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Thread: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

  1. #11

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    Re: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    ... I'm hoping if we keep it here in the forum, people will add to the thread. And maybe we can start a few more threads on noteworthy lenses with "Info and Images" in the title to make them easier to find in a search...
    I appreciate your experimental method. Often, people answer questions on forums with the "guess and surmise" method or they just repeat misassumptions, leading readers astray. You on the other hand have actually explored the mechanics and use of this lens, and your information is factual and therefore indispensable.

    I agree some of the other lenses should be explored, and written up in a scholarly manner for a useful database. I've seen more of this testing done with small format for some reason. You can find several lens tests for Leica Screw Mount, for example. I suppose one reason older lenses are harder to test, is the manufacturing variances in the 19th century, and the lack of documentation (and fewer lenses and users).

    Garrett

  2. #12
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

    Thanks, all! Before I get too much credit, though, I want to credit Darryl Baird, another regular here, for turning me on to this modification a little over two years ago:

    http://www.largeformatphotography.in...ht=velostigmat

    And you'll note in that thread that Jim Galli had another way of getting to the restraining screw from the back side, but mine didn't work that way. There are a number of different barrel designs for the Velostigmat Series II, but the one I described seems to be the most common, at least in my experience.

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    Well done - a very logical and well illustrated help to others. Just one question, though.
    The locking screw looks as if the head of the screw is about to give up the ghost? Did you consider a replacement/deeper slot for the next time it needs a repair - or oil the thread?
    Yes, the screw was damaged when I opened it up, and it looked like the damage was done putting it in, perhaps at the factory. I damaged it a little more removing it, as it was very soft brass and a bit stubborn. I doubt I'll replace it, as I can't imagine wanting to cut off the option of using the diffusion past the 5 setting. But you did remind me: I did clean the exposed threads and used a penetrating graphite lube around the beauty ring to help remove it. I also washed the dishes before removing it, so my thumbs had a little extra grip. (Hah! Try finding a tip like that in the Ansel Adams Guide!)
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  3. #13
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

    Quote Originally Posted by russyoung View Post
    Mark, my experience with the lens exactly duplicates yours: if focused at the '5' setting, it was not soft-focus. If focused at '0' and then turned to '5' it was merely out of focus. I don't understand how this lens could be considered soft-focus... seems unremarkable that no photographer of consequence endorsed it, unlike Veritos, Graf Variables, P&S Semi-Achromatics, etc.

    Kudos on your brilliant work-around. It may not be what the designers intended but the proof is in the pudding and those are wonderful images.

    Russ
    Thanks, Russ! That diffusion ring always seemed like a vestigial tail to me, just a useless historical appendage, til I found out about removing that restrictor.

    The images from this lens really do stand beside the bigger names in soft focus. I've worked with Veritos, Imagons, Cookes, Portrait Plastigmats, Portrait Unars, and others, and the original prints from the Velostigmats stand comfortably beside them. (It's hard to appreciate such things on a computer monitor...) They each have their own look, but it would be hard to choose a favorite to use exclusively. Kinda like choosing a favorite food to eat at every meal for the rest of your life.

    These are also very nice at the sharp setting too. My 9.5-inch Velostigmat II, (my only 8x10 lens for maybe two decades), has remarkable resolution at the 0 setting, but the 12-inch and 15-inch I'd class as "okay", which still resolves sharper than a good eye can see in a contact print. The tonalities run soooo smoothly from all of them at any setting, but I'm finding that to be the case with all the old uncoated Tessars I've tried. Lovely lenses...
    Last edited by Mark Sawyer; 3-Jun-2017 at 14:22.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  4. #14
    Jon Wilson's Avatar
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    Re: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

    Bravo Mark & Darryl.

    I too have been perplexed as to how you had accomplished the removal of the set screw. I truly appreciate your posts pictures for they inspired me to examine my 15.5 inch Velostigmat II. After a little gentle persuasion and cleaning off the old lube, I have been able to make my diffuser ring unfettered. I can't wait to try this lens on my 8x10 and possibly the 11x14.

    Jon

  5. #15
    Claudio Santambrogio
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    Re: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

    Came across this note today on some experimenting with Velostigmat diffusion: http://wideopen1.squarespace.com/jou...al-releas.html
    Might be of interest to some.

  6. #16
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

    Two more portraits made with the ancient 12-inch Velostigmat, wide open @ f/4.5 with the diffusion set "fairly soft", on 8x10 format. I must confess, I like these lenses more and more...



    [/IMG]
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  7. #17
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

    ...a detail of the eye in the second image, just to show that even at a soft setting, the lens still holds detail underneath:



    There are quite a few personality traits for judging what you like in a soft focus lens; how diffused it appears wide open, how it renders the out-of-focus areas, how the aberrations make the highlights glow, how the corners vary from the center, whether coma rears its ugly (or beautiful) head)... One of the big ones for me is whether it keeps good resolution under the softness. The modified Velostigmat shines there.
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  8. #18

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    Re: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

    Just to keep the Ebay prices of Velo's somewhere in the local stratosphere, here is a similar test done with the ignoble Bausch & Lomb Tessar. The B&L was ford and chevy to the Velo but for some reason no one cares much for them. They go begging on Ebay rarely getting past double digits. I think the results are similar. They never offered a diffusion ring, but you can accomplish the identical effect by seperating the 2 front elements and carefully reinstalling in the barrel. So before you spend $XXX on a Velo, tinker with the old B&L. What say ye Mark?

  9. #19
    Mark Sawyer's Avatar
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    Re: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

    Well, Jim... I have a couple of 12-inch B&L Tessars around, and a few other Tessars as well. I've thought of modifying them, but with such nice, easily adjustable Velostigmat Tessars doing so nicely, it's become a "why bother" situation. But to be honest, in my darker moments I've thought of butchering my 450-M Nikkor Tessar, or a 600mm Aero-Tessar to accomplish the same thing. Perhaps one of these days... but for now, I like the idea of pushing an existing design just a bit beyond its design limits in a way that still meshes with its original aim, and that can be fairly easily replicated by others. I'm watching the Velostigmats, curious what the prices will do. I doubt I'll have much effect on the market, though.

    Still, the observant bystander will note that I didn't start this thread until just after I bought my 15-inch Velostigmat!
    "I love my Verito lens, but I always have to sharpen everything in Photoshop..."

  10. #20

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    Re: Velostigmat Series II; Info and Images

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Sawyer View Post
    Well, Jim... I have a couple of 12-inch B&L Tessars around, and a few other Tessars as well. I've thought of modifying them, but with such nice, easily adjustable Velostigmat Tessars doing so nicely, it's become a "why bother" situation. But to be honest, in my darker moments I've thought of butchering my 450-M Nikkor Tessar, or a 600mm Aero-Tessar to accomplish the same thing. Perhaps one of these days... but for now, I like the idea of pushing an existing design just a bit beyond its design limits in a way that still meshes with its original aim, and that can be fairly easily replicated by others. I'm watching the Velostigmats, curious what the prices will do. I doubt I'll have much effect on the market, though.

    Still, the observant bystander will note that I didn't start this thread until just after I bought my 15-inch Velostigmat!

    I think the mechanical limits on the Velo are greater too. 1/8th inch seperation was about maximum on the BnL while the Velo seems to have a LOT of threads in the front ring. Sure does look good. I'm wishing for a 14" but they're somewhat scarce.

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