View Full Version : photographic experiments with a brass lens and single cell lens

22-Mar-2004, 07:49
as you might have guessed, i am posting some information about using not so new lenses - namely olde brassies, and lenses from junked cameras. i have used them often over the past 5 or so years and thought i might post a few images.

i used a speed graphic only because it has a focal plane shutter that is easy to open and close, but any camera can be used for this sort of thing. it really doens't matter. i took these photographs at nearly the same time, and using lenses of almost the same focal length.

it was late in the afternoon in snowy ( well sort of on and off again ) weather. there was no film involved, paper in the film holders did the trick. i rated the kodak polyfiber sw at iso 6 and "winged it". i used ansco 130 ( 1:1), as dark as black coffee to develop, and the negatives were scanned, inverted and levels were tweeked a little bit.

i used 2 different lenses. the first one was a dallmeyer lever stop lanscape (rapid rectilinaer) lens. the second lens is a single cell meniscus lens "harvested" from a 6x9 folding camera. the camera was "donated" to me. i don't remember the make, but i know it took film i couldn't find without resorting to film for classics, and i wasn't about to "roll my own". i pulled the shutter and unscrewed the lens.


dallmeyer @ f22 ( wide open )


meniscus @ f5.6 (no other option)

so if you are wondering what a junk lens images might look like, now you know. lots of fun can be had for not too much money. paper is cheep, and easy to contact print if you get both surfaces damp.
go ahead, have fun - everything doesn't have to be sharp as a tack, does it?

Philippe Gauthier
22-Mar-2004, 09:13
Is this characteristic of the results your ordinarily get? I just bought a RR lens and I haven't tested it, yet. It looks fairly sharp, but extremely undercontrasted on the example you posted. Does that reflect your experience?

As far as the meniscus part is concerned, it shows one point: that they only should be used stopped down at very small aperture... I knew it in theory, I now see it in practice. Thanks for the post and please elaborate if you have the time and inclination for it.

22-Mar-2004, 14:28
hi philippe -

this lens is not a very "contrasty". i usually adjust my contrast when processing film or printing the negative. bear in mind, the developer i was using is pretty "spent" so that could be what you are seeing too.

Philippe Gauthier
22-Mar-2004, 18:05
Very interesting. Thanks for sharing - I can't wait to try my own new RR!

Jeff Buckels
23-Mar-2004, 19:14
Very interesting, John, as always. -jb