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Thread: Lousy Dagor

  1. #21

    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    10

    Lousy Dagor

    FWIW, the 1903 Berlin Dagor (9.5") that I recently bought seems plenty sharp to me, but I am only using it on my Speed Graphic. The lens definitely covers 8x10, and on 4x5 it's sweet all the way.

    Today I just tried out a used Polaroid 545 holder on my SG using Type 54 (iso 100) Polaroid sheet film, and even at f16 (my Dagor is the f6.8 version) still shows excellent detail. At f32 it's superbly sharp corner to corner. Since I plan to use this lens mostly for portraits, it's exactly what I wanted -- nice character yet really sharp if desired.

    I have absolutely no criticisms of this lens, and considering I paid $140 for it already mounted on a custom lenscone and Graphic board, it is my buy of the year.

  2. #22

    Lousy Dagor

    FWIW, the 1903 Berlin Dagor (9.5") that I recently bought seems plenty sharp to me

    R.J.,

    Your lens is a genuine C.P. Goerz Berlin product, not a Burke & James assembled "BERLIN DAGOR". Your lens is much older, but far better.

    Kerry

  3. #23

    Join Date
    May 1999
    Location
    Catskills
    Posts
    155

    Lousy Dagor

    I have had a number of Dagors over the years including a 7" series III in a volute, a 6.5" F/8 WA Dagor and more recently a 12" Dagor. I once made a comparison between two 16x20 prints made from 4x5 negatives, one made from the old 7" series III Dagor and one from a 150mm symmar S. Under a 7x loupe I could tell that the Symmar was sharper, but only marginally so.
    In the print from the Dagor I could see individual veins on the leaves of a tree. The picture was taken from about 100" away, I was impressed with the ancient optic. I also use my Dagors across formats, this is one the things that I really like about them. I use the 12" on 4x5 to 7x17. I use the 6.5" on 4x5 to 8x10. I have made 2x and 3x enlargements from the 6.5" Dagor and even under a loupe the prints look darn sharp. I think that the atrraction of the Dagors is that they hit the sweet spot between coverage and sharpness. They are also relatively small and light for their coverage. Of course a 165 Super Angulon is sharper than my little 6.5" Dagor, but who cares, I don't have a donkey to carry the Angulon when I am in the field. I am very happy with my Dagors and have made many memorable images with them. They are my favorite and most used lens. Arthur Nichols

  4. #24

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    South of Rochester, NY
    Posts
    281

    Lousy Dagor

    Kerry, thanks for the pointer to that thread about bad dagors. I had fotgotten all about that story and bought a couple of old dagors in the meantime... Luckily, one is a "C.P. Goerz Berlin Dagor" which makes me feel better.

    But what about a "GOERZ DAGOR" f/6.8 from 1936-1945 in what looks like an original Compound shutter that says "C.P. GOERZ NEW-YORK" on it/ Also says "Made in Germany" in tiny letters. If this is a B&J mock-up, I'd be very suprised as it's sharp as anything I've ever seen...

    I may be happy with this lens, but now I'm a bit concerned....

  5. #25

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    505

    Lousy Dagor

    Pretty much all I would say has been said by others but a few wee additions..I never knew a Dagor had focus shift till I read the Large Format forum/Photo.net pages and others, I've experienced a CZ Protars focus shift and always checked it at the stopped down aperture and refocused. I checked my Dagors and never had one that gave any trouble but maybe I'm lucky.

    There are MANY lenses that in one way or another can beat a Dagor be it coverage/sharpness/colour correction/size etc but few that can pack as much of each into one lens as the Dagor. If sharpness is your main criteria then I can't see why a Dagor would be first on anyones list...we have the Artar for that. For coverage there is the Hypergon, colour correction the Artar again, size goes to the Series IV and V Protars but if you think a Dagor is mush wait till you use those beauties! :-)



    When it comes to coverage of LARGE sheets of film you pretty much have to use a Dagor in the wide angle sense, there aren't too many lenses capable of the coverage needed. Long lenses can be had anyday on Ebay in the form of Artars, Nikkors, Ronars etc. If you don't need the big coverage since you use smaller formats then there are hundreds of other options and since you have to enlarge the negative a bit unlike contact print users then sharpness is more of an issue and I would stick to a crisp process lens of which there are hundreds.

