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Thread: Help me to find the right vintage lens for a Toyo

  1. #1
    sapata's Avatar
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    Help me to find the right vintage lens for a Toyo

    Hi,

    I'm intending to buy and mount an old brass lens on my Toyo View 4x5 camera and I'd love to get some advice.

    I oftem see on ebay lens for "full plate" and "half plate" cameras but I don't know which one I should go. I'm looking for the unique swirl effect for my photographs.

    I heard quite a lot about Petzval lens but they're quite expensive... is there any other alternative ?

    I'll have no problems mounting the lens as the panel will be custom made but I just want to make sure that I'll get the right lens.

    Thank you all very much !
    Mauricio Sapata
    www.mauriciosapata.com

  2. #2

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    Re: Help me to find the right vintage lens for a Toyo

    If you can find a "full plate" lens you'll probably get better coverage. But IIRC Petzval lenses were projection lenses originally, not camera lenses. Petzvals have gotten very expensive lately, because of their curious "swirly" effects, but if you just want an old-lens look you may find that meniscus lenses will suit your needs for less cash.

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    Re: Help me to find the right vintage lens for a Toyo

    I've recently removed the lens from a No 2 Brownie 2 1/4 x 3 1/4 box camera. I mounted it in a Copal Press No.0 shutter using a rubber washer from a junk box in the garage. It just about covers 4x5 as far as I could see. I've not developed the film but it was an amazing image on the ground glass. I assumed that the lens was about f5.6. Any comments on the apature are welcome.
    Pete.

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    Re: Help me to find the right vintage lens for a Toyo

    I've just noticed that you're London based. Try the local camera fairs but watch for heat damage on the rear cells of magic lantern lenses and balsam breakdown on the front cells. Magic lantern Petzvals don't have a slot for Waterhouse stops.
    Pete.

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    sapata's Avatar
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    Re: Help me to find the right vintage lens for a Toyo

    Thanks Robert, I can see that the best lens for the job are the ones from Magic Lanterns, correct ? What would be the standard lens diameter for a full plate camera ? Some people don't know what they're a selling so at least the diameter is something easy to measure...

    Thanks Pete, yes I'm in London...I can't wait to see the results of your experiment ! When you say "waterhosue stops" you mean the f stops ? cheers
    Mauricio Sapata
    www.mauriciosapata.com

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    Re: Help me to find the right vintage lens for a Toyo

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Hughes View Post
    If you can find a "full plate" lens you'll probably get better coverage. But IIRC Petzval lenses were projection lenses originally, not camera lenses. Petzvals have gotten very expensive lately, because of their curious "swirly" effects, but if you just want an old-lens look you may find that meniscus lenses will suit your needs for less cash.
    Robert, see, e.g., http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petzval_lens

    Petzval's lens was the first photographic lens that was designed, as opposed to worked out empirically. Petzval type lenses were initially used as taking lenses. Their big advantage is speed, their big disadvantage is limited coverage. They were replaced as taking lenses by newer designs that had more coverage, lasted as projection lenses because in that application coverage isn't critical.

    IMO, the "old-timey" look is due more to processing -- film and paper -- and to exposure issues than to the lenses used.

    Petzval lenses can be very sharp. For example, Itek made a rather complex 13"/3.5 lens for USAF that is described in a USAF data sheet as "Field flattened Petzval, 8 elements." It covers nominal 6x6. It resolves > 200 lp/mm radial and tangential over 12 degrees wide open with high resolution film and a high contrast target. It is very badly corrected for color, needs heavy filtration to get that resolution.

    Itek also made 24"/3.5 "Field flattened Petzval, 6 elements" and "Folded Petzval" lenses that are even sharper over 6 degrees. Also need heavy filtration.
    Last edited by Dan Fromm; 13-Apr-2010 at 17:02. Reason: afterthought

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    Re: Help me to find the right vintage lens for a Toyo

    Mauricio,
    Yeah, Waterhouse stopa are shaped peices of metal (usually) with different size holes cut in them to give different f stops. Some antique shops have been known to stock the odd camera lens. If your in the area try Portobello Road but I wouldn't make a special journey.
    Best wishes,
    Pete.

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    Re: Help me to find the right vintage lens for a Toyo

    look for an aplanat or a rapid reclinear lens. less money and they have a nice look as well. if you do not need speed then an f8 aplanat should be great.

    oh! i just re read your post. most swirls will come with a petzval lens...other formulas will swirl if coaxed into it but petzvals do it easy. so if you are into swirls (i see this as a gimmick....my wife loves it) you will have to reach deep into your pocket. one that covers half plate will work fine on your 4x5.

    eddie
    My YouTube Channel has many interesting videos on Soft Focus Lenses and Wood Cameras. Check it out.

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    Re: Help me to find the right vintage lens for a Toyo

    Thanks all you guys for the advices...

    Pete, all have a walk around Portobello sometime, that might be expensive but I'll try...
    Mauricio Sapata
    www.mauriciosapata.com

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