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View Full Version : How Come Plasticcas, Port-Lands



Richard K.
4-Jul-2010, 14:31
SEEM to be rarer than P&S VQ or Nicola Perscheid but are priced lower? I've been watching in this forum and on eBay for the past year or so and NEVER seen a Port-Land and only one Plasticca and its price was WAY below what the P&Ss are getting or what the Nicolas are listed for...

So I guess something can be rarer but also less sought after? Hmmmmm....

eddie
4-Jul-2010, 15:00
i saw 4 in the last year....had i known i would have bought all 4....but i got one!

(devilish laughter haunting richard...LOL)

Steven Tribe
4-Jul-2010, 16:16
The strange thing about Oscar Zwierzina's Plasticca is that they were really cheap at the time - only a fraction of the price of Nicola Perscheid, Cooke and Heliar Universal.
It was almost that the seller was saying:

"So you want something different - try ours! It is garanteed to produce completely original images. It doesn't cost a fortune - so you can always pass it on or discard it."

I really don't think that the Plasticca was sold in the US and that the survival rate is quite low in Europe (basically Germany and Scandinavia, I think).

By contrast, I think there are quite a lot of Port-lands around.

Richard, I think you are right about things that are rare but not necessarily as valuable as more frequently encountered lenses. Speaking of the Plasticca - the objective is restricted to a one fixed "effect" for a specific composition. Many others, like the Graf Variable or Port-Land give a range of effects. So value is influenced by versatility.

Richard K.
4-Jul-2010, 19:52
....devilish laughter haunting richard.......

I can HEAR you!!!! :mad: :) :D

Mark Sawyer
5-Jul-2010, 00:19
The Perscheids and Pinkham & Smith VQ's sell for more because people want them more and will pay more. They both have a certain historical pedigree and cult mystique. Each also has its own signature "look", but whether the look is better is subjective and the choice (or guess) of the individual photographer.

Rarity only accounts for so much. I have a few very rare lenses that are near worthless...

Petzval Paul
5-Jul-2010, 06:33
The P&S VQ was also not very expensive at the time it was produced, but INHO it is truly is one of - if not THE - greatest portrait lenses of all time. Obviously that opinion is shared by many others, too. It's look is just magic and so it's more desirable for users. It was also produced a portrait lens and not as a impressionist/pictorial lens (despite Cooke's advertising to the contrary) so it's less soft and fuzzy, as well as a bit more manageable than, say, the Plasticca, which can only be used wide open and is really pretty funky. The Port-land lens is really quite nice but the Plasticca may not be everybody's cup of tea. Personally, I wouldn't spend the money on one since I could probably just buy a meniscus lens from some surplus shop for $15.00 and slap it on the front of my camera to get the same effect. That's my take on it, anyway!

For collectors, the very name "Pinkham and Smith" is like gold-dust sprinkled on whatever lens upon which it happens to be printed. The fact that there are more P&S's around helps to makes the name more popular. I also have a few very rare lenses that I got at reasonable prices because few people knew of the name and significance of that particular piece. In fact, I just picked up a Palmer & Longking lens for a decent, but not great, price after 4 years of searching for one. In that time, I'd never even seen one for sale (not an verifiable/authentic one, anyway) and it still cost less than my P&S did several years ago when they weren't quite as dear as they are today.

Richard K.
5-Jul-2010, 06:45
......I just picked up a Palmer & Longking lens for a decent, but not great, price after 4 years of searching for one. ......

Excellent! Can you post a picture of it?

Does it look like:

http://i300.photobucket.com/albums/nn15/RichardK47/PalmerLongking.jpg

Richard K.
5-Jul-2010, 06:48
There's some nice lenses pictured here:

http://www.cdags.org/?page_id=209

goamules
5-Jul-2010, 06:48
The second part of the Supply & Demand equation is harder to understand, because it's the part that is based on fickle humans. I'm like Paul, I pick lenses based on what I determine is interesting. Most are low production, high quality, and historically interesting, but I might have trouble getting a fair value if I sold them.

goamules
5-Jul-2010, 06:55
There's some nice lenses pictured here:

http://www.cdags.org/?page_id=209

Yeah, and one of mine not used with permission. I noticed a while back and didn't say anything.

