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goamules
7-Sep-2012, 18:51
I wanted to post about a lens that is not seen very often, and is almost forgotten. The Taylor, Taylor and Hobson Rapid View Portrait (or R.V.P.) is the grandfather of a lot of soft focus meniscus lenses from the 1910s - 1920s such as the Cooke Achromatic Portrait, the Karl Struss Pictorial, the Pinkham & Smith Semi-Achromat, the Bausch & Lomb Portrait Plastigmat, and even the Kodak 305 and 405 Portrait lenses. Clarence White and Alfred Stieglitz among others used the RVP for their pictorialist works, perhaps this one:

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_X-1moElJBqk/TU7XB4_OBMI/AAAAAAAAAA0/u9FKJ7M-UMs/s1600/12086u1.preview.jpg

more White (http://www.photogravure.com/collection/searchResults.php?page=1&artist=White,%20Clarence%20H.)

The RVP has a long barrel, with an achromatic doublet meniscus in the rear. The front holds only the iris, at F8 or sometimes mentioned at F7.5. The workmanship on all TTH lenses is of the highest quality, with deep, precise engraving, the patented "exactly three turns to remove" flange, and a glowing brass lacquer so hard their lenses usually look 50 years younger than they are. These two 130 year old TTH lenses of mine have lacquer that looks brand new. It's easy to see why they ended up making the Cooke lenses.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8301/7952569252_a0f23bb071_c.jpg

But the RVP was made in the 1880s, not the 1920s, much earlier than the second wave of soft focus enthusiasts. For a decade or more, this was the lens to use if you wanted soft focus. Earlier photographers experimented with opened up landscape lenses or shot "slightly out of focus" conventional lenses. Actually, in the 1800s a "view lens" meant a landscape lens, and the Rapid View (RV) was TTH's version, at F11. At some point, they realized that opening up the lens to F8 would give a softness that was conducive for portraits. Thus, the Rapid View Portrait was born. As you can see, the two lenses are quite similar, but notice the larger front iris on the RVP (on left).

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8312/7952568864_be079bc334_c.jpg

The story is that in 1913 TTH/Cooke was requested to remake the RVP, because a new generation of photographers wanted a lens like the first Pictorialists used. So they brought out the Cooke Achromatic Portrait Lens f/7.5. If you compare them, they are identical to the RVP except for the engraving. A couple years later Karl Struss and Smith started making similar lenses, and the rest is history.

goamules
7-Sep-2012, 18:54
Here is a 1904 catalog, they were made for quite a while:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8175/7952568132_a32bf8ea86_z.jpg

And here is my humble attempt to use the RVP above, on FP4 5x7:

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8290/7647396130_58f372fa25_c.jpg

Steven Tribe
8-Sep-2012, 01:37
Nice!

One of these never came my way! I remember seeing them a few times a year on the bay some years ago but availability seems to have gone now.

As a non-owner, I would be a little sceptical of the iris design/mechanism! I have had about 5 other T,T & H's from the pre-Cooke patent era, looking the same as this one, and all of them have had issues with the iris. Never completely busted - just stiff and with distorted (bronze) leaves and virtually unreadable stop figures. Perhaps a service would have helped, but it didn't look like a quick fix.

CCHarrison
8-Sep-2012, 03:39
Thank Garrett.

Just to refine your post a bit, the Cooke Achromatic Portrait was on the market in 1911. From my Soft Focus article: http://antiquecameras.net/softfocuslenses2.html


"While the Cooke Portrait Anastigmat line of lenses was the main soft focus product by T,T&H, in 1911, they also produced the now, rarely seen, Cooke Achromatic Portrait Lens. This lens was basically a copy of an older lens sold by T,T&H, known as the Rapid View and Portrait Lens which was a combination meniscus lens with a good amount of spherical aberration left in the design.

An 1911 issue of The Photographic Times writes, "The Taylor- Hobson Company of New York have placed on the market a single Achromatic lens known as the Cooke Achromatic Portrait lens. This is really the old Rapid View and Portrait lens made twenty years ago by Taylor & Hobson, of Leicester, England, and known then as the R. V. P. For many years the lens has been used by artists like Mrs. Kasebier, Clarence White, and Alfred Stieglitz, and has been preferred by them to the modern anastigmat. It has been marketed as the result of numerous inquiries that have been received for a lens of that type. Whoever expects sharp definition will be disappointed, but the photographer who desires softness and roundness coupled with line modeling and a true perspective, will be both astonished and delighted. Each Cooke achromatic portrait lens is furnished in an English sole-leather carrying case, and shows the same fine workmanship that characterizes Cooke anastigmats. The lenses work with a full aperture of /7.5. Full particulars will be mailed on request by the Taylor-Hobson Co., 1135 Broadway, New York."


The Photo-Miniature magazine of February 1912 remarks, "The Taylor-Hobson Co., 1135 Broadway, New York, have placed on the market a single achromatic lens known as the Cooke Achromatic Portrait lens. This is really the old Rapid View and Portrait lens made twenty years ago by Taylor & Hobson, of Leicester, England, which has been used by artists such as Gertrude Kasebier, Clarence White and Alfred Stieglitz, in preference to the modern anastigmat, for certain sorts of pictorial photography. It is noteworthy for its softness of definition, roundness and plasticity of modeling, with an accuracy of drawing which is particularly pleasing in portraiture. Those who seek these qualities in their work, and do not demand extreme speed or sharp definition, will be pleased with the performance of this lens."


Dan

Picture of a C.A.P. Lens

jp
8-Sep-2012, 07:26
This is lens porn.... and I like it.

