B&L Rapid Rectilinear question

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by wclavey, Jun 17, 2006.

  1. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    I have previously used someone else's B&L Rapid Rectilinear lens mounted in a Kodak Ball Bearing shutter on my Crown Graphic and I liked the images. Last week, just by chance, a Kodak No 3A Folding Autographic camera with a B&L Rapid Rectiliner came into my posession (free!) but the shutter blades are all damaged and it cannot be used, while the glass elements of the lens (front & back) are both in excellent shape. I would consider putting them into another used shutter but I do not know how to find out what size shutter to use. I tried it in the Graphex shutter for my 135mm Optar, but the lens elements were too small for the shutter threads. I have searched on the internet for some information, but I always see that lens just in reference to the Kodak Ball Bering shutter (or the equivalent) or in a shutter-less barrel form. Can anyone provide any information on what size shutter to look for? Or is it a lost cause and I should just look for another Kodak 3A? Thanks.
     
  2. glennfromwy

    glennfromwy Member

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    Though they are still great lenses, they won't fit any modern shutter without costing a LOT more than what the thing is worth. They are from a time when shutters had no standard sizes. I would just look for a donor camera with a working Ball Bearing shutter. I have several of these lenses and they are indeed very good. BTW, if you find another shutter, it will likely not be very accurate. Most I have tested run about 1/25 at all speeds. You can speed up the faster speeds a little by bending the spring to give it more oomph.
     
  3. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    Glenn's right about the old shutters. It's useful to know exactly what speed the shutter's running at, but every old ball bearing shutter I've found is either seized up or has fast speeds that all run the same. I don't know how repair-able the shutters are; perhaps someone can chime in on that subject.

    Probably the best thing to do is to find another 3A on eBay with the same lens, that's listed with bad bellows or a fogged lens. Find out from the seller if the shutter works, and if it does you'll probably be able to get the thing for a song. The old B&L RR lenses are very nice. I like shooting mine wide open when light conditions allow, as well as using it for landscape work with slow film (using the old trick of removing and replacing the lens cap to start and end the exposure).

    Be well.
    Dave
     
  4. Abbazz

    Abbazz Member

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    Just take out the damaged leaf shutter blades, put this great lens on a Speed Graphic camera and use the focal plane shutter instead...

    I got a lot of five old Rapid Rectilinear lenses for a few dollars on eBay. These are great fun to use, but as Glenn and Dave said, the shutters are not very usable and to costly to replace by something more modern. IMHO a camera with a focal plane shutter is the easiest way to experiment with these old lenses.

    Try to shoot with a 5" RR wide open on a 4x5 Speed Graphic, you will get wonderful pictures with that unique vignetted look.
     
  5. glennfromwy

    glennfromwy Member

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    Ball Bearing shutters are very basic little beasties. No retard escapement or anything. Speeds are controlled by varying the pressure on a hair spring. That idea doesn't work all that well, but on the other hand, I've never gotten a gummed up sticky one. I don't think you would necessarily have to find one off a 3A. I believe most were the same size.
     
  6. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    I don't actually have a Speed Graphic or I would have done surgery to remove the blades and used the focal plane shutter... my 4x5 is actually a homemade camera cobbled together from various parts, including a crown graphic bellows, front standard and lensboard, with a graphloc back, all mounted on a rigid wooden frame... not ideal but it works...

    The shutter blades were all bent, like someone had stuck a pencil through them when the shutter was closed. I took it apart to see if I could flatten them sufficiently to get it to work but I could not - - I could make it open and close, but light leaked through the edges where they were not completely flat.

    Thanks for the advice. I will continue to watch for another RR in a Kodak shutter.
     
  7. Abbazz

    Abbazz Member

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    One piece of advice: don't buy the lens by itself, you will end up paying more than buying the whole camera. An used Kodak Autographic 3A with a nice RR, leaking bellows and bent front standard shouldn't cost you more than a few dollars.
     
  8. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    I gave up looking for a 3-A after being outbid too many times. Then what do you know...one was given to me at work...and the same day won one on eBay $5.50 + shipping...I think the photo looked worse than the bubbly description - either no one else was interested or that scared off bidders who don't like inaccurate descriptions.

