View Full Version : 75mm Linhof Biogon on eBay.

Richard Boulware
7-Apr-2004, 18:18
Just a heads-up for anyone looking for a classic Linhof 75mm Zeiss Biogon. There is one on eBay right now. It is about sixty units ahead of mine, which was number one, in the third and final production run of this lens. Mine is a SUPERB lens. Wouldn't trade it for anything. Color work is beyond words to describe. If your looking....ACT. The three diamond shutter speed ring is key to the final production run of this fine lens....and I checked the serial number...and the production run, thanks to the info from J.P.Mose, a contributor on this forum. Good luck. P.S. I have no relationship to the seller, and couldn't care less.....unless you are looking for a superb Biogon.

Bruce Watson
7-Apr-2004, 18:33
IIRC, these just barely cover 4x5. Is there any room for movements?

David A. Goldfarb
7-Apr-2004, 19:27
A couple of months ago I saw a 75mm Biogon at Photo Gizzmo in New York. I didn't ask the price and don't know whether it was cammed, but before bidding it would be worth calling to check the price.

John McLaine
7-Apr-2004, 21:00
Yes I noticed that auction Richard. It's very similar to my Biogon too. I can also recommend them to anyone who's interested. No movements, but a nice bright image with no fall-off. A breathtaking lens indeed.

Mark Nowaczynski
8-Apr-2004, 14:24
There is insufficient information about the lens in this particular eBay listing. "S U P E R!" and "The lens is in GREAT shape!" are vague and general descriptors which fail to give relevant and specific information about the condition and functioning of this lens. Given that the seller is a camera dealer, I would expect more detailed and professional information about the condition and grading of the optics and the shutter. The supplied photgraphs of the lens only give one the impression of the cosmetics from a distance.

I e-mailed the seller yesterday with some questions but have not received a reply as of yet.

If I was tempted to buy this lens, I would have significant reservations about a purchase based on the scant information presented in this listing.

Ernest Purdum
8-Apr-2004, 17:22
If I were interested in buying a 75mm Biogon (which I'm not, I've got a Fujinon which doesn't weigh six pounds) I'd check two websites, www.candhsales.com to see if they still have military Biogons in stock. Their stock number is OL9412 and the price $395.00. If they still have them, I'd go to www.skgrimes.com,send them a message, and get a quote on having one mounted. They've done it before, there's one of them shown on their table of mounted lenses. They may have done it for C and H. They sold re-mounted Biogons for awhile. You might be able to save quite a bit by buying a used Copal 3 on eBay. They show up fairly often. I'd try to get C and H to agree to a sale contingent on the Grimes Company giving approval to the condition.

Dan Fromm
8-Apr-2004, 18:56
Ernest, when I was up at SKGrimes a month and a half ago, they had at least one pallet of unused 75/4.5 Biogons waiting to be machined on and put in shutter, also several in shutter. Back when I was contemplating buying a heap of 38/4.5 Biogons, Steve cautioned me against taking the risk. He'd bought at least three pallets of surplus 75s on the premise that they were the last ones that would hit the market and then C&H turned up more. He was stuck for a while, was concerned that I'd be stuck too.



Michael S. Briggs
8-Apr-2004, 20:37
I have a few skeptical ideas that someone considering spending $1500 (the starting price of this auction and more than the modern equivalents) or more for this lens to consider. The 75 mm Zeiss Biogon is a superb lens, but is it more superb than current 75 mm lenses? Is it even better? It is certainly rare and expensive, and has an cultish following. The rarity and expensive probably result from the pricing and marketing when the lens was made. To some, the price will be worth it to own a famous, classic lens.

Rudolf Kingslake discusses the Biogon in his book "A History of the Photographic Lens". The key idea is from a 1946 patent by the Russian designer Roosinov. The idea was used by Bertele in 1951 for the Zeiss Biogon. This type of lenses can be recognized by large negative elements on the outside with a smaller diameter, positive central grouping. The Biogon of 1951 has two negative elements in the front to avoid infringing Roosinov's patent.

