View Full Version : Anonymous lens

26-Jan-2014, 15:05
About a year ago I got this 5x7" L.G. Kleffel & Sohn Reisekamera, made in Berlin in the late 19th century. I've used it now and then and I find the lens to be surprisingly good for its age! It's humbling to use equipment that old.
now I just would like to know more about the lens. It says only Rapid Aplanat No3 Serie A. I've searched the forum and the archives but found nothing. (It's a pity the archived threads has had their photos removed)

So, anyone bold enough to stick his/her tongue out and tell me what this is?


Liquid Artist
27-Jan-2014, 01:15
Too bad they don't make them like that anymore. That lens is beautiful.
If you happen to have some scanned pictures from it I'd love to see 1.

Steven Tribe
27-Jan-2014, 01:47
Kleffel may well be a just a retail outlet for this camera. Fixing nice engraved plates on camera bodies was very popular in this period - both in France and Germany.

There are a lot of these Aplanats around. The faster ones are usually labelled A, while the more common F8 types have no series letter or B or C. Wide angles are often labelled E or F. This seems to match the Aplanat market leader's (Busch) designation of Aplanat types and was also followed by Goerz's Lynkeioskop series. All these Aplanat's could be very good indeed, the usual argument for the adoption of Protars and Dagors is that they were quite a lot faster.

There was some degree of agreement between Aplanat makers that size 1 was for 9x12cm, 2 for 10x15cm, 3 for 13x18cm, 4 for 18x24cm. Sometimes a "3" will cover 18x24cm. Coverage increases dramatically when they are at very small apertures.

27-Jan-2014, 04:31
"Liquid", here's a f64 test on one of the two 5x7 glass plates expired in the 60's that followed the camera: http://www.flickr.com/photos/cheffalo/8596415893/in/set-72157633044389523
The lens is really good. The plate had some issues after all these years but I think it adds to the soul of the image. I have this quite large on my wall, on super matt Ilford multigrade paper.

27-Jan-2014, 04:32
Steven, it has indeed a really nice name plate made of ivory.
Thank you for the information. You can't tell who made this lens then? There were many producers, I understand.

Steven Tribe
27-Jan-2014, 05:22
No one knows whether there was one maker of these anonymous lenses. It could cover Busch or even a known French maker or even a maker we don't know about. Some lenses are traceable when they have trademark, like "meteor" or "lightning" and goerz made some others without their name, but identified as their (cheaper) products in lens catalogues at the time.

Carsten Wolff
27-Jan-2014, 06:39
Looks not unlike an early Emil Busch Rapid Aplanat No 3(A?) lens. E.g.:
The size, the black ring and the hood have that same look; however, the engraving is a different style and the aperture elector is the earlier style as well.

27-Jan-2014, 11:46
Carsten, that is the most look a like lense I've seen so far! Thank you very much!