View Full Version : Bausch and Lomb Tessar series 1c

25-Aug-2013, 12:56
hi, I'm relatively new to LF and looking for a portrait lens that will give me that antique soft focus look without breaking the bank (I can't afford the likes of a Cooke PS945) to use on my Sinar Norma. I've come across the Bausch and Lomb Tessar series 1c f4.5, does anyone have experience of using this lens? Most of the ebay listings I see for this lens come without a shutter, what shutter would I need for this lens?


Jon Shiu
25-Aug-2013, 13:00
Hi, I advise to buy it already mounted in the shutter. Otherwise the lens cells may not fit into a standard shutter without custom made fittings, ie expensive.


Dan Fromm
25-Aug-2013, 13:36
+1 to Jon's comment.

Y'know, age notwithstanding f/4.5 Tessars are modern lenses with the modern look. If you want the antique look, underexpose, overdevelop, and do your best to age the prints rapidly.

Steven Tribe
25-Aug-2013, 14:32

Meniscus landscape/portrait lenses in shutter from the 1890's are available at reasonable cost. Or similar, Rapid Rectilinear/Aplanat.

John Kasaian
25-Aug-2013, 14:59
The B&L Tessar 1c is discussed in an article on the LF Home Page, with examples. Click on LF Home Page on the blue banner at the top of this page and go to the articles on lenses. You'll find it in there.

26-Aug-2013, 01:03
thanks everyone for replying, will give it some thought whether it's really the right lens for my purposes

28-Feb-2017, 15:39
I just picke-up a 4x5 f4.5 B&L-Zeiss Tessar series 1c stamped with Pat Feb 1903 serial #1259269. It's in excellent condition. Any idea of it's focal length and it a lense worth getting mounted in a shutter?


Steven Tribe
28-Feb-2017, 16:12
Focal length is 6 1/2".
Worth mounting in a shutter? I would say no. This is a common lens and often available in a shutter. You will have to buy a similar lens in a shutter to get hold of the right shutter.

More data here.

28-Feb-2017, 17:16
Thanks for the focal length info and I'll take your advice and not both with a shutter. The lens is on loan and I'll return it and save a few dollars.

William Whitaker
28-Feb-2017, 20:17
The Tessar 1c has a beautiful signature wide open at f/4.5 and is one of my favorite lenses. You say you're using a Norma. Get a Sinar/Copal shutter and you have all you need. I frequently see Tessar 1c's marked 5x7 or 5x8. They'll have a focal length somewhere around 210mm or 8 1/4", perfect for a portrait length for 4x5. They're in a barrel as you noted, so the Sinar shutter will work wonderfully for your application. The lenses don't have any appreciable dimension behind the lensboard, so you don't risk interference with the shutter mechanism. I use a 10x12 Tessar 1c for my Norma in the 8x10 configuration.

PM if I can help with anything.

1-Mar-2017, 05:15
It's a nice smooth lens as will says. I have a bigger version around 400mm. It is cheap and giod though not quite soft. More like a first attempt at being sharp.

1-Mar-2017, 10:12
I have an 11X14 1C (about 385mm I think) that I use on 8X10. I think it weighs in at about 6 lbs. I guess it is one of those lenses that I'll never part with.

3-Mar-2017, 17:50
All very helpful and my thanks. The 4x5 (6.5") is too short for portraits so took it back and by a miracle they found a 5x7 version. Would know the focal length of this lens. I'm hoping close to 10"?

I also found a: "made by Ilex for Profexray-Litton 11R-90 EF 12" f6.3 No. 111, any thought or experience with this lens?


Dan Fromm
3-Mar-2017, 18:43
http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/bauschlomb_5.html See p.22. Equivalent focus means focal length.

Re the Ilex Profexray-Litton, I wouldn't gamble on it. There's no guarantee the cells will fit a shutter. Your Shen-Hao doesn't have a shutter. On the other hand, its your resources so if the barrel has a diaphragm and you can afford to lose the lens' cost and you can afford to lose the cost of a large shutter plus an adapter to hold the lens in front of the shutter or the shutter in front of the lens, be a sport and buy it.