Richard K.
5-Jul-2010, 07:02
... I just picked up a Palmer & Longking lens ...

No mention of it in the VM!?!

Petzval Paul
5-Jul-2010, 07:18
Garret, I saw that pic over there and was wondering how they got it.

Richard, yes, like that but complete with flange and hood. Paid more than $10.00 for it, though! It's really in very nice, ready-to-use condition. The focusing is very smooth, all disassembles easily for cleaning, and I didn't even need to change the light-seals - which is very unusual! For such an old lens (late 1850's, I'd estimate) it is in remarkable shape.

As far as my approach to buying lenses, Garret put it best so no need to elaborate!

Emil Schildt
5-Jul-2010, 11:18
... the Plasticca may not be everybody's cup of tea. Personally, I wouldn't spend the money on one since I could probably just buy a meniscus lens from some surplus shop for $15.00 and slap it on the front of my camera to get the same effect. That's my take on it, anyway!

.

hmm - sounds strange to me.
I have both. Several meniscus types of lenses (Dallmeyer - Lancaster ..)and the plasticca (and the Kronarette)

to state that the two types will give you the same effect is based on what?

they are very different. VERY.

But I get your point. That is the reason I don't get a P&S...
I can't see a difference between that and my Dallmeyer meniscus lens....

;)

Petzval Paul
5-Jul-2010, 12:58
Dallmeyer landscape-type lenses (I guess this is to what you are referring) do produce beautiful images wide open. I haven't made any scientific comparisons, but I do think that a P&S S.A. or a Synthetic can produce some pretty wild glowing effects which might be a bit more than the average landscape lens.

OK... my comment on the Plasticca was based upon the many images that I have seen made with that lens (including those on your page:)). Whether or not it would be identical to an inexpensive surplus-type lens (achromat, meniscus, double convex, or otherwise) I certainly cannot judge. The images that I have seen made by them, however, do not look significantly different from those I have seen made with plastic lenses, monocles, toy-cameras, etc. for me to spend a considerable amount of money on one.

That's not to say that I don't like the Plasticca's look. Certainly some of your photos taken with one were very striking. However, the lens was marketed towards amateurs (as the lens brochure states on the opening page) and when I have seen equally as interesting looks from home-made lenses that cost almost nothing and which produce images that are similarly soft and funky, I just couldn't see springing for one. Of course, if I did have one on hand, I would be overjoyed to use it!

I remember when someone on this forum won a Plasticca at the big auction site and commented "Now I have an 8x10 Diana." I think that says it all!

seven
5-Jul-2010, 13:50
yeah, that was me with the Diana ;) i must add i'm somewhat disappointed with it, but i will give it some more time before i sell it.
btw the Plasticcas are not that rare, i saw at least 5 selling in the last year or so.

Steven Tribe
5-Jul-2010, 13:54
Yes Emil did say that - but he is wiser now!

I agree with Emil's comment about not being able to compare Plasticca with large meniscus lenses - anyway those that I have with or without apertures. The only comparable uncorrected meniscus lens, apart from Plasticca spin-offs and the usual known makes , that I can think of is the Koristka "Ars" portrait series.

I read about the "amateur" designation in the sales literature too. I think this is more a desire to sell as many possible rather than what the designer had in mind. They were available in size up to 600mm - a very big amateur camera! The little Ars series was only made for smaller sizes and definitely made for the smaller plate camera market.

Steven Tribe
5-Jul-2010, 13:56
Sorry Seven , I thought it was Gandolfi, himself!

Steven Tribe
5-Jul-2010, 14:07
I can't help feeling there must be a method of "taming" the Plasticca. About 2 years ago there was one for sale on an auction site in Stockholm which had a set of Imagon type "strainer" inserts which looked like they had be especialy made for it. Another idea, of course, is to make an extended front with washer stops.

Emil Schildt
5-Jul-2010, 14:23
I can't help feeling there must be a method of "taming" the Plasticca. About 2 years ago there was one for sale on an auction site in Stockholm which had a set of Imagon type "strainer" inserts which looked like they had be especialy made for it. Another idea, of course, is to make an extended front with washer stops.

my Plasticca is a 280mm - it is very, VERY wild(funky) when used on 13x18 or larger formats, but more "tame" in 9x12...

A friend of mine has the Kronar (Plasticca like lens), and this one had some Imagon inserts made (I think home made). How it looks, I don't know.

I love the plasticca, but it is rather difficult to use. But that's the fun of it..

some images:

1: plasticca 13x18

2;Dallmeyer meniscus 13x18

3:Kronarette 13x18

Emil Schildt
5-Jul-2010, 14:25
Sorry Seven , I thought it was Gandolfi, himself!

I actually might have said this, but I am wiser now....;)

eddie
5-Jul-2010, 14:32
I love the plasticca, but it is rather difficult to use. But that's the fun of it..



nice shots as usual G.

i have a 450 i used on 5x7 and 8x10. i fell right into it and found it quite easy to use.....now a verito kicks my ass!

Jim Fitzgerald
5-Jul-2010, 17:57
my Plasticca is a 280mm - it is very, VERY wild(funky) when used on 13x18 or larger formats, but more "tame" in 9x12...

A friend of mine has the Kronar (Plasticca like lens), and this one had some Imagon inserts made (I think home made). How it looks, I don't know.

I love the plasticca, but it is rather difficult to use. But that's the fun of it..

some images:

1: plasticca 13x18

2;Dallmeyer meniscus 13x18

3:Kronarette 13x18

Emil, the Dallmeyer is exquisite! Must be nice to have one of those. Great signature look and wonderful work as always.

Jim

Richard K.
5-Jul-2010, 20:35
Emil, can you post a photo OF the Dallmeyer meniscus? Any other photos with would be great too. Beautiful work!

Steven Tribe
6-Jul-2010, 01:56
Here is the Plasticca set with "strainers" I mentioned yesterday which were on an auction site some years ago. I am not an Imagon person so I don't know whether the inserts have been taken from a standard Imagon set and modified with clips or have been specially made?

Steven Tribe
6-Jul-2010, 02:17
I have just refreshed my memory (thanks Cameraeccentric!) about the function of the discs in the Imagon design and I am now convinced that this is the way to go to tame the Plasticca and similar objectives.

Emil Schildt
6-Jul-2010, 03:52
I have just refreshed my memory (thanks Cameraeccentric!) about the function of the discs in the Imagon design and I am now convinced that this is the way to go to tame the Plasticca and similar objectives.

yes - and they look very similar to the ones I mentioned about the Kronar..

Emil Schildt
6-Jul-2010, 03:56
Emil, can you post a photo OF the Dallmeyer meniscus? Any other photos with would be great too. Beautiful work!

of course - but let me first find my digital shitty camera....:o

Richard K.
6-Jul-2010, 08:44
of course - but let me first find my digital shitty camera....:o

I have a similar one, but mine is a shitty digital camera! Yours sounds like an interesting variation...:D

Please post the OF and more WITH Dallmeyer meniscus...:)

Richard K.
6-Jul-2010, 08:51
some images:

2;Dallmeyer meniscus 13x18

I love the effect in this photo! At what aperture did you shoot? Wide open?

I get something similar with an Anthony achromat I have, wide open. Stopping down (using the pill-box aperture) removes most of the beautiful explosion of highlight texture...

Jim Fitzgerald
6-Jul-2010, 09:27
I love the effect in this photo! At what aperture did you shoot? Wide open?

I get something similar with an Anthony achromat I have, wide open. Stopping down (using the pill-box aperture) removes most of the beautiful explosion of highlight texture...

Richard, I agree that the highlight explosion of light is stunning. I wish to know more also.

