View Full Version : Shutter for Cooke 158mm f/6.5 VIIb?

Mark Sawyer
22-Jun-2006, 23:13
I just picked up the front and rear elements of the above mentioned Cooke lens; I'm quite happy, and look forward to comparing it to my Wollensak 159 f/12.5, which I dearly love. But I've always heard stories of the Cooke...

But... it's just the elements. No shutter. Does anyone know whether these will screw directly into a shutter, or am I looking at a big investment in having custom machine work done?

23-Jun-2006, 13:42
Here's the info from cameraeccentric's site on your Cooke Anglic Series VIIB:
As you can see, it was sold in a barrel, no shutter. Don't know where it could go into. Have you measured the threads and compared with available info on shutter threads? That might help. There's no ready answer, I fear, to your question, so you'll have to do some more homework to find out.


A quick read up in the LVM tells this about your lens:
Series V11b EISTAL f6.5/f11 This was the 'new' Gauss version to overtake the V11 and was f6.5 to focus and f16 or less to shoot. It seems to have been introduced early in the 1920's, certainly by 1924. It was made typically in 63-222mm in 1935, and the shortest was for 6x9cm as on the 'Envoy' camera post WW2 (see B.J.A. 1951, p487 advert.), and this size could have actually been added later than 1935 or been in intermittent supply- it is there in B.J.A. 1928, p606 for example. Series VIIb covers 90°at f16 and 100° at f32 and these apertures were suggested for use over these angles. A lens No12,49x at 4.5in was used on 1/2plate. Normally 6.25in was used for 10x8 and 135mm for 1/1plate. Some were coded ANGLIC, probably in later lists, and it was made coated after WW2 and into the 1950's. It was seen at No 125,08x uncoated 4.18in, and Nos 310,39x in 5.25in; and 382,41x and 459,60x in 4.25in, these being coated lenses. These are fairly common coated ('a hard durable coating') as they were wanted postwar by professionals, and sold well: many are front mounted in Compur shutters, but this may be by repairers, rather than by TTH themselves as there is no mention of this in the advert. (see also Envoy). Results with these today can still be excellent if in good condition as they are sharp and contrasty. They may be the best of the Gauss lenses of this general type. It still featured in the last advert. noted in B.J.A. 1955, p495 as follows:
2.5in 63mm 4.25x3.25in at f16.
This was offered for many years prewar but were not always listed postwar. It was used on the Envoy wide angle camera however. (B.J.A. 1926, p650). One point may be that purchase tax was levied on amateur products which were sizes up to and including 6x9cm, and this part of the market was therefore unduly expensive since it was a heavy tax burden for a product to carry.
3.25in focus 82mm for 5x4in at f16 1.25in flange
4.25in 108mm 7x5in 1.25in
5.25in 133mm 8.5x6.5in 1.25in
6.25in 158mm 10x8in 1.5in
8in 203mm 12x10in 1.75in
8.75in 222mmm 14x11in 2.25in This was in 1931, not in 1929 or postwar.
Note that the lens was rated for these formats when used at f16, for 90°, at f32 it covers 100°. The coverages seem the same in 1929 as in 1955.
Fig 019 032 TTH Series VIIB f6.5/5.25in coated lens No310,399 fitted to Compur shutter- probably an older
shutter reused postwar.
They were the standard wide angle on Adams cameras (B.J.A. 1932, p79.)

Post War
Series V11b f6.5,Anglic 82, 108, 133, 158, 203mm.Seen at No 382,41x, 384,49x and these are both coated. Coating makes a real difference here, and note the 108mm covers 5x7 easily, sharply. But also that the advert. in B.J.A. 1948 p27 specifies focus at f6.5, and close down without need to refocus. Use at f11 or less seems to be expected. At that time, it and the 2 AVIAR lenses seem to have been the most advertized items. None of these was in a shutter: Some vignetting can limit the angle covered if the Series VIIb lens is in the front of a blade shutter. An example was the above No382,41x in a Compur 2 No822,747 which is probably about 1953.

So it seems some mounting can be done, one candidate being a Compur shutter, while it is not clear if this is a front mounting job or not nor what size Compur was used.

Don Hutton
23-Jun-2006, 14:05
I have one which has been mounted into a synchro compur shutter - very nice little lens....

Mark Sawyer
24-Jun-2006, 16:57
Don~ Do you know if it was a direct fit, or was there machine work done to make it fit? And which size shutter? Thanks! ~ Mark

Dan Dozer
24-Jun-2006, 17:55

Vade Mecum shows the 5.25 in. VIIb mounted in a compur shutter but it doesn't say anything about the shutter size or if it was done by Cooke or by others except that it was "probably an older shutter reused postwar". While I don't have the VIIb, I do have the VIIa 6" which supposedly covers nearly as much as the VIIb. I've just started trying mine out on the 8 x 10 and have mixed results. You may need some sort of center filter if you use it for 8 x 10 work. The center of the image with my VIIa is definitely lighter than the outsides. Perhaps Don can add the results he has had with his.

