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View Full Version : Ocilloscope Lenses at Thrift-Store Prices



Drew Bedo
27-Mar-2012, 06:01
Hello Everyone,

For months past I have noticed a bunch of oscilloscope cameras offered on e-bay for hundreds of dollars each. Not surprisingly they donít sell. No one wants to buy these useless 50s-60s era industrial cameras. Now they are being offered at buy-it-now prices <$50 and <$25 .

Most of these cameras have 75mm/f-1.9 Wollensak lens in an Alphax #3 shutter. They wonít cover 4x5 at infinity (make a 6cm circle on 4x6 film), but they are optimized for 1:1 reproduction at short working distances where they do cover 4x5 . . .and max aperature is f-1.9. Iíve gotten two at $25 each, and close-ups seem fine to me. Had to work some to dismount/disassemble them from the camera though.

If we donít buy up all these old shutters at thrift store prices, they will eventually get junked óand they will be lost to LF photography forever.

Dan Fromm
27-Mar-2012, 07:22
Drew, take a look at the back of the shutter. The shutters I've seen with 75/1.9 'scope lenses in them -- Alphaxes and Ilex #3s -- have all had restricted apertures. They're not as useful as they seem.

Oh, and by the way, I just took a look at 'scope cameras on eBay. Most of the ones on offer have completely useless electronically-timed shutters. The only ones that are remotely safe to buy are Tektronix C-12, C-19, C-27, and C-58P (Ilex shutters mainly, some with Alphax), Hewlett Packard 196A and 196B (Alphax), and Polaroid DS-31, -34, –39, Shackman 7000 and Tektronix C-4 (Copal Press, mainly #0).

I have the remains of a Coleman Systems 'scope camera in the closet. It has an f/1.9 lens with no identifying engravings in a #3 Ilex Electronic shutter and has a speed control built in. The shutter gives full #3 aperture. I bought it in the hope that I'd be able to extract and repack the circuit boards and use the shutter. So far, no go. It all works, the shutter runs very slow.