View Full Version : Need help identifying large German lens

Mike Tobias
20-Dec-2008, 00:06
So I've had this behemoth sitting around for a while, and have decided that I have waaaaay too much gigantic glass sitting around collecting dust, and that I should either use it or get rid of it, particularly since more and more big glass seems to be mysteriously showing up :rolleyes: . So here is this thing.

I know very little about it except for what's written on it and what I assume. It is overall 120mm x 130mm (that's a Nikon 50mm f1.8 for size reference in the photo), has a front lens of at least 100mm or so, and weighs about 5lbs (can't fully weigh it, it maxes out my kitchen scale). It has written on it "Made in Germany", and goes from f5.6 to f8, although there are markings up to f16. It has engraved a serial # "12 555 130" and hand engraved on the flange "TCD 1032 2,60". Has a gigantic bulbous rear element (which unfortunately has some tiny scratches) and a slightly less bulbous front element (which is missing a little coating around the edges). I assume it's a large Rodenstock enlarging or process lens, that it's FL is somewhere in the neighborhood of 300mm (can't really tell, because it's too big to sit in my testing rig, I'm going to try a workaround this weekend), and that it's expensive (or was).

Now I'm assuming this is worth at least a little (but could be wrong) so I'll give anyone who can help me identify this and give me a couple of identifying references (as well as an estimate of what it should be worth) 15% of the final sale price. Thanks for any help you guys can provide, this forum is always a valuable resource!


20-Dec-2008, 00:38
Well, it looks like a big process lens for reproduction work... and it looks kinda schneider-y (the style and font of the words "Lens made in Germany" matches those on other Schneider lenses). From the markings it looks like its built for 1:1 reproduction and it has an aperture scale set at that ratio. Possibly it's a componon or componon-S enlarger lens in a different type of barrel than the normal one, or inside a special housing. Most process lenses are slower than f/5.6 but there are a few enlarger lenses with that speed, e.g. the componon-S 300mm.

My other guess might be a specialized piece of equipment for some weird wavelength of light. Maybe TCD 1032 is a hint (1032nm? IR?).

Will try to figure out what it is in the hopes of claiming some of your reward money ;)

Mike Tobias
20-Dec-2008, 04:09
Actually Walter, you pointed out something very important that I forgot to mention (it's been a very long week). The 1:1 is actually written on a ring that turns, and moves an internal group of elements. The 1:1 mark moves left from the marking line under f5.6 in the photo, to a little past the beginning of the serial number. There isn't any other marking on the ring. Also should mention, I was wrong a bit about the aperture, it goes to f11 not f16.

The coatings look wrong to me for IR or UV, I've seen a number of those lenses and they seem to have some iridescent coating colors I don't see on this lens, although I suppose this could be an exception.

Lol, don't get your hopes up on the reward, knowing my luck it'll turn out to be worth $10, and I'll end up sending a check for a couple of bucks.


20-Dec-2008, 05:34
Given the large aperture and coupling rigs, some automated process camera like device seems the most likely origin - e.g. a large scale copier. Does the focal length change when you move the 1:1 marked ring?

I'd simply mail Schneider, Rodenstock, Zeiss and Isco support - they are all still in business and account for a considerable proportion of German process lenses from the past half century. Even if it is none of theirs, they might be able to identify it.

In general, these type of lenses aren't worth much, and even less in relation to their bulk - there simply were too many cameras and devices scrapped in recent years, and a correction for ranges from 4:1 to 1:4 and a weight which would destroy most large cameras aren't exactly increasing their usefulness for general photography either.


Dan Fromm
20-Dec-2008, 06:07
Mike, a fair number of these monstrosities have been offered on eBay, with a variety of sources/applications mentioned. The most fanciful has been that it is an aerial camera lens.

I'm with Walter and Sevo. Probably Schneider, probably a process lens.

IMO, if you can't get solid information about it from the manufacturer the only honest way to offer it is as a mystery lens of unknown utility that might best be used as a paperweight or doorstop. Don't be like those ignorant/crooked individuals who offer completely unusable 300 S-Tessars, ex-copier, for use as LF taking lenses.

Good luck, have fun,