Hi,

I'm new to both this forum and large format photography, so please excuse any newbie language or mistakes.

I have just discovered a vintage brass Petzval style lens that belonged to my grandfather and I need to get some advice on it, so I thought I'd ask the experts! Here are the questions I have, and if any of you can help me in answering them I'd be hugely grateful.


1. What type of lens is this (Petzval, magic lanter etc) and how can I tell?

2. What camera would this be suitable for (full, half, quarter plate etc)?

3. How old would a lens like this be?

4. What sort of price is this kind of lens worth?

5. It was in a pretty grimey condition and I (perhaps foolishly) cleaned it and polished it up a bit. Would this have lessened it's value?



Below is a list of information about it, and I have attached some photos. Hope this helps.

  • Brass construction
  • Lens glass is all clean, and in very condition.
  • Lens and mounting ring threads are in perfect and smooth working order.
  • 'Tangent' focusing mechanism is well cleaned and running very smoothly.
  • 65mm - width at far lens end
  • 80mm - length (from mounting plate to end of lens when fully extended)
  • 40mm - front and rear lens glass diameter
  • 78mm - diameter of mounting plate
  • 30mm(approx) - aperture/entrance pupil diameter


Click image for larger version. 

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Many thanks!