Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: LW Kranz Lens

  1. #1

    LW Kranz Lens

    I recently acquired an L.W. Kranz lens but have no good idea of what I really have. Examples of other lenses by this maker I found on the web have a number engraved either above or below the maker's name, but the one I have does not. It's 14cm tall with a 7cm diameter of the lens itself, as you can see in the photos. I would really appreciate any information you can provide, such as the model number, year made, and if possible, the value of such a lens in today's market.

    Thank you,
    Ben
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails IMG_4265.jpg   IMG_4266.jpg   IMG_4267.jpg  

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    5,834

    Re: LW Kranz Lens

    We don't do valuations here! But there are a awful lot of these around made by better known makers!

    L.W.Kranz Braunschweig (Brunswick) was active just after Voigtlander moved most production from Vienna. I have seen that he was an ex-Voigtlander employee who started up his own business.
    This a medium sized Petzval portrait lens covering probably half plate images. A catalogue from 1861 (According to the D'Agostini book on German and Austrian lenses) exists.

    It is, in fact, here - halfway down the document in German - note the measurements given are "old German - not metric!"

    https://www.antiquecameras.net/blog86.html

    There is a lengthy thread here.

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...ighlight=kranz
    Last edited by Steven Tribe; 7-Oct-2019 at 11:17. Reason: memory started to work

  3. #3

    Re: LW Kranz Lens

    Thanks so much for the information and references Steven. Looking at the catalogue thread, it is difficult for me to figure out which item is the lens that I have. Any idea, and why mine would not have a model no. engraved, like other examples? In your opinion, is this a rare lens and is it desirable from a collector's or early photography enthusiasts perspective?

    Thanks,
    Ben

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    5,834

    Re: LW Kranz Lens

    I have done the "translation" of the antique measuring system on other catalogues before, so will check my notes tomorrow! Each of the independent german states (in 1861) had slightly different measures.

    Yes, your lack of serial number and the very deep engraving is a surprise. I have a theory about this and will write more later.

    There are collectors, but it requires deep pockets to form an extensive collections these days as well as dedicated storage. Most owners use their Petzvals in wet plate efforts or other portrait activity. The demand is very sensitive to the numbers of people entering large format (and wet plate, in particular) or leaving it for some other interest!

    A rare/uncommon lens doesn't automatically mean high value. A very common Petzval is the Dallmeyer 3 B and it commands a stable and high price in the market. Another Petzval of the same size and type of performance, existing in perhaps a handful of examples, would most likely be only a half of the value.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    5,834

    Re: LW Kranz Lens

    ......continued!

    I have done a check of L.W. Kranz lenses (Including my own small APL II) and yours appears to be unique as regards the rear cell (it can be split in half), the lack of a serial number, and the large, complex, deep engraving of the name. I really don't think it is a forgery - as there would have been more money in another maker.
    I can only find very few photos of a Petzval from Kranz - you might like to compare this one with a serial number around 600 with yours.

    There are dozens of reasons which could explain why this lens is so different. I think it is early in Kranz's career, when serial numbers were a secondary consideration. He appears to have specialised in Aplanats quite early - close to Voigtlander's Euryskops. The design of the rear cell looks like it is a one-off production - a production line design would be more simple.
    Then there is the engraving. This is highly complex and would take a long time to make. The standard Kranz engraving is simple brass script - very similar to his old employer, Voigtlander - and much quicker to carry out!
    I can understand why Kranz, in his first attempts as an independent maker, would not antagonise his former employer by making a look-alike engraving.
    We know that exhibitions - both national and regional - were all the rage in the industrialised world in the 19th century after the London Exhibition of 1851. Photography was often an important part of these expositions. Perhaps Kranz presented his future products at one of these? It would certainly explain the prominent engraving and absence of a serial number.
    I know of another maker - H.Roussel & L.Berteau - who existed for a very short time. About 5 lenses are known. None have serial numbers, none are the same model. 2 were found in Sweden and one in St.Petersburg and there was a photography exhibition in Stockholm at the right period.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails image.jpg  

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    5,834

    Re: LW Kranz Lens

    And now - Understanding the Kranz lens Catalogue!

    For each lens type the diameter of the front lens and the rear lens are given as well as the focal length. In addition, it gives the plate sizes for which it was designed at the end of each entry.

    The catalogue says it uses the French version so I will use the French words rather than German words like "zoll".
    There are two related measures given, like mm and cm. Pouce is represented by '' and is slightly more the UK inch.
    A ligne (represented by ''') is 1/12th of a pouce.

    If we look at lens number 1, we see at the end that it is OK for 1/4,1/6 and 1/9 photographic plates.

    The diameters of the 2 lenses are given as 18''' and 19''' (ligne) respectively.

    Now 1''' ( one ligne) in modern measure is 2.256mm So 18''' and 19"' become 40mm and 42mm approx.

    In this no.1 type lens, the focal length is given as 5 pouce 6 ligne - or 5 1/2 pouce. Now 1 '' is 27.07mm. So 5'' 6''' becomes almost exactly 150mm.

    In comparison with other 1/4 plate Petzvals these measurements appear very correct!

    You can do a reverse conversion of your lens diameter in mm to french "ligne" and look at the lenses that cover 1/4 plate for a corresponding diameter!

  7. #7

    Re: LW Kranz Lens

    Steven, thank you so much for this terrific information! It is obvious that you have great knowledge in this field. I will definitely do a lot more research following up on your lead regarding the catalogue and search for historical information on Kranz and his early prototypes. I really appreciate your time and effort on helping me with this subject!

    Kind regards,
    Ben

Similar Threads

  1. Free 1861 Catalogue from German optician LW Kranz
    By CCHarrison in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: 6-Apr-2018, 06:46

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •