View Full Version : Bausch and Lomb 30" E.F. Projection Lens

Robert Oliver
4-Aug-2007, 18:32
Has anyone ever played with one of these. It has an image circle well over 16x20. I don't have enough Bellows to use it (yet). No aperature.

Just curious if anybody has ever shot with one.


Walter Calahan
4-Aug-2007, 18:56

Gene McCluney
5-Aug-2007, 09:46
While I haven't, there are a number of photographers that have used projection, or magic lantern lenses for camera lenses. They can be quite nice. Many are of Petzval design, so blazingly sharp in the center, with swirly bokeh out towards the edges. Jim Galli is one photographer that posts here that uses lenses like this frequently.

Robert Oliver
5-Aug-2007, 10:25
I bought a much smaller one from Jim Galli. I think it was 15" B&L projection lens. It was a triplet design. This one is just one chunk of glass, probably two elements glued together. it's definitely not a petzval. I'm trying to figure out how to capture an image with the amount of bellows available to me. I'm sure I'll end up jury rigging it somehow.

If I could just find an extension rail for my burke and james commercial 8x10 !!!!!!!!

5-Aug-2007, 12:44
Maybe get yourself a huge plastic pipe from a plumb centre, rig it up to its own tripod or monopod, then use rear standard to focus ??

Gordon Moat
6-Aug-2007, 21:01
I just picked up a couple similar items, along with some other really old photographic gear. One is a Bausch & Lomb labelled item, though with an additional huge rear optic, which I am guessing somehow allows attaching to the magic lantern this would have fitted. That one has The H.F. Patton MFG. CO. Cleveland, Ohio on it.

The other has a nice brass flange, which I think I might be able to fit to a Linhof board. That one is older and labelled in elaborate script No. 1875, Holmes, Booth, & Haydens, New York. Slightly dusty and dirty, though perhaps a good one to clean up the optics. The downside on this one is what appears to be JB Weld around the focus knob base, something I am not sure how to approach. A little research indicates this company (http://www.thelampworks.com/lw_companies_hb&h.htm) was bought out after 1901, which means this dates prior to that.

The downside of my Bausch & Lomb item is that it appears someone tried to disassemble it at some point in the past. So while the cemented optics are located properly, the rear pair are not oriented to each other. Anyone with an idea of how these two elements should be arranged? Also, it seems if I remove the fifth huge rear optic from this, that it might cover 4x5; any ideas?


Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
6-Aug-2007, 21:27
...That one is older and labelled in elaborate script No. 1875, Holmes, Booth, & Haydens, New York. Slightly dusty and dirty, though perhaps a good one to clean up the optics.


Your Holmes, Booth, & Haydens lens is, most likely, not a magic lantern lens but an early portrait lens. Although others know the Daguerreian-era American optics scene better, I would guess from the serial number that your HBH lens dates from the late 1840s. It may well be a very nice lens.

Gordon Moat
7-Aug-2007, 10:49
Thanks Jason. I think I will clean and dust this lens then. I will be leaving the patina, and just getting the crud off. There unfortunately seems to be something (dirt, dust) inside the lens too, though it appears the elements (groups) should screw off without much effort. That leaves the only bad part, what appears to be some welding, soldering, or some repair to the focus spindle mount, though since it moves (too easily) fore and aft, I will probably leave it alone.

So the No. 1875 is probably a serial number? I guess that makes sense, with maybe not too many of these things being made. The internet is usually useful for more information, but other than the brief information I found, there is nothing about Holmes, Booth & Haydens lenses.

Anyone know how to figure out focal length and aperture (fixed) for something like this? Do I measure bellows extension to the mount, or the centre of the lens? Any other ideas? Thanks!


Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
7-Aug-2007, 12:47
To measure the FL for a Petzval lens you just focus on infinity and measure from the center of the lens or from the iris or waterhouse slot if your lens has them. Maximum aperture is also easy for these lenses, divide the FL by the size of the front element. It doesn't matter if you use SAE or metric, just make sure you only use one system.

