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Thread: Interest in a new Hypergon?

  1. #1
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Interest in a new Hypergon?

    Hey folks, I was approached by a fellow large format enthusiast about bringing a new Hypergon lens to market in 4x5 and 8x10 format. If you don't know what a Hypergon is, you really should. It is one of the widest if not *the* widest Field of View large format lens ever made, with no distortion due to the symmetric design.

    I've done quite a bit of homework already, and have the prescription and lens drawings done and my mechanical engineering partner has a conceptual design.

    The 8x10 format replicates the original lens design exactly. Interestingly, there is really only one design solution for "as wide a FOV as physically possible in a two-lens anastigmat" and the Hypergon is it. 4x5 was not originally offered, as the lens was marketed to landscape and architectural photographers who used 5x7 and up so there wasn't really the demand at the time. However, I designed a prescription for 4x5 format and that would be made available as well.

    There have been recent attempts to bring the Hypergon to market. However, the real challenge is finding a shop to fabricate the lenses at any reasonable price point, and I believe this is what prevented those attempts from being successful. You really have to know the industry well to find the shops who can make them. I was successful in finding a shop who could fabricate the lenses at reasonable cost, and they are currently shipping 8x10 "alpha prototype lenses " lenses to me. I will mount them in a 3D printed test barrel to evaluate.

    The mechanical barrel would be similar to original, an iris that can be set to f/22 for focusing and f/32 - f/45 for exposure. I'll ditch the whirlygig filter used in the original to compensate for illumination roll-off. If Goerz were making the Hypergon today, they would have used an apodizing filter. A custom apodizing filter corrects for illlumination roll-off in a single exposure, vs. the original needing two exposures to create a negative. Additionally, the apodizing filter will be much less expensive than the delicate mechanical components necessary for the whirly-gig.

    So my question is whether there's interest in a 4x5 and 8x10 Hypergon. I think there is, as it is a really interesting lens with beautiful results, but there are so few that prices for originals in good condition are astronomical. Speaking of pricing, my gut tells me the 4x5 would be somewhere in the $1000-$1250 price range, and the 8x10 would be in the $1500-$1750 price range. We'd try to push that down further, but the components are not cheap to manufacture in the numbers I'd expect us to produce.

    Here are some modeling graphics out of Zemax and Solidworks.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
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  2. #2

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    Re: Interest in a new Hypergon?

    I was gonna mess with a Metrogon (that seems to be a "kissing cousin" of a Hypergon, but a future project... Is this valid or just nutz???

    Steve K

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    Re: Interest in a new Hypergon?

    Very interesting! So, what would the focal lengths be, and what other possible iterations could there be? 11x14, 12x20, etc.?
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  4. #4
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Re: Interest in a new Hypergon?

    Quote Originally Posted by LabRat View Post
    I was gonna mess with a Metrogon (that seems to be a "kissing cousin" of a Hypergon, but a future project... Is this valid or just nutz???

    Steve K
    The Metrogon and Topogon (both the same design) maxxed out at 100 degree Field of View. This didn't come close to the 135 / 140 degree field of view of the Hypergon. They traded FOV for speed. The outer lenses of the Metrogon are as challenging to make as the Hypergon optics, but the inner lenses are significantly more difficult. The costs to fabricate those inner elements would be stupid high, if anybody could make them at all.
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
    https://www.pictoriographica.com

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    Re: Interest in a new Hypergon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Nodda Duma View Post
    The Metrogon and Topogon (both the same design) maxxed out at 100 degree Field of View. This didn't come close to the 135 / 140 degree field of view of the Hypergon. They traded FOV for speed. The outer lenses of the Metrogon are as challenging to make as the Hypergon optics, but the inner lenses are significantly more difficult. The costs to fabricate those inner elements would be stupid high, if anybody could make them at all.
    Interesting, thanks!!!!

    Steve K

  6. #6
    Nodda Duma's Avatar
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    Re: Interest in a new Hypergon?

    Quote Originally Posted by Corran View Post
    Very interesting! So, what would the focal lengths be, and what other possible iterations could there be? 11x14, 12x20, etc.?
    The focal lengths are..

    4x5: 38mm
    8x10: 75mm

    Dig out the recessed lens boards and drop that front rail.

    As for larger formats.. they are possible, albeit not as a concurrent offering. The lenses get easier to fabricate the larger they are. Keep in mind each iteration is a separate design effort with associated design cost. In addition, demand for other formats would be very low, so the market price would be much higher for other formats. However, if folks were willing to pay then it could be done. These would be something to explore after the two most popular large formats are served up.

    Smaller formats would not be possible. The lenses become too physically thin to polish out. Imagine polishing saran wrap and you'll get the idea.
    Newly made large format dry plates available! Look:
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    Re: Interest in a new Hypergon?

    Lens is made to screw into a Copal shutter or lens cap/ Sinar auto shutter?

  8. #8
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Interest in a new Hypergon?

    Very cool. I struggle to shoot 8x10 personally (middle ground format, too big to enlarge but too small to bother with contact prints) but even so I would be curious...

    I only recently purchased a 210mm XL for the 12x20 (have 3 sheets I need to develop from that lens) so just the thought of a 150mm on that format makes my head spin!
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  9. #9

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    Re: Interest in a new Hypergon?

    This would be very interesting and at <2k for the 8x10 Iíd be all over it, but I am wondering if there are a lot of cameras that can actually use these. Like my Chamonix for example can focus down to maybe 105-110mm but itís tight ó using a Nikkiís SW 120mm, for example, it doable but I canít think of going down to 75mmÖ. Could recessed boards of 30mm or so and with that FOV see the edges of the front standard of the camera? I donít know but itís a consideration.

  10. #10
    Corran's Avatar
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    Re: Interest in a new Hypergon?

    Honestly a custom-built UW camera (3D printed perhaps) would be best.

    I definitely think my Wehman would not work. A 90mm XL barely works in a recessed board.
    Bryan | Blog | YouTube | Instagram | Portfolio
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