View Full Version : Oh no! Another Dagor question!

Hany Aziz
12-Apr-2008, 05:46
I generally go for modern multicoated optics however a couple of years ago while at a local camera swap meet I picked up a C.P. Goerz Berlin 12.5 cm f6.8 (inscribed DAGOR 1:6,8 F=12,5cm 558539, the rear element bears the same SN) I did this just to see what the whole fuss was about. I probably would have passed had I realized at the time that I was picking an >80 year old uncoated lens, and this remains to this day the oldest lens in my collection. It is mounted in an older style Copal 0.0 shutter and an aperture scale is engraved SK Grimes style on the shutter (the seller did state that it was mounted by SK Grimes). The scale appears accurate. The glass appears fairly pristine. I paid about $175 for the lens and don't regret it though it has seen very little use.

Just for fun I did whip it out at a WEMALF outing a couple of weeks later (Bruce if you are reading this, please resurrect the outings) and shot the same scene with it and I think the Schneider Apo Symmar 120 mm f5.6 and a Nikkor W 135 mm f5.6 that I had on me that day. The camera used was a 4x5. The lens appears reasonably sharp though in direct comparison it does lack contrast and is somewhat softer compared to it's more modern siblings. Over the years I cannibalized the lens board for another lens. It sat on a shelf till yesterday when I felt sorry for it and remounted it on a lens board. I will take it out for some exercise on my next LF shoot. I may even try it out on my 5x7. I do enlarge the 5x7.

So not so much a question but to some extent seeking lore. I seem to see a lot written about the 12 and 14 inch Dagors, but very little about their 5 inch (125 mm) sibling. I realize this was made by the German side of Goerz before it's absorption into Zeiss I believe in 1926. Any personal experience with this lens? I know there is a listing of the American Goerz SN but does anyone have one for the german ones?

Feedback? Ideas? Lore?




E. von Hoegh
12-Apr-2008, 06:21
Greetings, Hany.

I've been using Dagors since the late 80s, so I may have some useful info. for you.

They all shift focus, becoming a bit longer as you stop down. Compose wide open, then recheck at working aperture. Stop down to at least f16 to take care of residual aberrations; the sweet spot is f16 to f32.

Dagors made by Goerz Berlin seem to be a bit more consistant than the New York Dagors. I've never seen a serial # list for the German lenses; the last production was in the 660,000 range.

I did a comparison between a 1908ish 6" dagor, and a 1960ish Symmar, using Fuji 100 transparency film. The Dagor had nicer contrast, although it required a compendium shade to give it's best. Sharpness was equal. The Dagor type lens is at it's best with B&W work. They have a long smooth tonality that has to be seen to understand.

Shoot with it, remember the focus shift, and you'll likely find that you have a lovely little lens.