Dagor 120mm f/6.8 Series III Lens

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by aoresteen, Dec 18, 2013.

  1. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    I have a C.P. Goerz Berlin Dagor Series III f/6.8 120mm lens serial # 612728. I was wondering if anyone could date it? The shutter is a Compur Rapid serial # 311589.

    Is this one of the Burke & James remounts or is it off a 9x12 folder?

    It doesn't have an aperture scale engraved, the aperture plate is blank. I bought it around 1996 or so thinking I would use it on a 5x7 view camera but never did. Around 2005 had it mounted for my Cambo 23SF but forgot about it. Last week I found it in a box of stuff for my Cambo that I had in storage. I've never used it as I need to get an aperture scale for it.

    Is it worth having someone like SK Grimes make an aperture scale for it?

    Dagor 120mm main.jpg

    Rear element:

    Dagor 120mm rear.jpg

    Shutter serial number:

    Dagor 120mm compur shutter no.jpg
     
  2. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Per P-H Pont's Goerz chronology, 1923. It has been remounted, the Compur Rapid shutter was made from 1934-51. There's no telling where the cells came from. B&J probably wasn't involved.

    If the glass is in good order and it forms a decent image on the GG (you'll use a 2x3 camera, won't you?) and you don't already have a good lens around that focal length it might be worth spending the money. If you want to use it on 5x7, save your money and get a modern lens that covers the format well.
     
  3. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    Thanks Dan!

    Yes I will use it on my 2x3 Cambo. The 5x7 is long gone (I had bought a 300mm Schneider for it), I gave it to my younger brother to carry around :smile: ! Once my darkroom is finished I'll shoot some test shots with it and guess at the apertures. If it works well then I guess I'll have a proper scale made for it.
     
  4. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Dan, Dan, the lens is a B&J. "Series III" is the clue. A real Berlin made lens would be marked "Serie", and a Berlin made Goerz with a serial in that range would simply be marked "Dagor"; they dropped the series designation somewhere in the late 300,000 range as far as I can tell. It would also have the focal length in CM. It will cover 4x5 with very little room for movements, assuming the coverage is normal for a Dagor.

    Aoresteen, it could be a good lens, but the B&J remounts are all over the map. Dagors are very sensitive to spacing, so take some photos with it before you spring for an aperture scale. Stop down to at least f:16 for testing purposes.
     
  5. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    E.von Hoegh,

    I thought that at around serial # 600,xxx and above, Goerz changes the "Serie" to "Series".

    Anyone?
     
  6. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Nope. They dropped the "serie" designation long before the 600,000 range, as I posted above. CPG Berlin never marked a lens "series"; those are B&J remounts.
    Edit - the markings should be as this lens, except for focal length. http://www.ebay.com/itm/C-P-Goerz-B...38913172?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item3388d3c994
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 18, 2013
  7. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Emil,

    Thanks for the correction. I'll try hard to remember the Serie - Series distinction.
     
  8. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    Question: Why is the rear cell marked "Germany"? Were the cells made in Germany or did B&J actually make them?

    From what Emil says the front cell was made by B&J. When did B&J make these Dagors?
     
  9. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Why is the front cell marked "Berlin"? I did not say the front cell was made by B&J; I said the entire lens was a remount by B&J.

    B&J ended up with a huge assortment of lens cells and unmounted cemented elements after WWII. Some were from Dagors, some were from other types. The booty came from Zeiss, who absorbed Goerz Berlin in 1926. B&J mounted this glass in cells, mounted/remounted the cells in shutters, and peddled them as the real thing. Some of the lenses, put together from well matched elements, were as good as the real item - others were not. The glass was of all vintages, even early f:7.7 (in focal lengths of 12"/300mm and shorter) cells from the 1890s were remounted. Goerz New York published a disclaimer at one point.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2013
  10. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    E.von Hoegh,

    Thanks! But now I'm more confused. If these Dagor Series III lens cells were made by Goerz in Germany before Goerz was absorbed by Zeiss in 1926, are you saying Goerz never sold them? That they *ALL* became left-overs that B&J bought after WWII?

