View Full Version : 6" Metrogons for sale from Surplus Shed

John Schneider
20-Jul-2008, 23:07
Just a heads up for those who might be interested, Surplus Shed (http://www.surplusshed.com/) is selling new 6" Metrogon formula lenses for $75. Maker unknown, but they are coated and include a 117mm center filter. I had a Cold War vintage Metrogon with center filter, and this one looks scads nicer. SKU # is L10084.

Another item of possible interest, they have a military manual (SKU: M2673, MILITARY OPERATION AND MAINTENANCE OF OPTICAL COATING EQUIPMENT MANUAL) that may contain sufficient info to permit one to coat their own lenses (assuming you have the vacuum source and CVD equipment, which may be possible if you work in the semiconductor industry etc).

I have no relation to the seller etc.

21-Jul-2008, 06:07
What are the particular advantages of Metrogons?

David A. Goldfarb
21-Jul-2008, 06:50
They're superwide aerial mapping lenses with big coverage. A 6" might cover 8x10".

Dan Fromm
21-Jul-2008, 07:13
David, 6" Metrogons are made to cover 9"x9", should cover 8x10 with minimal movements. As mapping lenses, they have low distortion.

Mark Sawyer
21-Jul-2008, 11:44
Some Metrogons (like mine) are quite large, though this one looks smaller. All are very difficult to get into a working shutter, and as the glass protrudes front and rear, they're prone to damage. A 159mm Wollensack is a more practical lens with a bit more coverage.

Dan Fromm
21-Jul-2008, 12:25
But Mark, they're just the lens for an 8x10 Speed Graphic.

Mark Sawyer
21-Jul-2008, 15:29
But Mark, they're just the lens for an 8x10 Speed Graphic.

Ah, but that there were such a beast...

21-Jul-2008, 17:49
I get the impression from the Surplus Shed listing that this variety of Metrogon has a fixed aperture. The description is a bit ambiguous in discussing changeable aperture Metrogons, but not stating they are included...might be wide open (guess f/6.3).

I haven't run into a lot of people who have actually used them, but have heard that 8x10 coverage is 'barely', or 'no movements'. I haven't heard anywhere else that Metrogon coverage increases when stopping down, or it only increases to the marginal coverage point, and is worse (?) at wider apertures. I doubt this, as aerial usage on 9x9 was common wide open. Unlike other lenses, these were supposed to perform to spec open, and not require stopping down to meet the format's requirements.

I also wonder if they have no name, then are they marked 'Metrogon' or just 'look like' Metrogons. The Zeiss Topogon was a very similar, but still different, design, 100-ish degree angle of view vs 90-ish for Metrogon, and slightly worse distortion.

There was a third patented design, British, also similar but different, the name of which I can't remember.

I have a B&L 6" Metrogon and an Eastman Kodak 6" lens that has the Topogon patent number on it. I think they both have the same Mil-Standard number (150? - I'm not looking at them), so I took that to mean at some level for some camera they must have been considered interchangeable suppliers. At least these can be easily disassembled and not so easily remounted in shutters (I think SK Grimes referred to one of their Metrogon shutter mount jobs as a 'novelty installation'. I haven't gotten the same impression of convertibility with the Fuji clone and whatever this one is.

Not like any of them are remarkably practical on most view cameras ... I found that by removing the shutter spring (intended as maintenance), the shutter operates easily (rotary action, a little less than 360 degrees rotation) with two fingers at the shaft coupling. Again, not practical on a view camera (the coupling would be inside the bellows), but at least the monstrosity has a lever for the iris and a shaft coupling for the shutter. I gave up trying to keep the shutter speeds (50-400), as the torque to wind and fire the shutter was normally provided by a motor stronger than one's fingers. The f-stops are also not marked with all the camera linkages missing (if you had the entire camera...K-17 series? - I forget), you'd have marking vs iris lever position info...otherwise another obstacle to practicality.

None of this stopped me from acquisition...usage is another issue.

Kirk Fry
21-Jul-2008, 23:09
I bought the last model they sold for $35 or some such and it was worth less than that.
I think it was designed as a door port viewing lens or some such ridiculous use. This one looks marginally better. The one I got did not cover 9X9, not even close. Buyer beware.


Patrik Roseen
13-Aug-2008, 16:56
I was tempted and ordered this lens and received it today. Now this is really a huge lens.

The filter size is almost 5.5 inches in diameter (135mm) and the center filter looks really nice. (It is attached to the lens and I have not tried removing it)
The rear is 2.5 inces and the lens bulb sticks out (protrudes?)

Measuring the fixed aperture from what I Can see from the outside of the lens it wuld be an f10. (150mm lens with aperture of 15mm)

The centerfilter probably takes another 2 stops making it as dim as an f22 or so. I will check tomorrow when the daylight is back.

The strange thing about this lens is that the rear attachment is all white, whereas the front is black. What was this lens really designed for, a copy machine or?

I wonder what I will do with it?

Dan Fromm
14-Aug-2008, 03:01
Patrik, it sounds like a fine paperweight, perhaps a good doorstop too.

W K Longcor
14-Aug-2008, 04:52
Patrik -- thanks for buying it and reporting -- I almost tried one -- maybe, I'll save my money for something else.

Patrik Roseen
14-Aug-2008, 09:47
Patrik, it sounds like a fine paperweight, perhaps a good doorstop too.

Good suggestion Dan...if it wasn't for the fact that I am running out of doors, too many doorstops already.

The filter is almost permanently attached (locked in place by a metal spring/ring, which suggests this lens is not used for manual focusing but rather a fixed focus position.

It will rest in my closet and maybe sometime it can be used in somekind of 'project'.

Dan Fromm
14-Aug-2008, 12:10
More stops than doors? A common problem.