The sailor uniform photo is Gertrude Kasabier's, not White's. I think it's taken in White's cottage/home though in Georgetown ME if I remember correctly what I've read. Still a very nice photo, and White is a good reference as to the skill of what was done; he's still teaching us today.

Steven Tribe
8-Sep-2012, 07:27
Looking at the two catalogue tables for the TT & H RV and RVP series, I notice that all data is identical - apart from the coverage given (for portrait?) and the lens hood diameter. The range of focal lengths is the same, the specific focal lengths are the same, flange dimensions and the price. So perhaps the RVP is just a a large front stop version of the RV (usually called a Rapid Landscape (f11) by other makers)?

CCHarrison
8-Sep-2012, 08:26
You got Steve - the RVP is just faster (opened up) more than the RV...otherwise same optics, same lens. Even the prices are the same.

Dan

Steven Tribe
8-Sep-2012, 09:20
Which gives me an incentive to open up my Rayment "optimus" F.11 to F7.5/F8! A good sized 12x10" 18".
This is fortunately the cheaper, earlier, version, with front insert stops making modification easy.
Well, possible, at least.

goamules
8-Sep-2012, 09:23
That's true, they are the same except for speed. What I did when I only had a RV, was unscrew the barrel, affix a black construction paper tube in it's place with no iris restriction, and voila. Here is a paper negative made with a RV opened that way. Now that I have a RVP, I'll probably stick to using it.

http://farm5.staticflickr.com/4102/4823899893_5ac693f386_z.jpg

Mark Sawyer
8-Sep-2012, 10:41
I love this style of thread, the history of an old line of lenses with old catalog listings and current photos of the lenses, vintage work done with them by the "old masters", and modern work. It's somehow reassuring knowing the old lenses are still being used, well and often. :)

I think you're right that the RVP was "is the grandfather of a lot of soft focus meniscus lenses from the 1910s - 1920s such as the Cooke Achromatic Portrait, the Karl Struss Pictorial, the Pinkham & Smith Semi-Achromat, the Bausch & Lomb Portrait Plastigmat, and even the Kodak 305 and 405 Portrait lenses." I think you could add the Gundlach Meniscus, Imagon, and Plasticca to the list.

Now you need a Cooke Achromatic Portrait Lens to complete your set, Garrett!

Amedeus
8-Sep-2012, 11:02
I second Mark's comment about this style of thread ... very informative.

I for one would love to come across a RVP ;) and a Semi-Achromat for that matter ;)

Emil Schildt
8-Sep-2012, 14:04
Got one - unscrewed and made some images (Love that lens!)

"Eggs"

http://www.apug.org/gallery1/files/4/8/8/7/g2.jpg

"eggs - a little later ;-)"

http://www.apug.org/gallery1/files/4/8/8/7/eggandchicken.jpg

Emil Schildt
8-Sep-2012, 14:13
Four more..

William Whitaker
8-Sep-2012, 15:35
Nice lookin' chick! (Oh, yes, then there are the thumbnails! I really must come to Denmark sometime...)

Honestly Emil, I think you could make a good photograph with a Coke bottle!

Andrew
8-Sep-2012, 16:22
Question:
I have a TTH "WAR" lens which I gather stands for wide angle rapid. The engraving says it's Eq Focus 9.7in for 8.5x6.5 inch format
it's a single meniscus and externally it looks very like the RVP
can anyone say how this optic fits into the scheme of lens design ?

goamules
9-Sep-2012, 18:14
Hi Andrew, I saw one of those recently, but didn't look up their Wide Angle View (are you sure it doesn't read W.A.V?) in the old catalogs. 10 inches on wholeplate isn't awfully wide, it might make a good portrait lens too. A WAR is Wide Angle Rectilinear, a doublet - lenses on each end.

Andrew
10-Sep-2012, 02:08
you're right... it's the "WAV" [it's small text and I'm obviously going blind!]

mounted normally it's about f11 it isn't either particularly soft or sharp but when it's out of the barrel it does indeed look very soft
so, there may be a way to mount it with a larger aperture than the original hardware allows for and get a nice intermediate degree of softness?
will have to experiment

goamules
22-Apr-2013, 19:36
On wholeplate Ilford FP4.

http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8398/8674310498_c37a48d804_c.jpg

evan clarke
23-Apr-2013, 05:26
I hate you guys! 8>)) Another lens to search for. So, Garrett, what is your address and when will you be absent???

goamules
23-Apr-2013, 08:41
Sure, I'll PM you. But you'll have to get past the moat, the mule, the gazelle hound, and several other obstacles.

evan clarke
23-Apr-2013, 10:11
HaHa 8^)..

russyoung
23-Apr-2013, 15:59
93923

Another RV lens with its original Morrocan red leather cap.

If you're interested in further reading, pages 122-127 of my dissertation discuss how the Rapid View & Portrait lens influenced the design of the Semi-Achromatic. No less an authority than Heinrich Kuhn, who owned both lenses, felt certain that Smith had copied the RVP design. I posit therein that another lens is the father of the Kodak Portrait lens, not the RVP.

YMMV.

Russ

8x10 user
23-Apr-2013, 16:14
I tried to buy one of these a few months ago and ended up getting scammed instead... This thread makes it hurt just that much more. Let me know if anyone sees one with the serial number of 17319.

Its definitely a very cool lens!

