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Thread: Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

  1. #1

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    Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

    Hello everyone.
    I am considering old lenses for portraits.
    My format is now 4x5 but plan to move on to 8x10
    so the image circle should cover it.

    I have several multi coated lenses less than and equal to 210mm.
    Looking up portrait lenses,
    I’m waiting for my first uncoated old lens TTH 2E 325mm to be mounted on sinar copal shutter.

    Could you share any images with color film taken by old lenses like
    Dallmeyer 3B or similar brass petzval lenses,
    heliars, uncoated/SC tessars, TTH cookes, nicola perscheid, dagors, old plasmats like hugo meyer and so on?

  2. #2

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    Re: Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

    Do you have the serial number of the Cooke Series IIE?

    After WW2, these were all coated by the factory!

  3. #3

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    Re: Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

    Steven, I left the lens to Toyo camera service in Tokyo to be mounted on a sinar board,
    so I can’t tell you the serial number to you right now, but the lens seems uncoated knuckler version.

    I’m wondering how UC/SC portrait lenses show different “tastes” in color transparencies.
    Some aberrations in old lenses may show nice tastes that MC modern lenses don’t have besides the faster stops and round aperture physical advantages. Those are my interests right now. I could imagine lower contrasts depending on optics, probably some chromatic aberrations and any intentional aberrations intended in B&W and wet plate ages, but how would the old lenses look in color??

  4. #4

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    Re: Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

    OP, I'm sorry that I have no examples to show you. I have, though, shot E-6 with a number of uncoated lenses, all anastigmats. f/6.3 Tessars from CZJ and Bausch & Lomb. Also with coated lenses whose designs date from the 1890s through around 1930. Again, all anastigmats. More Tessars, Boyer Beryls (Dagor clones), Berthiot Perigraphes (f/6.8 = Dagor types, f/14 = wide angle Dagor types), CZJ Goerz Dagor (wide angle), 4"/2.0 TTH Anastigmat (Opic type), ...

    They all did very well with Kodak ISO 100 E-6 films.

    There's not much around in the way of old timey color work because by the time color film was widely used people used mainly very modern lenses. I see much of what people call old timey B&W as simply faded old prints, sometimes poorly fixed as well and sometimes originally overly contrasty to the modern taste.

    I can't speak to color negative films because I've hardly ever used them. I have, though, found that color reversal films are exquisitely sensitive to exposure errors and to, um, white balance as in the well-known saying "roses are red, shadows are blue."

    My point is that if you want interesting effects, play with films and processing, not with lenses. Very few lenses have designed in aberrations. Lens designers have always striven for accurate rendition.

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    Re: Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

    Thanks Dan for your advice. I haven’t looked into film developing phase.
    I would challenge darkroom E6 film processing in future.
    Right now I just submit transparency films to Fujifilm Ginza pro lab.
    Good news to hear old anastigmat lenses perform well in color films too.
    Last edited by mhayashi; 3-Jul-2020 at 00:15.

  6. #6

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    Re: Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

    I would have thought that the best way to check the colour rendition of specific uncoated lenses is to eliminate film in the first instance.
    By setting up a test optical bed, with digital registration of a test image with a repeated small pattern - so there is a common base for comparison between lenses with very different focal Lengths.
    Apart from basic visual comparison of images, surely it would be possible to employ PS to give substance to identifying the difference?

  7. #7
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    Re: Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

    Definitely not too old or even large format, but here is a uncoated Tessar 10.5 cm on a prewar Welta Weltur. This is printed from negative film and therefore color corrected during enlargement. I think that seeing a color cast using negative film is going to futile. Generally, pictures with this lens are less contrasty and color saturated.


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  8. #8

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    Re: Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

    Steven, thanks for your insight.
    I understood the meaning of separating factors due to lens against the others like film, developing and photographic paper.
    The nature of digital is consistent so the other factors can be fixed.

  9. #9

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    Re: Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

    Ironage, thanks for sharing the picture.
    The borders where colors change like between sky and roof do not seem to show color aberrations at a look.
    Was the scene cloudy and the sun was hidden by clouds??

    I’ve got provia 100F 4x5 film last week so once I receive the TTH cooke 325mm, I try a shot of my 4 year old daughter at F4.5 and F5.6 with and without defocus.
    She is difficult to focus and capture by a large format camera unless given some snacks sitting on a bench....
    For comparison, I also attempt to take by MC Nikon AM ED 210mm at F5.6 though it’s not the same focal length as the cooke.
    That’s the longest modern lens I have right now. And optics are totally different between the twos though.
    I’d check the skin tones, focal plane areas(eyes), color borders, and how OOF renditions differ in color positive films by old lenses and modern ones.
    I normally use velvia 50 and velvia 100F to take nature and architecture.

  10. #10
    Ironage's Avatar
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    Re: Any picture examples of color film with old lenses?

    Mhayshi yes the only blue in the ski was that seen in the picture. I am pretty sure that even though the lens is uncoated it must have been color corrected with little abrasion.


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