View Full Version : help with Dall. Soft Focus Portrait Anastigmat

Tim Meisburger
12-Apr-2013, 22:59
I am trying to disassemble a Dallmeyer Soft Focus Portrait Anastigmat to clean between the two forward lens elements. Here is the lens:
http://i1120.photobucket.com/albums/l496/Tim_Meisburger/Phone4-13158_zps39fc0811.jpg (http://s1120.photobucket.com/user/Tim_Meisburger/media/Phone4-13158_zps39fc0811.jpg.html)

I was able to completely disassemble the rear group. Here is a picture of the lens with the rear group removed:

http://i1120.photobucket.com/albums/l496/Tim_Meisburger/Phone4-13159_zpsf18327fb.jpg (http://s1120.photobucket.com/user/Tim_Meisburger/media/Phone4-13159_zpsf18327fb.jpg.html)

Can someone who has one of these post a picture of the front group disassembled? I think I can make a circular vise and wrench set to get this apart, but want to know for sure where the joints are.

Alternatively, please recommend a lens repair shop that can disassemble this.

Best, Tim

Tim Meisburger
13-Apr-2013, 21:24
Nobody has one? This must be the rarest soft focus lens in the world, worth a fortune!

Steven Tribe
14-Apr-2013, 00:42
There is a previous thread on the triplet Dallmeyer (proably yours!) which doesn't appear to have sold very well. I suppose the Cooke variants had cornered the market by the time this appeared.
I expect it is the same same basic construction as the Heliar Universal and Soft Cooke series II and VI.

Tim Meisburger
14-Apr-2013, 05:07
Thanks Steven. I've googled the heck out of it but cannot seem to find much information on it. I do have the impression some people think it is a copy of the cooke. It is heavy as hell, but in pretty good shape, and might be a nice lens if I can clean it up. Why oh why did these lens designers not include flats for wrenches...

Steven Tribe
14-Apr-2013, 10:51
The Cooke series IIE (perhaps some other II's as well) do have slots in the front lens for wrenches.

Tim Meisburger
6-May-2013, 00:56
Ha! Got it apart. Cut the diameter of one part in a 1x4, split it, then clamped it round the lens to hold that part, then did the same in a longer piece of wood to make a wrench to turn it. Funny, or confusing, thing is it had reverse threads. The grease in it had deteriorated into some sort of black glue. No wonder so many lenses are stuck. Anyway, I can now "Turn for Soft Focus"!

Steven Tribe
6-May-2013, 02:39
Well done, Tim!

Tim Meisburger
6-May-2013, 02:58
Thanks Stephen. This is a fascinating lens. You can search all over the internet, and there is almost no information for this model, and no pictures. The cool think is that for soft focus there are no numbers at all, and the amount of diffusion is unlimited. You just unscrew the front element as much as you want. I counted potentially 19 complete turns yielding an element separation of more than half an inch at maximum. Unfortunately, it doesn't have a flange, but I'll figure some way to mount it, and am really looking forward to trying it out. I'll post my findings.

Now if I could just figure out how to unfreeze the soft focus on the 3B...

Tim Meisburger
6-May-2013, 02:59
Damn, if only I could read that. I need one of them thar slim belly patches...

6-May-2013, 07:08
Glad you got the lens working. Yeah, they're pretty unknown, at least to me. But Dallmeyer only made excellent glass, so it should be a great lens.

I was unfreezing some stuff this weekend, with CLP Breakfree, which you used to get in the gun section of Walmart. You do have walmats in Thailand right? If not, try some banana oil or something!

Tim Meisburger
6-May-2013, 14:34
Thanks Garrett. Its oddly unknown, and I think must be a very late example of a lens made for the local trade [I]after[I] the rest of the world had moved on from large format soft focus. I assume the shift from professional LF to professional and amateur MF and 35mm occurred later than in more developed countries. As evidence, the closest image I could find to this lens was a very similar f3.5 lens sold on ebay by a guy from Pechaburi, Thailand! His was beautiful (museum quality!) but lacked the soft focus ring. The other one I have is a smaller, more common, f4.5 version without SF.

No Walmart here, but we do have the floating market!

For the 3B, do you happen to have one? It is not readily apparent where it should "Turn for Soft Focus". There is a tiny screw that goes through the barrel into the barrel threads of the rear lens assembly and I assume that is to keep the barrel from tightening or loosening when the soft focus is adjusted. If that is the case, then any strong torque on the barrel to loosen the soft focus would have the potential to shear off that little screw. Is that correct?

Steven Tribe
6-May-2013, 15:12
Yes, on some versions of the barrel front turn there is a locking screw so that the rear double cells don't turn at the same time in the flange. So it would sensible to remove this before using extreme torque!

Tim Meisburger
6-May-2013, 15:33
Yes, that is the rub. If I take the barrel off their is nothing to apply extreme torque to. Oh well. I'll save this problem for another thread and another day. After work today my next task is to get this anastigmat in a lensboard and give it a try.