View Full Version : **** "The Wizard" ****

16-Oct-2008, 20:53
Hey All,

I'm a sucker for pretty things, which is partly why I ended up with some of the heaviest large format cameras one can buy. This week, though, it led to my purchase of a beautiful brass lens called "The Wizard" in a shutter constructed by the Manhattan Optical Company of New York. The shutter worked, the flange was present, it gleamed...and who could resist a lens called "The Wizard"?? Had to have it.

I got it. :D

Everything is lovely, and it seems to cover my 5x7 (though it was a little tough to verify in my poorly lit living room. Aperture markings from f8 to f64. Focal length is somewhere around 6" or so. Have a look at the pic - can anyone tell me more about this lens - when it was made, who made it, what camera it may have come from, why it might be called "The Wizard"?


Paul Fitzgerald
16-Oct-2008, 20:57
If you search eBay, you should find antique folding cameras named 'the Wizard', maybe it's from one of those.

Kirk Keyes
16-Oct-2008, 21:12
I think Duke Leto gave his son Paul one of these when he turn 15, shortly before the downfall of the House of Atreides. ;^)

Glenn Thoreson
16-Oct-2008, 21:19
I agree. The Wizard was self casing camera from the turn of the century or just prior. If I remember correctly it was made by Manhatten Optical. It's a Rapid Rectilinear lens you have there. Nice looking piece that will make some strikingly sharp photos on 4X5. At least in the center. These lenses would often cover considerably more than the camera they came on because of the fall off in the corners and edges. Great lenses none the less. It wants to be used and enjoyed.

Oren Grad
16-Oct-2008, 21:24

17-Oct-2008, 08:44
Thanks, all. Glenn, sounds like this could be an interesting portrait lens by your description. I looked at the GG again this AM and I'm thinking this must have been for 4x5. I'll have to try it out at portrait distances...


Glenn Thoreson
17-Oct-2008, 16:21
After looking up the Wizard cameras made by Manhatten Optical, I found there are about 8 models that I can account for. There's probably more. It is, however, just about impossible to pin down any particular camera that was equipped with your lens/shutter. It was a time of rapid and constant change in the industry.

Gene McCluney
18-Oct-2008, 11:47
So "Wizard" is actually the name of the complete camera and not a particular lens design, it seems.

Glenn Thoreson
20-Oct-2008, 11:17