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Thread: Teach me about Dagors?

  1. #1

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    Teach me about Dagors?

    I have been shooting with nothing but modern optics for the last several years and the results have been pretty good. There has been this growing urge to try something more retro if you will.

    Seems lots of people love thier Dagor type lenses, honestly I have never shot with one, but would love to play with one or at least something like a Dagor.

    What exactly is there in the 300mm to 360mm range that wont break the bank too much? Any thoughts would be awesome.

    Blumine

  2. #2

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    Re: Teach me about Dagors?

    AFAIK the better ones are marked American Optical and/or C P Goerz. Some of the ones marked "Berlin" are post-war cobbled-up-from-parts jobs and generally have a poor reputation. Dagors were also produced by other manufacturers under license and these can be very good (and usually less sought= less expensive.) 300mm and 360mm (12" & 14") are sought after by 8x10 shooters which will drive the price up. You can sometimes find these in broken Ilex General shutters (they look a bit like dial set Compurs) pretty cheaply---you can use them "barrel lens" style if the shutters are shot (btw everyone I've talked with has horror stories about Ilex Generals!)
    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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  3. #3
    LJ Segil
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    Re: Teach me about Dagors?

    Since the subject has been brought up, I'll throw in another part of the question. How do the older Goerz Doppel-Anastigmat Serie(s) III lenses relate to the more recent, and sought after, Goerz (or other manufacturer) Dagor lenses like the Gold Dot(Ring)? I am confused as to whether they are the same design lens with the Dagor name simply being an acronym that Goerz used for marketing newer lenses, or did the designs in fact change with the re-naming and/or also over time and different manufacturers? The Dagor and Goerz names seem to cover a lot of ground (actually lenses, I guess), and I find it hard to understand just what the various different names, series, and manufacturers signify when the Dagor name (or earlier Goerz designations) is used for a lens (not to even begin to get into the use of a "Dagor" design in different guises by other of the major manufacturers for their own lens types).
    Clarification welcomed.
    Thanks,
    LJS

  4. #4

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    Re: Teach me about Dagors?

    Larry, Blumine, sooner or later Ole Tjugen will reply and clear up all issues, correct all errors.

    There's no one Dagor design. This because the Dagor, a Goerz trade name, and other such lenses have been redesigned as new optical glasses became available. Also because all lens designs involve compromises and trade-offs and designers can change their minds about what's more important. Eric Beltrando (visit www.dioptrique.info, see his cross sections of and calculated curves for genuine Goerz Dagors and other similar lenses) has made this point to me with respect to the 1965 redesign of the Boyer Beryl, a Dagor clone.

    Eric shows a cross section of the original Goerz 6/2 Doppel Anastigmat in http://www.dioptrique.info/objectifs/00053/00053.HTM . It is a pair of identical cemented triplets, the outer element is biconvex, the middle on biconcave, and the inner element a meniscus. There are many variations on this theme, whose elements have different radii of curvature, thickness, refractive index, and dispersion than the original. They're all the same design type, no two have the same design.

    The original Schneider Symmar and G-Claron were dagor types. So is Boyer's Beryl. And I'm sure there are others.

    So there's no short answer to your question, Larry. If you want to know what effect the various redesigns have had, buy as many dagor type lenses as you can find and ask them.

    Blumine, the best thing for you to do, if you want a dagor type, is to go looking. Prices, especially for non-Goerz dagor types, are all over the map.

  5. #5

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    Re: Teach me about Dagors?

    Kingslake's book covers the Dagor in some detail and it is of some historical note since it was among the early anastigmats. As mentioned, the Dagor is a symmetrical design, with each group consisting of 3 cemented elements. Since there were only 4 air-glass interfaces, it was not very flare prone. Since the design was around for many, many years, it was tweaked a fair bit. The early G-Clarons were supposedly Dagor designs, the Angulon is a reversed Dagor design etc.