Ilex lenses are poorly documented. If you want a known decent 12"/6.3 tessar type, look for a 12" Commercial Ektar or a 12" Ilex Acutar or a 300/6.3 Fujinon L. There's probably a 12"/6.3 Commercial Congo too, but their QC isn't the best. All of these can be found in shutter. In general, remounts that come to more than screwing the cells into a shutter you already have and having the aperture scaled cost more than the lens or an equivalent already in shutter.

William Whitaker
3-Mar-2017, 18:53
The 1920 Bausch & Lomb catalog shown at http://cameraeccentric.com/html/info/bauschlomb_3.html lists the 5x7 Tessar 1c focal length as 7 1/2 inches.

It's shown on page 57 of the catalog. You'll need to scroll to the price lists at the back.

You won't find a 10" focal length until you get past the 6 1/2 x 8 1/2 version. Be aware, the larger versions of this lens can get quite heavy.

But a fairly similar lens with a focal length closer to 10" would be a 9 1/2" Wollensak Velostigmat. It might be worth your consideration.

Edit: Dan beat me to it. :-)

4-Mar-2017, 04:35
Be aware, the larger versions of this lens can get quite heavy.He should know - he sold me my 11X14 version about 5 years ago. And I agree with Will on the Velostigmat - I have the 8 1/4" version in a Betax shutter - it is a wonderful performer on 4X5.

Mark Sawyer
4-Mar-2017, 11:22
If you increase the spacing of the front element in any Tessar, you'll increase the spherical aberration, which gives you soft focus. Wollensak and Ilex had adjustable spacing for some of their Tessars for just that reason. Here's an old Jim Galli article on doing it to an old B&L Tessar:


4-Mar-2017, 12:05
A Wollensak Velostigmat would be my choice. I have two, and they are wonderful for portrait wide open. Plentiful on ebay.

Kent in SD

5-Mar-2017, 04:57
Good advice. Will search for a Velostigmat and forget the Ilex. The B&L I'll keep for landscapes when shooting paper negs with my lens cap being the precision shutter.

I'm new at paper negs and have been using Ilford Multigrade glossy and satin paper with a wee bit of preflashing and so far all is okay, any suggestions???

5-Mar-2017, 05:46
I have a B&L 1c Tessar in a Wollensak Velosto shutter, surprisingly these old shutters use the same threads and spacing as later similar size Wollensak shutters like the Betax, Alhax, Gammax, Rapax etc. So I can use the cells from my 180mm Kodak 180mm f7.7 Anastigmat (dialyte which are mounted in an Optimo (the Velosto name was already used by another Co in the UK) in a late production Alphax.

Crombie, a Velostigmat or later Raptar is just another Tessar type lens so why not look at CZJ Tessars and Schneider Xenars as well, also the Ilex Paragon lenses which again are Tessar type.


6-Mar-2017, 13:24
Thanks Ian.

It certainly seems the Tessar type was/is very popular and as you point out there's lots of options for me check-out.


9-Mar-2017, 14:24
Just received this jewel in the post today. Any knowledge about this lens?
5x8 Bausch and Lomb ZEISS TESSAR Series 1c f/1.2

9-Mar-2017, 15:33
What the hell...f/1.2? Did you photoshop that? I thought all the 1c's were f/4.5

Louis Pacilla
9-Mar-2017, 15:46
Its a US scale & not F stop scale notice the missing f22 that's because it's marked in US scale so US 1.2 = f4.5. The Tessar Ic is f4.5 at it's widest aperture . Plenty of information on US, F stop, and other aperture scales here if you do a search.

Louis Pacilla
9-Mar-2017, 15:51
Great little lens BTW. The "Eagles Eye" as they called it the days of old.:)

9-Mar-2017, 16:24
What threw me off was, I have other lenses with US scale, but they all have the "US-" mark just before the "1.2".

12-Mar-2017, 04:23
I just uploaded some info and image samples for Tessars. I have a few Ic and a IIb 360mm, this one with diameter of iris engraved in aperture ring (in mm).

12-Mar-2017, 08:20
I just uploaded some info and image samples for Tessars. I have a few Ic and a IIb 360mm, this one with diameter of iris engraved in aperture ring (in mm).

Great write-up, thanks for posting.

12-Mar-2017, 12:18
I just uploaded some info and image samples for Tessars. I have a few Ic and a IIb 360mm, this one with diameter of iris engraved in aperture ring (in mm).

Very interesting and well written. Thank you for sharing.