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Thread: Voigtlander No.6 petzval in 1857: a case study and catalogs before 1857

  1. #1

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    Voigtlander No.6 petzval in 1857: a case study and catalogs before 1857

    I recently bought the Voigtlander No.6 petzval sample.
    Being a novice of old brass lenses, I looked up the info available on internet and would like to share the findings and thoughts, which may be obvious for some of you experienced guys.
    Please bear with me for the long notes below….
    More insights are very helpful, so give me feedback if any in the comments.

    I found some related threads in this forum.
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...n-if-possible!
    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...-but-which-one

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I think the attached pic is the actinic focus shift scale mentioned in p74 of D’Agostini’s German 19th centry lens book. This Voigtlander No.6 petzval lens was made in 1857.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The 7 major increments measure 30.60mm.
    Each major increment is lined 4 minor increments, each of which measures 1.092mm. Multiplying this by 2 equals 2.189mm, which is close to Line (Linie) 2.195mm by Viennese unit.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Obso...of_measurement

    12 Lines(Linie) equals 1 Inch(Zoll) 26.34mm.

    So 2x12=24 minor lines equal 6 major lines, I measured the 6 major line length by the vernier calipers, which indicated 26.31mm close to Viennese 1 inch, 26.36mm.

    This evidence shows Voigtlander used Viennese standards for measurements in 1857 I suppose.

    I cleaned the lens elements and noticed the rear group was flipped backwards, so I corrected to the original positions.
    The serial number was marked on the side of one of the rear elemets, which means it’s the original.

    The waterhouse slot design is a bit different from typical two ring sandwich design. It’s rather like a Lee filter holder design. According to the wiki below, the waterhouse slot invention was as early as 1856, which might say the sample serial production year 1857 with WHS.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Waterhouse_stop

    The rack and pinion mount of the barrels was changed to the rigid mount by March 1863 based on the German catalogue attached and by some time of 1864 based on the description of the Negretti and Zambra catalogue.

    If anyone has info about earlier Voigtlander catalogues than 1864, let me know.

    The actinic focus shift was said to be eliminated from the serial No.7200 on May 28th, 1858, using a combination of glasses, the focus shift scale of this sample meaning it’s still actinic, verifying the serial number 6855 predates that change.

    The German catalogue of May 1863 states the older models with the chemical focus shift can be changed none by changing the rear achromatic lens. This modification can be made above No.3600. The samples with the lower number must change both front and rear lens groups.

    The German catalog states No.6 focal length is 14” in Viennese inch,

    14 2.63 = 36.82cm in the German catalogue
    14 + 5 8 = 14.625 in N&Z
    14.625 2.54 = 37.15cm

    The difference is 37.15-36.82=0.33cm
    That is quite close, so N&Z originates from this catalogue. But 14+4/8=14.5 inch in English unit 36.83cm is rather close to 36.82cm.

    The German catalogue in 1863 states at the title, New construction without chemical focus.

    At first, I thought this sample doesn’t really match to the No.6 described in either German or N&Z catalogue. It’s older than no focus shift models. Voigtlander changed the design when she redesigned the series at the time of no chemical focus shift, but no change in focal length, lens diameters were made by comparison between the 1857 and 1863 catalogs for No.6.

    The sample front element diameter measures 112mm, the rear 114mm.

    The German catalogue states
    Oeffnung in old German? meaning Offnung? in current German?, opening diameter or aperture diameter of the lens casket hole, not the actual size of the lens itself.

    The English catalogs apparently misinterpreted the opening diameters as lens element diameters??

    48”’ 2.195 = 105.36mm front element group
    50”’ 2.195 = 109.75mm rear element group

    where triple quotations “‘ mean Linie in Viennese unit.

    The corresponding measurements in N&Z 4” 3/16, 4” 1/4, which convert to 110mm, 112mm in Viennese unit, 106mm, 108mm in English unit. So N&Z’s element units are in English unit inch, based on the German catalogue conversions to mm scales.

    By referring both of the diameters in both units, neither of the catalogue match this sample element diameters.
    By measuring both front and rear openings of the lens caskets, I confirmed the 48”’ and 50”’ refer to those openings indeed.
    So would be for N&Z.

    The N&Z catalogue says the No.6 focal length is 14” 5/8, 371mm by English inch conversion, 385mm by Viennese conversion.

    Later I found the German 1857 catalogue.

    https://archive.org/details/vademecu...nder+zoll+lens

    This edition is mentioned about chemical focus shift and older models can be changed to none chemical focus shift, but the main list and the title seems to say focus shift lenses still in stock at those times compared to the 1863 German catalogue. The 1857 catalogue explains how good Voigtlander focus shift lenses are and in fact focus shift lenses are better in performance than non focus shift lenses other makers made, but in the end of the paragraph, it’s stated that Voigtlander now makes non focus shift lenses.

    1855 and 1856 catalogs in English don’t mention about focus shift.

    https://archive.org/details/1855Phot...age/4/mode/2up

    https://archive.org/details/1856Phot...e/n77/mode/2up

    1856 English catalogue explains the availability of rack and pinion in No.6 as an option, which the original owner ordered it so.