    The classic Dagor was initially designed by von Hoegh at Goerz (while Pual Rudolph was simultaneously working on a similar idea but which eventually evolved into the Satz anastigmatic and the Protar). Since it became such a popular design (Kingslake suggests that 30,00 units were sold by 1895), I'm sure it was licensed out and when the patents expired, many firms offered Dagor design lenses. Most of them perform very well. The consensus seems to be that the golden, gold rim etc Dagors are mostly marketing tactics. The gold dot Dagors, in contrast, are considered really good. They were supposedly designed by Schneider and manufactured by Kern. In general, Dagor coverage declined with the years but this was probably because designers decided to mechanically vignette the design to exclude the outer edges which were of poor performance compared to the center.

    All in all, and especially considering its age, it is a very fine lens.

    Cheers, DJ

  6. #6
    Tracy Storer's Avatar
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    Re: Teach me about Dagors?

    Doppel Anastigmat Goerz lens lens was originally designed in 1892, the name was shortened to Dagor in 1904. The lens most people refer to is the Series III and its successors. Because each cell is fully cemented, the assembled lens has only 4 air/glass interfaces which means that even older uncoated examples can perform very well, I have several and most (if not all) are uncoated, and they are excellent. YMMV

    Not all "Dagors" have the good coverage characteristics that I and others prize them for, there is a "Type B Dagor" which is a Dialyte (4/4) design. (like an Artar, or Dogmar)

    There is also a Series IV Dagor which you don't see often, which is f/11 instead of 6.8 or 7.7 but otherwise very much like a Series III.
    Last edited by Tracy Storer; 5-Nov-2008 at 07:35. Reason: addendum
    Tracy Storer
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  7. #7
    Whatever David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Re: Teach me about Dagors?

    If you want a bargain on a Dagor, look for older uncoated ser. iii Dagors. They usually have more coverage than later versions and good contrast, but not quite as good contrast and color rendering as the later coated versions.

  8. #8

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    Re: Teach me about Dagors?

    There is a ramble by me with pithy comments by others about this subject but it's over at APUG.

    Dagor's are the equivalent of sticking your little toe into the big less sharp than modern multicoated plasmats pond to see if you'll like it. You can go for a virtual swim on my web pages. Soft focus is an acquired taste so don't despair if you don't immediately like the softness of a Pinkham Smith or Verito.

    A good coated Dagor is a near equivalent of the modern plasmat. They were always excellent, and when they got coated after WWII they became stellar. The difference if it is quantifiable is in how the contrast is distributed. A Dagor may only register 48 lppm to the Sironar-S's 68 but the kinder displacement of contrast with the Dagor may be worth the last few lppm's that most of us don't really need.

    That phenomenon goes up as the format goes up. To a guy doing contact prints with 8X10 the difference of the loss / gain relationship is a no brainer. Ask Michael Smith. He only uses Dagor's on the 8X20. Then to a guy who is doing chromes with a 4X5 that will get enlarged 12X you may move into the realm where the Sironar is the better solution.

  9. #9

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    Re: Teach me about Dagors?

    Quote Originally Posted by John Kasaian View Post
    AFAIK the better ones are marked American Optical and/or C P Goerz. Some of the ones marked "Berlin" are post-war cobbled-up-from-parts jobs and generally have a poor reputation. Dagors were also produced by other manufacturers under license and these can be very good (and usually less sought= less expensive.) 300mm and 360mm (12" & 14") are sought after by 8x10 shooters which will drive the price up. You can sometimes find these in broken Ilex General shutters (they look a bit like dial set Compurs) pretty cheaply---you can use them "barrel lens" style if the shutters are shot (btw everyone I've talked with has horror stories about Ilex Generals!)
    Just to clarify, those older lenses marked CP Goerz Berlin are usually superb, and because of their cemented construction are contrasty even without coating. If you can find one in a working compur shutter, its nearly as good as a modern lens, but with better bokeh and slightly better detail in shadow areas due to a slight carryover of light to dark areas called "veiling".

  10. #10
    Tracy Storer's Avatar
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    Re: Teach me about Dagors?

    There was a post a couple years ago (I think on here) that explained that the lenses engraved "Berlin Dagor" were assembled from spare glass by Burke and James, and are generally, if not universally, bad.
    A lens engraved "C. P. Goerz, Berlin" or "Goerz American Optical" will be the real deal, and should be fine.
    Tracy Storer
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