    I don't think a 7" Dagor is a good choice on 8x10 even though some Goerz charts say its OK at 45/64, another lens they made right about the same focal length is a 7 1/2" Dagor and it does cover without falloff and softness but you have to center the lens on the film and for most that makes it useless.

    Hope you find a lens you like and take some nice pictures with it!!

    CP Goerz

  6. #26

    Lousy Dagor

    But what about a "GOERZ DAGOR" f/6.8 from 1936-1945 in what looks like an original Compound shutter that says "C.P. GOERZ NEW-YORK" on it/ Also says "Made in Germany" in tiny letters. If this is a B&J mock-up, I'd be very suprised as it's sharp as anything I've ever seen...

    This is a "real" Dagor made by C.P. Goerz Am. Opt. Inc. The "Made in Germany" refers to the Compound shutter, not the lens elements. Goerz in New York was started in the late 1890s and was originally a subsidiary of the German parent company. During WWI they split off as a separate company and continued in business up until the early 1970s (with a few minor name changes, eventually becoming Goerz Optical Inc.) when their assets were liquidated and purchased by Kollmorgen of Pittsburgh, who subsequently sold those rights to Schneider Corp. of America in 1972. Ironically, the American spin-off had a much longer life than the original German Goerz company which was absorbed into the Zeiss-Ikon conglomerate in 1926.

    Kerry

  7. #27

    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Location
    South of Rochester, NY
    Posts
    281

    Lousy Dagor

    Thanks Kerry.

    Some of this history is very interesting, if a bit convoluted ;-)
    I wonder if any has ever catlogged all the photo companies that have come & gone, similar to Kingslake's short Rochester history?

  8. #28

    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Posts
    14

    Lousy Dagor

    Thanks for all the responses. I will sample future dagors that come my way. I am not opposed to using a dagor for its look. The simple fact is that the lens is not the sharpest in the bag. If you use a dagor you dont use it for its tack sharpness. Like Andrew said the artar is a better choice for that. Of course the apo nikkor is probably better than the Artar being improved, more modern version of the 4 element dialite type. See.... I love my apo-nikkor 480 and the lens designers will also tell you this type is a poor quality lens by modern standards. It may be but I still use it and love it. I am not biased and my mind was not made up before testing the lens.

    I do have alot of respect for Goerz and all the great lenses they came up with. The dagor was a marvel in the 1890's and obviosly loved by droves today. the artar is a great process lens and the design was used until the process camera died just recenty. The hypergon is an incredible lens, especially considering the difficulty in making that glass. Of course the bigget field angle was achieved by the Robin Hill lens made by Beck of London. 180 degrees. ever seen one of those?

    What I did was expect too much from the lens. Goerz says the lens covers 8x10. I shot it at f32. The corners are markedly soft compared to a modern process lens I had been using. They may be different design, and I am not a lens designer but both are symmetrical. Anyhow the dagor is useful for its look but I still would never use one on a commercial shoot. I would take just about any modern lens of normal field angle over the dagor for critical work.

  9. #29

    Join Date
    Jul 2000
    Posts
    471

    Lousy Dagor

    LOL....I love these post. it actually allows you to separate the lens junkies from the artist. But for the lens junkies....I have a blue dot trigor,. If you ever get a chance to shoot with one you'll see a lens that is as sharp as an artar but covers like a dagor. If you insist on razor sharp I suggest you stay out of the portraiture business or that little old lady that wants you to hide some of those crows feet or that teenager with the bad complexion will hate you. But seriously, I have a couple of 8x20 contact prints of a bridge that was shot with an uncoated 16 1/2 inch dagor and the exact same scene shot 2 minutes later with a 355 GC and if you can tell any difference in the two prints I will give you both lenses. But again, yes Dagors are junk...how much do you want for it?

  10. #30

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    8,150

    Lousy Dagor

    Um, person posting here as landarc, are you the eBay seller landarc who recently sold a 180/6.8 Dagor, eBay auction number 7502343410 with the listing title "Goerz Berlin Dagor 180mm lens covers 8x10"?

    That listing included this text: "I have shot with the lens and it does cover 8x10 with some movement if you stop it down. Of course any dagor is going to require stopping down for full sharpness. This is the widest dagor you can use on 8x10 except some of the very late dagors."

    If you are eBay's landarc, in view of your rant that started this thread, all I can say is oh, my, oh, my.

    Cheers,

    Dan

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