    It seems to me that Goerz would have sold some of them and Zeiss may have sold them for some time until they retooled and engraved them differently. Per Dan's reference my Dagor dates to 1923. Seems to me that we can conclude that it was a genuine Dagor (front cell at least) lens.

    Just because B&J bought a bunch of them after WWII doesn't mean that Goerz DID NOT sell any of them before 1926.

    So I conclude that there are some Dagor Series III lenses that exist that are not from B&J but from Goerz. Since mine is in a Compur Rapid of 1934-1951 it *COULD* be a B&J remount or a remount by someone else. What if it was remounted in 1938? I guess the shutter serial number would also be a clue as to age. The serial number of 311,589 doesn't make sense as that would put it around 1917:

    http://camera-wiki.org/wiki/Compur_serial_numbers.

    I decided to remove the cable release mount to see if there were any hidden serial numbers. Bingo! The serial number is 4,311,589 making it a 1937 shutter.

    Full serial number:

    Full serial number.jpg

    Hidden serial number:

    Hidden Serial number.jpg

    I think my Compur Rapid was modified for use with a cable release. I don't think that Compur would have released it from the factory with one serial number digit hidden. Who added it? Would B&J have done it?

    What bothers me is the blank aperture scale. Did B&J remount lenses and NOT provide an aperture scale? Seems to me that they would provide an aperture scale with a lens that they remounted. But mine is blank and looks like it is factory original. When buying replacement shutters you get a blank aperture scale plate. So why would B&J add a cable release adapter and not an aperture scale? I have never examined any B&J remounted Dagors so if anyone has a sample photos that would be helpful.


    So at this point I think it is reasonable to assume that the lens was remounted by an independent repair shop and not by B&J. Given the shutter date I think it was remounted pre-WWII as it had the added cable release adapter.

    Thoughts?
     
  11. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Please read my last post again, as well as my previous posts. I thought I explained it very clearly... You may wish to do your own research rather than speculate and argue with my research, the end result will be the same - you have a B&J remount.Post WWII. Period.
    Someone may have screwed the cells into an earlier shutter to sell the thing, that is why I told you to test it.
    'bye.
     
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  12. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    Thanks. I have re-read you posts and they are quite confusing.

    Simple question: Was my Dagor front cell made by Goerz in 1923? Yes or no will suffice.
     
  13. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    From the above post: "...you have a B&J remount.Post WWII. Period." That would be "no".
     
  14. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Tony, Emil's right about the engravings "Serie" and "Series". Y'r lens' trim ring is incorrect, probably is, as he said, a B&J fabrication. There's no reason why the serial number on it is right.

    What Emil didn't tell you is that it seems that many of the lens elements B&J came by were rejects that weren't, for some reason, sent back to be remelted. This is why B&J's Dagors and other lenses are viewed with suspicion.

    Y'r front cell may have been made by Goerz. Or it may not. Zeiss cataloged f/6.8 Dagors as late as 1933 (see http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/zeiss_3.html) It isn't clear whether Dagors sold that late were made by Goerz and Zeiss removed them from stock as they were needed or were made by Zeiss. So your lens' elements could have been made by either firm. We know that Zeiss made some Dagor elements; I have a 45/9 CZJ Goerz Dagor that, according to Thiele, was made in 1937 to a 1934 design.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  15. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Goerz New York, 1930s - shutter not original - http://www.ebay.com/itm/GOERZ-DAGOR...61557767?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item2585fa3707

    Goerz New York about 1906-1908 - http://www.ebay.com/itm/GOERZ-DAGOR...578?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item20dcb2e342

    Goerz Berlin late teens, no "serie" http://www.ebay.com/itm/Goertz-168m...19103495?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item51b4689407

    Goerz Berlin late teens with "serie" - http://www.ebay.com/itm/Goerz-Berli...271?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cda0dd89f

    Goerz Berlin early twenties - this is how your lens would be marked if it was real. http://www.ebay.com/itm/C-P-Goerz-B...478?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item565eaa7b6e

    A bit of advice - don't make a thread asking a question, and then argue with every answer that does not go along with your preconceived speculations.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 19, 2013
  16. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    Thanks Dan. So Goerz or Zeiss made the GLASS part and B&J made the METAL parts. The serial numbers were assigned by B&J. Sorry for being so slow on this.