    1857 german catalogue also states
    the No.6 with rack and pinion option, but not mentioned anymore in 1863 German catalogue.

    These facts support my sample had the rack and pinion option at the production.
    But no mention is made for waterhouse stop as “central-blenden” as in 1863 German catalogue for Voigtlander pages but aperture slits are mentioned already.

    It seems that there were no dimentional change in terms of lens diameters, focal length and barrel size before and after the no focus shift redesign.

    This No.6 is I suppose the predecessor of the 7B quick worker, Schnellarbeiter.
    7B sample in 1880 has the Dallmeyer layout already.
    So B series already had that layout before the 1885 change below.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Note: just not to be confused with the use of the “6” nomenclature of the Voigtlander petzval history,
    The 6B of the quick worker series seems to appear circa 1878 with the focal length 12”.
    The No.6 engraved 6 on the barrel has 12” 306mm focal length.
    The numbering of 6 and 6B with 12” focal length is passed on to Portrait Objectiv I No.6 12”.

    Early 6 without any engraving = 14”
    Late 6 with engraving 6 or 6B or Portrait Objectiv I 6 = 12”

    Early 7 without any engraving = 18”
    Late 7 with engraving 7 or Portrait Objectiv I 7 = 16”
    Late engraving 7B = 14”
    Last edited by mhayashi; 14-May-2022 at 17:03.

  2. #2

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    Re: Voigtlander No.6 petzval in 1857: a case study and catalogs before 1857

    Additional pics for future references.
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    Last edited by mhayashi; 8-May-2022 at 09:55.

  3. #3

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    Re: Voigtlander No.6 petzval in 1857: a case study and catalogs before 1857

    Additional pics
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  4. #4
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    Re: Voigtlander No.6 petzval in 1857: a case study and catalogs before 1857

    Interesting info. I have three early Voightlanders, 1847, 1862, 1865. I generally use them stopped down a bit. Often f8. That should negate the shift on the 1847 lens?


    Kent in SD
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  5. #5

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    Re: Voigtlander No.6 petzval in 1857: a case study and catalogs before 1857

    A very comprehensive analysis of the Voigtlander dilemma of coping with the built-in disparity of seen and registering focus of the original Petzval design. I have never seen a scale inscribed inner barrel or heard about the two methods of correcting these early lenses offered by Voigtlander. I suppose the method with adjustments to both the achromat and the rear pair became the standard for the 1860’s and later production Petzvals?

    Perhaps modern emulsions will change the original correction instructions or the use of a blue filter would allow ground glass correct focusing?

  6. #6
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    Re: Voigtlander No.6 petzval in 1857: a case study and catalogs before 1857

    I am curious if a blue filter would work.


    Kent in SD
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  7. #7

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    Re: Voigtlander No.6 petzval in 1857: a case study and catalogs before 1857

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    I suppose the method with adjustments to both the achromat and the rear pair became the standard for the 1860’s and later production Petzvals?

    Perhaps modern emulsions will change the original correction instructions or the use of a blue filter would allow ground glass correct focusing?
    Thank you Steven and Kent for your comments.
    Yes, from what I read, the chemical focus shift was corrected from No.7200 in 1858.
    Some of the lower numbered petzvals were sent back to Voigtlander for the update, but I couldn’t tell from appearance whether my sample had gone through it, until I test shoot with the lens, although I am not quite sure how much difference there is with the focus shift model against the no focus shift one.

    I found another sample No.5021 circa 1852 online of the No.6 with the focus shift scale here.
    So the shift scale was there at production I suppose and it’s real.

    https://www.jogeier.com/voigtlaender...-2110000762209

    This model has even the lower number than mine without the WHS.

    I’m not sure if the blue filter works to compensate for the focus shift, but when I took a wetplate workshop lesson, Tamura san suggested me to focus on the blue light source using the iphone light at the preferred focus point, which makes sense.

  8. #8

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    Re: Voigtlander No.6 petzval in 1857: a case study and catalogs before 1857

    Blue filters will really darken the image by a lot.

    What I was thinking about was just use of either a blue filter - or better blue glass lamps with regular spaced black lines - to determine what “variety” of Petzval it is.

    Perhaps with a range of additional lamps with colours across the visual spectrum. The amount of adjustment between the sharpest focus for the different colours will tell you whether the early Voigtlander (and other 1840/50’s Petzvals) has received the Factory make-over, or not!

    I have a number of 40/50’s Petzvals/Landscape Meniscus - but no early Voigtlanders. But I might have a go at using a light board, gelatin filters and clear test lines to see if it is practical.

  9. #9

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    Re: Voigtlander No.6 petzval in 1857: a case study and catalogs before 1857

    I see. That’s a good instant way to tell without taking pics.
    I think this topic is now merged to another thread here, although the title is a bit off the topic.

    https://www.largeformatphotography.i...=1#post1645764
    Last edited by mhayashi; 5-Jun-2022 at 19:01.

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