Mark Sawyer
23-Apr-2013, 19:21
If you're interested in further reading, pages 122-127 of my dissertation discuss how the Rapid View & Portrait lens influenced the design of the Semi-Achromatic. No less an authority than Heinrich Kuhn, who owned both lenses, felt certain that Smith had copied the RVP design. I posit therein that another lens is the father of the Kodak Portrait lens, not the RVP.

YMMV.


I had to go back and read those pages again, and now that your dissertation is out from the bookshelf, well, there goes the evening... :)

I'd offer that by the time of Smith's lens, the nature of the French Landscape Lens was so well known that no one predecessor could be pointed to. Smith's innovation of hand aspherizing the lenses for aspherical aberrations was what set his lenses apart from all others, and something that no one else (to my knowledge) has done before or since.

Similarly, I'd speculate the Kodak Portrait Lens owes the most to the Imagon, which (funky aperture disks not withstanding) seems much more similar in maximum aperture than the RVP. The Spencer Port-Land had a similar aperture, but had ceased production well before the KPL appeared, while the Imagon was in the midst of its long-running commercial success. From the more philistine point of view, "no bucks, no Buck Rogers".

We may never know, but half the fun is in the speculating...

russyoung
24-Apr-2013, 19:45
Just a reminder - the SemiAchromatic had no aspheric surfaces... P&S only made one lens, Visual Quality, with an aspheric surface and no Pictorialist of consequence used that lens... nonetheless Cooke modeled their modern PS945 after it.

jumanji
24-Apr-2013, 21:25
and no Pictorialist of consequence used that lens...

I'm curious why? Aspherical surface of Visual Quality make what difference(s) compared with Spherical surfaces of other soft focus lens?

Mark Sawyer
25-Apr-2013, 00:40
Just a reminder - the SemiAchromatic had no aspheric surfaces... P&S only made one lens, Visual Quality, with an aspheric surface and no Pictorialist of consequence used that lens... nonetheless Cooke modeled their modern PS945 after it.

I didn't know that, Russ. I've run across enough references to "hand ground" lenses (and similar terms) referring to pre-VQ P&S lenses to assume it was true. Here's one from Christies:

Beauty in the Details
In 1903, de Meyer began working with a special hand-ground lens made by Pinkham & Smith. Unlike a diffusion filter which blurs everything, the hand-ground lens softens and diffuses both shadow areas, and paradoxically maintains general image clarity while softening the hard edges. The effect is a luminous quality, a well-known attribute of the Pinkham & Smith lens, which suggests it was used to create this photograph.

(at: http://www.christies.com/features/2009-october-new-york-baron-adolph-de-meyer-water--224-1.aspx )

Alas, there's a lot of questionable information out there, and I hope I haven't added to it. :)

Amedeus
25-Apr-2013, 01:54
Just a reminder - the SemiAchromatic had no aspheric surfaces... P&S only made one lens, Visual Quality, with an aspheric surface and no Pictorialist of consequence used that lens... nonetheless Cooke modeled their modern PS945 after it.

Not all pre-VQ SA's were made the same way. At least some where touched up or one could consider them to be poor spherics or they were "experiments" ... I'll leave the latter one in the middle but I can see how this can lead to a lot of confusion.

You don't need a-spherical surfaces to create spherical aberrations, lens designers have a few options to get there. Making parts of the surface aspherical is one of the ways a designer can control how much and where the aberration starts in function of iris opening.

Easiest example is the simple meniscus and an iris, doesn't get more simple than this ... and then there is all the rest in terms of design ...

Mark Sawyer
25-Apr-2013, 22:31
Just a reminder - the SemiAchromatic had no aspheric surfaces... P&S only made one lens, Visual Quality, with an aspheric surface and no Pictorialist of consequence used that lens... nonetheless Cooke modeled their modern PS945 after it.


Not all pre-VQ SA's were made the same way. At least some where touched up or one could consider them to be poor spherics or they were "experiments" ... I'll leave the latter one in the middle but I can see how this can lead to a lot of confusion...

Russ and Rudi, do either of you have some specifics on this? I honestly don't know if Smith aspherized lenses other than the VQ. The point of my last post is that there could be bad information out there. I've been under the impression for a long time that the Semi-Achromats were hand-aspherized, and the variation from the handwork was why Coburn had at least 15 of them. As he wrote in The Question of Diffusion. A Tribute to the P. & S. Semi-Achromatic Lenses, "It seems to me that each of the S.A. lenses has a charm of its own. They have Individuality."

Meanwhile, an article in The Photo Miniature notes, "In practice, however, the results obtained with it were so variable and inconsistent that it was decided to introduce a lens giving firmer quality of definition, with a flatter field, and capable of bringing the chemical and visual images closer together, thus permitting of simpler and more certain use." ...which sounds like more of a machine-made consistency.

But Barbara Lowrey of Cooke Optics has noted the Cooke lab found evidence of hand-worked surfaces on the VQ when they were reverse-engineering it for the PS945, so what do I know... :confused:

Not a big deal, I'm just personally curious bout a lens I'll never be able to afford anyways. :rolleyes:


You don't need a-spherical surfaces to create spherical aberrations, lens designers have a few options to get there....

That I know, and in modern lenses, aspherical grinds are one solution to getting rid of the spherical aberration inherent in all simple spherically ground lenses.

Amedeus
26-Apr-2013, 00:45
Russ and Rudi, do either of you have some specifics on this? I honestly don't know if Smith aspherized lenses other than the VQ.

