Mike Cockerham
23-Aug-2004, 18:58
I have a Conley 5x7 the lens says Conley f 8 Three focus rapid rectilinier, Conley Safety. Does anyone one have any information?


Ernest Purdum
23-Aug-2004, 20:19
Rapid Rectilinear lenses were the best available longer focal length lenses between 1866, when they were developed, basically simultaneously, by Dallmeyer and Steinheil (Steinheil called his the Aplanat), and about 1890, when anastigmats began to become available. They were usually totally symmetrical, but could be made with different focal length cells, like yours. The cell of a Rapid Rectilinear is basically a "landscape" lens and can be used by itself if the camera concerned has enough extension. Conley made view cameras, so a triple convertible could be used on their products. f8 was the usual maximum aperture for R.R. lenses. The individual cells would, of course, be slower. People often think that the R.R. lenses on many Folding Pocket Kodaks were f4, but these are also f8, the aperture markings being of a different system.

"Safety" refers to the shutter, rather than the lens, but I have litt;le idea why they named it that. It may have been intended to indicate that the shutter was self-capping, that is it didn't open up while being cocked as some early shutters did.

Philippe Gauthier
24-Aug-2004, 09:34
I own exactly the same in its 8x10 version - 12.5, 20 and 28 inches. Be sure that these f/stops are really f/stops. My own version uses the old US system, with figures going from 4 to 256, ie, f/8 to f/64.

Be sure to stop a lot. Even at f/16 or f/22, the corners can be pretty soft. I have only used at at its normal focal lenght of 12.5 inches so far. It allows only pretty limited movements on my Seneca view camera (first version, not the Improved Seneca).

Mike Cockerham
24-Aug-2004, 11:12
Unfortunaly the shutter is broken, I can use it as a barrel lens, or do you konw of a shutter is will fit into.


Ernest Purdum
24-Aug-2004, 11:22
The Conley shutters were actually made by Wollensak I think it is likely that the mounting threads would be the same as those on other Wollensak shutters, perhaps even much later ones. Spacing, however, would have to be the same as well. I think your best bet would be to touch base with a repair person who could take measurements and advise you. Are you sure your existing shutter is beyond repair?

Mike Cockerham
24-Aug-2004, 12:21
I have taken it apart and it looks like it is corroded so that the shutter blades will not move. I will try to loosen them up. I think that there is something broken.

Philippe Gauthier
25-Aug-2004, 12:57
Yes, they were Wollensaks.

And very well made, I should add. Mine is over 100 years old. It's been restored to some extent by the previous owner, but still it's impressive to hear this ancient precision device fire with a very soft click. I never precisely measured the times, but they sound (and look) pretty much on spot. Impressive.

If you can fix yours without destroying it, fine. But as it is a rather capable shutter, I'd urge you to get pro service. It will be much cheaper than buying a new one and you'll have the satisfaction of using the original brass thing.

3-Sep-2004, 07:46

Hi-I recently bought this lens and shutter ( both look and sounds perfect) and was planning to use them on a B&J 5x7 for a collodion project I'm working on. Has anyone shot with these lenses? Do you have any images you can share? I'd love to hear your comments and maybe see some images.