    This is actually the first BB shutter I have seen that didn't work...amazing.

    Does anyone know what the f.l. actually is? I eyeball it as somewhere between 6 and 7 inches from the back to an image on a wall, but don't know where to measure from (mid shutter?) so it might be longer than my estimate.

    One lens pair has a spot of white fuzz inside...I don't think these cells come apart easily at all.
     
  9. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    Oh, I forgot to mention, the first had a good glass (after cleaning) rusted stuck shutter & very bad bellows. The 2nd has ok glass (pretty good shutter), only semi-bad bellows.

    The guy on eBay who had replacement 3A bellows is all out :O(.

    There are apparently 3 varieties/vintages of lenses on the folding pocket 3-A's. I used ths following instinct to decide which ones to bid on.

    Based on other Autographic's I've seen, the meniscus ones have a small sloping 'lens' front and a hole, no glass visible in front of the shutter.

    The Rapid Rectilinear-equipped ones have a more massive lens visible with the distinctive black-painted lens cell.

    There is an Anastigmat variety I have not seen yet to visually recognize in an auction listing...I imagine that would be the most refined lens.

    At least in my two cases, a 32mm push-on adapter fits (may not be good for the painted finish), so I can add a lens hood.
     
  10. Abbazz

    Abbazz Member

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    Murray,

    You are right about the three categories of folding Kodak 3A, but there are many variations inside each category. Usually, the meniscus or RR lenses are fitted in Kodak Ball Bearing shutters (up to 1/100 and self-cocking), and the more expensive 4 glass Tessar/anastigmats are in Compound, Wollensack, Compur or Kodamatic shutters (up to 1/300, separate cocking lever). For example, my No.3A Special Kodak Camera model A has an f/6.3 Zeiss Kodak Anastigmat No.4 in Compound shutter, but Bausch & Lomb Tessars, Zeiss Tessars and Cooke Anastigmats are also fairly common.

    You can check the following auctions numbers for anastigmat-equipped 3A cameras on e-Bay: 170000345400, 7631271313

    Focal length for lenses on 3A cameras are usually 170-173mm (6.7-6.8 in.).

    Abbazz
     
  11. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    Will the lens on an anastigmat-equipped 3A camera like the ones you identified above cover 4x5 as the RR in the ball bearing shutter does?
     
  12. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Among basic Anastigmats, the Tessar-type lenses have the least coverage of only a few percent over the focal length. So you can safely assume that any anastigmat with a focal length of 150mm or more will cover 4x5".
     
  13. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    3-A

    Thank you.

    I guess I don't need a third...but an anastigmat would be nice to have too...
     
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  15. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    REALITY CHECK

    OK, I was happy to have gotten a 170 mm RR because of it's personality...but I just realized if I have a Tessar, the Anastigmat may have less 'personality' than the RR, and thus closer to redundant with respect to my Tessar-type, other than a little longer.
     
  16. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    150/9 Apo Ronar?
     
  17. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Repro lenses are an obvious, and well known, exception to the rule. Anything older with "APO" in the name has a ihgh likelyhood of being a repro lens. The only exception I know of is the APO-Lanthar, which has more coverage than the basic Tessar. But that's not a repro lens, unlike the APO-Tessar...
     
  18. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    As an aside, my father gave me a camea yesterday: A Kodak Autographic 2A camera with B&L RR lens. And I'd promised I wouldn't "aquire" any more cameras this year...
     
  19. Donald Qualls

    Donald Qualls Member

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    Seems to me, Ole, last report had you promising not to *buy* any more -- clearly, receiving a gift is entirely different. If your wife speaks good English, I'd be happy to explain that to her, too... :wink:
     
  20. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    Anyone know what f.l. is on an Ansco #5 (4-3/4"x3-3/4" image, Kodak 103 or Ansco 10A/10B film)? - I suppose it could be same length lens, but looks older...I'll find out when it arrives.

    The shutter is one of those with the cylinder...pneumatic? I wonder how those survive the years...as well as Ball Bearing Shutters? Time will tell...
     
  21. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    I have a 135mm Tessar on my home made 5x4 camera which I got from an old 9 x 12cm plate camera. It covers 5x4 quite well and allows for some movements. Am I just lucky with this one?

