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Thread: Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

  1. #1

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    Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

    Hello,
    I am searching for my first lens for 8x10 wet plate (6 inch lens board). I have determined I would like a Petzval and prefer some vignetting on 8x10 glass neg and will be shooting wide open (f4, f5, f6 depending on lens?) Should I be looking for a 10 inch to allow for light fall off on edges? Budget is 500-1000. Priority is landscapes but would be nice to shoot portraits as well. Could use some help as many lenses for sale don't specify coverage, etc. Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
    Foamer
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    Re: Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

    Quote Originally Posted by DesertImages View Post
    Hello,
    I am searching for my first lens for 8x10 wet plate (6 inch lens board). I have determined I would like a Petzval and prefer some vignetting on 8x10 glass neg and will be shooting wide open (f4, f5, f6 depending on lens?) Should I be looking for a 10 inch to allow for light fall off on edges? Budget is 500-1000. Priority is landscapes but would be nice to shoot portraits as well. Could use some help as many lenses for sale don't specify coverage, etc. Thanks in advance!

    Might be a little tough to find something in that price range but with some persistence I think you will. I'd go for a 12 inch.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  3. #3

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    Re: Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

    First off invest in a copy of The Vade Mecum
    http://www.antiquecameras.net/lensvademecum.html
    It will be worth way more to you than the $14.99 you spent for it
    Then look on eBAY for (old) brass lenses. If the seller uses the work "Petzval", forget it cause that one word increases the selling cost many times. You'll be looking for a brass lens that you never heard of its manufacturer's name before, or one that is unmarked. (Found one that the engraving was unreadable, but after acquiring it and spending some time on trying to read the engraved letters. Turned out to be a very, very worn brass Voigtlander.) Hopefully will be listed in the Vade Mecum and hopefully the Vade Mecum will confirm that the lens is a Petzval formula. Have found a few for my whole plate camera that sold for the lower end of your budget. They were only listed as "brass lenses". Sometimes taking a chance on one for a couple of hundred dollars will end you up with a classic Petval lens in your hand. Oh yes at a local "junk shop" once found a mammoth-plate? brass lens with a price tag of under a hundred dollars. Had known the owner of the business for years, so there was no way I could have purchased the lens from him for so little money. Put him in touch with someone who paid him a fair price for that classic optic. Good Luck.

  4. #4

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    Re: Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

    I appreciate the tip Kent. I will search for a little longer lens like you suggest.

  5. #5

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    Re: Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greg View Post
    First off invest in a copy of The Vade Mecum
    http://www.antiquecameras.net/lensvademecum.html
    It will be worth way more to you than the $14.99 you spent for it
    Then look on eBAY for (old) brass lenses. If the seller uses the work "Petzval", forget it cause that one word increases the selling cost many times. You'll be looking for a brass lens that you never heard of its manufacturer's name before, or one that is unmarked. (Found one that the engraving was unreadable, but after acquiring it and spending some time on trying to read the engraved letters. Turned out to be a very, very worn brass Voigtlander.) Hopefully will be listed in the Vade Mecum and hopefully the Vade Mecum will confirm that the lens is a Petzval formula. Have found a few for my whole plate camera that sold for the lower end of your budget. They were only listed as "brass lenses". Sometimes taking a chance on one for a couple of hundred dollars will end you up with a classic Petval lens in your hand. Oh yes at a local "junk shop" once found a mammoth-plate? brass lens with a price tag of under a hundred dollars. Had known the owner of the business for years, so there was no way I could have purchased the lens from him for so little money. Put him in touch with someone who paid him a fair price for that classic optic. Good Luck.
    Thanks for the tip Greg! I will get the lens catalog you suggested. Sounds like a true Petzval would be hard to find in my price range unless I just lucked out. I want to get started sooner than later so I may have to pay more than I originally expected. Any ideas for a 12 inch with slight fall off on 8x10?

  6. #6
    Foamer
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    Re: Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

    Get on ebay, search "Dallmeyer 3D". I think you will find what you are looking for.


    Kent in SD
    Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris,
    miserere nobis.

  7. #7

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    Re: Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

    12"/300mm sounds about right. There are quite a lot of these around as it was the adopted standard for full plate size. Anything longer wil be at an awful premium in asking price and weigh approaching 3 kilo!

    Now sellers are notoriously inept at knowing what the effect focal length of a lens is - quite apart from actually measuring it! Perhaps it would be better to ask the weight of a lens for sale. Something over 1.6kilo is likely to meet your requirements - or with a lens diameter of at least 81mm. Your budget is realistic apart from the faster, "exclusive" name, lenses at the moment as the supply exceeds demand by quite a large factor!

  8. #8

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    Re: Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    12"/300mm sounds about right. There are quite a lot of these around as it was the adopted standard for full plate size. Anything longer wil be at an awful premium in asking price and weigh approaching 3 kilo!

    Now sellers are notoriously inept at knowing what the effect focal length of a lens is - quite apart from actually measuring it! Perhaps it would be better to ask the weight of a lens for sale. Something over 1.6kilo is likely to meet your requirements - or with a lens diameter of at least 81mm. Your budget is realistic apart from the faster, "exclusive" name, lenses at the moment as the supply exceeds demand by quite a large factor!
    Thank you Steve for adding some great advice! I don't really need the "name" and these tips may get me very close to a great starting lens. I realize I might not find a super fast lens but can deal with longer exposures and may luck out with a cool look.

  9. #9

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    Re: Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

    Quote Originally Posted by Two23 View Post
    Get on ebay, search "Dallmeyer 3D". I think you will find what you are looking for.


    Kent in SD
    Thanks Kent, looking at some now!

  10. #10

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    Re: Which Petzval Lens for 8x10 wet plate?

    Also check for magic lantern lenses, which sometimes sell for less. Used to be people didn't know the difference, but everyone should have caught on by now. They will work the same for wetplate as an actual camera petzval. On second thought, you probably won't find a magic lantern lens as big as 12"....

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