View Full Version : strange lens in a Bionic shutter

Wenbiao Liang
18-Aug-2006, 09:21
Hi Guys,
I bought this lot of camera equipments, among which is a vintage lens fitted in a Bionic shutter, the patent number/date on the shutter dates the lens to/before 1912, I think the shutter was made by Wollensak, by then Lego/Bionicle did not exist. :D

The aperture scale is american, from 4 (f8) to 128 (f45), 4 shutter speeds from 1/25 to 1/200 plus T and B.

The interesting part is the lens elements, there are 2 glued elements (1 group) before the shutter, but only 1 element behind the shutter.

Who made the lens? I did some google search and seems most likely it was Ansco? There was a Modico Anastigmat F7.5 (closer to my lens' F8), for their folding cameras. But the shutter seems too big for a folder? it is about the size of a regular Copal No. 0.

What is the construction of this lens? Is it Anastigmat? The rear group seems missing one element, because the front of the rear mount (the side closer to shutter) has internal screws but no element there (only the rear of the rear mount has one element). But the lens can form "sharp" images on the ground glass, the focal length is about 165 to 170mm I think.

From the shutter it fitted in, this lens probably was not a top of the line lens then?

Will take test pictures with it later. :)


Dan Fromm
18-Aug-2006, 11:11
Wenbiao, your lens sounds rather like an f/7.7 Aldis Uno. A cemented doublet in front of the diaphragm, a nearly flat singlet behind. If so, it is an anastigmat.

The name Uno was applied to several constructions -- I have two f/7.7 3/2 lenses like yours and an f/4.5 triplet, all badged Aldis Uno -- but AFAIK only the 3/2 design was patented. FWIW, my f/7.7 Unos are ever so slightly softer than my more modern lenses but are contrasty and quite usable. Give yours a try.

Good luck, have fun,


Wenbiao Liang
18-Aug-2006, 12:22
Thanks Dan,
Your information is very valuable! Who made the Aldis Uno lens? I did some google search, and seems this name is associated with many Ensign cameras, are Aldis Uno UK made?

What is the construction name for this kind of lens design? This is the first time I know it. I always thought cooke tripot was the bare minimume to be an anastigmat. :o

Thanks again,

Dan Fromm
18-Aug-2006, 14:36
Wenbiao, the Uno's manufacturer was Aldis Brothers. Yes, in the UK. Later absorbed by the Rank Organization and relegated to making projectors and lenses for projectors.

The design's name is Uno. The Vade Mecum says that it was used only by Aldis and that after the tessar patent expired Aldis Brothers made mainly tessars and triplets. Uno can be thought of as a triplet with no distance between the first and second elements. Yes, Uno is an anastigmat.

I don't know if your lens is an Uno or something else. But take a few shots with it, the results just might please you.



Wenbiao Liang
20-Sep-2006, 21:23
I thought I posted a reply just after your last post? It was gone?

Anyway, last weekend I took a test shot using the "Uno" lens in my back yard. It was mistake after mistake. :D


First, I forgot to test the speeds of the shutter, and I set the wrong ISO on my meter, so the overall exposure is at least 2 stops under exposed. The negative is very thin...

When I printed it, I over exposed again (I am not familiar with the MG RC III paper I used this weekend, I have been using MG RC IV lately), so overall the print is very dark and contrast is very low, and since it was very late (this was the last negative I enlarged in the session) and I was so tired that I did not re-print. :p

So here it is, nothing of any values, just a test shot for the lens. Seems to me that the lens is OK sharp? The grass leaves and the wood textures can be seen clearly, not very bad for a 3-element lens?

Will try to take more (and hopefully technically better) pictures with it soon.

Thanks for your help!


Dan Fromm
21-Sep-2006, 07:35
Wenbiao, I'm glad you're making progress. As I said, my f/7.7 Unos (original design) aren't that bad, although I've never tried one wide open.

I also have an f/4.5 Aldis lens engraved "Uno" that really is a normal ordinary triplet. I haven't got it on board yet, so haven't tried it.

Good luck, have fun,