View Full Version : Barrell lens

Robert Carew
15-Jun-2000, 03:58
Hi, I'm building a 8x10" camera. I need a lens to test it - don't want to spen d a fortune. Offers on Ebay indicates that barrell lenses are cheaper than ones with a shutter. What is a barrell lens? and are they worth considering? How d o you use them?

Pete Andrews
15-Jun-2000, 06:33
A barrel lens is any lens in plain "barrel" mount, without shutter, and sometimes without an iris diaphragm mechanism. Most of the lenses that are turning up without shutters these days are "process" lenses that were used in the printing industry until quite recently, when scanning and digital technology made them redundant. They're usually top-quality lenses, but the cost of putting them in shutters is uneconomical. You can still use them at small apertures and long exposure times just by capping and uncapping the lens with a bit of black card (using a lens cap shakes the camera too much).

Some makes to go for are Schneider G-clarons, Rodenstock Apo-ronars, Konica Hexanon GRII, Apo Nikkors, Apo Tessars, and basically anything else with Apo in the name. Maximum aperture will be only about f/9 for 300 to 360mm focal lengths. Longer focal lengths will probably be even slower. Make sure that they've got an iris mechanism, and that your lens board is big enough to take them. Some of these lenses come in huge mounts that need a 3 to 4 inch or more flange on the camera. Oh yes, that's another thing, try and get one complete with its mounting flange, none of the thread sizes are standardised.

Erik Ryberg
15-Jun-2000, 10:47

I use many barrel lenses. The only thing I would add to the above is that just about any lens of any make from any period will make a good contact print. Some of the older process lenses that weren't coated have pretty bad flare problems but not so bad you can't work with them once you figure out how to use them. You can often pick up a lens in barrel that will cover 8x10 for under 50 bucks on ebay. Just make sure it is 12 inches or more in focal length and not a telephoto design.

If you want to get fancy you can always put a packard shutter behind it. That's what I do. They're about 60-100 bucks new from Hub Photo.

16-Jun-2000, 21:28