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Thread: LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

  1. #1
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

    Just for fun, which large format lenses were designed by photographers and actually made it into commercial production? Although these were produced by commercial lens manufacturers, the designs were by practicing photographers who used these lenses themselves. I can think of a few, but I'm sure I've forgotten or don't know about others, so please add to the list if you know some I've missed.

    1.) The Karl Struss Pictorial Lens. Struss was a pictorial photographer and an Academy Award-winning cinematographer.

    2.) The Nicola Perscheid Portrait Objektiv. Perscheid was a well-known German portrait and pictorial photographer.

    3.) The Objectif d’Artiste Formule Anachromatique, the Objectif d'Artiste, the Portrait Anachromatique and the Adjustable Landscape Lens by Puyo (and Pulligny). Constant Puyo was a leading advocate and practitioner for pictorial photography in France, aided in design by Leclerc de Pulligny, an important early optical designer/engineer.

    4.) The Graf-Bishop Soft Focus Lens by Lloyd C. Bishop. Bishop was an Indiana portrait photographer.

    5.) The Bodine Pictorial Lens by H. Oliver Bodine, a Wisconsin pictorialist photographer and photography retailer. (Note: the Bodine Pictorial Lens was reworked by Wollensak to become the famous Verito lens.)

    6.) The Beach Multi-Focal Lens by Howard Beach. Beach was a New York pictorialist and portrait photographer.

    As an aside, it's interesting that all these are soft focus lenses. I suppose this makes sense, as it would be difficult (and pointless) to design a sharp, well-corrected lens to compete with the conventional lenses being offered by the manufacturers. But to design a lens with aberrations deliberately left in, a lens with its own unique signature... well, that could be a wonderful and feasible challenge!

    Okay, now which others did I leave out?
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  2. #2
    Do or do not. There is no try.
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    Re: LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

    How about the deGolden Busch lenses with which Doug Busch was involved?

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    Re: LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

    7. Dallmeyer Bergheim.
    Very little data available, but I believe it is a photographer, rather than an outside designer like Cooke.

    I am not sure about Nicola Perscheid. I think there was a degree of "trend" in the use of known photographic artist's names.
    They was certainly an association of sorts between photographer and lens maker, but Bergheim, Perscheid and others were perhaps used just as testers.

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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    7. Dallmeyer Bergheim.
    Very little data available, but I believe it is a photographer, rather than an outside designer like Cooke.

    I am not sure about Nicola Perscheid. I think there was a degree of "trend" in the use of known photographic artist's names.
    They was certainly an association of sorts between photographer and lens maker, but Bergheim, Perscheid and others were perhaps used just as testers.
    I wondered about including the Bergheim. According to Dan's site, it was "Designed by John Dallmeyer's son, Thomas, at the request of painter J.S. Bergheim." (http://www.antiquecameras.net/softfocuslenses.html) I'd guess that Bergheim was also a photographer, as he had the interest in having a lens designed.

    If we include that one, should we also include the Pinkham & Smith "Smith Lens" Series I, designed by Walter Wolfe at the request of F. Holland Day? Actually, from the period literature, it seems several P&S lenses were designed with input from various photographers.

    I can't say for sure about the Perscheid lens. Most of the citations I've found are a variation of "produced by Emil Busch AG after the specifications of Perscheid", which must have originated in an old journal and has been quoted or paraphrased since. So I'm giving design credit to Perscheid, though I may be wrong. F. Holland Day showed P&S a Bergheim lens and said something like "make me one of these", and P&S designed something completely different. Perhaps Perscheid did the same with Busch, and Bergheim with Dallmeyer, but the mention of Perscheid having "specifications" makes me think he was a bit more specific. But yes, I'm guessing...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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    Re: LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    I wondered about including the Bergheim. According to Dan's site, it was "Designed by John Dallmeyer's son, Thomas, at the request of painter J.S. Bergheim." (http://www.antiquecameras.net/softfocuslenses.html) I'd guess that Bergheim was also a photographer, as he had the interest in having a lens designed.
    .
    J S Bergheim was a major photographer of his era, in major exhibitions and much admired.

    Russ

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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

    Thank you, Russ. Too many historic photographers to keep in my poor little brain...
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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    Re: LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

    Didn't Charles Piazzi Smyth design, or collaborate on the design, of a modified Petzval lens (as well as his collaboration with Barlow on astronomical instruments)?

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    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

    I had to do a little research on that one, Jody. From: http://www.brayebrookobservatory.org...%20lenses.html

    "Shortly after the introduction of Daguerreotype photography (1839), in 1841, Joseph Petzval (1807-1891) designed a portrait lens comprising a pair of crown-flint doublets; a cemented doublet and an air-spaced doublet. Charles Piazzi Smyth (1819-1900) Astronomer Royal for Scotland, surveyed and photographed the Gizeh Necropolis between the years 1860 and 1868. Smyth, dissatisfied by the poor edge definition of the Petzval portrait lens, modified the lens in 1873 by adding a negative field flattener element. Smyth realized that if astigmatism was corrected to leave only Petzval curvature, then a negative lens of suitable power close to the focal plane to act as a field lens would offset field curvature. (Brit. J. Phot. 22, 208 (1875). See also Brit. J. Phot. Almanac, 1874, p.43.)

    Ernst Abbé proposed a negative element for microscope eyepieces in 1878. (E. Abbé, Fernrohrocular mit weit abliegendem Augenpunkt. J. Roy. Microsc. Soc., 1878)

    The field flattener idea of Smyth was not further developed in camera lenses until 1911, when Moritz von Rohr used it to flatten the field of the Zeiss Biotar f/1.9 lens. In 1917 H. Dennis Taylor designed an f/2 Petzval type camera lens for Taylor Hobson with a negative element field flattener. A 4-inch f/2 lens of this type was used in the 1920's at Mount Wilson Observatory for wide field stellar photography. (Zeits. für Instkde. 31, 265 (1911) Brit. Pat. 127,058 (1917). See also Trans. Opt. Soc. (London) 24, 148 (1923))

    Other photographic lenses with a Smyth field flattener were manufactured by Kodak in their Ektar range, including the Projection f/1.0 Ektar. A negative meniscus lens was placed immediately ahead of the image plane. (U.S. Pat. 2,076,190 (1934). See also JSMPTE 54, 337 (1950)) The lens arrangements of some of these systems may be found in Rudolph Kingslake, 'A History of the Photographic Lens'..."

    I'd say that qualifies him, and he's the first to work towards a non-pictorialist lens!
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

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    Re: LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

    The deGolden Busch lenses were designed for him by Rodenstock (and assembled by someone in Rochester, I think). I got that from a 'View Camera' magazine article from the early '90s, so I could be wrong.

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    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
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    Re: LF Lenses Designed by Photographers

    How about Frank Pechman and the Pinkham-Smith Bi-Quality?
    “You often feel tired, not because you've done too much, but because you've done too little of what sparks a light in you.”
    ― Alexander Den Heijer

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