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Two23
17-Sep-2016, 10:05
I'm beginning to switch from a DX camera to an FX (OK, not really-- 4x5 to 5x7), and need some advice on a few old lenses. I bought four to use on my Chamonix 045n, but as someone here told me, they are just too big and heavy. So, I bought a Gundlach Korona 5x7 with 4x5 back. It will hold just about anything, anything I can afford anyway. I bought the lenses to take family portraits (mostly family, a few individual.) I've been using uncoated Heliar 15cm, Tessar 165mm, and Dagor 240mm for this on 4x5, plus a quarter plate Petzval or two. Those lenses worked well, especially the Heliar.

The lenses I am wondering about are: (1) 1920s Wollensak 12 inch Velostigmat Betax 5, (2) Edward Wood 14 in. pillbox from 1854, (3) Voigtlander 8 in. Petzval from 1848, (4) Voigtlander Petzval from 1865 (tube is at machine shop getting flange made, but the rear element glass is roughly 2.25 in. diameter.) I'm just not sure about 5x7 coverage for family portraits (usually 3-5 people,) and if either of the Petzvals will be useful for individual portraits (do have a 4x5 back for the camera.)
--->What format were the 8 in. Petzvals designed for?

I'd really like a 300mm Heliar, but those in shutter cost a small fortune. I might end up getting one next spring, I don't know. Love those Heliars! I thought about having SK Grimes make an adapter for a 300mm barrel Heliar for my Betax 5, but I've not seen anything online that suggests that's possible. My other thought is to buy a longer nice old (1860s) Petzval that's more like 10 or 12 in., but might have trouble mounting something like that on my 4.25 inch lens boards. The really nice 12 inch Petzvals also seem to be priced at a higher "altitude" than I'm willing to spring for. A long Wollensak Vesta with built in shutter might work for me.

While I'm at it, now for a final question. The Korona does have a Packard shutter (which works but I haven't tried it yet.) It will give 1/25s. However, even using Efke 25 film with the f3.5 Petzvals, that's not fast enough. If I stop the Petzvals down it will slow them of course, but then I lose a lot of the Petzval charecter. Has anyone tried using an ND filter of some kind between the elements, instead of in front of the lens? The 1865 Petzval does have a slot. Would that work OK, or is there danger of degrading the image? I've been fitting something like a 7 stop ND inside the hood.


Kent in SD

Steven Tribe
17-Sep-2016, 13:49
The 8 1/4" VoigtŠander Petzval was made for 1/2 plate. They recommended the 9 1/6" for 5/7.

As regards lens board size and 10" Petzvals - a 10" Petzval, I was lucky enough to buy here recently has an external flange diameter of 5".

Two23
17-Sep-2016, 14:07
The 8 1/4" VoigtŠander Petzval was made for 1/2 plate. They recommended the 9 1/6" for 5/7.

As regards lens board size and 10" Petzvals - a 10" Petzval, I was lucky enough to buy here recently has an external flange diameter of 5".


Looks like I'm running into a few problems trying to mix lenses from one era (1860s Petzvals) to cameras of another era (Korona field camera.) I have seen 9 in. Petzvals go for more reasonable money than than 12 inchers, so I might have a shot here. Otherwise I can just use the 4x5 back with the nice Petzvals I have and all is OK. I found a guy in Chicago (ebay, Zbima1) to make four really nice lens boards for the Korona 5x7. I hope to have those and the flange for my 8 in. Voigtlander Petzval in time for next weekend. I have a few families lined up. I'm thinking a 240mm Heliar in Compound would work for me too, instead of a more expensive 300mm. I could do 4x5 for individual portraits and 5x7 for families. I'm doing that now with the Dagor 240mm and it's working out.


Kent in SD

Greg
17-Sep-2016, 16:36
When I first started to shoot 8x10 in the 1970s, my only lens was a 12 inch f/4.5 Wollensak Velostigmat series II. When stopped down to f/45 the lens was very sharp. Coverage for 8x10 allowed for a good amount of lens movement. 2 years ago scanned some of those negatives and made 8x10 digital negatives to print Platinum/Palladium. Final prints when placed side by side with ones I shot with a modern 355mm G-Glaron... well you couldn't tell which was which.

Darren Kruger
17-Sep-2016, 18:40
(1) 1920s Wollensak 12 inch Velostigmat Betax 5

Betax 5 is the shutter and size. What is the maximum aperture of this lens? That would help determine what series it is and what coverage it has. It should be able to do at least 8x10".

-Darren

Two23
17-Sep-2016, 19:33
Betax 5 is the shutter and size. What is the maximum aperture of this lens? That would help determine what series it is and what coverage it has. It should be able to do at least 8x10".




It's an f4.5, pretty fast for something this long. It likely will cover 8x10. My favorite lens for portraits is the Heliar, but I have a couple of Velostigmats that I also love. My other is a 6 in. mounted in a gorgeous Volute. The Velostigmats are very soft and dreamy when shot wide open, and like Greg mentioned above they do sharpen up considerably when stopped down. Wollensak sometimes seems to be considered a "second line" maker, but they made some really nice lenses. The big Velostigmat looks pretty impressive on the front of the Gundlach Korona too! I do think appearance is important for these kinds of paying jobs.


Kent in SD

Dan Dozer
20-Sep-2016, 18:27
I can't confirm this, but I have heard rumors before that putting a heliar in shutter could actually degrade the quality of the image and that the "heliar look" is due in part to the large number of iris blades that the Heliar has. While your sharp focus might be the same, your Bokeh might not.

Steven Tribe
21-Sep-2016, 02:32
You mentioned, as one of the 3 alternatives, a Wood pillbox 14" meniscus. I am not sure whether this is the type that you can open up the front, but it would be an interesting choice. As the coverage is greater than 5x7, you would have to check for background light not reducing contrast.

Michael Graves
21-Sep-2016, 05:24
I used to own a 12" Wollensak Anastigmat, and I wish I hadn't been stupid enough to sell it. It covers 8x10 with room to spare and throws a beautiful image. That one is a keeper.