View Full Version : Lousy Dagor

7-Apr-2005, 06:47
After much pressure and advice to try a dagor for my 8x10 I finally bought a 180mm dagor. Being a wide angle sort of shooter this seemed like a good fit. Doing long exposures also lent itself to the inexpensive arena of the barrel lens. Well I have to say that this lens performs poorly. The corners are like mush and the entire image is very soft. This is what all the hoopla is about? Soft mushy images that lack contrast and detail. I was told by dagor lovers that the lenses are not sharp. I was also told NOT to enlarge images made with them. I guess this speaks to the low resolving power of the lens. If you are using 8x10 or bigger are you not doing it for the high res and tonal range? If you want to use a moldy oldy why not just use a rapid rectilinear? I have to say I think the dagor is lousy and clearly the optics people were right when they told me the dagor is a poor lens. Am I the only photograhper who feels this way? Sure seems like it. So whats the big deal w/ the dagor? Its also clear from reading posts that dagors of the same focal length have different coverages. This must speak to the sloppy manufacturing and poor selection of glasses. Didn't this lens also introduce the phenomena of focus shift? Ok, it was a revoultion in the late 1800's but today its just old. Excuse me if I like sharp images. I do use very old lenses for effect including the RR and some very poor quality wide angles. Just one opinion that goes against the grain.

Eric Wagner
7-Apr-2005, 07:24
Several years ago I borrowed a 6" Gold Rim Dagor from a friend to test. I evaluated the image by making a 2X enlargement. It was very sharp to 60 degrees at f22 and 67 degrees at f45, after which it got mushy in a hurry. Also, the plane of sharp focus was closer to the camera in the center of the field and curved away from the camera near the edges. I think a G-Claron is a much more useful lens than a Dagor.

Robert McClure
7-Apr-2005, 08:02
I had purchased a 12" Series III Dagor because of its ample coverage for 7x17. I learned, however, when I compared the Dagor's resolving power to my Wollensak 13" (Series IA Raptar Triple), that the Dagor was seemingly nowhere near the 13" Wollensak. I was a bit disappointed, especially because the Wollensak, though a good lens, is no Rolls Royce.

In the case of your 180 (and I am a newcomer, by the way), maybe the lens was disassembled at some point and reassembled incorrectly? Or maybe that particular specimen is not a very good one, or a kind of lemon? Or maybe that was the best that technology of that time could come up with (no computers, and all)?

Bottom line for me is that I'm saving my money for a 355 G-Claron.

Maybe Sandy King would weigh-in on this one. I'm with you, Joe. I like "sharp," too!

7-Apr-2005, 08:33
Of course the Dagor doesn't work on your 8x10! It ain't supposed to work. Why on earth did you think it would work? Why don't you try a 180mm Apo-Symmar on your 8x10? It won't work either, and you can badmouth it as well.

Steve Hamley
7-Apr-2005, 08:39

I've had reasonable performance from the ones I have, including one that is 104 years old.

The 180mm is generally not recognized as being suitable for 8x10 use, although almost everyone states that it will illuminate 8x10. Most people recommend 5x7 as the maximum format for a 7" (180mm) lens. You can search the archives here and at PN. I have a 7" on the way so I'll let you know what mine's like. I've also noticed that my 6" Goerz American Optical K1 in barrel will illuminate an 8x10 GG surprisingly uniformly, but it reportedly (and not surprisingly) will go to mush at the edges (this is a newly acquired lens, so not enough experience yet).

Is the lens in it's original shutter or barrel? Any impact damage? Dagors are noted for needing critical spacing of the cells. Also people recommend lenses with serials 77XXXX or greater because they believe that manufacturing quality control was better on these lenses.

Is yours clean and clear when a flashlight is shone through it? Also, I've seen some Dagors with cement problems, noticeable as hazy stuff when shining a light through the lens or looking through the lens at a light source. I'm of the opinion that haze either on the glass or in the cement can cause some of the issues you describe and that it doesn't take a lot depending on the lighting circumstances.

I've spoken with several people about the focus shift, and the consensus is that it needs to be compensated for in fine focusing with most Dagors, although some claim to have examples that don't exhibit focus shift. I suspect it's more of an issue when stretching the limits of coverage of a given lens.

A very experienced local pro (83 years old and still shooting) uses a bunch of Dagors and when asked about the focus shift, he stated that all lenses have some focus shift when stopping down, but some designs exhibit more than others. He said if you want the best results you should always check fine focus stopped down.


7-Apr-2005, 09:52
"I guess this speaks to the low resolving power of the lens. If you are using 8x10 or bigger are you not doing it for the high res and tonal range? If you want to use a moldy oldy why not just use a rapid rectilinear? I have to say I think the dagor is lousy and clearly the optics people were right when they told me the dagor is a poor lens. Am I the only photograhper who feels this way? Sure seems like it. So whats the big deal w/ the dagor? Its also clear from reading posts that dagors of the same focal length have different coverages. This must speak to the sloppy manufacturing and poor selection of glasses. Didn't this lens also introduce the phenomena of focus shift? Ok, it was a revoultion in the late 1800's but today its just old. "

About all I can say is that there are Dagors and there are Dagors and then there are Dagors. The Dagor was made for almost 100 years, from the 1890s until the late 70s or early 80s. They were made in Europe and in the US by many different optical firms and marketed by Goerz, Goerz America, Ross, Schneider, Zeiss, and who else? For that reason, even within the limitations of the design wide differences in performance of different specimens, which is very considerable, should not be surprising.

Most Dagors suffer from focus shift and also need to be stopped down to f/16 or f/22 for best resolution. Very early Dagors were not coated but since there are only four air-to-glass surfaces even uncoated Dagors are capable of good resolution and contrast when stopped down to f/11 or f/22. Late model coated Dagors should give excellent contrast unless the coating is tarnished or there are a lot of cleaning marks. The very last Dagors made in Switzerland by Kern were multi-coated and have outstanding contrast.

Dagors are capable of excellent results when contact printing from large format and ULF negatives. In fact, if you were to compare a contact print from a Dagor with one made from a modern lens of similar coverage, at the typical aperture of f/22 or f/32 that are used with these cameras, you would be hard pressed to find any advantage in the print made with the modern lens. Modern lenses give much better resolution when used at maximum aperture, but in fact we rarely ever use a lens at maximum aperture in LF and ULF photography.

Even though Dagors are more than adequate for contact printing with LF and ULF negatives my opinion is that they are somewhat over-priced in comparison to a few modern lenses which are both less expensive and give equal or better performance. The G-Claron is one good example. In focal lengths up to 355 one can usually find late model G-Clarons in a modern shutter for less than vintage Dagors. And the quality control with G-Claron was excellent from my experience with this line. Early G-Clarons were actually of dagor design but later models are symmetrical plasmats.

Herb Cunningham
7-Apr-2005, 11:39
been there: I have a cp goerz berlin 300mm that is sharp and contrasty, I paid $300 for it. I have a 300 Nikkor M that I paid about $500 or maybe $600, and it is a much better lens.

It does not seem logical, to quote spock, that the newer stuff would not be better than the older stuff.

I think the prices for dagors are "clult" prices, and there is nothing wrong with owning a lens that St. Ansel used, but from a purely technical point of view, the thing one gets from the old lenses is a certain softness, and the prints look different. Not better, different.

7-Apr-2005, 11:49
I certainly agree that they are overpriced as well. Especially the longer versions of 14". The basic dagor is what would be considered today, a process lens type. Symmetrical. In fact goerz sold the process dagor for a while.

Maybe I am expecting too much of the 180mm but Goerz data specs the lens to cover 8x10! I guess their expectations of performance were less than ours are today, or more like mine. Since they sell so high and everyone goes googy over them I was just expecting more. I think they are lousy lenses, especially by modern standards. They ought to be put into the vault.

7-Apr-2005, 11:58
let's see, I stopped counting at about 4000 award winning photos taken with a dagor.......So I guess....yes they are junk....how much do you want for it? also if you have one of those Veritos that you can never get sharp i'll buy that too. ( they're junk also)......lol....lol

7-Apr-2005, 12:33
Sounds like a troll to me....

Jon Wilson
7-Apr-2005, 12:42
There is hope out there for those who wish to own a dagor without mortgaging the house. I was lucky to pick up a 7" (180mm) in a volute shutter, without a flange, from Jim G. for a song. ebay item #7503788240. It was advertised as having coverage up to 5x7 (which it does) and that representation is consistent with the various goerz dagor charts which can been found this forum's threads. Having located a flange from another lens (kodak 152mm in a supermatic shutter, for those who have a Volute shutter without a flange), I am itching to try it out...but on my 4x5 and 5x7.

David A. Goldfarb
7-Apr-2005, 13:10
I think someone's just looking to buy a set of nice Dagors and is trying to drive the price down.

Jim Galli
7-Apr-2005, 13:36
Personally I think the Mona Lisa sucks. But it doesn't really matter what I think because the vote was in long before I formed my opinion. A 300 f9 Nikkor is sharper at 25 degrees from center than a Dagor. Fair enough. Go out to 80 degrees and see what the Nikkor has. No picture at all, OK, 60 degrees then, OK, mush, 40 degrees? That's about where it's breaking even with the Dagor that keeps right on going out to 80 plus degrees. I don't use my Dagor on 4X5 or my Nikkor on 7X17. For that matter I haven't used the 305 Dagor on 8X10. But I have used it successfully on 8X20.

Henry Suryo
7-Apr-2005, 13:42
I can't say that there aren't any lemon Dagors, but I have owned and tested many Dagors and have not found any that performed poorly. Some perfomed noticeably better than others, but they all have that special look that I and, I suspect, others have grown to love. I think Dagors are best used stopped down, where the image becomes clinically sharp. It's an image of high resolution, not so much acutance, and it retains much of the smooth look. I love it, for black and white, the tonality is just exquisite. I think they're my favorite lenses and almost always prefer to use them whenever I have a choice. Just my experience, that's all.

7-Apr-2005, 14:25
Yep my opinion counts for diddly but I did want to get some vibrant feedback from the dagor lovers club. I know many of you love them but I simply do not, ok. You can say whatever you want about the lens and its history but the optical facts are the design is old and outdated and performs like it. if you like the look then fine thats your boat, but I prefer a more modern lens design. ok? Like I said if I want the softer look I'll use a really old Rapid Rectilinear lens and shoot it wide open. Now what else can I say to fire up the crowds? people really have it bad for the dagor! its quite amusing.

Kerry L. Thalmann
7-Apr-2005, 14:52

This wouldn't by any chance be a "BERLIN DAGOR" would it? If it is, that would explain a lot. I'm referring specifically to a lens labeled "BERLIN DAGOR", not "C.P. Goerz Berlin" or "GOERZ DAGOR" or "C.P. GOERZ AM. OPT. INC." or "GOERZ OPTICAL INC.".

As Sandy mentioned, Dagors were made for nearly a century by several different companies in three countries on two continents. It is entirely possible a dud might have slipped through somebody's quality control during all those years. It's also possible your lens, that might be pushing 100 years old, is no longer performing as well as the day it left the factory. It could have been damaged at some point, or perhaps improperly re-mounted in a new barrel or shutter.

So, before we completely write off 100 years worth of Dagors as poor performers based on a sample size of one, tell us more about your particular lens. It would really help to know who made it and when. Please either post a photo or tell us exactly what it says on the lens. Please include everything that's engraved on the lens, including the serial number. Also, do both the front and rear cells have serial numbers? If so, do they match?

I don't doubt for a second that your lens is every bit as bad as you claim. However, I have also seen many Dagors that were capable of excellent performance. Maybe not quite as sharp and contrasty as the latest state-of-the-art multicoated APO something-or-other, but certainly much better than what you described. I've also seen a few Dagors that were total dogs (mostly "BERLIN DAGOR"s and one or two older lenses with poor centering or improper spacing).


Kerry L. Thalmann
7-Apr-2005, 15:07
Yep my opinion counts for diddly

P.S. I am not challenging your opinion. You are certainly entitled to it. I do take issue with making a sweeping generalization based on a single sample.

FWIW, within the last five years I purchased a brand new, state-of-the-art, computer designed lens from one of today's leading large format lens manufacturers that was a very poor performer. Based on the poor performance, it was obvious that this lens was defective. When I returned it for a refund, I was issued an aplogy and told the lens I got should have not passed quality control and never should have left the factory. I have used many lenses from this manufacturer over the years, including several that I currently own (including the replacement for the "lemon"). Other than this one particular exception, they have all been routinely excellent, including one of my all time favorite lenses. I'm certainly glad I didn't let one bad example cause me to abondon the entire brand. It just goes to show you, even in modern times with all of our advanced technology, we're still far from perfect.

P.P.S. I don't currently own any Dagors, but have in the past. I do own a few Artars, but I would never consider myself part of any Goerz or Dagor "cult".


7-Apr-2005, 15:41
It was a berlin dagor. Maybe I should sample more but its just not worth it to me. I think the lens performed like a dagor should, but have not used others. I take a much more technical approach to the lens design because I grew up around optical design and engineering people. I know optically the lens performs poorly compared to modern wide angles. I never got one because all I heard was how lousy they were from lens designers. I did get persuaded to try one due to all the photograhpers who urged me to do so. I have to forget some of the tech babble and just try a lens. I try to balance both sides - the technical vs the photographers point of view. I am not biased either way and this is why I gave the lens a try.

I have tried it. I did not like it. I do feel the lens had its own image quality. Soft but pleasing to alot of people. Personally I would be much happier shooting with a modern g-claron or apo-gerogon. Less expensive and certainly fine and sharp and in the same ballpark being symmetrical lenses and wide covering. Of course they are not the same design (exepting the early clarons) but they are easier to compare than a f9 nikkor and a dagor. or course those don't compare!

Jim Galli
7-Apr-2005, 16:21
Sounds to me like you had your conclusion before you made your one picture with one Dagor. Does your last name start with a Z and end in an S? I don't consider myself a cult person. I have more Protar's and G-Clarons than Dagor's. However, my 2 best performers of the entire bunch may well both be Dagor's.

Kerry L. Thalmann
7-Apr-2005, 16:23
It was a berlin dagor.

As I suspected. The "BERLIN DAGOR"s have a well deserved reputation for being hideously awful performers. They were assembled from old surplus glass by Burke & James in the years following WWII. The glass was of questionable origin and dubious quality and the assembly was equally suspect with mis-matched, poorly centered and improperly spaced elements.

Rather than repeat what is considered common knowledge, I'll refer you to the thread titled Bad Dagors? (http://groups-beta.google.com/group/rec.photo.equipment.large-format/browse_frm/thread/d82c809dd486f3fa/ad726a2780890462?q=%22berlin+dagor%22&rnum=3#ad726a2780890462) in rec.photo.equipment.large-format.

The corners are like mush and the entire image is very soft.

This is EXACTLY what I would suspect from a 7" "BERLIN DAGOR" shot on 8x10.

Maybe I should sample more but its just not worth it to me.

Since you went to the effort of testing one, it would have been nice if it had been a real Dagor and not some reject poorly assembled by Burke & James.

I know optically the lens performs poorly compared to modern wide angles.

The standad Dagor is not a wide angle design. It covers about 65 degrees at f22. Coverage can be pushed to about 85 - 87 degrees by stopping down to f45. Of course, even the best modern wide angle won't perform at it's best stopped down this far due to diffraction. At what aperture did you conduct your tests? A more approrriate comparison would be between a Dagor and a modern plasmat (which is, after all, an air-spaced deriviative of the Dagor), both shot at f22. Of course, neither will cover 8x10 in this test, but why penalize the Dagor for something even it's modern decendant can't do?

I'm not trying to make a Dagor convert out of you. As I mentioned, I don't own any Dagors myself. I'm just pointing out the flaws in your experiment (particularly the sample you selected for your testing) that lead to conclusions that deviate significantly form the the experience of others who use, and like, these lenses. Dagors certainly aren't for everybody, and the cult-driven prices have gotten ridiculous (ditto for Biogon and APO Lanthar prices), but there are valid reasons why some photographers like these lenses. To discount those reasons based on one poorly chosen sample unjustly trivializes the opinions of those photographers.

I personally test every lens I get and keep the ones that best meet my needs (which have evolved over time). I really don't care what name is on my lens, as long as it meets my needs and produces images that satisy me. That means I have lenses with the names Congo, Kyvytar and Germinar in my camera bag right next to my better known Super Symmars and APO Sironars. In the end, I know what each is capable of, and they all do what they asked. I am the limiting factor in my work, not them. I suspect this would still be true even if one of them was named Dagor (and long as it wasn't named "BERLIN DAGOR").


R.J. Fox
7-Apr-2005, 16:41
FWIW, the 1903 Berlin Dagor (9.5") that I recently bought seems plenty sharp to me, but I am only using it on my Speed Graphic. The lens definitely covers 8x10, and on 4x5 it's sweet all the way.

Today I just tried out a used Polaroid 545 holder on my SG using Type 54 (iso 100) Polaroid sheet film, and even at f16 (my Dagor is the f6.8 version) still shows excellent detail. At f32 it's superbly sharp corner to corner. Since I plan to use this lens mostly for portraits, it's exactly what I wanted -- nice character yet really sharp if desired.

I have absolutely no criticisms of this lens, and considering I paid $140 for it already mounted on a custom lenscone and Graphic board, it is my buy of the year.

Kerry L. Thalmann
7-Apr-2005, 17:19
FWIW, the 1903 Berlin Dagor (9.5") that I recently bought seems plenty sharp to me


Your lens is a genuine C.P. Goerz Berlin product, not a Burke & James assembled "BERLIN DAGOR". Your lens is much older, but far better.


Arthur Nichols
7-Apr-2005, 20:16
I have had a number of Dagors over the years including a 7" series III in a volute, a 6.5" F/8 WA Dagor and more recently a 12" Dagor. I once made a comparison between two 16x20 prints made from 4x5 negatives, one made from the old 7" series III Dagor and one from a 150mm symmar S. Under a 7x loupe I could tell that the Symmar was sharper, but only marginally so.
In the print from the Dagor I could see individual veins on the leaves of a tree. The picture was taken from about 100" away, I was impressed with the ancient optic. I also use my Dagors across formats, this is one the things that I really like about them. I use the 12" on 4x5 to 7x17. I use the 6.5" on 4x5 to 8x10. I have made 2x and 3x enlargements from the 6.5" Dagor and even under a loupe the prints look darn sharp. I think that the atrraction of the Dagors is that they hit the sweet spot between coverage and sharpness. They are also relatively small and light for their coverage. Of course a 165 Super Angulon is sharper than my little 6.5" Dagor, but who cares, I don't have a donkey to carry the Angulon when I am in the field. I am very happy with my Dagors and have made many memorable images with them. They are my favorite and most used lens. Arthur Nichols

7-Apr-2005, 20:39
Kerry, thanks for the pointer to that thread about bad dagors. I had fotgotten all about that story and bought a couple of old dagors in the meantime... Luckily, one is a "C.P. Goerz Berlin Dagor" which makes me feel better.

But what about a "GOERZ DAGOR" f/6.8 from 1936-1945 in what looks like an original Compound shutter that says "C.P. GOERZ NEW-YORK" on it/ Also says "Made in Germany" in tiny letters. If this is a B&J mock-up, I'd be very suprised as it's sharp as anything I've ever seen...

I may be happy with this lens, but now I'm a bit concerned....

CP Goerz
7-Apr-2005, 20:48
Pretty much all I would say has been said by others but a few wee additions..I never knew a Dagor had focus shift till I read the Large Format forum/Photo.net pages and others, I've experienced a CZ Protars focus shift and always checked it at the stopped down aperture and refocused. I checked my Dagors and never had one that gave any trouble but maybe I'm lucky.

There are MANY lenses that in one way or another can beat a Dagor be it coverage/sharpness/colour correction/size etc but few that can pack as much of each into one lens as the Dagor. If sharpness is your main criteria then I can't see why a Dagor would be first on anyones list...we have the Artar for that. For coverage there is the Hypergon, colour correction the Artar again, size goes to the Series IV and V Protars but if you think a Dagor is mush wait till you use those beauties! :-)

When it comes to coverage of LARGE sheets of film you pretty much have to use a Dagor in the wide angle sense, there aren't too many lenses capable of the coverage needed. Long lenses can be had anyday on Ebay in the form of Artars, Nikkors, Ronars etc. If you don't need the big coverage since you use smaller formats then there are hundreds of other options and since you have to enlarge the negative a bit unlike contact print users then sharpness is more of an issue and I would stick to a crisp process lens of which there are hundreds.

I don't think a 7" Dagor is a good choice on 8x10 even though some Goerz charts say its OK at 45/64, another lens they made right about the same focal length is a 7 1/2" Dagor and it does cover without falloff and softness but you have to center the lens on the film and for most that makes it useless.

Hope you find a lens you like and take some nice pictures with it!!

CP Goerz

Kerry L. Thalmann
7-Apr-2005, 21:28
But what about a "GOERZ DAGOR" f/6.8 from 1936-1945 in what looks like an original Compound shutter that says "C.P. GOERZ NEW-YORK" on it/ Also says "Made in Germany" in tiny letters. If this is a B&J mock-up, I'd be very suprised as it's sharp as anything I've ever seen...

This is a "real" Dagor made by C.P. Goerz Am. Opt. Inc. The "Made in Germany" refers to the Compound shutter, not the lens elements. Goerz in New York was started in the late 1890s and was originally a subsidiary of the German parent company. During WWI they split off as a separate company and continued in business up until the early 1970s (with a few minor name changes, eventually becoming Goerz Optical Inc.) when their assets were liquidated and purchased by Kollmorgen of Pittsburgh, who subsequently sold those rights to Schneider Corp. of America in 1972. Ironically, the American spin-off had a much longer life than the original German Goerz company which was absorbed into the Zeiss-Ikon conglomerate in 1926.


7-Apr-2005, 21:51
Thanks Kerry.

Some of this history is very interesting, if a bit convoluted ;-)
I wonder if any has ever catlogged all the photo companies that have come & gone, similar to Kingslake's short Rochester history?

8-Apr-2005, 05:32
Thanks for all the responses. I will sample future dagors that come my way. I am not opposed to using a dagor for its look. The simple fact is that the lens is not the sharpest in the bag. If you use a dagor you dont use it for its tack sharpness. Like Andrew said the artar is a better choice for that. Of course the apo nikkor is probably better than the Artar being improved, more modern version of the 4 element dialite type. See.... I love my apo-nikkor 480 and the lens designers will also tell you this type is a poor quality lens by modern standards. It may be but I still use it and love it. I am not biased and my mind was not made up before testing the lens.

I do have alot of respect for Goerz and all the great lenses they came up with. The dagor was a marvel in the 1890's and obviosly loved by droves today. the artar is a great process lens and the design was used until the process camera died just recenty. The hypergon is an incredible lens, especially considering the difficulty in making that glass. Of course the bigget field angle was achieved by the Robin Hill lens made by Beck of London. 180 degrees. ever seen one of those?

What I did was expect too much from the lens. Goerz says the lens covers 8x10. I shot it at f32. The corners are markedly soft compared to a modern process lens I had been using. They may be different design, and I am not a lens designer but both are symmetrical. Anyhow the dagor is useful for its look but I still would never use one on a commercial shoot. I would take just about any modern lens of normal field angle over the dagor for critical work.

8-Apr-2005, 07:02
LOL....I love these post. it actually allows you to separate the lens junkies from the artist. But for the lens junkies....I have a blue dot trigor,. If you ever get a chance to shoot with one you'll see a lens that is as sharp as an artar but covers like a dagor. If you insist on razor sharp I suggest you stay out of the portraiture business or that little old lady that wants you to hide some of those crows feet or that teenager with the bad complexion will hate you. But seriously, I have a couple of 8x20 contact prints of a bridge that was shot with an uncoated 16 1/2 inch dagor and the exact same scene shot 2 minutes later with a 355 GC and if you can tell any difference in the two prints I will give you both lenses. But again, yes Dagors are junk...how much do you want for it?

Dan Fromm
8-Apr-2005, 11:14
Um, person posting here as landarc, are you the eBay seller landarc who recently sold a 180/6.8 Dagor, eBay auction number 7502343410 with the listing title "Goerz Berlin Dagor 180mm lens covers 8x10"?

That listing included this text: "I have shot with the lens and it does cover 8x10 with some movement if you stop it down. Of course any dagor is going to require stopping down for full sharpness. This is the widest dagor you can use on 8x10 except some of the very late dagors."

If you are eBay's landarc, in view of your rant that started this thread, all I can say is oh, my, oh, my.



Mark Sawyer
8-Apr-2005, 12:02
In view of the oft-mentioned "Dagor look," (usually referring to a perceived smoother tonal scale,) is this same quality also generally percieved in images made with other double anastigmat designs such as the Velostigmat and Angulons? (For that matter, does it really exist at all?)

Also, I've noticed that while coated Angulons are a "Dagor-design," they go for way less (and get a lot less respect) than equivalent coated Dagors. Are people just missing out due to the Dagor's cult status, or are Dagors actually superior to the Angulons?

8-Apr-2005, 13:34
Robert wrote:

" I have a couple of 8x20 contact prints of a bridge that was shot with an uncoated 16 1/2 inch dagor and the exact same scene shot 2 minutes later with a 355 GC and if you can tell any difference in the two prints I will give you both lenses. But again, yes Dagors are junk...how much do you want for it?

