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Thread: B&L Tessar Not Focusing to Infinity, or anywhere close to that???

  1. #1

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    B&L Tessar Not Focusing to Infinity, or anywhere close to that???

    Recently I have been working with a nice RB Auto Graflex 4x5 camera. I have two lenses, one is a Carl Zeiss Jena 250mm f4.5 Tessar and the other is a Bausch and Lombe 210mm f4.5 Tessar Ic. Both lenses look nice and are clean with no fog or other defects. Obviously since the Graflex has a focal plane shutter, both lenses are barrel only with apertures. Both lenses are mounted to wooden lens boards that are correct for the camera and fit just fine. Neither lens came with the camera. Both were purchased after the fact from that mighty auction site in the ether but I doubt that is an issue. In addition, I do know that the standard lens was probably a 190mm, but the actual focal length is not the issue here.

    The 250mm lens focuses from close up to infinity with no problem but I cannot get the 210mm lens to focus to infinity. The best I can do with the bellows fully collapsed is about 10 feet. It does produce very clear images within that range.

    I am confused. What am I doing wrong with the 210mm B&L lens? I am starting to learn my way around large format but am certainly not any type of an expert so any suggestions would be welcome.

    Thanks in advance,
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

  2. #2
    Jim Jones's Avatar
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    Re: B&L Tessar Not Focusing to Infinity, or anywhere close to that???

    According to Graphic Graflex Photography by Morgan & Lester, 7th edition, the minimum focal length for the Auto Graflex 4x5 is 9 inches. Thus, the 210mm lens is too short for that model of Graflex. although it should work on some other Graphic and Graflex cameras.

  3. #3

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    Re: B&L Tessar Not Focusing to Infinity, or anywhere close to that???

    Hmm. (Smack me upside the head!) I was all set to argue vehemently but you are absolutely right. I have that same book and have probably read that camera description with lens recommendations a dozen times if I have read it once, but I did not notice that the 7" to 17" was for the 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 format.

    Well, now I am off to locate a 9" Tessar.

    Thank you very much!
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

  4. #4
    loujon
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    Re: B&L Tessar Not Focusing to Infinity, or anywhere close to that???

    Quote Originally Posted by AuditorOne View Post

    Well, now I am off to locate a 9" Tessar.

    Thank you very much!

    I'm not sure you can easily find a 9" Tessar Ic as most all manufacturers of the Tessar Ic set the focal length list to match different plate sizes and they go like this.... (all the shorter fl) then 180mm -18cm /210mm-21cm /240-250mm-24-25cm (and on to all the longer fl).
    Seeing how 210mm is just about 8 1/4" and 250mm is 9 3/4" a 9" fl didn't make much sense.

    I think you have the correct Tessar Ic for your 4x5 RB Auto Graflex in the 250mm or 9 3/4" . This is the focal length F&S matches your camera up with in their catalogs along with the 8x10 or 300mm or 11 3/4" Tessar Ic.

    You could try to find a recessed lens board for your 210mm to allow you to achieve infinity focus. The catalog shows for your camera that the shortest focus capable is 8 3/8" and max is 18" so your don't need much recess and you certainly can do close up/portrait distance work with your 210mm Tessar on the flat board .
    Hope this helps
    Last edited by Louis Pacilla; 12-Aug-2013 at 10:46. Reason: edit

  5. #5

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    Re: B&L Tessar Not Focusing to Infinity, or anywhere close to that???

    Quote Originally Posted by Louis Pacilla View Post
    I think you have the correct Tessar Ic for your 4x5 RB Auto Graflex in the 250mm or 9 3/4" . This is the focal length F&S matches your camera up with in their catalogs along with the 8x10 or 300mm or 11 3/4" Tessar Ic.
    Thanks. I was being a bit facetious. The 250 works great except for one small problem. The lens is too long and extends too far from the lens board. As a result I can't close the door. Since it takes nice pictures I will continue to use the lens I own until I can find a better solution. I may try putting up a trade ad in the classifieds to see what pops up.

    The 210 is a beautiful lens as well, I actually think it is better built than the Carl Zeiss Jena lens, so I leave it attached when I am not using the camera. I may try looking for a recessed lens board, but I am not real sure how deep it will have to go. Since the mirror needs room to flip up out of the way I would have to be careful of the clearance. I do have other 4x5 cameras that I can use it on. It should work on the Cambo with no problem and the Tessar is a good lens.
    The Viewfinder is the Soul of the Camera

    If you don't believe it, look into an 8x10 viewfinder!

    Dan

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