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Thread: When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

  1. #1

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    When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

    Hi all,

    At what point did decent, affordable, wide angle lenses show up? My understanding is that common prewar lenses were mostly Tessars in the normal to long range, with a handful of dialyte and slow convertible designs for wide angle use. (Here I'm thinking of the usual Kodak Ektar suspects in 5.5", 6", 7", and 8".) I know that the 127mm Ektar, while common on 4x5 Speed Graphics, didn't have good quality coverage at the margins, presumably because that wasn't a strength of the Tessar design.*

    I also know that there are a boatload of modern Plasmats from the big four that (apparently) were selling like reeeeely expensive hotcakes in the 1970's and 1980's. So, what changed, and was there ever a time for "good deals" in the 28mm to 35mm equivalent range?

    Will

    *I'm deliberately not talking about the wide angle Commercial Ektars designed for 8x10. I can't see that the adjective "affordable" ever applied to them!

  2. #2
    Foamer
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    Re: When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

    I have a couple of 90mm & 100mm Dagors in very early shutters. I'm thinking 1910 and 1920 on them. They seem to cover 4x5.


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    Re: When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

    Quote Originally Posted by Will Frostmill View Post
    I'm deliberately not talking about the wide angle Commercial Ektars designed for 8x10. I can't see that the adjective "affordable" ever applied to them!
    So much for learning.

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    Re: When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

    Quote Originally Posted by Jac@stafford.net View Post
    So much for learning.
    I don't think that there's really a problem with an OP setting a boundary condition on new thread. It helps to avoid responders going into detail on topics in which the OP has no interest.

  5. #5

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    Re: When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

    In 1910, $40 would get you a B&L Extra Wide Angle Series V F/18, 4-7/16" in a Volute that covered 5x7
    I steal time at 1/125th of a second, so I don't consider my photography to be Fine Art as much as it is petty larceny.
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  6. #6

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    Re: When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

    I think that an operative word in this discussion is "decent." Not being any kind of an expert, I've been reading A History of the Photographic Lens [R.Kingslake].

    There were some designs important to wide-angles that came about. These were lenses designed specifically for wide-angle applications. (Might that not make these lenses "decent?")

    One is the Goerz Hypergon in about 1900. A second was the development of the Angulon in early 1930's. A little before that (late '20's) was the Ross Wide-Angle Express lens.

    But for me, the transformative design came in the mid 1940's with the development of the Biogon design. For example, the Super Angulon is a derivative of this lens, and it was developed in the early 50's. Compared to what came earlier, these lenses are in a class by themselves.

    As to what was affordable, that's anybody's guess. It's a very relative term. If it helps, I have this neat source catalog, The Photography Catalog [N.Snyder, 1976] which gives some representative prices of that time period for LF lenses. It's attached as a reference.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails LFLenses.jpg  
    Last edited by neil poulsen; 19-Aug-2019 at 06:20.

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    Re: When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    But for me, the transformative design came in the mid 1940's with the development of the Biogon design.
    First Biogon is from 1934...

    (translating from Emmanuel Bigler french post) ...but in 1946, a very unexpected patent by Russian engineer Roussinov explains in detail the principle of pupillary distortion to correct the fall of brightness at the edge of the field in a new kind of quasi-symmetric wide-angle optics, with large lenses, input and output were divergent meniscus. Then Zeiss and the other opticians, of course...

    (See post Date: 06/02/2013, 14:19)
    http://www.galerie-photo.org/n3-f2,175144,page=2.html


    Just pointing that a major conceptual contribution (tilting pupil design) was published in 1946 by Roussinov and this changed the original Biogon design to include that capability, which allowed wider coverages with "decent" performance. I guess that the 110º modern coverages would not be much feasible without Roussinov's contribution.


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    Re: When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

    Oh, dear. Many makers made wide angle rectilinear lenses in the 19th century. And then there were wide angle anastigmats starting around 1892. Look in Fabre, there are links to his Traité encyclopédique de photographie. in the list. While you're at it, read my Berthiot LF anastigmats article. There's a link to it in the list.

    I have no idea what the OP meant by decent or affordable. I have some Berthiot Perigraphe VIa lenses made between 1948 and 1951. Not particularly modern, the design was first used before 1910. They give up little to newer w/a lenses except maximum aperture.

    Papi, Zeiss gave the trade name Biogon to two different Bertele designs. The post-WW II f/4.5 Biogons are simplified Wild Aviogons, apparently the first west bloc lenses to exploit Roosinov's ideas and also designed by Bertele.

    OP, there are no Wide Angle Commercial Ektars. You might have been thinking of Wide Field Ektars. These are four elements in four groups double Gauss type lenses. Other makers claim up to 100 degree coverage for their 4/4 double Gauss w/a lenses, EKCo's WF Ektars are limited to 80 degrees.

  9. #9

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    Re: When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

    Thank you Dan, this is exactly the kind of thing I had hoped to learn about!

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    I have no idea what the OP meant by decent or affordable. I have some Berthiot Perigraphe VIa lenses made between 1948 and 1951. Not particularly modern, the design was first used before 1910. They give up little to newer w/a lenses except maximum aperture.
    Ah! Excellent! That was in fact what I meant by "decent", giving up little to newer lenses except for maximum aperture. Affordable...I guess affordable for the postwar time period.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dan Fromm View Post
    OP, there are no Wide Angle Commercial Ektars. You might have been thinking of Wide Field Ektars. These are four elements in four groups double Gauss type lenses. Other makers claim up to 100 degree coverage for their 4/4 double Gauss w/a lenses, EKCo's WF Ektars are limited to 80 degrees.
    Right! I meant the Wide Field Ektars.

  10. #10

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    Re: When did decent wide angles show up? [lens history question]

    So, when did the wide-angle Dagor come about? That was considered a "decent" lens then, and I think now. I could find no mention of it in Kingslake.

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