Gee, I sure would like to take a shot at this. I will gladly pay postage both ways on the prints for the chance of winning both lenses!

Kevin Crisp
8-Apr-2005, 13:44
It's easier than you think. You don't have to tell which print was from which lens, you just have to be able to see any difference between them. Since the focal lengths are different, this should be a snap. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that the print where things look a little bigger might be the Dagor. But I'm no expert.

CP Goerz
8-Apr-2005, 15:21
Interesting point Dan!

CP Goerz

Mark Sawyer
8-Apr-2005, 19:56
Okay, you guys got me curious, so I dug out my old 8-1/4" Dagor to have a look; it reads, "C. P. Goerz Berlin Dagor Series III f:6.8 8 1/4 in. No. RS507." (The number on the rear element is just "507.") It's just a cute little uncoated Dagor in a Rapax shutter, makes nice negatives (certainly not "lousy") but nothing beyond what you'd expect from a somewhat older Dagor.

What struck me was the serial number, and I searched all over (here, Apug, f/32, ebay current and completed, google...) for any Dagor serial number remotely like it. Nuthin', they're all just numbers... Anyone ever run across a number like this on a Dagor, or have an inkling whether the "RS" denotes anything? (Maybe "Really Sharp"?)

8-Apr-2005, 20:58
Mark, I just checked my old 12 cm CP Goerz Berlin Dagor. There's no RS in the serial number (just "No.637642"). It had never occured to me to check the rear cell, and there's no number on it at all --- but "R13" is scratched in the outside of the mount, like an inspector. Was I "had" with an unmatched pair when I bought it 30 years ago? It was coated and mounted in a synchronised Compur Rapid shutter.

9-Apr-2005, 10:16
Dan's point is very interesting. If our friend "landarc" is indeed the same individual as the Ebay "landarc" (and the name is unusual enough that it would be quite a coincidence otherwise), then he seems to be talking out both sides of his face. In addition to the description Dan quoted from the auction page (7502343410 (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=7502343410)), there is this bit:

"The dagor is a simple symmetrical design that was used on a wide range of magnifications such as close in or at infinity. It does perform well over a wide range of magnifications. This is one of the many reasons the dagor is still such a popular lens and the design has been in use for over 100 years or so. So, if you need a nice wide angle for 8x10 at a good price here is your chance to get a legendary lens."

"....does perform well over a wide range of magnifications"????

So which is it? Do you just like to stir the pot or do you like to misrepresent items on Ebay? Or both?

Mark Sawyer
9-Apr-2005, 11:21
Gee, Will, *you* would never "stir the pot," would you? ; )

Bill- I don't know much about Dagors, so couldn't say whether you have an unmatched pair or not, though similar coatings on the front and rear cells might indicate something. It would be interesting to know whether Goerz (or other manufacturers) put any effort into matching the cells or just figure "this batch goes with this batch, and if we change something in the next batch, we'll keep them separate..." Or if a lens fails inspection, do they toss both cells or try matching them with others?

9-Apr-2005, 20:38
Just for the added info...

My "Goerz Dagor" from C.P. Goerz New Your has the normal serial number on the inside ring of the front element, same number on the inside ring of the rear element. This is a 12 inch.

My C.P.Goerz Berlin Dagor from C.P. Goerz has a normal serial number on the inside ring of the front element, but the matching serial number on the rear element is on the outside rim of the element...

So rear element serial numbers were used, and matched for at least some lenses... That's about as much as I know...

CP Goerz
10-Apr-2005, 16:02
Whether the pot is being stirred or not the question,as yet unanswered, is a valid one.

Mr L which is it?

CP Goerz

Jim Rice
10-Apr-2005, 17:22
So.....where does one find the Berlin designation?

Jim Galli
11-Apr-2005, 08:19
I'll add what little I know to the circle of confusion. Dagor's of course span many manufacturers in several countries. It would be innaccurate to cast dispersions on any Dagor that says Berlin on it. Indeed the early German Dagor's all say CP Goerz Berlin. Where there may be a quality compromise is that Burke & James of Chicago apparently bought A LOT of old Dagor cells out of Germany from the defunct CP Goerz concern, mixed and matched as best they could, mounted them in barrels and in deference to the top quality American Optical Co. product, they wrote with bold white letters on the barrel's BERLIN DAGOR. Some of those are just fine, and as Kerry has stated, some are pretty bad. I've had and still have several of the early CP Goerz iterations in the 200,000 serial # range that are uncoated but fine performers. The AOC dagor's and especially the post war coated ones seem to be the most well thought of.

21-Apr-2005, 20:08
I must admit I do like to stir the dagor a bit. Its just too easy to get people ripping about the lens! I do find it amusing the emotions that arise out of slamming on the lens. People are very sensitive about the dagor, like no other! That passion would be better utilized in your images, not on the lens. Its JUST a lens! A material possesion. The lens is quite secondary to the image, composition and print quality of your work.

Now, being as I did sell the lens on ebay I did use the popular concensus of the dagor inthe listing. I certainly should have put up my opinion right there. So shoot me, I listed what you all say about the damn thing to sell it! The lens does perform well over a wide range of magnification but great at none. Jack of all master of none. Its very incredible that everyone is so damn defensive about the dagor and so critical of everything else. I think you all pobably got ripped off and paid too much for your dagor. I really can't find any other reason for the almost psychotic defense of the thing! So go with the flow. Use the lens. Call me an idiot for not liking the lens. Tell me I am a hypocrit for using your words to sell a dagor. By the way I have a wide angle wray dagor sitting here. I bet you don't want it because its mine and I am not a fan! Its probably the same lens a gold leafed rimmed blue dot triggon dog pile.

22-Apr-2005, 06:42
If everyone is so passionate about the dagor, then get in touch with me and I'll have a modern one designed for you. You can bring in the best dagor expert to consult, since I am not into it. Anyone want to claim this title? tell me what focal lenght you want. I mean why not if the lens is so awesome? Surely we could smoke the doors off that blue dot trigor using modern glass and pc design.

I suppose the dagor cult is limited to a small group of highly passionate afficianados. Certainly if there was a modern market for the lens someone would be making it today. I mean the tessar is still being made for some reason and its nothing to write home about either. is it? he he he .....

Struan Gray
22-Apr-2005, 07:16
Cue Gertrud. Gertrud to stage! Gertrud to stage!

Dan Fromm
22-Apr-2005, 09:30
landarc, with apologies to Mary McCarthy, every word you post is a lie, including and and the.

Kevin Crisp
22-Apr-2005, 10:50
Landarc -- I have never owned a Dagor and probably never will. I really don't care what anybody says about them. Not one little bit. When someone reports the problems you did and then describes the lens as you did to hype it and sell it, I'd say that person was a little integrity problem. The "I was just saying what you guys said" defense is, I think, weak to the point of being simply pathetic. (Especially so when you condemn such people as a weird cult to begin with.) I guess you had to say something once a little sleuthing exposed you. But thank you for making sure everybody knows what kind of seller you are. Good luck with your lens designing franchise, I look forward to reading reviews of the Convertible Landarc Series VII(a).

22-Apr-2005, 13:37
Yes I made a mistake in listing the lens using the popular concensus about the dagor. Sure I do not like the dagor design. If you read the full lens description I am not bragging about the dagor, just listing the lens and its attributes. Since Goerz factory literature specifies the lens to cover 8x10 I put that in my listing. Yes I have shot with the lens on 8x10 and it covered. I never said it covered good. Every dagor loses sharpness in the corners. Find me one that doesn't!

This is such a travesty? Look at some of the other bogus optical claims that are made on ebay about lenses all the time! I made no bogus claims about the dagor, I simply listed the lens and some details about it. If you don't want to bid then dont bid. I also took the lens back from the buyer and sent them something else. And if they don't like that I'll send them another lens. Oh yes I am a terrible person. The absolute horrible of horrible.

Mark Sawyer
22-Apr-2005, 13:47
I really liked Ansel Adams' "Moonrise, Hernandez" photograph when I thought he shot it with a Dagor. Then I found out he shot it with a Cooke, and I realized what a fraud he was...

Jim Galli
22-Apr-2005, 13:59
BTW, your current sale for the Poor Man's Dagor ie. Doppel Anastigmat is probably a dialyt. They were commonly called Doppel Anastigmat and cheaper versions sold in f6.8 aperture. You could have easily checked this with a penlight........but then if you were honest........you'd lose the value added feature of throwing the Dagor name around in your ad wouldn't you.

23-Apr-2005, 06:00
Its not some major revelation that the dagor is overall softer that alot of lenses. I don't see anyone else selling dagors as soft either, even though many real LF dealers will tell you this. I've been told this by numerous people, who love the lens, including your well know dealers and ebay dealers. So where is this in their listings? Just because I didn't put my personal opinion of the dagor design in the listing doesn't make me some evil seller. I sold the lens like a dagor and listed it like a dagor. The lens performs just like dagor. Like any other dagor. So what. I could also pick apart a significant number of auctions on ebay for providing false information. Quite a few listings by so called reputable people include false info and bogus claims and everyone knows it. The info I put in the dagor listing was correct and you know it. Just because I don't personally like the dagor design doesn't mean I have to put that in the listing.

Richard Årlin
23-Apr-2005, 08:24
Does anyone have the Dagor I use: Carl Zeizz Jena, Goerz-Dagor f.6,8 24omm, they seem to be mentioned but rarely...

Jim Rice
23-Apr-2005, 21:08
It was patiently explained to you that the Berlin Dagors were inferior, and yet you made no mention of that in your listing. It was simply fraud.

Kevin Crisp
24-Apr-2005, 16:57
Landarc: You've shifted from "I just said what you guys said" to "lots of people are less than candid too." Perhaps quitting while you're behind would be best. If you know something about an item you're selling that is the sort of thing the average purchaser would like to know, then you ought to tell them. If you're just selling (reselling) some old glass you haven't tried, then fine, say "these have a reputation for great performance," or something like that. (Assuming the lens does have that reputation.) If you've actually tried it and find it unacceptably soft, then say "covers 8X10 but gets soft at the edges." This isn't, or shouldn't be, difficult for you. Be honest, even if it means the price people pay is less. Treat people how you'd like to be treated, not as badly as you've seen somebody treat somebody else.

Paul Kierstead
24-Apr-2005, 22:39
I do find it amusing the emotions that arise out of slamming on the lens.

