View Full Version : Seeking shutter and lens info

26-Apr-2011, 10:08

I'm wondering if anyone could add any information on this shutter/lens combination beyond what I've been able to find out so far. I picked this up several years ago at an antique shop for around $7, and now that I have some LF cameras, have begun experimenting with it.

What I do know is that it's manufactured by Rochester Optical & Company/ Bausch & Lomb Optical Company, which eventually was bought by Kodak I believe. Speeds are T, B, 100, 25, 5, 2, 1. F-stops are 6.3-45. Only T, B, and 1/100 work at the moment. This shutter fits a Copal 0 lens board. There is a single rear lens element. At first I thought it was missing the front element, but now I don't think it is. I have a 4x5 camera with long enough bellows to focus it, and I'm able to get a clear image. I suspect that it's around 300mm focal length, and will certainly cover 5x7, and possibly 8x10, but I don't have a camera that big to test it. I suspect that it's from around 1900, due to the manufacturer, and that it has a pneumatic shutter release. Thank you for any additional info you can add.

Ole Tjugen
26-Apr-2011, 11:02
The shutter seems to be a precursor of the B&L Unicum - or a simplified (?)version of the same.

The lens is almost certainly missing a front cell, since there is no way to make an f:6.3 lens of 300mm focal length in a shutter that will fit that size hole! But that means you are missing any inscription on the front cell, so what you have is half an unknown lens in a known old shutter. Have fun with it!

Lynn Jones
26-Apr-2011, 12:19
Hi Reid,

Kodak formerly owned not only their own stuff but Folmer & Schwing (Graflex), and Premo, one of the best recognized LF cameras in the world using film and plates, lens
shutterwere from the Premo cameras (I used to have one myself). The B&L shutterswere air shutters just like the later compound shutters and lens itself was almost certainly their version of a rapid rectilinear. I had a 4x5 Premo with a similar lens and shutter and shot lots of pictures in b/w and color. The results were excellent and my system was certified at 1903/4 series.


29-Apr-2011, 09:18
Thanks to both of you for responding. I've attached a couple small scans of contact prints from last week. I like the quality of the lens, but due to bellows/rail limitations, I am only able to focus down to about 10-12 feet.

25-May-2011, 10:02
I thought I'd add a little more info. I took the lens to a friends studio and held it in front of his 8x10 camera and it will cover this format, at least at around 12 feet, I didn't try infinity.

One other question, On my camera this lens appears to be about a 300mm or so focal length with the front element missing. Would that indicate it would probably be a shorter focal length if I had the front element, similar to some convertible lenses?

25-May-2011, 10:17
It would be a 6in. lens with both cells. Both cells combined in a RR straightens out lines that may be barrel distortion. Google RR for a more in depth explaination.
It is not really a convertable.

25-May-2011, 13:25
Thanks for the response Ken,

Yeah, I didn't think it was a convertable, I was just wondering if that would shorten it. A ~300mm Copal 0 lens that covers 8x10 seemed a bit odd to me. Still, I'm sure I'll get a little use out of it, incomplete as it is.

Richard Rankin
25-May-2011, 14:04
Ken is correct - it is clearly missing an element. While it might please you at the moment, a single element of an RR lens isn't really much of a lens. You'd normally use something like that to try and accentuate any distortions you might find. RR lenses are comparatively cheap, and, in my opinion, some of the best LF B&W lenses to use. I love them. But I don't think I'd bother with using half of one...

One of my 'loaner' lenses might fit it. Both the Tetranar and Rectigraph I have are around 37mm at the threads.


25-May-2011, 16:12
Thanks Richard. I will keep my eyes open for a front element, which looks to be in the 30-31mm diameter range BTW. In the meantime, I do like the look of it, and will continue to experiment with it if the situation calls for an incomplete lens (that's currently) that long. Homemade pinholes aren't much of a lens either, but I use them on occasion too. ;)