Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 14

Thread: Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

  1. #1

    Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

    I was looking for something else when I ran across some pages from a Burke and James catalog from 1965 and there were two pages of portrait lenses (140+!) for sale.
    Pinkham and Smith? 10 inch for $119.50; 12 inch for $149.50; 17 inch for $219.50; 19 inch for $299.50
    Struss Pictorial? 9 inch for $64.50; 10.5 inch for $99.50; 15 inch for $99.50
    Spencer Port-Land? 6 inch for $69.50; 11.5 inch for $119.50; 15 inch for $149.50; 18 inch for $174.50
    Dallmeyer? 9 inch for $69.50 and $89.50; 15 inch for $149.50; 16.75 inch for $199.50; 17.25 inch for $229.50; 18 inch for $149.50 and $199.50; 30 inch for $349.50
    Busch Nicola Perscheid? 14.5 inch for $174.50
    Hermagis? 12 inch for $129.50
    Beach Multi-Focus? 16 inch for $159.50
    T.T.H. Cooke Series II? 10.5 inch for $189.50; 12.75 inch for $224.50; 14 inch for $199.50; 14.5 inch for $299.50; 15 inch (Portric IIA) for $374.50; 15 inch (IID) for $349.50; 16 inch for $319.50; 18 inch (IIE) $269.50
    Voigtlander Euryskop? 16.6 inch for $189.50
    and a bunch of Graf, Wollensak, B&L, Kodak, etc., lenses.
    To put the prices in perspective, a 12 inch Symmar in barrel was $324.50, a 12 inch Commercial Ektar in barrel was $225, and a 14 inch Red Dot Artar in barrel was $342.
    On another page of general lenses was a 12 inch f/2.8(!) Ektar covering 7x9 for $395.
    Anybody ever see one of those? Not the 12 inch f/2.5 Aero Ektar covering 9x9 which was $485.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    the Netherlands
    Posts
    183

    Re: Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

    It sounds cheap but it is not. I used this link:
    http://data.bls.gov/cgi-bin/cpicalc.pl to compensate for inflation. It turned out that US$ 120 in 1965 is the same as US$ 824.11 in 2009. That is not what I call cheap.

    This week I bought a very nice 7 inch Aero Ektar lens for 55 euro. Now that is cheap.

  3. #3
    Drew Saunders drew.saunders's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Palo Alto, CA
    Posts
    655

    Re: Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

    I think Chauncey's point is that there were so many "portrait" lenses, and that they were comparable or cheaper in price than standard lenses. If you look at the $3350 PS945 and compare it to regular 210 or 240/250 plasmats at $1200-$1500 or so, then the portrait lenses back when they were commonly made were really cheap.
    Flickriver (to avoid Flickr's annoying new format): http://www.flickriver.com/photos/drew_saunders/

  4. #4

    Re: Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

    You got the main point, Drew. The other thing was the relative prices of the portrait lenses to each other. And, Frank, sure $120 was a good week's wage, but compare what you paid today for your Aero-Ektar with what it cost then versus what a Pinkham and Smith would cost today versus what it cost then.

  5. #5

    Re: Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

    1965, when it cost less than $10.00 to fill my 1965 Pontiac Catalina convertible's 26+ gallon tank.

  6. #6

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Rolla, MO
    Posts
    395

    Re: Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

    389 0r 421?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Cleveland, Ohio
    Posts
    73

    Re: Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

    Inflation aside, believe it or not, Chauncey, they became even cheaper! By the mid-1970's when used camera shows were abundant and frequent, the old portrait lenses and large format lenses in general were available in quantity for $50 and less. E-bay and the internet changed all that.

    -30-

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Location
    Seattle area, WA
    Posts
    906

    Re: Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

    E-Bay is obviously what really made things expensive for us. Large format market is small to begin with so there is a big difference between the regional market in a camera swap meet to the International market on Ebay.

  9. #9

    Re: Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

    Quote Originally Posted by mikebarger View Post
    389 0r 421?
    389 with a 4-bbl.

  10. #10

    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    the Netherlands
    Posts
    183

    Re: Back When Portrait Lenses Were Cheap

    Sorry, I am afraid I misunderstood your point.

Similar Threads

  1. "Portrait" lenses - a weird question
    By Christopher Perez in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 26
    Last Post: 22-Nov-2005, 05:30
  2. updated links to vendors' LF lens info
    By Oren Grad in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 3
    Last Post: 17-Oct-2004, 11:02
  3. Portrait lenses rec. Perspective in 4x5
    By Wayne Crider in forum Lenses & Lens Accessories
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: 6-Nov-2001, 14:22

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •