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Thread: Your Oldest Lens

  1. #231

    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    AZ
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    Re: Your Oldest Lens

    I just got my oldest lens. A c1750s Dollond refracting telescope. He invented the Achromatic lens group that made most early portrait lenses possible. Very neat to look through glass from before the American Revolution. Thomas Jefferson, Captain Cooke and other famous people had Dollond telescopes.

    Last edited by goamules; 9-Oct-2019 at 08:12.

  2. #232

    Join Date
    Mar 2018
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    49

    Re: Your Oldest Lens

    Wow, I thought I was using an old lens, but the entries here have me beat by almost a hundred years.
    Mine is an uncoated Schneider 15cm Xenar in a Compur shutter, from about 1930, I think. Only 88 years old!
    The shutter works perfectly and I use it a lot, because I like the way the pictures look.

  3. #233
    Scott Davis
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    Re: Your Oldest Lens

    my oldest that I use is an 1863 Voigtlander 12"-ish f3.8 petzval. The oldest that I own is an English T. Slater (Beard's Sole Patentee) lens from ca. 1855. The Voigtlander will definitely cover 8x10. The T. Slater probably maxes out at 4x5, so good for 1/4 to 1/6 plate at most. I think it is missing an element so it doesn't focus well/properly.

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    Click image for larger version. 

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  4. #234

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    Dec 2018
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    711

    Re: Your Oldest Lens

    Well, I guess my 100-year-old Wollys are just "young turks".

  5. #235
    Drew Bedo's Avatar
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    Oct 2006
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    Houston Texas
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    Re: Your Oldest Lens

    My oldest lens is a brass rectilinear of unknown maker and unknown age.
    Drew Bedo
    www.quietlightphoto.com
    http://www.artsyhome.com/author/drew-bedo




    There are only three types of mounting flanges; too big, too small and wrong thread!

  6. #236

    Join Date
    Jul 2006
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    Collinsville, CT USA
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    Re: Your Oldest Lens

    Circa 1880s GRAY's Extreme Wide Angle No 5 5.9" mounted in a Copal #3 by SK Grimes. Stopped down covers 11x14 allowing some movements. Not as wide as a (No. 0) 4 3/4 inch Hypergon but comes mighty close at a fraction of the cost.

  7. #237

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    Dec 1999
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    Forest Grove, Ore.
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    Re: Your Oldest Lens

    My oldest lens isn't that interesting. It's my 121mm Super Angulon single coated lens.

    It was my first super wide decades ago. I figured that, if it was good enough for Ansel Adams, it would be good enough for me.

    I keep it still because it has a 77mm filter thread, compared to 82mm for the multi-coated 120mm SA.

  8. #238

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    Jan 2009
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    Denmark
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    Re: Your Oldest Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Scott Davis View Post
    The oldest that I own is an English T. Slater (Beard's Sole Patentee) lens from ca. 1855. The Voigtlander will definitely cover 8x10. The T. Slater probably maxes out at 4x5, so good for 1/4 to 1/6 plate at most. I think it is missing an element so it doesn't focus well/properly.

    Click image for larger version. 

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    I think you are probably underestimating the age of this “Slater” lens by a decade - or more!
    The lens looks more French than English - especially the double edged focusing wheel and the unique pinion cover.
    The engraving “ R. Beard patentee” is reference to the very first active UK Daguerreotypist, Richard Beard, who obtained a license from Daguerre in 1840/1. Slater probably just bought in a lens from Paris and then supplied it to Beard. Slater was basically a telescope maker.
    As Beard was out of the photographic business by 1849 (bankruptcy) a 1840’s date is more likely.

    Richard Beard’s life is here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richar...(photographer).
    He is best known for daguerreotypes of the members of the Disastrous Franklin expedition.

    Your focusing problems could be due to this being a very early Petzval - where there is quite an adjustment needed to the visual focus length to come to the chemical focus length

  9. #239
    Scott Davis
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    Re: Your Oldest Lens

    Quote Originally Posted by Steven Tribe View Post
    I think you are probably underestimating the age of this “Slater” lens by a decade - or more!
    The lens looks more French than English - especially the double edged focusing wheel and the unique pinion cover.
    The engraving “ R. Beard patentee” is reference to the very first active UK Daguerreotypist, Richard Beard, who obtained a license from Daguerre in 1840/1. Slater probably just bought in a lens from Paris and then supplied it to Beard. Slater was basically a telescope maker.
    As Beard was out of the photographic business by 1849 (bankruptcy) a 1840’s date is more likely.

    Richard Beard’s life is here. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richar...(photographer).
    He is best known for daguerreotypes of the members of the Disastrous Franklin expedition.

    Your focusing problems could be due to this being a very early Petzval - where there is quite an adjustment needed to the visual focus length to come to the chemical focus length
    The date range I was given was from research done by the Royal Photographic Society historian who investigated Thomas Slater the optician/telescope maker. I agree that the dating is challenging on this lens (from my limited experience, it does appear to be an earlier lens than 1855).

    The reason I say I think it is missing an element is that it is nearly impossible to focus even optically - I have never tried to make an actual negative with it for this reason. It's still a fascinating piece of history and I'm thrilled to have it in my collection.

  10. #240
    Scott Davis
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    Re: Your Oldest Lens

    The latest addition to the early lens family: an unlabeled, unmarked radial drive Petzval. Based on comments here, likely American, likely pre-1860, so the second-oldest lens in my collection, after the T. Slater lens.
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    And seen here in the company of the T. Slater lens.
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