Jim

goamules
6-Jul-2010, 10:51
And then there are other meniscus portrait lenses that were quite well regarded a generation before some of these others. But no one seems to want them anymore.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4117/4768691034_6c2c0ea58e_o.jpg

Emil Schildt
6-Jul-2010, 12:37
And then there are other meniscus portrait lenses that were quite well regarded a generation before some of these others. But no one seems to want them anymore.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4117/4768691034_6c2c0ea58e_o.jpg

well - I want that one for sure.. (If I had the money for it)

I have now taken a picture of the Dallmeyer - now I have to figure out how to put it in the computer....:o

while we wait, a couple of more images:

(all my images here are done wide open)

4: Dallmeyer 13x18

5: Plasticca 13x18

6: Plasticca 13x18

7: Lancaster (rather small) 9x12

CP Goerz
6-Jul-2010, 16:07
Since we are showing images of the lenses here is the Spencer Port-Land and an image Ansel made with one...

Emil Schildt
7-Jul-2010, 06:18
finally made a few pictures of the Dallmeyer.

Jim Fitzgerald
7-Jul-2010, 08:30
finally made a few pictures of the Dallmeyer.

Emil, thanks. Nice to see that beautiful lens and what it can do in the hands of an accomplished photographer.


Jim

Steven Tribe
7-Jul-2010, 09:00
Thanks Emil for a look. This the Wide Angle Landscape (patent). So it covers 10x12 and has a efl of 10" and was made for a looong time.

I enclose my equivalent, a "normal" 10x12" Landscape (F11) from Perken Son & Rayment with 18" efl. The smaller ones have revolving stops like yours. It will probably be "quieter" than yours.

goamules
7-Jul-2010, 10:08
The nice thing about some of these, at least the Dallmeyer Rapid Landscape lenses, is you can unscrew and remove the barrel, leaving a "wide open" meniscus. Steven, are you saying Emil's is a Wide Angle Landscape? How can you tell it's not a Rapid Landscape at f11 or f15? The only Dallmeyers that I know of that look like this are the Rapid Landscape, or the Rapid Landscape - Long Focus. They weren't wide angles, per say.

Louis Pacilla
7-Jul-2010, 11:03
Here's a couple of fine lenses that have not been mentioned in this post. These will have (more or less) the same effects on both the GG as well as Negatives IMO.

1. Plastigmat Portrait lens this is 18" all sizes f5.6

2. Gundlach Achromatic Meniscus Portrait lens this is a 15" f6

You can see how close a the Portland (on left) is to the Gundlach. Both 15"


Just to give you choices to meet your itch

Steven Tribe
7-Jul-2010, 11:18
First of all - I misread the catalogue. The efl for no. 4 WAL is 12". 10" is the 8x10" version

Logic is:

This was made just before 1890.
According to my Dallmeyers sales catalogue from 1892, there was only one of their Landscape lenses which had the patent stamp - the WAL. All other "patent stamped" were varieties of Rectilinear. The "New Rapid" landscape lens no. 4 would also have had a coverage for 10x12 but with an efl of 18". But, of course there could have been other landscape versions between the 2 dates. So Emil can tell us which it is.

CP Goerz
7-Jul-2010, 11:35
The Gundlach Portrait lens was the first one that ever made me think of actually shooting with a 'portrait' lens, really pleasing and flattering look to it.

goamules
7-Jul-2010, 12:50
First of all - I misread the catalogue. ...
According to my Dallmeyers sales catalogue from 1892, there was only one of their Landscape lenses which had the patent stamp - the WAL. All other "patent stamped" were varieties of Rectilinear...

Catalogs are confusing. I'm not looking at the catalog you are, but I don't even know what a Dallmeyer wide angle meniscus looks like. They had the Wide Angle Rectilinear (patent) which is not a Rapid Rectilinear, but the earlier Rectilinear. Glass front and rear, quite wide. Does your catalog actually show a meniscus/can type (a cemented triplet, with the small hole stop at the end) being called "Wide Angle Landscape" with a picture of a "can" lens?