Mark,

i wondered about the different characters of the P&S lenses (and other SF lenses for that matter) so I embarked a year of so ago on a continuing project to analyze lenses I have access to using SEM, CMM and interferometry. It's going to be a long haul project as the resources (time and money) are as usual limited. Access to lenses is as you can expect is not necessarily easy ;) (I don't necessarily have al the test equipment in my garage either ... so I'm bartering/paying for services ... )

As far as I can and I'm willing to tell right now, there appears to be a difference between P&S lenses without serial number versus the ones with serial number. The latter seem to be made more consistent while the former might have been individual experiments, one will never know for sure unless sufficient lenses out of the populations are characterized and statistical relevance is established.

I do plan publishing about this when I feel there is significant repeatable data out there to substantiate "claims", it is about statistical relevance and not about a single event ... as for now this data is adding to the rumors you've pointed out below.

Keep also in mind that tolerances and capabilities might play a role in all of this. We make spherical surfaces with higher precision now than 100 years ago so from a relative perspective ... when is something truly spherical ? The latter question is a thesis in itself :) ... even proving that one's test process is adequate to tell the difference is an undertaking of MSA or gauge R/R proportion.

I wouldn't be surprised that at one point the designer settled for an automated process rather than manual touch up as you pointed out for consistency. You don't need manual touch up to get to an "aspheric" surface. Again, without access to the original equipment or notes from production, there's nothing "for sure"

My 2 cents to added uncertainty.

Jim Galli
26-Apr-2013, 08:16
Don't let the P&S name steal the thunder from Garrett's thread. We're talking about TTH lenses, and also a lens that I mistakenly 'always saved for later' and never bought. Always needed the 200 bucks for something else . . . and now I don't have one, and they are rocketing out of my wage earner price range forever.

Emil Schildt
26-Apr-2013, 08:32
Don't let the P&S name steal the thunder from Garrett's thread. We're talking about TTH lenses, and also a lens that I mistakenly 'always saved for later' and never bought. Always needed the 200 bucks for something else . . . and now I don't have one, and they are rocketing out of my wage earner price range forever.

Agree.

I bought Garrets one lens - glad I did. it is awesome!

Mark Sawyer
26-Apr-2013, 09:46
Don't let the P&S name steal the thunder from Garrett's thread. We're talking about TTH lenses, and also a lens that I mistakenly 'always saved for later' and never bought. Always needed the 200 bucks for something else . . . and now I don't have one, and they are rocketing out of my wage earner price range forever.

Agreed, sorry for sidetracking!

Perhaps a moderator could delete all RVP references from the forum til Jim and I both find one at a reasonable price? :rolleyes:

Emil Schildt
26-Apr-2013, 12:13
Agreed, sorry for sidetracking!

Perhaps a moderator could delete all RVP references from the forum til Jim and I both find one at a reasonable price? :rolleyes:

question is: what IS a reasonable price? :confused:

Mark Sawyer
26-Apr-2013, 13:12
question is: what IS a reasonable price? :confused:

On ebay, one bid increment above whatever I bid... :mad:

goamules
26-Apr-2013, 13:25
I'm glad you've used it for such great pictures Gandolfi! I'm trying to keep up with mine (I actually still have an RV and RVP myself).

Amedeus
27-Apr-2013, 02:32
Agreed, sorry for sidetracking!

Sorry+1 ...

Love the images I've seen so far from the RVP !

Emil Schildt
27-Apr-2013, 02:50
I don't claim to know anything about this lens - but I still love it...

"Silly still"

http://www.apug.org/gallery1/files/4/8/8/7/fasan.jpg

goamules
19-Aug-2014, 07:51
Here is an interesting TTH, early Cooke achromat soft focus. It's actually a transitional, I believe. Unfortunately he doesn't show the aperture markings, but says it's F7.5, as the later Cookes. You can barely read "Cooke" around the inside rim. The RVPs were F7.7. On ebay 111435702200 asking $3450.

lucaas
20-Dec-2018, 18:04
Bumping up this old thread because I picked up a whole plate camera with an RVP lens which doesn't match the 1904 catalog page.
It says
8 1/2 x 6 1/2 RVP
EQ. FOC. 12.47 IN
on the barrel and the serial number is 2238.
The aperture diaphragm is clearly the RV lens style and has the max opening of f/11.3. The lens hood diameter is 2.2" (56mm) and the flange screw size is 2".
The glass diameter is 45mm.

Comparing to the RV and RVP lenses listed in the 1904 catalog, mine is more like a 12" RV. But the R.V.P. engraving on the barrel looks legit.
Could someone shed some light on this lens? Thank you.
185656185657

Steven Tribe
21-Dec-2018, 04:29
First question!

Does the engraving say :-

Taylor
or Taylor & Hobson.

This is a low production number.

lucaas
21-Dec-2018, 05:56
Hi Steven, the engraving is

TAYLOR TAYLOR & HOBSON
LEICESTER

Steven Tribe
21-Dec-2018, 06:56
The iris mechanism looks exactly like my RV casket set no. 3 1/2 plate no.3255. The RVP wasn't made this early and I think the P has been added (Recently!). The last full stop looks slightly wrongly placed and the grime filling the "P." looks a little darker than other sections of the engraving! Perhaps there is bright brass underneath the "P"?!

I asked about the first period of just Taylor, because exactly what they made is undocumented.

goamules
21-Dec-2018, 13:51
There is one other possibility: It was a proper F8 RVP at some time, but someone unscrewed the iris mechanism (easy to do) from a regular F11 RV, and put in on. Possibly because the iris of the RV was broken. It again bears to mention that the lens is in the rear, and is the same for either. So if you just take the iris off, it's back to the RV speed (faster actually because you don't have mechanical vignetting if you remove it)

Steven Tribe
21-Dec-2018, 15:16
So the iris just screws off on the RVP? I only have the casket RV, where the iris is attached to a short section of the barrel.

This scenario seems likely - I know from experience that the early T,T & H irises do not stand up to misuse.

lucaas
21-Dec-2018, 19:39
There is one other possibility: It was a proper F8 RVP at some time, but someone unscrewed the iris mechanism (easy to do) from a regular F11 RV, and put in on.

Hi Garrett, that was my thought but it couldn't explain why they rated a 12.47" RVP for whole plate. It should be 15" or for 8x5 plate.


The RVP wasn't made this early and I think the P has been added (Recently!). The last full stop looks slightly wrongly placed and the grime filling the "P." looks a little darker than other sections of the engraving! Perhaps there is bright brass underneath the "P"?!


I took a close-up picture of the "R.V.P." engraving. The "P" doesn't look newly added to me. I can't scratch it off because it was engraved.
185671

peter brooks
22-Dec-2018, 12:25
My RVP is engraved 'Eq. Focus 12.82 inches' - are all the RVs marked '12.47 inches'? That might be a clue...

Presumably the greater advertised coverage for the RV ~12" compared to the RVP ~12" (8 1/2 x 6 1/2 versus 8 x 5) is also due to the smaller max aperture (F11 versus F8).

Whatever, it's still going to be a great lens, enjoy it :)

Mark Sawyer
22-Dec-2018, 12:52
I have three R.V.s. Two in casket sets, one marked "11 in. Eq. Focus" and one marked simply "R.V.". Also one separated from a casket set simply marked "R.V. Back".

goamules
23-Dec-2018, 09:21
My assumption, (based on just deductive reasoning and no research or surveys), is that TTH put the exact focal length to the 100ths for each individual lens. They acknowledged slight FL variances in this way, and that might have helped the photographers somehow. I seem to remember seeing lots of variation in the numbers after the decimal.

cowanw
23-Dec-2018, 09:48
Clarence White stated that the lens he used was a RVP F/11. I think the actual lens might be at Princeton University. I always assumed that he misspoke himself but perhaps there were such lenses, despite the catalogues.

cowanw
23-Dec-2018, 10:03
Looking at the two catalogue tables for the TT & H RV and RVP series, I notice that all data is identical - apart from the coverage given (for portrait?) and the lens hood diameter. The range of focal lengths is the same, the specific focal lengths are the same, flange dimensions and the price. So perhaps the RVP is just a large front stop version of the RV (usually called a Rapid Landscape (f11) by other makers)?

Just to make the point that the variation is plate size as compared to same focal lengths is likely just the fact that the length of the brass tube in front of the lens, with the shutter mechanism, acts as a physical obstruction to plate coverage with the RVP at F/8 or so (or wide open).
I had a brass tube made for an 8 inch RV, the length and diameter of the original, but without a stop mechanism, so wide open. The 8 inch RV is designed for a bit larger than 4x5. Wide open, with a lens hood of the same measurements, 4x5 was vignetted by about 1/3 stop. hence the 8 inch RVP was listed for 4 1/4 x 3 1/4, for reasons of physical vignetting.

peter brooks
23-Dec-2018, 10:30
My assumption, (based on just deductive reasoning and no research or surveys), is that TTH put the exact focal length to the 100ths for each individual lens. They acknowledged slight FL variances in this way, and that might have helped the photographers somehow. I seem to remember seeing lots of variation in the numbers after the decimal.


Clarence White stated that the lens he used was a RVP F/11. I think the actual lens might be at Princeton University. I always assumed that he misspoke himself but perhaps there were such lenses, despite the catalogues.

Interesting. Would there be any mileage in starting a list (like the Cooke Portrait lens one)? I'd be happy to look after a spreadsheet and if all the engraving was recorded we could get a better picture of the history - and whether individual focal lengths were engraved.

cowanw
23-Dec-2018, 10:54
Mine RV is No. 11290, Eq Focus 8.8 in, TaylorTaylor&Hobson, Leinster & London, 6 1/2x4 3/4.

Steven Tribe
23-Dec-2018, 12:39
All plain Taylor and all early T,T&H have 2 decimal inch points for all lens types.
My casket set has WAR at 4.12, RR at 7.28 and RV at 8.72 inches.
I have seen at least variation in the engraved second decimal point in "identical" TTH lens. Makes matching of lenses for stereo pairs sensible!

CCHarrison
29-Dec-2018, 08:02
3 Taylors I just picked up... RV 8.1 in. RVP 7.75 in RVP 11.78 in

peter brooks
3-Jan-2019, 11:07
I'm still curious...


Bumping up this old thread because I picked up a whole plate camera with an RVP lens which doesn't match the 1904 catalog page.
It says
8 1/2 x 6 1/2 RVP
EQ. FOC. 12.47 IN
on the barrel and the serial number is 2238.
The aperture diaphragm is clearly the RV lens style and has the max opening of f/11.3....

This lens has 11.3 on the aperture ring, I have seen an advert that lists the RV as 11.3 but have seen photos of other RVs with the ring marked just 11. I wonder at what point did the marking change?

The decimal points on the focal length - given TTH's obviously excellent engineering skills what causes the difference in focal lengths? I can't think that it is vagaries in grinding, is it due to the differing properties of individual pieces of glass? (If so, this kind of variation in focal length must occur in many other early lenses?)

