View Full Version : Taylor Hobson 14 in. f9 Apo Flat Field Lens

5-Dec-2003, 10:09
Hi all and thanks for your help again. I just got a Kodak 2D 8x10 field camera and was looking for some additional lens. I don't know a lot about them so must ask for your help. I am looking at the above mentioned lens and was wondering if anyone had experience with it or could give some advice on how it will function. Also, is this a shutter lens or a barrel lens? I really don't understand the differences. Also, any input as to which lens would give me good performance on this camera would be great. I do appreciate your help. Thanks, Doug

Ernest Purdum
5-Dec-2003, 11:00
I am not familiar with this specific lens, and am at the moment without some of my research sources, so will have to answer in general terms.

This lens was originally intended for use in copying large originals onto a large negative. The camera it was probably used on was a very large stationary horizontal copying camera. Today, many such lenses are in use on ordinary portable cameras with differing results. Most lenses of this type will give a usable image at infinity focus at small apertures, but they were optimized for close distances. Most work at quite a narrow angle, so a 14" would provide little use of movements. Some relatively recent copying lenses, the Schneider G-Claron being a common example, were intended for use on more compact vertical cameras and worked at a much broader angle. Most of these give quite satisfactory results at long distances as long as the aperture is kept to f22 or less

It was uncommon for these lenses to be sold mounted in a shutter. Fequently, the camera front had a very large (too large for a portable camera) solenoid operated shutter working behind the lens, so the lens itself had only a diaphragm in the barrel.

Before deciding to buy it, you should find out if the mounting flange is included. If it isn't, the cost of a flange, which may have to be custom made, can be a substantial extra expense.

If you send me your mailing address, I will send you a booklet on choosing a view camera lens.

Dan Fromm
5-Dec-2003, 14:26
Funny you should ask when there's one on eBay with the auction closing soon.

The one on eBay is in barrel. It is badged Apotal and looks very much like a 14" Apotal figured in the Vade Mecum. According to the Vade Mecum it is a Tessar type, should be coated, is a good lens. Of interest to you, the Vade Mecum says that the 14" can be front-mounted on an Ilex #4. Doing that requires an adapter. Not clear that it will cover 8x10 at infinity.

Um, if that's what you're looking at, think hard about passing on it. Unless, that is, you can afford to make a mistake. It might be a mistake, it might not, but there are many process lenses around that are better known. Buying in ignorance is rarely a good idea.



5-Dec-2003, 22:07
If you're as new to large format as you indicate, I would advise that you consider purchasing a lens for your 8x10 from one of the reputable dealers who handle such. While there are several, I personally have had consistently good results with Midwest Photo (http://www.mpex.com/). I think others will concur. Not only can they guide you in making a purchase which will fit your needs, but they offer a generous return policy. The last is something you don't often find on Ebay. If you know exactly what you're looking for and exactly what to look out for, then some good deals can be found on Ebay. But if you're just starting out, I would exercise caution dealing in unknown territory.


Michael S. Briggs
5-Dec-2003, 23:02
Most 35 mm cameras have a focal plane shutter, meaning that the shutter is just in front of the film. This makes it easy and less expensive to have interchangable lenses because the one only needs the shutter in the camera body.

As far as I know, no large format cameras are currently made with focal plane shutters. Because the film is much larger, making a reliable focal plane shutter with reasonable speeds is much more difficult than for 35 mm. Instead the shutters are positioned where their size can be minimized, which is near the aperture diaphragm of the lens. So the current normal approach is to have a shutter in the middle of the lens, and a separate shutter for each lens. This has the disadvantage of increasing the cost since one pays for a shutter for each lens.

A lens without a shutter is called a barrel lens. These are cheaper both from the decreased manufacturing cost and the decreased demand. It is tricky to make short enough exposures and repeatable exposures. Some photographers manage with tricks like using a hat or a black box, and perhaps using a filter to reduce the light and increase the exposure time. Unless your budget is extremely limited, I recommend looking for a lens in a shutter.

Buying from a good dealer like Midwest Photo is a good suggestion. The other approach is to study the articles on www.largeformatphotography.info, postings in this archive and other locations on the internet, and then carefully shop from ebay. If you are on a modest budget, you might want to look for an older Symmar or perhaps a Commercial Ektar. A factor to consider in deciding whether to buy a twenty year old lens versus a cheaper fourty year old lens is that the older lens is more likely to have a shutter that will need a CLA (clean, lube, adjust), thereby reducing the price difference.