Well then, we can see what sort of person you are. May you find all in life that you deserve.

CP Goerz
25-Apr-2005, 11:00
Hey Jim G,

The particular lens that Mr L is selling was made in two versions, a dagor type and a dialyte, easy to check but I guess its not important since it has an F6.8 aperture so it absolutely HAS to be a dagor ;-). It was refreshing to note that the description contained all sorts of negative attributes to the dagor design, even if it possibly isn't.

CP Goerz

Dan Fromm
25-Apr-2005, 11:51
Hey, Andrew, I'm with Jim.

Goerz made f/6.8 "Doppel Anastigmat" lenses that were dialytes. I have one, a 130 mm. And yes, I bought it as a Dagor. Silly vendor, silly me.

Given how easy it is to tell a Dagor from a dialyte, it was irresponsible of landarc not to ask the lens which it was.

I fear you've got trout on your mind, not lenses. Enjoy your fishing.



CP Goerz
25-Apr-2005, 14:04
Hey D,

I pulled that info from the Vademecum, not the best source for info as once again proven :-)

CP Goerz.

Philippe Grunchec
14-Sep-2010, 03:38
Berenice Abbott used a 9 1/2" Dagor on her 8x10 Century Universal: can't be that bad!

14-Sep-2010, 05:03
Oh well my 24" dagor will still make a good paper weight. Pity i cant use it for any thing.

Brian Stein
14-Sep-2010, 06:12
Given the poster of this thread made a total of 14 comments (all in this thread) in 2005, and nothing since, draw your own conclusions................... Me I would have been looking for a bridge with someone underneath it.

14-Sep-2010, 21:51
Oh well my 24" dagor will still make a good paper weight. Pity i cant use it for any thing.

Be happy to send you a real nice solid glass paper weight in exchange for the 24" Dagor, and I will pay postage in both directions.

I think the 24" Dagor would work nicely on my 20X24" camera!!

Sandy King

Philippe Grunchec
15-Sep-2010, 02:44
... but if you prefer to send it to Paris (France, not Texas), don't hesitate to send it to me: would be a good companion to my 6.8/12"!

Dan Fromm
15-Sep-2010, 02:59
Brian, the OP used to sell used lenses on eBay. His listings gave highly optimistic coverage estimates. Not a troll, an idiot or semi-crook.

15-Sep-2010, 03:15
i have the Golden Dagor 270 g claron copy, the 14" the 19" and the 24" is in transit, so i lied a bit. seemed in keeping with the thread.

other wise i would send it, but its being sent.
if i remember to send it to france i will ok:)

20 x 24, speaking of big guns, WOAH i just measured and that is bigger than my 27" mac, as they measure diagonal.

how do you run that thing, do you pimp it out or what.

where do you get film for it, and how much is one shot? i just discovered aerial film? is that what you use? or do you special order?

I might get a FLF camera later, (F**** Large Format) just because i am mad.

i think it was eddie, who was using it. i saw some on ebay, 9.5" aerial colour 500ft $499 pretty cheap. but what of black and white?

tell me, I want to know!

20 x 24

ok i did just see a doco about that camera going around america on a truck making 6' negatives. but that doesnt count, but it does make yours look like 35mm

E. von Hoegh
16-Sep-2010, 15:23
After reading thruogh this thread, I got shut of all my Dagors.

I think the two worst were the 355/8 MC Kern and the late C.P. Goerz Berlin 30cm.
The 210 mystery Dagor was lousy, too. Good riddance! I'm now using exclusively Carl Meyer glass.

Lynn Jones
17-Sep-2010, 13:48
To cover an 8x10 you will need 250mm since the lenses only covered fron 60 to65 degrees. It would cover 5x7 but larger than that it would quickly lose sharpness and then disappear completely.


Mark Sawyer
17-Sep-2010, 15:59
To cover an 8x10 you will need 250mm since the lenses only covered fron 60 to65 degrees. It would cover 5x7 but larger than that it would quickly lose sharpness and then disappear completely.


I have a gold-rim 210mm f/6.8 Dagor that covers 8x10 with a little left for movements, and is quite sharp to the corners. I also have an older uncoated 210mm Dagor that covers equally well, but goes slightly soft at the corners. The f/8 wide angle Dagors cover even more.

If you want to know what a lens can do, it's better to ask the lens than a lens chart! ;)

17-Sep-2010, 16:08
So I'm guessing this thread is Exhibit A of why lens manufacturers started putting in mechanical vignetting to stop the lens from covering outside it's actual sharp circle of coverage.

17-Sep-2010, 17:25
i have the Golden Dagor 270 g claron copy, the 14" the 19" and the 24" is in transit, so i lied a bit. seemed in keeping with the thread.

Well, the 24" Dagor will be next to useless unless you have a really big camera like a 20X24". So once you get the 24" Dagor in hand an realize how useless it is for normal photography, i.e 12X20 and smaller, get back in touch and I may do you a favor and take it off your hands.

Sandy King

17-Sep-2010, 20:55
sorry my mistake its a 24" Goerz Red Dot Apo-Artar, not Dagor, dumb mistake,

expanation: thats what i thought it was.

as i said it is in transit so i havent seen it yet,
and got the goerz and the dagor confused, sorry about that.