The variation can be quite large - my RVP has Eq Focus of 12.82in, the RVP Dan has just sold is 11.78in. Both are the 8x5 size.

goamules
3-Jan-2019, 12:29
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8312/7952568864_be079bc334_c.jpg

My R.V.P above is an 8x5, serial no. 2818 - Eq Foc 10.75 Inch.

lucaas
3-Jan-2019, 12:58
My R.V.P above is an 8x5, serial no. 2818 - Eq Foc 10.75 Inch.
The focus length and coverage of this RVP accord with mine. 10.75 for 5x8 and 12.47 for 6.5x8.5. And the serial numbers are not far away. Maybe TTH changed specifications for later RVPs?

peter brooks
4-Jan-2019, 08:49
That's an even greater variation - 10.75in to 12.82in for 5x8 coverage. As Lucaas suggests, maybe a design or specification change through the years?

The aperture spec of 11.3 was puzzling, then I realised (while lying in bed, of course, mind rambling about) - 11.3 is twice 5.6 (or thereabouts), so is absolutely correct. (therefore f22 should be f22.6 or something like that :)).

Looks like Garrett's RVP (above) still has 11.3 marked on the aperture ring (although it goes to f8).

CCHarrison
5-Jan-2019, 06:45
For research purposes...186094186095

peter brooks
5-Jan-2019, 08:29
lucaas - does your aperture ring unscrew from the barrel? (don't try too hard :eek:)

I didn't think they did - but on the early RV below (courtesy of a google search) it obviously does... I wondered if your aperture ring could have been swapped at some point?

186098

goamules
5-Jan-2019, 08:42
... someone unscrewed the iris mechanism (easy to do) from a regular F11 RV, and put in on. . ...

And I mentioned this above in this thread....

goamules
5-Jan-2019, 08:58
Here is a TTH assessory for these you don't see every day. A lens cap. And since the lens is in the rear, the cap goes on the rear, using the patented thread. I've seen one...this one I have, but I'm sure they're out there.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7852/46563802822_56c17c9d79.jpg

peter brooks
5-Jan-2019, 10:16
Ah, on my RVP the aperture ring / iris assembly doesn't unscrew (or doesn't want to anyway).



The decimal points on the focal length - given TTH's obviously excellent engineering skills what causes the difference in focal lengths? I can't think that it is vagaries in grinding, is it due to the differing properties of individual pieces of glass? (If so, this kind of variation in focal length must occur in many other early lenses?)



Anyone with historic glass knowledge?

cowanw
5-Jan-2019, 10:56
Not just the ring; the entire barrel, just next to the lens board flange.

peter brooks
5-Jan-2019, 12:10
Not just the ring; the entire barrel, just next to the lens board flange.

On mine the barrel unscrews from the very thin section containing the lens (as you say, just next to the lens board flange) but the ring doesn't separate from the barrrel.

cowanw
5-Jan-2019, 12:40
That is correct.

goamules
6-Jan-2019, 05:49
Everything that has been assembled, can be disassembled. Even if they glued the iris part on....but they didn't.

peter brooks
6-Jan-2019, 07:34
I've started a list of RV (Rapid View), RVP (Rapid View Portrait) and CAP (Cooke Achromatic Portrait) lenses - it's at RV, RVP & CAP serial numbers (https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1pifCxXQhHzosgOPgL1IeFu2EoJVVgChFlw1WvH_Kw1s/edit?usp=sharing).

The details have been compiled from these forum pages (and members), and trawling the web (Bill, you will see that I picked up on your post on another thread about Clarence White's RVP kept at Princeton). I am including lenses from casket sets that are a complete lens (supplied with another complete lens, usually a RR or WAR I think) but not (as yet) casket sets where there is one interchangeable barrel to make different configurations.

If you can add any please PM me, include ALL of the engraving if you could, and the max aperture as recorded on the aperture ring. A little obsessive but I'd also be interested to know if the aperture ring is (gently) removable from the barrel (not the lens section at the base), and (in the case of RVs and RVPs) how f11 is written on the aperture ring (as 11 or 11.3).

Observations

1) The VM suggests that there was a restart of serial numbers at some point. These lenses seem chronologically correct in serial number order, based on the company and location engraved on them.

2) The VM mentions that when they launched their patent squared-off thread end TTH stated that some 20,000 older TTH lenses could be updated with this feature (Am Photo 02/09/1892, p160 is the VM ref). This seems somewhat at odds with the serial numbers and date range recorded.

3) Apparently there are no surviving factory records of TTH serial numbers and dates. The Cooke (anastigmat) Portrait lens are later, so that serial number spreadsheet list doesn't help.

4) The engraved company name and location can suggest a range of years of manufacture.


I'm still intrigued by the range of Equiv Focal lengths for a given plate size, given the very apparent precision of TTH. I know nothing about lens construction, old glass etc but came across ''The Book of Photography - Practical, Theoretic and Applied' by Paul N. Hasluck (published 1907) which has some pages about lens manufacture at TTH. The book is around 880 pages so I've extracted the relevant sections into a subset - it's also shared from Google Drive as Lenses: Their Construction (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eb5MHAgO6GFTmYpcCscAz5QcyssLLMn1/view?usp=sharing). No doubt methods and techniques will have been honed but they can't be that far from those used when these lenses were made.

peter brooks
6-Jan-2019, 07:36
Everything that has been assembled, can be disassembled. Even if they glued the iris part on....but they didn't.

A very good point. A premise I often use myself, as I'd far rather take something apart and repair it than buy a new one (especially if the item in question is old and well and solidly made).

