View Full Version : Goerz Dogmar Lens Question - Soft Focus?

Anthony Oresteen
20-Jan-2016, 10:10
There's a 4x5 lens listed on eBay as a soft-focus Dogmar. It's a C.P. Goerz Berlin Dogmar 21cm f/4.5 'Soft Focus Portrait Lens' .

Are Dogmar lenses soft-focus?


I'm thinking about using it with my Hasselblad.


20-Jan-2016, 10:13
short answer is - no.

John Kasaian
20-Jan-2016, 10:20
From the vade mecum:

"Dogmar A new dialyt series was announced in Photography 26/05/1914, working at f4.5 in the shorter foci. Since it was very late prewar, most examples will be postwar. Adverts. stressed it was a very highly corrected lens, but the major sales feature was that it was separable, the front cell giving 2x focus, and the rear one 1.5x focus. It was said to be free from ghosting, and the f4.5 was initially made in up to wholeplate size, the longer sizes being in f5.5. It covers 55? or 54? at full aperture, and 60? at smaller apertures. It was suggested to use 21cm for 13x18cm plate. The f5.5 covered a slightly larger angle (54-60?) and a slower version at f6.3 covered a bit more again (60-65?). However it was not primarily sold for its angle of cover, and the slower version was short lived, being replaced by the Tenastigmats, etc. The designer was W. Zschokke, and it was covered under Patent 258,494 and sold from 1914. It is sharper than Celor, and shows better edge detail than the Q15 type designs. [Zschokke then left Goerz after the association as Zeiss Ikon, and designed rather similar lenses for Kern, possible perhaps due to the take over by Zeiss Ikon and the absence of this lens type in the Zeiss lists.] Dogmar f4.5 60, 75mm for 2.375x2in, 90mm for 2.75x2.375in, 100mm for 2.5x3.5in, 125mm for 4.25x3.25in, 125mm for 4.25x3.25in, 135mm for 4.25x3.25in, 150mm for 4.75x3.5in, 165mm for 5x4in, 180mm for 6x4in, 195mm for 6.5x4.75in, 210mm for 7x5in, 240, 270, 300mm. Use 165mm for 5x4., 14in for 10x8. Separable, 3 focus. It covers 55? and there is no suggestion of improved cover when closed down. The other foci of the single cells were not detailed in adverts (eg B.J.A. 1925, p739)"

Jim Galli
20-Jan-2016, 10:23
Dogmar is basically a dialyt, like an Artar. So, intrinsically a very sharp lens, but, they suffer from non image forming light that can give them an "old school" sort of feel. They have 4 glass in 4 groups. So 8 surfaces for air to glass. You lose roughly 4% of your image forming light per surface. So we're getting up around 30%. On interiors, sometimes that actually works for you, lighting up the shadows. Contrast is low.

20-Jan-2016, 10:31
While it's definitely not a soft focus portrait lens it may be soft in terms of contrast and sharpness if it's not very clean. With 8 air-glass surfaces it's more prone to flare than a similar age Dagor etc but they are excellent sharp lenses when clean :D


Anthony Oresteen
20-Jan-2016, 11:50
Thanks guys! That's a lot to absorb & think about. If the price doesn't astronomically high, I may jump in.

I've been adapting a number of lenses to be used on my bellows and Hasselblad 2000FC/M (focal plane shutter) and this one struck my eye.

20-Jan-2016, 13:53
Don't pay too much for it unless you can see it first hand. The photo you posted would put me off this particular lens, which is in a sunken mount, you also need the flange (if one's not included). I have a few Dialytes and they all look (and are) an awful lot cleaner than this lens in photograps.

When I first joined this Forum Dagors were the "Cult" lens, you see far fewer for sale now and Dogmars seem to have been rising in value as a consequence. I know it's not as fast but the 203mm Kodak Ektar (also a Dialyte) is a far better lens and being coated is almost flare free and usually in a shutter. The coatings improved and later versions in Prontor or Compur #0 (Kodak Ltd, British made) and Compur #1 (Eastman Kodak) are the best.

Jim Galli's point about the 4% image loss per air/glass surface is important (not sure about the figure I thought it was more like 1-2% but whatever it is it's highly relevant when compounded up) it's the internal surfaces that matter the most, a Dogmar has 6, a Dagor has 2, a Tessar 4. add in scratches dirt etc and that has a profound effect on the final results.


20-Jan-2016, 15:58
Dogmars were often sold with 3-color-seperation cameras because of true apochromatic effect.

Jim Galli
20-Jan-2016, 16:03
Dogmars were often sold with 3-color-seperation cameras because of true apochromatic effect.

Didn't know that, but it makes sense. Like a real fast APO Artar.

Dan Fromm
20-Jan-2016, 16:20
Dogmars were often sold with 3-color-seperation cameras because of true apochromatic effect.

Interesting. I've seen one-shot color cameras with Dogmars but I think you're reading too much into that.

