. My plan is to simply bolt the lens onto the board, with the flange.


    Kent in SD




  2. #2
    Lachlan 717
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    Re: Old, REALLY Old Lenses

    Extra Rapide Rectaliniar's for the shorter lens.

    I have a tiny one (somewhere around 5") mounted on a Linhof board that I don't use much. Beautiful lens; brass and black anodised body, Waterhouse slot. Pretty little lens!
    Lachlan.

    You miss 100% of the shots you never take. -- Wayne Gretzky

  3. #3

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    Re: Old, REALLY Old Lenses

    Kent, interesting, uncommon way of shooting. Nice job and welcome. You just missed my small Darlot Petzval I was selling in the classifieds. But you will find another.

    You might like a Wide Angle Rectilinear for your other lens. They are common.

  4. #4
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    Re: Old, REALLY Old Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    Kent, interesting, uncommon way of shooting. Nice job and welcome. You just missed my small Darlot Petzval I was selling in the classifieds. But you will find another.

    You might like a Wide Angle Rectilinear for your other lens. They are common.

    Unfortunately, as a new member I can't see the classifieds for 30 days. If anyone has something listed on there I might be interested, you can PM or email me.


    Kent in SD

  5. #5

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    Re: Old, REALLY Old Lenses

    You are proposing an action which is contrary to the current Forum rules for trading here !!

  6. #6
    Foamer
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    Re: Old, REALLY Old Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    You are proposing an action which is contrary to the current Forum rules for trading here !!
    Note I made no mention of any particular item, there is no link to e Bay etc., no price mentioned, and it's entirely within the context of the thread I started. I'm definitely NOT a dealer, and not a spammer by any means. I did a quick read of the guidelines and I don't seem to have crossed anything specifically. Somone ELSE mentioned an item on buy/sell board, but may have fogotten that as being new to the forum I don't have access to it for a month. I am a practical person. How would YOU have handled it?


    Kent in SD

  7. #7
    All metric sizes to 24x30 Ole Tjugen's Avatar
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    Re: Old, REALLY Old Lenses

    I agree with the WAR - Wide Angle Rectilinear. Not an "Extra Rapid" - they are NOT wide. But one of those could be a good substitute for a Petzval?

    Also - being European and having enough lenses of various types to compare, in my experience a "Wide Angle Aplanat" is likely to be a lot sharper than a WAR. The Rectilinears and Aplanats are mostly of the same construction, but the wide angle versions are quite different in design and performance. Look for a Emil Busch "R.O.J.A" Wide Angle Aplanat (or Weitwinkel-Aplanat in German) Serie C no. 2 (or even better #1), or something like that. Nice little thing with wheel stops.

  8. #8

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    Re: Old, REALLY Old Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by goamules View Post
    Kent, interesting, uncommon way of shooting. Nice job and welcome. You just missed my small Darlot Petzval I was selling in the classifieds. But you will find another.

    You might like a Wide Angle Rectilinear for your other lens. They are common.
    Kent, I have one just like goamules but it doesn't have any name on it so it's cheaper, also sort of unusual for the era but it is nickel plated. French 5 1/2" petzval f3.2. Contact me off line if interested. jim dot galli at frontier dot com or PM me here.

    I also get landscape meniscii from time to time and mount them in shutters like this one. Go look at the photos done with that and see it it's what you're after. They don't look pretty and antiquey but they are 95 years + old or so in a modern shutter.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

  9. #9
    Foamer
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    Re: Old, REALLY Old Lenses

    Quote Originally Posted by Ole Tjugen View Post
    Nice little thing with wheel stops.
    I love the idea of wheel stops. I think they look cool! I know a little bit about modern lenses, but still have a lot to learn about the older ones I'm seeking now. I have put some thought into what I want the lens to do and what results I'm after. That should put me at least half way. I've been reading up on things on the internet for the past month and am beginning to zero in much better. A place like this forum is a true shortcut for me!

    As for the Wide Angle Aplanat supplanting the need for a Petzval, I actually want the Petzval a bit more. My thinking is that the Petzval type are the fastest lens of that vintage that I'm likely to find. I think I need the speed since I shoot at night quite a bit. I'm looking for the second lens more for its wide angle capability than anything. As I've mentioned, I've been shooting the Voightlander Bessa for several months now and love it. However, I really do miss having wider angle capability. Last month I nearly picked up a Voigtlander Bergheil 6.5x9 miniature view camera. It was dark green and seriously cool! However, it too only had a "normal" lens, and I only saw telephotos available for it (expensive!). I got to thinking considering the effort to shoot a Bergheil and to shoot my Shen Hao are about the same, I'd just go for the much older lens and the bigger neg. The one thing that really attracted me to the Bergheil besides its cool dark green color was the fact this was the camera that one of the greatest night shooters of all time used: Brassai!


    Kent in SD

  10. #10
    multi format
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    Re: Old, REALLY Old Lenses

    kent

    be careful with old brass lenses
    getting them can be kind of an addiction

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