CCHarrison
6-Jan-2019, 07:53
Another RVP - for 1/4 plate #10680

peter brooks
6-Jan-2019, 08:48
Another RVP - for 1/4 plate #10680

Thanks, presumably max aperture is f8?

Steven Tribe
6-Jan-2019, 10:00
I think the VM is mistaken about there being a "restart" of serial numbers.

The variation in actual equivalent focal length is not due to Taylors shoddy lens grinding, but the inability of glass suppliers, Chance Bros, to supply glass blocks with a constant refractive index. The same must be the case for other lens makers, who stuck with an average value for their focal length engraving.

Serial numbers for RVs which are part of a real casket set (not the paired lenses in a "gift" casket!) are a little problematic, as the set is only given a single serial number - which is engraved on the common barrel section which includes the iris.

The iris F value is also a problem with the casket iris, which has 3 sets of scales for RR, WAR and RV combinations. The most open iris value engraved for RV is 11.3, but I can see that iris has a couple of mms left to full open and reaching the RR Scale's F8. So a <F11 fr a casket mounted RV!

peter brooks
6-Jan-2019, 14:08
The variation in actual equivalent focal length is not due to Taylors shoddy lens grinding...

Phew, thank goodness for that! It was as I suspected. I'll sleep better in my bed tonight. :)

There is a distinct lack of RV or RVP lenses in the list with serial numbers between 2818 and 9652. I would expect that statistically (although of course I am not a statistician) there would be a fairly equal distribution of 'survivors' - unless of course this shows a gap in production, or a large batch of serial numbers being allocated to a different model of lens.

IanBarber
6-Jan-2019, 14:42
Interesting thread and fully enjoyable to read.

How are you controlling the shutter speed on these types of lens when using them out in the field in bright conditions.

Steven Tribe
6-Jan-2019, 23:18
T,T,& H were producing a lot of RR's at this time and the very popular casket sets.

My casket set is no. 3235.

goamules
7-Jan-2019, 06:20
...

I'm still intrigued by the range of Equiv Focal lengths for a given plate size, given the very apparent precision of TTH. I know nothing about lens construction, old glass etc but came across ''The Book of Photography - Practical, Theoretic and Applied' by Paul N. Hasluck (published 1907) which has some pages about lens manufacture at TTH. The book is around 880 pages so I've extracted the relevant sections into a subset - it's also shared from Google Drive as Lenses: Their Construction (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eb5MHAgO6GFTmYpcCscAz5QcyssLLMn1/view?usp=sharing). No doubt methods and techniques will have been honed but they can't be that far from those used when these lenses were made.

That is a very good read, and confirms many of the assumptions about early lens manufacturing that have been made on this forum over the years.

peter brooks
8-Jan-2019, 12:50
Here is a TTH assessory for these you don't see every day. A lens cap. And since the lens is in the rear, the cap goes on the rear, using the patented thread. I've seen one...this one I have, but I'm sure they're out there.

https://c2.staticflickr.com/8/7852/46563802822_56c17c9d79.jpg

From a 1906 catalogue, found online.

186215

(Hmmm... A sliding box camera with a reversible lensboard, with a lovely brass cap to protect the thus stored lens... Hmmm...)

And from the same 1906 catalogue, an RV illustrated alongside RVP specs! In an age when producing original artwork, copy and printing plates must have taken considerably more effort I wonder if this page had already been in use for several years.

186216

peter brooks
8-Jan-2019, 13:01
... How are you controlling the shutter speed on these types of lens when using them out in the field in bright conditions.

I've been using paper negs recently (or abusing rather - see the Paper Negs thread :)) so at iso 6 anything except really bright is okay with the top hat approach, which I must say is deliciously simple and unrushed. Decidedly old school.

I also made a view camera board to Sinar board adapter so I can use a Sinar shutter with unshuttered lenses.

LFLarry
7-Oct-2019, 19:26
Hi, I was fortunate enough to get one of the Cooke/TTH RVP lenses today, but it doesn't have the mounting flange. I am going to have SK Grimes make me something, but in the mean time, I am dieing to try the lens. Any suggestions/ideas on how to temp mount this so I can expose a few sheets of film? My lens is the 12.37" F8 version that was apparently designed for 6 1/2 x 8 1/2. Based on what I can tell, it will cover 8x10 at normal portrait distances and I am guessing it won't really cover 8x10 for landscapes? Any insight on this based on your experience?

Thanks for starting this thread!

Mark Sawyer
7-Oct-2019, 20:28
Congratulations! As there's nothing behind the mounting threads to grab onto on these, you need a flange or an iris mount. You could try making a tight-tolerance lensboard hole that you can thread it into, but I'd also tie a good cord around it and secure that to the lensboard, just-in-case.

The Cooke mounting rings were a standard (for them) 13 tpi, were usually engraved TTH, and came in quarter-inch-diameter increments, so you might look around a little before having one made...

Steven Tribe
8-Oct-2019, 00:22
Your RV was made for 8x5" - see post #87.
The flange size is exactly 2" a very common UK size.

Pere Casals
8-Oct-2019, 01:28
perhaps this one:
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_X-1moElJBqk/TU7XB4_OBMI/AAAAAAAAAA0/u9FKJ7M-UMs/s1600/12086u1.preview.jpg


Thanks to new posts in this old thread, I've discovered that image...

Beyond footprint of the lens, it is impressive how photographer managed light...

goamules
8-Oct-2019, 05:32
I should get mine out and shoot some soft focus this winter.

LFLarry
8-Oct-2019, 17:38
Absolutely and post your new photos here... I will do the same.



I should get mine out and shoot some soft focus this winter.