Dan Fromm
25-Jun-2006, 04:58
I have a number of Taylor Hobson lenses in barrel but, alas, no Ser. VIIbs. None has cells that go straight into a modern shutter.

Mark, Cooke Optics, successors to Taylor, Taylor, & Hobson, may be able to tell you the 6.25" Ser. VIIb's cell spacing. If they can't and no one else rescues you, you have a pair of light little paperweights.

Don Hutton
25-Jun-2006, 06:55
I'm really happy with this little lens. Looking over a pair of test shots I did with this lens and my 150mmXL, I would say that the Cooke exhibits slightly less fall-off than the XL. Remember though, 150ish on 8x10 is really wide. Anyway, I am happy using it on B&W without a CF. It is so much smaller and more compact than the XL I always carry it.

Mine appears to have had two adaptors machined so that it fits into the Synchro Compur. I would expect that Grimes would be able to mount it very easily and for my money, it would be a worthwhile expense. It is a very sharp little lens and gives you a fair bit of movement on 8x10.

Richard Årlin
26-Jun-2006, 05:08
Apart from a curiously engraved f/6,3 133mm VIIb in barrel I have a 158 in a syncro compur and a 108 in a compur shutter. Both seem to have required making a sleave to fit the shutter. Always when a discussion of this lens come up I try to persuade Barbara of Cooke that we need a new reproduction of this little gem, particularly the 82mm

Jim Galli
26-Jun-2006, 06:33
Always when a discussion of this lens come up I try to persuade Barbara of Cooke that we need a new reproduction of this little gem, particularly the 82mm

AND the 222mm for us ULF folks please! I have an uncoated 158 VIIb mounted in a Bausch & Lomb Volute shutter. It has a very high place on the "Never sell this lens" list. It produces photos that have an etched look. I'd be happy to put a set of calipers on it and at least give you that measurement for cell spacing. But doing so requires a leap that both of our cell barrels are identical.

Mark Sawyer
26-Jun-2006, 18:30
With the Volute, is that a "screw it right into the shutter" fit, or were adapters made for it? Although I know I'd love the lens, I also love my little 159mm Wolly, and don't want to put hundreds into adapting the 158mm Cooke to a shutter.
BTW, mine is also an older uncoated (but very clean) lens. No serial number or other individualized markings. It was an impulse buy at $50, as I remembered your past praise for your 158mm Cooke. (Once again, Jim, somebody else's lens is all your fault!)

Oh, and does anybody know of a good 158.5mm lens to fill the gap between the Cooke and the Wollensak?

Jim Galli
26-Jun-2006, 21:37
Hi Mark. The front group threads right into the shutter with no bushing. The rear group has a bushing to make it the same thread size but I'm going to say it's a factory bushing so yours may have it already. Then that assembly goes direct into the shutter also. I'd be interested to see how you think it holds up to your Wolly. I never paid much attention to the Wollies until I got a 135mm f12.5 the other day. Holy cow that little thing is crisp! And it just covers 8X10.

Mark Sawyer
26-Jun-2006, 23:55
Notes on the 159mm f/12.5 Wollensak: I have two, an early uncoated, which has okay resolution and fairly low contrast, and a pretty late wol-coated one, which seems like a whole different5 lens; very crisp and "normal" contrast for a semi-modern single-coated lens (ie: fairly contrasty). And both open to about f/6 for focusing, and I detect no focus shift in stopping down. Both have coverage with movements for 8x10 (I've read 375mm ic, and that seems about right), but there is some fall-off, and without a center filter, actual movements are restricted due to that fall-off, not actual coverage. (hmm, we don't talk much about THAT factor in WA lenses, do we...)

The later Wolly is a fine lens, and the Cooke has a worthy challenger, if I find a shutter.

Mark Sawyer
27-Jun-2006, 00:19
My digital micrometer says the outside diameter of the front threads is 30.30mm, and the back threads are 24.58mm. How `bout yours? (BTW, for reference, the male end of a 49mm filter measures 48.72mm, and a male 58mm measure 57.73mm, which extrapolates the Cooke threads to be about 30mm front and 24.3 rear.)

On the proper overall length mounted, I read on the f/32 board that it's 25mm. How does that compare to yours?

Thanks, as always!


Mark Sawyer
27-Jun-2006, 00:29
Oops, hold it, I wasn't measuring right on the last post. The micrometer reads 37.36mm for the front, and 34.60mm on the rear. Sorry for the massive confusion...

Stupid micrometer operator...