View Full Version : Differences in Dagors over the years?

13-Jan-2019, 17:37
As far as I can tell there have been several incarnations of Goerz Dagor formula lenses produced over the years:
Goerz Double Anastigmat
Dagor (the classic?)
Goerz Gold Dot Dagor
Schneider Gold Dot Dagor
? Blue Dot Trigor?
Swiss Kern Goerz Dagor
Anyone out there know of the differences between them?

Just read in an article on LF lenses from Eastern Bloc Countries (1945-1991)
Doppel-Anastigmat f/6.8 180mm, 210mm, and 240mm Dagors
Orthoanastigmat f/8 190mm inverse Dagor
Orthoprotar f/18 250mm inverse Dagor

Drew Wiley
13-Jan-2019, 17:56
According to Kingslake, the cemented double triplet formula known as Dagor goes clear back to 1892. So that means quite a bit of micro-evolution involving different glass types, shutters, and coatings. The last of them (other than a limited production Schneider XXL) was the Swiss Kern 14 inch multicoated Dagor made for Schneider. I don't know when production stopped, but probably in the 1980's. This had higher contrast and better color rendition than any other lens I've ever used, in any format. But I was mainly shooting large format color transparencies at the time, and found the contrast to be just too much. So I replaced it with the previous Kern single-coated Dagor, which still had plenty of contrast due to the only four air/glass interfaces inherent to the Dagor design. There was also an eight inch single-coated Kern Dagor. Prior to that, Goerz and American Optical made em, and so you go, further and further back. The 14 inch Goerz Blue Dot Trigor was a wide-angle process lens that somewhere down the line a few people found to work quite well as a taking lens. Lots of them were probably thrown away when process camera usage became largely obsolete, so now the few that remain command high prices. I've never tried one. As far as shutters go, I absolutely hated the Compur 3 shutter the multicoated Kern came with. It had no T setting and a terrible buzz vibration. I've had more than one of these lenses, so it wasn't a fluke. The single-coated Kern came in a Copal 3S - a shutter I love. But neither of these lenses are good on film larger than 8x10 if movements are needed, because no.3 shutters have a bit of mechanical vignetting. The older f/7.7 dagors covered more simply because of the big 4 or 5 shutters, I suspect. It doesn't mean the corners of the field on ULF are as good; but that's seldom an issue with contact prints. I have no experience with early or wide-angle dagors, so someone else will have to explain those.

John Layton
13-Jan-2019, 19:01
Owned a 14 inch Swiss Kern Blue-dot Trigor years ago, and remember testing this by taping strips of 35mm Agfapan 25 to the inside of an 11x14 holder (center and edges), and resulting negatives were pretty much equal to those taken with this same film with my Leica with version 3 (German) Summicron set at f/8...more than impressive!

Mark Sawyer
13-Jan-2019, 19:51
I own 2 modern (1950s?) coated gold-rim Dagors, 8 1/4-inch and 12-inch. The 8 1/4-inch just covers 8x10 and is sharp to the corners. The 12inch just covers 11x14 and is sharp to the corners. I have 2 12-inch and 1 8 1/4-inch older Dagors (1900s-1930s?), and while they are quite sharp in the center, all get soft at the corners in the above mentioned formats.

karl french
13-Jan-2019, 19:55
So many threads on Dagors. Lots of interesting ready to do in archives.

Drew Wiley
13-Jan-2019, 20:06
None of my Kern Dagors were as sharp or apo corrected as my Fuji A's, G-Clarons, or even Nikkor M lenses, and certainly not in the league of my Apo Nikkor process lenses. But I'm referring to nitpicky overkill in that respect. Their tangential performance at strong tilts and close-up performance is also less. So I think their overpriced cult status is a bit exaggerated. But they do have a particular rendering of microtonality that is quite rewarding; and these later Dagors are in fact sharper than older plasmats. They were hard to make, since each half had to be truly symmetrical. Front and back elements should have matching numbers somewhere and not be cobbled together randomly.

13-Jan-2019, 20:11
I have an 8-1/4" Goerz Gold Dot Dagor made by Kern in Switzerland.

The front and rear cells have matching serial numbers.

I've not tested it for coverage.

- Leigh

Tin Can
14-Jan-2019, 10:20
Include old LFPF threads on Dagor 'type'.

I have a Schneider Kreuznach Doppel-Anastigmat Symmar f=6,8 F=30 cm (mounted in Compound-shutter) as discussed below.


Dan Fromm
14-Jan-2019, 11:07
Randy, thanks for bringing up other 6/2 double anastigmats. Boyer made dagor clones -- some of their prescriptions are extremely like Goerz patents -- called Beryl, Beryl-S and Emeraude. All to the same prescriptions. Berthiot made a variety of such lenses, trade names Eurygraphe and Perigraphe. Early G-Clarons are Dagor types. And then there are real Dagors made under license by some UK manufacturers. I'm sure I've missed many others.

