A guide for Brass Lenses?

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Fulvio, Apr 28, 2006.

  1. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    Hi,

    I already own (and use...) a 4x5" camera. I would like to try a brass lens on it to see if I can achieve a very vintage look for my images. There are plenty for sale on ebay. Some of them are sold for 30 euros, some of them for 200 and more... Why so differently priced? What I should look for in a auction? Do you know any good website that provides information about brass lenses? Have you got any suggestion or brand model? My camera is a folding and has a maximum bellows extentions of ca. 25cm, hence regular "4x5" lenses won't always fit the camera. Tia!
     
  2. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    There's always www.cameraeccentric.com, which has a lot of information. Beyond that there's very little I've been able to find. Except in the brains of the APUG community, which never fails to amaze me.

    Ask; and you may be answered.

    "Vintage look" is hard to achieve, most who try find old lenses disappointingly sharp.
     
  3. Christopher D. Keth

    Christopher D. Keth Member

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    If you want a vintage look, you'd be better to try historic printing processes than try shooting with old glass. That's the real signature of the look.
     
  4. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    The best resource for older lenses is the Lens Collectors Vade Mecum. This is a huge PDF book which can often be purchased on eBay or from http://www.mwclassic.com/.
     
  5. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Best on a budget for a real different look are the 6" or 8" early projection lenses that were on Magic Lanterns. On a 4X5 you will see the funkiness. Sharp in the middle then goes instantly to blur.
     
  6. p krentz

    p krentz Member

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    I think much of the vintage look as stated by Christopher is what we now call alternative photography, but I think much of the vintage look was due to Orthochromatic film if you are talking vintage film. Pat :D
     
  7. jonw

    jonw Member

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    If you wish to try an old brass lens without much of an investment, go to the apug classified ads, I see where an apugger has post some for sale:

    http://www.apug.org/classifieds/showproduct.php?product=1548

    HOWEVER, be forwarn that the petzval disease is just as contagious as those who foster its growth, e.g, Jim Galli and other beloved apuggers!

    My collection of brass lens started modestly, but at last count I have at least a dozen, especially if you count the brass lens which were painted black etc.

    Enjoy, but .... again be cautious, I have not found a cure this "brass" lens condition. :wink:

    Jon
     
  8. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    Do that already :D
     
  9. Fulvio

    Fulvio Member

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    thanks everybody for the answers... I'll see what I can find...

    My only problem is that the lens has to cover 4x5" and shouldn't exceed 180-210mm otherwise will be difficult to focus due to the maximum bellows extension of my camera. Also, the lens throat shouldn't be larger than 7-8mm as the lensboard isn't much bigger than that. Many lenses on ebay are very big (presumibly for very huge -and lovely!- large format cameras) and thus have also very long focal lenght.

    For potraiture it seems that some soft focus lensens like the verito or some wollensak are still considered fascinating. Maybe I'll look also for some magic lantern lens.

    Thank you
     
  10. HerrBremerhaven

    HerrBremerhaven Member

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    I managed to pick up a Zeiss 21cm f4.5 Tessar for near $15 including shipping. Mostly it was just really dusty, so a careful cleaning brought it back to nice condition. Some more cleaning on the barrel, and carefully applied white out made the aperture numbers readable again (down to f45). Seems to have an 18 blade aperture, unless my counting is off. Also seems to have some slight early effort at coating.

    So far I have not tried it on my 4x5, mostly because I have not solved the lack of shutter. I picked up a nice Zeiss lens cap for nearly what the lens costs; a metal with felt lining slip on item. This is definitely heavier than many modern 210mm lenses, though a good lens board should hold it fine.

    I think you can find many Tessar lenses on the used market at somewhat low prices. There are even later East German versions, though the front filter mounts are larger. My old version seems to be a 60mm filter mount, though I am not sure if the threading matches modern filters. If you have a focal plane shutter 4x5, then barrel lenses are an easy and cheap way to enjoy some old glass; otherwise you can just do longer exposures using a lens cap shutter.

    Ciao!

    Gordon