    Steve.
     
  22. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    Another option that may not cost too much more than another 3A and would give you a lot more options would be to look for a 'for parts' Speed Graphic body with the focal plane shutter intact. These come up fairly often on ebay and go cheap - install your front end and back and you're in business.
     
  23. Murray@uptowngallery

    Murray@uptowngallery Member

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    Steve - While your Tessar is likely older, being from a plate camera, my Xenar 135, as best I recall, has a spec sheet image circle of 161 mm...barely adequate for , what is it 153-154 mm for a 4x5 filmholder openeing diagonal?

    WClavey...I hesitantly suggest this...I was re-rusting a BB shutter w/RR lens from a 3A Model C, and after a couple recoveries in which I almost trashed the aperture diaphragm, I got it back together, cleaned the shutter with an aerosol solvent, and ended up with three as yet unknown, but visibly different shutter speeds.

    Then, due to corrosion & fatigue I guess, the T/B catch spring broke. So I have 3 limiting speeds...I can't go slower or faster...this may be very limiting...What I am hesitatingly thinking about is what the likelihood is your Ball Bearing Shutter and mine have the same size leaves. I have a second one in uncorroded shape that has very different faceplates, etc. I think one says EKC and the other might say Kodak, so I don't know the age difference.

    I haven't written off my shutter yet...I debated opening/removing the main spring so I can spin it open then put it on the SG. IF I went that way, I'd consider donating the shutter leaves. I am not confident of my own ability to transplant them. I can take things apart just fine...it's getting back together that is my weakness.

    So, two concerns...the feasibility of compatibility, and your ability to get leaves back in order...I suppose that depends on a third factor...my documentation of the donor shutter leaf 'harvesting'.

    The only thing delaying my writing off shutter function is whether I can Murray-rig an alternate spring method that would allow me to retain T&B, something I assume I may use more often than 1/25, 1/50, 1/100...but you're talking to someone who spends more time with equipment than film...maybe 3 speeds is enough.

    1) Do you think your skills are adequate to accomplish a shutter leaf transplant?

    2) If so, we could probably exchange images of the shutters to visually screen for different vintages.

    3) This camera was donated to me, I have to solve the rotten bellows dilemma also, and the possibility of a coordinated component transplant seems cool.

    I'm on the fence, but open enough to the possibility to have brought it up myself.

    If you don't think you can do it, or there is a strong suggestion of different construction, I wouldn't want to sacrifice the blades/leaves.

    Murray
     
  24. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    For a true 5" x 4" I think the diagonal is about 160mm so 1mm spare!! The opening in the film holder is usually about 3/16" smaller than this though so your figure of 153-154mm is probably more accurate.

    I have not really done much experimenting with my Tessar 135mm other than hold it in front of a piece of paper projecting an image of my window and thinking "yes, that will do". I expect that it falls of in sharpness before the fall off in light.
    I have only ever used it at f32 before, usually with no movements and once with a small amount of front tilt which it seemed to handle o.k.


    Steve.
     
  25. wclavey

    wclavey Member

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    Murray - I have only successfully disassembled and reassembled 1 leaf shutter - - from an Argus C4. I have tried 2 others and not been successful - - of course, I did not have any instructions or guides and very few of the right tools... so I would not put any stock in my skills or knowledge about shutters. Id like to learn, but that will have to wait until I retire, I think... not that far off...

    I do have the front and rear B&L Rapid Rectilinear cells off of a Kodak ball bearing shutter which I would donate to your work and you can see if they fit your shutter (if you need a lens). I actually have acquired another "working" version of that shutter and lens... it has 3 different speeds but only 2 are accurate and the third is just slightly faster than the second. I will probably continue looking for a replacement but it is not high on my list.

    I also have acquired a Kodak Anastigmat with shutter speeds that sound good from an Autographic 3A which I am waiting to actually do some tests shots with.
     
  26. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    As reported elsewhere, I've been given a Kodak Autographic 2A with RR and working Ball Bearing shutter.

    That means I may have a spare Ball bearing shutter, unless I can get one of my many barrel lenses to fit in it...