View Full Version : Antique & Classic Soft Focus Lens Article - Part I

24-Jan-2010, 13:22
Hi All,

I just finished an article ( part I ) on antique and classic soft focus lenses. You will find it here:


Please feel free to contact me if you have any corrections, edits or additions that you think would be helpful.

I hope to publish part II in 2 or 3 weeks, and part III by March.

I will also be adding a few more pictures of some Pinkham & Smith Lenses in the next few days - so be sure to return next week !



alex from holland
24-Jan-2010, 14:06
Great info !!

many thanks


Dr Klaus Schmitt
24-Jan-2010, 15:38
Enjoyed the read! Looking forward to part II (the Kalosat will it also be mentioned?)

Hugo Zhang
24-Jan-2010, 15:47

I have a Dallmeyer 12" F/3.5 Portrait Anastigmat lens. One of my favorite. The softness is controlled by aperture ring like that of Heliar lens. I can not find any literature about this lens.

This is a great article and I can not wait to read the following parts.


Steven Tribe
24-Jan-2010, 16:30
Very good collection of material. For course, we all hope "our" specialities will be covered - and perhaps even with images of our pristine examples! I hope the newly discovered huge Cooke II D will make it!

Emil Schildt
24-Jan-2010, 16:37
what lenses will you describe in part III?

Oscar zwierzina "Plasticca" ?
Oskar Simon "Kronar" and "Kronarette"?

and others...(Universal Heliar ?)

Looking foreward to read it.

Thanks for this

Marko Trebusak
24-Jan-2010, 17:31
Hi Dan,

Thanks for posting this. I too am looking forward to part II.


25-Jan-2010, 13:25
Hello Dan
Thank you for doing this. Knowing the designs and types of aberration is good to know how to focus.
Which brings me to what I want: use these things properly.
So I also want to thank you for including the link to the PhD thesis on sf lenses (in particular the technique chapter): it is not easy, and the learning curve is so gentle that it may take a long time to climb it half-way. There still some tips disseminated in there.

Maybe you have seen this one article here that shows examples at different f/ settings. It is in "easy french" that google translate can handle rather well.

Waiting for part II now, and part III later...


Alex Wei
25-Jan-2010, 13:25
I am sure will read it and enjoy it fully, thanks for the hard work.

Alex W.

25-Jan-2010, 19:30
Thanks for all the nice comments. I plan to write about as many different SF lenses that were produced as long as I have some good data (images,examples,catalogue pages) to share with you all.

I just updated the page with an image from Geoff Berliner of his collection of 6 Pinkham & Smith Lenses !

Dallmeyer Portrait Anastigmat - Hugo - I have very little data other than this was a very late entry in the SF lens market - perhaps as late as the 1940's. It was produced in 10, 12 and 14 inch versions and were reviewed in the British Journal Photographic Almanac 1954 page 218. Do you have an image of the lens?

Thanks again,


Hugo Zhang
25-Jan-2010, 21:00
Here it is and two pictures made with this lens.

26-Jan-2010, 04:43
WOW - beautiful lens and images !

Thanks Hugo.

The look of the lens confirms (for me) production is perhaps even as late as 1950.

I will keep digging for more information. May I use these images for my article ( perhaps part III or IV ? )


Hugo Zhang
26-Jan-2010, 07:23
Sure, Dan!

Tri Tran
26-Jan-2010, 21:48
Here it is and two pictures made with this lens.

I remembered this. Great shot Hugo. Is the lens for sale :)

Mark Sawyer
26-Jan-2010, 22:02
Just a note of thanks, Dan.

Whether these lenses help create things of simple or profound beauty, there is still beauty. Understanding the history, physics, practical application, etc. does not spoil the mystery, it adds to the appreciation.

Steve Hamley
27-Jan-2010, 06:52
Thanks Dan,

Wonderful article and wonderful site. Both are greatly appreciated.

Cheers, Steve

27-Jan-2010, 07:50
TranTri: I have a few brass lenses kept for you .. I accept Paypal and wired check

Dr Klaus Schmitt
27-Jan-2010, 08:47
Wonderful shots Hugo, also a very nice looking lens!

Richard K.
27-Jan-2010, 08:48
Here it is and two pictures made with this lens.

Wow that is one beautiful lens, Hugo! It just made my lust list...:D

28-Jan-2010, 11:10
I have added even more pictures of various Pinkham and Smith lenses to the article...