Sidney Ray discusses the optical principles in his book "Applied Photographic Optics", in which he uses the term the "Slussarev effect" (e.g., p. 315 of the 3rd ed.). The elongation of the entrance and exit pupils off-axis results in a improvement of the off-axis illumination to a cosine to the third dependence, better than the standard cosine to the fourth dependence.

Almost all modern LF wide-coverage lenses use this design approach. The various Grandagons, Super-Angulons, Nikkor and Fuji SWs do. The Super-Symmar-XL doesn't. Kingslake specifically mentions the original Super-Angulons. The design can be recognized in the cross-section diagrams, and for Rodenstock and Schneider, in the published off-axis illumination curves, and by tilting one of the lenses and looking at the shape of the aperture.

Zeiss has on the web relative illumination curves for current small and medium format Biogons. Schneider has their information on the web; Rodenstock in print. The relative illumination curves of the wide-coverage lenses -- including modern Biogons -- are close to the theoretical cosine to the third.

So I am sceptical that the 75 mm Biogon has "no fall-off", or even that is has better falloff than current lenses.

Coverage? Zeiss listed the coverage of the 75 mm Biogon as 165 mm diameter, which is 95 degrees and allows a front rise for 4x5 in portrait orientation of 7 mm. Compare to the 72 mm Super-Angulon-XL: 226 mm diameter, 115 degrees, and 42 mm!

Coatings? Aren't all of the LF Biogons from the era of single-coatings? The modern equivalents are multicoated, which should slightly increase color purity.

Again, I am sure that the 75 mm Biogon is a fine lens, but I am doubtful that it better than current offerings. Of course, careful experiments simultaneously taking photos of the same subject with several lenses would be very interesting.

David A. Goldfarb
8-Apr-2004, 23:18
Another issue is that most of the other lenses that I typically carry in my Linhof kit can use the Linhof 70mm drop-in filters, and I'd need to carry another set of larger filters if I were to swap my 75/8.0 Super-Angulon for a Biogon.

Arne Croell
9-Apr-2004, 09:00
I agree with Michaels analysis of the fall-off. Now, let me first say thatI have not used a Biogon. But from what I have read in the literature of the time and comparing it with the Zeiss Jena counterpart (Lamegon 65mm) which I have used and where I have read the original Zeiss Jena development test reports, a major design goal at the time was the ability to use these lenses wide open. So the claim of reduced fall-off might refer to a reduced _mechanical vignetting_ at f4.5-f8 or so (which comes on top of the natural vignetting Michael is referring to)by using oversized front and back elements, not at the more typical f16-f22 we are used to. The internal Zeiss Jena test reports for the Lamegon I saw actually tested the lens only for the stops from f4.5 down to f/11. Afaik, the Biogon had the same design goals of being already very good wide open. As such it is certainly a specialty lens with a very limited application range. At the normal taking apertures of f/16 to f/22 there probably is no advantage whatsoever.

David A. Goldfarb
9-Apr-2004, 10:30
Here's a cammed one with better pictures and a better price, considering the fact that it is cammed, on eBay.de:


Pete Caluori
9-Apr-2004, 10:35

I know Richard and can vouch for what he says, but I'm curious if anyone has ever done a real world comparison of the Biogon vs. the Schneider 72XL?

Maybe the next time I see Richard we'll do such a test. I have the 72XL and just finished developing an 8x10 neg that I made with it. At f45 the image circle nearly covers the long dimension of 8x10, coming just short by about 1/2". What I find most amazing about the 72XL isn't the awsome coverage, but the edge sharpness. I did not use the center filter, yet the illumination appears quite uniform out to the edge. I can't check it on the densitomer as it's still wet, but will let you now more accurately once it drys.

Regards, Pete

Kirk Gittings
9-Apr-2004, 12:16
A friend tried to sell me one once. i borrowed it for awhile and decided that the lack of coverage for movements was to limiting. The wider you go the more correction and i.e coverage you need on things like architecture.

Pete Caluori
9-Apr-2004, 17:35
The neg is dry, but densitometer readings are inconclusive. The neg was shot on an overcast day, but there is still too much variation in the sky to get accurate readings. The best I was able to check shows about 1 stop (0.3 d.u.) loss from center to outside edge, but there too much variation in the sky.

Regards, Pete