    What still confuesses me is the lack of the aperture scale. Did B&J release re-mounted Dagors without aperture scales? Seems odd that they would since they went to the trouble to make the front cell holder and engraved the name ect on it. Has anyone seen B&J Dagors with a blank aperture scale besides mine?
     
  17. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    From my post above - "Someone may have screwed the cells into an earlier shutter to sell the thing, that is why I told you to test it."

    Are you actually reading this thread, or not?
     
  18. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    Emil,

    Don't be so pompus. Your post was confusing. Thank you for your help. I still don't know when it was made but I do now know it is a B&J remount.
     
  19. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    The cells may have been put in metal by B&J. There's no guarantee the B&J put the cells in the shutter they're now in, and you shouldn't assume that they did.

    Yes, someone put the cells in a Compur Rapid. Who dunnit? Beats me. I've replaced replacement shutters m'self.
     
  20. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    I don't think the OP's confusion was egregious. Reading through this thread, I had some of the same confusion about the source of the glass vs. the source of the cell mountings---it seems that the former is Goerz, the latter B&J, and the shutter mounting is from yet a third source.

    So the serial number comes from B&J, and maybe the cell can be dated on that basis. But the absence of an aperture scale on the shutter suggests that B&J didn't do that part; I think you're right that they would have marked it for aperture if it were their doing.

    There's nothing too surprising in any of this---mounting a lens in a shutter, assuming the threads are the same, is something absolutely anybody can do. Now, whoever did that, did they get the spacing right between the front and rear cells? The easiest way to find out is to test the lens.

    -NT
     
  21. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    The problem is, we don't know. And there is no way of knowing for certain. As for dating it by B&J's number, good luck - they pulled them out of a hat. Most likely between the late 40s and the early/mid 50s.
    As for egregious confusion, I posted a link in my second post showing how the lens would have been marked were it an echte Dagor. I later posted several links to lenses listed on feepay, showing the various markings of various vintage lenses.
    I also recommended testing the lens, and gave that reason - spacing.
    As for the shutter, Compurs weren't too easy to get for a while after WWII. B&J could well have used a NOS or used prewar shutter. Or someone could have taken the cells from a shutter B&J mounted it in and put it in this one. B&J remounts are best approached with suspicion and a good return policy from the seller - but I know of one, a 270/7.7 (which maximum aperture means the glass dates from the 1890s) that is every bit a Dagor in performance - and I've heard of others. The OP could have a dandy little lens there, only one way to tell.

    I've been owning and using Dagors for quite a while, and I've learned everything I can about them. You may want to google my screen name... :wink:
     
  22. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    I sent my 120mm Dagor to SK Grimes and they engraved the aperture scale. Got it back yesterday. Cost was $50 + $14 shipping. They did a very nice job!

    Dagor 120mm with scale.jpg

    Now to test the lens! We are in the middle of a winter ice storm here in Georgia so it will be a while before I have any results.
     
  23. shutterfinger

    shutterfinger Subscriber

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    Get out and walk around the neighborhood or around town with a camera. The key here is walk and take a camera. Avoid standing under ice laden tree limbs and high voltage power lines.
     
  24. aoresteen

    aoresteen Subscriber

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    She Who Must Be Obeyed would not permit it :smile:
     
  25. Adrian Twiss

    Adrian Twiss Member

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    I have exactly the same lens mounted in a Compur shutter but in my case there was an aperture scale. I asked the same question on a LF forum and had it confirmed that it was a B&J remount. However as it cost me less than $200 I did not feel that I had been swindled in any way. As to its performance my own experience is that it covers 5x4 with enough coverage for the modest tilts I use for landscape photography. It does exhibit some focus shift at around f22 but when correctly focussed is sharp. It is not as contrasty as my 125 Fujinon or 90mm Super Angulon but that is not surprising as it is single coated. It is, however very light and compact and also has a sufficiently different "look" for the right subject. I use it with Foma film on bright days as it helps tame that film's inherent high contrast.

    Given that these B&J remounts were of variable quality I consider myself lucky that I got a good one, especially at the price I paid for it. I hope your example proves as good.