Drew Wiley
14-Jan-2019, 14:07
There were also reverse dagors, with a slightly different triplet configuration. Once again, Kingslake is good for the early history of all this.

John Kasaian
14-Jan-2019, 15:56
There are also Berlin Dagors.

14-Jan-2019, 16:03
There are also Berlin Dagors.

Forgot about Berlin Dagors... In the late 1970s, on one if my trips down to Lens & Repro to purchase a LF lens I had a great conversation with Stu or Jeff Kay?. In a short period of time I was educated on Dagor lenses... did I keep notes? Of course not. Only thing I remember is him telling me to beware when buying Gold Dot Dagors. Many times he had come across Dagors in which the gold dots were not original. I bought a 240mm Berlin Dagor in a compur from him at that time. Also remember gawking over some of the optics on display under glass.

Drew Wiley
14-Jan-2019, 17:16
That must have been Geoffrey at Lens & Repro. Yes, fake gold dots were sometimes applied. I'm still astonished at some of the current asking prices.

14-Jan-2019, 17:24
That must have been Geoffrey at Lens & Repro. Yes, fake gold dots were sometimes applied. I'm still astonished at some of the current asking prices.
Hi Drew,
Could you please advise how to distinguish real gold dot Dagor from the fake ones? Thank you.

14-Jan-2019, 17:30
That must have been Geoffrey at Lens & Repro. Yes, fake gold dots were sometimes applied. I'm still astonished at some of the current asking prices.

So it was Geoffrey. When I told him that I would be contacting my negatives, he told me that a gold dot (and maybe golden, I forget) Dagor were a waste of money for me. The Berlin Dagor would just serve me fine... He was right. Now I remember that he talked me out of buying other lenses. I lusted for one 210mm Apo-Lanthar for my 4x5 that he had under glass.... He told me that he would gladly sell it to me but I'd have been wasting my money for what I was using it for. Instead for a much lower price, sold me a 210mm Repro-Claron... He was right, that Repro-Claron produced some excellent chromes over the next few years.

Drew Wiley
14-Jan-2019, 17:49
lucaas - I'm not really an expert on older Dagors at all. I've always relied on buying from highly reputable dealers. Back when Lens & Repro was still around, they were a straight shooter. Likewise, Gasser here on the West Coast had a couple of people in the pro camera dept who were basically career types and knew their stuff. There were a number of reputable dealers across the country at one time. I've had good luck with various current Japanese dealers; but just be sure there's a return policy if something seems wrong. You do have to be careful with web purchases. Check all the photos and fine print. I've seen even ordinary general-purpose plasmats incorrectly being sold as dagors. It would probably be safer to try to buy one from a long-time member on this Forum.

Neal Chaves
14-Jan-2019, 18:24
I had a CZJ 7.5 cm f9 WA Dagor manufactured about 1935. It was in a 00 Compur. I bought it from BJ Lens Bank in about 1976 for $29, unused. I used it for a number of years on a Linhof Technika (cut the cam myself) and later found a 00Compur sync shutter for it. Finally sold it for several hundred when I got out of Linhof. It was a little soft in the corners and a bit flarey against the light, but only about the size of a Rollodex wrist watch. I had had the cult favorite 75mm 4.5 Biogon previously and I really did much better work with that little old Dagor, and it folded up in the Technika case.

Neal Chaves
14-Jan-2019, 18:45
Here's a photo I made with the 7.5 cm WA CZJ Dagor with the hand-held Technika of the tall ship Simon Bolivar on 6X9 Ektachrome 160. No filter or manipulation.186415 High res scan by Indie Photo lab has made very nice 16X20s on Fuji Frontier at Wally World.

Dan Fromm
14-Jan-2019, 18:57
Neal, not to say anything negative about your work, but on 2x3 a 75 mm lens isn't particularly wide.

Neal Chaves
14-Jan-2019, 19:57
Neal, not to say anything negative about your work, but on 2x3 a 75 mm lens isn't particularly wide.

No, its only slightly wide. I have lots of full frame 4X5 stuff I did with it but have not scanned the prints yet. I am now printing up my life's work (so far) and will post some soon if anyone is interested. I'm now using a KEH Bgn. 75mm f4.5 SW Nikkor with a crack from the factory in one inner elements that looks as good as the Biogon and covers more. I also wanted to make a 20" wide print from a 6X9 neg on my Beseler 4X5 MCRX a while ago and found I could not do it with the 105mm El Nikkor, so I put on the 75mm SW Nikkor and made a nice print. All my small lenses are on Pacemaker boards and I milled off the back of a 4X4 to Pacemaker adapter so I can use them all on the Beseler enlargers. The alternative is what? An 80mm WA Rodagon for big bucks, and my neither my clients or I could see the difference in the prints.

Neal Chaves
14-Jan-2019, 20:02
In fact, here's another scan of a 4X5 transparency (Polaroid I think) I made with the 7.5 cm CZJ WA Dagor. This one also makes nice Fuji Crystal Archive 16X20 prints186417 at Walmart.