The 1951 Goerz catalog (see http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/goerz_3.html) says that the Dogmar's"high color correction makes it a fine lens for color separation, Kodachrome and other color films" but doesn't assert that it is an apochromat. Goerz certainly didn't offer it as an alternative to the Artar for process work.

The catalog also makes clear that the Dogmar, unlike the Artar, is asymmetrical. That is, the two cells have different focal lengths. Its says that "at their maximum aperture the single elements produce artistic, soft effects." This may be where the OP's idea that Dogmars are soft focus lenses came from.

20-Jan-2016, 18:20
Forget what I said. It's been over 65 years since I lusted for a National or Curtis, and fixated on their brochures, and my memory often plays tricks on me.

Struan Gray
21-Jan-2016, 01:27
I've used a roughly similar uncoated 4:4 lens - a Ross Homocentric - for portraits of my kids on 6x6, using a Hasselblad 2003FCW mounted on my Sinar. It gave a very distinct look and colouration, which I suspect were mostly created by flare - the background and surrounding walls were white. In even light, the portraits turned out almost non-photographic, like a painting by Modigliani or Gwen John. A nice schtick, but I wouldn't use it as a general photographic tool.

Anthony Oresteen
21-Jan-2016, 09:32
I've used a roughly similar uncoated 4:4 lens - a Ross Homocentric - .....the portraits turned out almost non-photographic, like a painting by Modigliani or Gwen John. ...

Now that sound interesting. I assume the portraits were done in color; did you ever shoot B&W with the Ross lens?

Struan Gray
21-Jan-2016, 11:22
Now that sound interesting. I assume the portraits were done in color; did you ever shoot B&W with the Ross lens?

I'm afraid not. I shoot very little B+W in any format, which is weird because most of my favourite photographers work in B+W. I use Portra (NC if there is a choice) almost exclusively.

It was an interesting look, but I'm just not a portraitist.

Despite the clumpiness of a Hasselblad body mounted on a Sinar 4x5 (a Norma), the setup did work pretty well for changing setups, focussing, and shooting. I have the F winder, which helped minimise fiddling with the camera, although you do get through film quickly :-)

23-Jan-2016, 06:11
I've just been checking a 1911/12 120mm f6.8 Dagor (in a compound) I received this morning and comparing it to a 135mm f6.3 Goerz-Ihagee lens which is a Dialyte similar to the Dogmar. Both lenses are in remarkably good optical and mechanical condition but what is instantly apparent is the difference in contrast. I was so surprised I did a second set of exposures with the Dagr. I also compared a 165mm f5.3 CZJ Tessar (not a typo it's a rare f5.3 version) and a Meyer 141mm f9 WA all uncoated. The tests were all made at full aperture on bellow on my DSLR, I just wanted a rough comparison of contrast there's been no adjustment,

Dagor 120mm f6.8


Goerz- Ihagee 135mm f6.3


CZJ Tessar 165mm f5.3


Meyer WA 141mm f9


I really hadn't expected such a huge difference between the Dagor and the Tessar but I did expect the Dialyte and WA to be lwere contrast than both the Dagor and the Tessar. I've put the Dagor and Ihagee-Goerz on lens boards and there's a very marked visual difference on the focus screen of my Super Graphic.


Dan Fromm
23-Jan-2016, 08:59
Ian, y'r Dagor vs. Tessar result isn't at all surprising. I got a similar result when I shot my 210/7.7 Beryl S (a coated Dagor type) against a 210/9 Konica Hexanon GR II (6/6, single coated). The KH is sharper at f/9 and f/11, they're equal from f/16 down but the Beryl S wins on contrast and color saturation on E6.

Your other results are surprising. I've had one non-process Goerz dialyte, a 13 cm/6.8 nameless cheapie that came in dial set Compur. It had much worse flare than my 1912 130/6.3 CZJ Tessar.

23-Jan-2016, 09:50
I think you're right Dan about the uncoated Tessar, I was using one regularly for a time in Turkey, while the one here is lower contrast than the Dagor I know could use it for B&W work (print a grade harder) but the flare is very noticeable with the dialyte. After posting earlier I also tried an un-named Rapid Rectilinear and the contrast was similar to the Tessar, perhaps just a touch higher.

It's a dull day here and the Yashinon on my TLR flares slightly under similar conditions. I'd like to test the lenses again in the Spring when the weather's better and I'll include my two 150mm coated Tessars CZJ and CZ (West Germany). Meanwhile I'll start using the Dagor.


J. Patric Dahlen
27-Aug-2016, 19:59
Aha, so your test was hiding in this thread, Ian! It should be a sticky, because it's very interesting and telling. It's easy to see why the Tessar became the standard lens for many. Fast and good contrast.

I have six sheets that I will develop maybe tomorrow, that I took with my 135/6,3 Dogmar. Then I will probably mount an Orthostigmat on a camera and use it for my next photo adventure. It's a reverse Dagor and sharper at full aperture than the Dagor.

28-Aug-2016, 12:18
short answer is - no.

I think I liked the short answer better.