As far as the meniscus landscape lenses, some were Long Focus. Maybe that was patented. Here are two of my landscape cans. Both have a no. 1, both are the same size. The one with the patent stamp is 18 inch focal length! The other is 7.5 inch.

Steven Tribe
7-Jul-2010, 14:14
This is a puzzle! The objective looks exactly like Emil's. No pictures, but the title in the Dallmeyer listing is "Wide-angle Landscape Lens (patent)". The "New Rectilinear Landscape Lens (patent) - this is a 1 +2 design - was listed separately.

The wide angle meniscus is well decribed in VM and with a x-section (Da005) in the appendix. If I have understood you correctly, the no.1 on your Dallmeyer has a efl of 18"?
It seems very odd that an objective no. 1, even a long focus model, should have such focal length as high as this. It would correspond to no. 5a/6 in the wide-angle meniscus series.

I can think of two possibilities. Another faulty engraving from Dallmeyer. Or that the last of the 3 lenses - a very thin + lens - has fallen off at some stage. The rearmost surface would still be slightly convex. Have you checked for 3 balsamed lenses?

We could, perhaps, contact the "Guardian of the Dallmeyer production ledgers" - there are no mistakes there!

goamules
7-Jul-2010, 14:57
I know, I was shocked when I measured the Focal Length. I always assumed it would be 7.5 inches like the other one. It's in mint condition, I can't imagine an element becoming delaminated and falling off! But I'll check. Yes, we may have to contact, The Guardian....

Petzval Paul
7-Jul-2010, 20:27
Garrett, The Dallmeyer W.A. landscape lens looks exactly like the regular landscape meniscus lens that they made. Whether or not the glass was 3 elements cemented together, I can't say, but I would suspect so. Also we can see the need for all of those numerical designations (1A,1B, 1C, etc.) since they were making so many lenses and even the barrels/hoods/flanges were sometimes interchangeable. Gets confusing:o

Emil Schildt
10-Jul-2010, 03:41
If I can see right (small image) there is an excact copy of my Dallmeyer for sale at MwClassic..

http://www.mwclassic.com/acatalog/Online_Catalogue_LENSES__ADDED__36.html

scrool down a little.

(addictive lens!)

Steven Tribe
10-Jul-2010, 10:43
I am in the process of contacting the "Guardian".
I read the dallmeyer landscape lens serial numbers as

36942 Patent 4 Emil
33767 Patent 1 and 18966 1 Garrett?

goamules
10-Jul-2010, 11:39
I wouldn't bother him for such common lenses. But it would be nice to know what they listed my 33767 as for focal length....

Steven Tribe
10-Jul-2010, 12:29
I have only contacted him once before. You would have thought that Dallmeyer would have taken more care with objective identification considering how detailed the sales ledgers are.

Results have just come through as I write this:

"36942 is a No.4 Wide Angle Landscape lens, focal length 12", sold to Puch on 24th.April 1885.


33767 is in the records as a No.1 Wide Angle Landscape lens, focal length 7", sold to ? August 2nd, 1884


18966 (or 0) both were No.2 Quick Acting Stereo lenses 6" focus, sold to Wilson April 4th,1872


I don't understand 33767, as a WAL it should only have that rear triplet, unless it has somehow lost an element of the rear triplet.


It's definitely down in to of the record books as a No.1, the element size should give it away, a No.1 is 1 5/8" diameter."

OK?

Dr Klaus Schmitt
23-Jul-2010, 09:51
How old would a Dallmeyer 3B ser. no. 75586 be?
Any idea of a realistic price for one in excellent condition?

goamules
23-Jul-2010, 10:21
There is a serial number list at the bottom of this page:
http://www.antiquecameras.net/petzvallens.html
That's a later one, I would extrapolate to about 1913 or so.

Price is in the eyes of the beholder.

Steven Tribe
23-Jul-2010, 11:55
But the "Quick Acting" 3B cost 20 in 1892.
Probably a bit more these days, I guess!

Dr Klaus Schmitt
24-Jul-2010, 17:10
How true Steve!