View Full Version : Rembrandt Portrait Lens

Joe Smigiel
22-Dec-2004, 19:55
A friend gave me a mint 10" f/4.5 Burke & James Rembrandt Portrait Lens today. I've never heard of this lens before although I do have several B&J Rembrandt Cameras.

The lens appears to be coated and I'm guessing has 3 elements since I see three pairs of reflections, two pair from the front group and one pair from the rear element.

Does anyone know about the design or history of this lens? Thanks for any info.

Ernest Purdum
23-Dec-2004, 08:57
I can't tell you much. B&J catakogues of the 50's and 60's list a "Rembrandt Portrait" f4.8 (typo?) in barrel and an f4.5 "Rembrandt Pictorial" in Betax. Both are stated to cover 5" X 7" and the latter is said to be "Ideal for head and shoulder portraits on 5x7 in. or 1/2 of 5x7 in.". In the 1963 catalogue there is a separate listing for f8 Rembrandt Super-Portrait lenses which are stated to bemade to a modified Darlot-Petzval formula and were available in 14" and 18" lengths as well as 10". Shutter availability may have had something to do with the surprisingly small aperture of these.

Besides "Rembrandt", B&J put their Carl Meyer tradename on some portrait lenses, sometimes along with "Chromox". The Rembrandt Portrait f4.5 lenses were made in lengths from 6" to 18". There were also other apertures.

Your description of the reflection pairs and, in particular, their spacing, sounds like a triplet type, or perhaps a three group type with more elements, since you would not necessarily be able to see reflections from the cemented surface(s).

Peter C. McDonough
23-Dec-2004, 19:45
I have the Rembrant 12" f/4.5. It is a soft wide open and sharp closed down lens. It is very much like the Kodak Portrait lens. I presumed it to be a knock-off of that lens design-wise. It takes beautiful portraits and I control the softness via the aperature. My 12" covers 8x10.