Help to identify this lens barrel

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by shnitz, Apr 11, 2011.

  1. shnitz

    shnitz Member

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    I recently picked up a barrel lens Xenar 180mm that I plan to put in shutter. Before I dismantle it though, curiosity got the better of me and now I'm wondering what behemoth of a camera uses a mount like this. It's made out of solid iron or steel. As you can see, it has a square end to the mount. Any idea what this lens has been attached to? The serial number dates it to about 1960.
     

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  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi shnitz

    i can't suggest what kind of camera, but
    it looks to me to be what is sometimes called a "top hat lensboard"
    used because the camera didn't have enough bellows to use the lens.
    maybe the lens was used to do macro photography and this board allowed
    for 1:1 or larger reproduction.

    have fun with your new lens !
    john
     
  3. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    That is a long extended lens mount used to place the lens at the proper distance from the film to attain focus in a large commercial enlarger, or more likely, a lithographer’s process camera used in the steps to convert photographic images into lithography printing plates.
     
  4. shnitz

    shnitz Member

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    OK, thanks a lot. It's so heavy, I thought it might be for some kind of enlarger rather than a camera, but I wasn't sure. I know that Xenar means that the lens was produced as a taking lens, so I assumed that if it was an enlarger, it would be a Componon lens. Is there any difference between them? For example, are there any drawbacks to using this Xenar as an enlarging lens, and would an enlarging lens like a Componon work fine if I somehow mounted it for photographic use?
     
  5. Ian C

    Ian C Member

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    The Schneider Xenar is a 4-element Tessar design camera lens. It isn’t a good choice for enlarging as it isn’t designed to produce a flat field of focus forward of the lens as an enlarger, process, or macro lens is.

    I wonder if there are any other markings on the lens to possibly indicate that it was a variant designed for close-focusing flat-field copy work. The 4-element 50/4 and 75/4 EL Nikkors are examples of Tessar type enlarging lenses that work very well. So the idea that you might have a variant for flat-field close-up work is at least plausible, but I don’t know.

    A Schneider Componon is a 6-element double Gauss flat-field enlarging lens and that makes it a good process or macro lens as well.

    All lenses must produce a flat field at the plane of the film, but only enlarger, process, and macro lenses are designed to produced a flat field forward of the lens. In contrast, most camera lenses produce a slightly curved field of focus (bellied out like the front glass) forward of the lens.

    Process cameras were used in a variety of ways, not always in photographing strictly flat originals. In one of my reference books a large horizontal process camera is shown photographing a large 3-dimensional piece of artwork well forward of the camera. In such an application the lens needn’t be the usual flat-field lens usually employed on a process camera.

    We can only speculate on how the lens you’ve shown was employed. The fact that it’s mounted in a barrel, and not in a shutter, indicates that it was most likely used on a process camera or enlarger. The exposure was most often flash or tungsten photo-floodlights on a digital timer in a large darkroom. If the lens is a standard-design Xenar, then it’s unlikely that it was used for enlarging.