So a 9" lens with a 2.5" front element has a maximum aperture of f3.6 (9/2.5=3.6).

Gordon Moat
7-Aug-2007, 15:17
Okay, so after a wipe down and cleaning of all the optics, I held it in place to get a rough idea of how well it works on a 4x5. Seems to be ~135mm focal length. The front element/group (cemented pair) is 40mm. So that gives me an f3.375. There is no aperture, so I use the lens centre as the measuring point.

It barely covers 4x5, with slightly dark corners, though I suppose the slight vignette is okay. If I used it at closer distances, then it does not vignette on 4x5. It did not seem to matter whether or not I removed the lens hood.

I have been reading through the old lens threads on this forum. This Holmes, Booth & Haydens has a cemented pair front, and two air spaced elements in the back. The air space is accomplished by a metal ring. Luckily my Sorbothane pad was all that was needed to unscrew all parts for cleaning. Looks quite good on the ground glass, and the elements are all in really great shape.

A scrape test revealed that the focus wheel base has been soldered/brazed repaired, probably a very long time ago. The focus is sort of loose, though I helped it a bit by adding some candle wax to the track. What I thought was dust inside the lens is actually old black paint flecks, easily removed by wiping the inside of the barrel.

So I am left with a very old and functioning lens, and not much information about it. My guessing is between 1851 and 1869, though only based upon when Hiram Hayden (one of the Haydens) was involved in Daguerrotypes.

That leaves the Bausch & Lomb, which now seems to me is missing the metal spacer for the air spaced rear group. Anyone have a guess at what the correct spacing should be on that? Some way to figure it out, short of very long trial and error?

On the Bausch & Lomb I have, once I pulled the really large magic lantern back element, that left a Petzval type design that easily covers 4x5. Seems to be about 254mm focal length; perhaps coincidental that it has a barely readable 10 in on the front ring near the front element. Unfortunately no flange for mounting to a camera, and without the correct rear group spacing I am unsure if I will ever use it. Oh, the front element size would make it an f6.67 lens.

So I need to find a way to research this more. I will get another lens board so I can use the Holmes, Booth & Haydens, because I think the results might be very interesting. After an exhaustive search through the internet, and the Eastman House TelNet, it appears that only two others are in collections, one at Eastman House, and another at the University of New Mexico Art Museum. I think that is reason enough for me to be using this, and adding a unique look to some of my images.


Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)

Mark Sawyer
7-Aug-2007, 20:08
If anyone's interested, it looks like you can pick up the 12" version for $45 (w/ s&h):


Gordon Moat
7-Aug-2007, 20:35
Okay, after lots of digging, and going to the local library to look through Kinglake's tome of early lenses, I think my Holmes Booth & Haydens dates from near 1854 to 1858. It is somewhat similar to this completed auction item, though mine looks much better:


Looking at the close-up image of the script on that one, mine is repaired around the focus knob mount with some sort of brazing/soldering. Seeing as how that one is No. 3025, and mine is No. 1875, I guess they made many of these lenses.

Kinglake indicates Petzval lenses are mostly f3.6. Using the rough calculation method, I came up with f3.4. I am going to try a Polaroid or two to figure out a workable aperture. Is it possible there was enough variation that a faster aperture was possible? Or should I stick to f3.6?

Also, Kinglake makes mention that a Harrison made Petzval was more desirable, and that 8800 of those were made. What that makes me wonder is how rare are these lenses?

Another thing is that Kingslake does not mention Bausch & Lomb as a Petzval lens manufacturer. Does that mean he missed that, or that all the Bausch & Lomb types were for magic lantern usage? The Bausch & Lomb 10" I just got definitely is a magic lantern type.

Last, I read that the spacer ring for the rear elements had to be within 0.5% correct dimension, or the focusing would be off. Do I have a reasonable chance of making/finding a replacement for my Bausch & Lomb, or ___________ ?


Gordon Moat
A G Studio (http://www.allgstudio.com)