LFLarry
8-Oct-2019, 17:39
Thanks Mark, good tips!



Congratulations! As there's nothing behind the mounting threads to grab onto on these, you need a flange or an iris mount. You could try making a tight-tolerance lensboard hole that you can thread it into, but I'd also tie a good cord around it and secure that to the lensboard, just-in-case.

The Cooke mounting rings were a standard (for them) 13 tpi, were usually engraved TTH, and came in quarter-inch-diameter increments, so you might look around a little before having one made...

LFLarry
8-Oct-2019, 17:40
Thanks Steven, that is very helpful. I will start my searches.

Anyone have ideas on best places to try and find old mounting flanges like this?



Your RV was made for 8x5" - see post #87.
The flange size is exactly 2" a very common UK size.

Jim Galli
8-Oct-2019, 18:14
13 TPI seems awfully coarse for a 2" dia lens thread area. They surely must have tightened that up for the smaller lenses? Measure number of threads and the area measured and do a calc to get a close estimate of threads per inch please. Or if you know someone with a good tap and die set there's usually a tpi gauge tool included.

Mark Sawyer
9-Oct-2019, 00:35
13 threads per inch is 13 threads per inch, regardless of the diameter. Cookes used a course thread that threaded on with three turns, every lens, every size! They also chamfered the start of the threads. I doubt you'd ever find a Cooke cross-threaded in it's flange. Even the most modern lf lenses seems a bit less "civilized" by comparison...

Jimi
9-Oct-2019, 00:40
" ... the ungrudging care ..." - what a way to describe it - they did indeed think of the small, but important details!

goamules
9-Oct-2019, 06:31
I have it on good authority that the term "three strikes, you're out law" was coined from the "three turns and it's out" TTH patented thread.

Did you know Dallmeyer also had standardized threads in their flanges? I think several other British lens companies did too. I have a lensboard with a flange on it that will hold three of my Dallmeyers, a portrait, a RR, and a wide angle.

peter brooks
9-Oct-2019, 11:52
As I understand it, TTH were (at the very least) 'early adopters' of the RPS standard for lens screw mounts, and the thread for this smaller size will be 24 TPI (threads per inch) Whitworth.

The Early Photography site (here (http://www.earlyphotography.co.uk/site/lens_mounts.html)) says:

The usual method of attaching the lens to the camera was a screw thread, standard thread sizes were proposed by the Royal Photographic Society (RPS) which were adopted by some manufacturers including Taylor, Taylor & Hobson (T.T.H.) and, from around 1890, Ross. The RPS sizes, first proposed in 1881 and later modified, used a Whitworth Angular thread, for small diameters 24 threads per inch was used, for sizes above 3" 12 tpi. [Ref 2]

An important development was made by T.T.H. in 1892 by chamfering the start of the thread which made picking up the thread much easier. [Ref 3]

[Ref 2 is 'BJA 1900, 1123. BJA 1902, 1125a.' (British Journal Photographic Almanac)]
[Ref 3 is 'BP 3019/1892' (maybe 'BJP' ? British Journal of Photography ?)]

Here I think is the original proposal for the standard in the RPS archives:
https://archive.rps.org/archive/volume-22/719107-volume-22-page-91

Working examples of the flanges and screws have been manufactured (by Whitworth, and Ross & Co):
https://archive.rps.org/archive/volume-24/719102-volume-24-page-39

The flanges get an honourable mention in the Financial Statement:
https://archive.rps.org/archive/volume-24/719087-volume-24-page-42 (https://archive.rps.org/archive/volume-24/719087-volume-24-page-42http://)

etc. etc. A search for 'flange' in the RPS archives from 1882 onwards will bring more results...

Mark Sawyer
9-Oct-2019, 19:43
Most lenses have just under a quarter-inch of threading for the flange. For Cooke's three turns, that's about a 13 tpi thread. (A 12 tpi thread would be exactly a quarter-inch of threads.) That math applies to all diameters.

I really like it; three turns is plenty, the coarser threads are strong, and you have to be trying pretty hard to cross-thread.

pgk
10-Oct-2019, 09:41
As I understand it, TTH were (at the very least) 'early adopters' of the RPS standard for lens screw mounts, and the thread for this smaller size will be 24 TPI (threads per inch) Whitworth.

Wray too adopted the 'RPS Standard flange threads" but it appears that the 'standard' may not have been as 'standardised' as it should have been. From my reading and practical experience there seems to have been variation even in the 'standard' threads. I seem to remember reading about meetings between the various manufacturers where some progress was made but complete standardisation may not have been thoroughly achieved. Early Wray lenses nearly fit later' standard' flanges but don't and some later lenses seem not to either. I think that thread tolerance and interpretation of thread parameters remained a problem.

peter brooks
10-Oct-2019, 13:08
... Even the most modern lf lenses seems a bit less "civilized" by comparison...

Quite right... I'm thinking that the delicious fit of TTH lenses to their flanges is in part due to the use of the Whitworth thread (the story of which is itself interesting - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Standard_Whitworth) but also to the extrordinarily precise engineering carried out at the company. The document I mentioned in post #69 (Lenses: Their Construction (https://drive.google.com/file/d/1eb5MHAgO6GFTmYpcCscAz5QcyssLLMn1/view?usp=sharing)) describes them using gauges to work to tolerances of 1/1000 inch (pages 9 and 10 of the 14).


Did you know Dallmeyer also had standardized threads in their flanges?

Do you have any Dallmeyer lens that fit TTH flanges? Or vice versa? Just wondering :)