View Full Version : Information on "JC Sommerville" No. 6 lens

15-Jan-2015, 13:16
Hi there
can anyone give me information on the following lens;

It's a J.C. Sommerville "Number 6"(?) Lens, number 2903 "16x20"

I think according to this page (http://www.piercevaubel.com/cam/acc/lenssommervilleuniversal.htm) it's a 24" f/8 lens?

Item number 371232030292 on the bay

Last I checked it had been sold, I was watching it and considered bidding... is there a reason it went for such a low price compared to other brass lens? I'm just trying to get a grasp on the general market of lenses like this before I make biddings.....
I know it's not a super fast lens, but the coverage, to me, would make it a pretty attractive option as a landscape lens? Or am I wrong?


15-Jan-2015, 13:37
Alex, you're alive! Sorry I can't help you with this question, I know nothing about old lenses. But it's good to see you posting here again. Anyway, the coverage seems quite liberal; you shoot 8x10, right?

15-Jan-2015, 14:05
It's a common reseller of American lenses. They come up often. Discussed here, among other threads:

http://www.largeformatphotography.info/forum/showthread.php?59666-FS-3-Brass-lenses-Bis-telar-RR-Meniscus (one I sold for $120)

It's a Rapid Rectilinear, which would work fine for large format landscapes. They go for about the going rate of any RR, except a couple of the top european makers, which go for about double the price.

15-Jan-2015, 15:28
As a portrait lens, not particularly great? One comment in one of those threads say it is "utterly unexciting", whatever that means?
There is another similar one from a different seller... wonder if it's worth the investment...

and koraks... hi mate! Yes I'm alive... I am away at work so don't frequent our "mutual regular haunt" from here... have seen you posting around the boards... glad to see you are still into LF! Yes I have 8x10, diving into wetplate. I am curious about this lens in particular because the coverage would allow moving to a larger format in the future should I want to (which seems pretty common with wet plate shooters), and the price seems pretty good....

15-Jan-2015, 15:57
What is utterly unexciting (smooth, flat, sharp) to one person (who likes radical swirl) may be a fantastic, classic lens to another (who likes the former traits). What is exciting to some looks nauseating to others. Each of us has to decide what we like, and not follow other's blindly.

Rapid Rectilinears are usually medium to high contrast, very sharp, and have nice smooth out of focus areas. Somervilles were probably made by Bausch and Lomb, or if earlier, by a french maker with a lot of experience. So they will have good quality, and would rival the look attained with the "top" makers.

Try this, buy the lens, take a few portraits, and tag them as shot with "16x20 Euryscop" and see how much acclaim you get. Tag them with "5x8 Somervill" and you will be ignored. Or don't tag them at all, and let people guess what you used, leaving all merit based on the quality of the photo!

15-Jan-2015, 18:22
Cheers for the response.
I was not so much concerned about the "swirl" of the lens, more interested in the coverage. If the lens indeed covers 16x20 inches and is plenty sharp (most important to me) then that makes it a very attractive option to me. I've found another similar one, I might grab it. Also, I'm not particularly interested in prestigious brand names. So long as the lens performs!


16-Jan-2015, 09:09
Actually more like a 7.5 stop lens, if I'm reading the "diameter" right... unless that's the overall barrel and not the glass...?

16-Jan-2015, 10:05
That should be right. RRs are usually about F8 anyway.

16-Jan-2015, 14:03
diving into wetplate.
I knew we'd get into that rotten stuff pretty soon ;) I'm looking forward to seeing your pictures from your current adventure as they come back from the lab (or emerge from the development tank)!

16-Jan-2015, 18:07
Haha yes it was only a matter of time... I've been itching to get my hands blackened for a couple of years now... finally procured everything I need.. just need some time on land to get stuck into it..

I'll be setting up the darkroom on board in a couple of weeks... the ship has a darkroom as she was built in 1990, the scientists used it. It's mostly disused now sometimes as an electronics lab. I'll rig up the Jobo (from CatLabs (www.catlabs.info)) in there and start devving some B&W's soon, shame I didn't bring any colour dev chemicals with me

Last time I spoke to you (was a while ago now, a few months at least?) I thought you were bowing out of the LF stuff and sticking with smaller formats... really glad to see you stuck with it. I can't look at pictures because our internet connection down here blocks 99% of images/videos for whatever reason so I can only see text. Really looking forward to seeing what you've produced. :cool:

17-Jan-2015, 16:10
That sounds about right for the price. I recently paid $800.00 for the 24 inch f8 Dallmeyer 16x18 RR In Immaculate condition, complete and with an original f20 water house stop. There is currently another 16x20 JC sommerville without a flange on the auction site. might go even cheaper. good luck Alex.