Need Info on a 18 by 22 Dallmeyer Rapid Rectilinear Lens circa 1868

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jd callow, Aug 9, 2005.

  1. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Good Day,
    I am hoping that the lens experts out there can give me some information on a 18 by 22 Dallmeyer Rapid Rectilinear Lens circa 1868. I have seen about 60 prints made with this lens and would like to separate the the characteristics of the lens from the shooter.

    It was used on wetplates of aprox 11x14" in size in a box camera (two boxes fitted into each other opposed to a traditional lf with bellows, standards and movements)

    Here is what was written about the lens in 1890

    Links or references to available publications is greatly desired as well as anecdotal information.

    Thanks
     
  2. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Is this a lens / camera combo that you now own? Just curious. Always helpful to think perhaps I'm not the only nutball running around. RR's are notoriously sharp in the middle and weak in the corners. The design grew out of the original Petzval formula I believe. Someone at Voigtlander glued the 2 seperate rear elements together like the front already was, and Voila. Later they found they could move the groups much closer together and coverage increased drastically. Most are f8 lenses but the ones intended for portraits were usually f6. Hope you get some good responses as I'm also quite interested.
     
  3. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    the lens will probably work as a convertible lens as well. some of the RR lenses are like that ( like the verito ) ...

    sounds fun :smile:
     
  4. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I don't own the lens. I am helping my wife with research.
     
  5. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    First, I'll crawl into my nomex overalls. OK, ready.

    The Rapid Rectilinear, stopped down like a contemporary view camera lens, makes a perfectly fine image. All lens development from the RR has been about:

    more coverage

    more speed

    cheaper to build

    The RR was limited in each respect. Limited, only in our perspective, 140 years on. The break through of the Zeiss Anastigmats of 1890 ( later called Protars ) and the Goerz Dagors, were simply to combine the complete RR lens into a single cell, and then mount them symmetrically. In symmetry, the residual flaws in the RR are cancelled out. If you were to use a single Protar, Dagor, or Symmar cell behind the aperture, you're using a Rapid Rectilinear.

    In a contact print there isn't much improvement from those days. When Edw Weston turned his back on Pictorial Portraiture and his way expensive brass portrait lenses, he picked up a Rapid Rectilinear and shot much of his famous work.

    In short, they are excellent lenses and useful tools TODAY.

    Oh, yes. They have no real connection to the petzvals, developed by Steinheil and Dallmeyer concurrently. The design is based on new way of using different glasses, etc. etc. See Kingslake.
     
  6. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    The Rapid Rectilinear was invented in 1866 by J. H. Dallmeyer, a few weeks after the design of the practically identical Aplanat by Dr. H. A. Steinheil. So the two inventors eventually (after much heated debate) decided to share the invention - and the market. Eventually just about everyone made a RR - or an Aplanat - under some name or other. Some historiand assume that Dallmeyer combined two "landscape" meniscus lenses to see if he could get rid of the distortion while Steinheil (and his friend von Seidel, a mathematician) had calculated it.

    This was the first rectilinear lens of usable max. aperture, so even if f:6 is not particularly "rapid" today it was a breakthrough at the time, and the name is quite justified.

    From now on I'll use "Aplanat", partly because it's easier to type, partly because that's what I own...

    The Universal Aplanat was the "standard" lens; f:7.2 was a common specification. Sharp image circle was about 30 deg. at full opening, increasing to as much as 70 deg. on stopping down. By placing the elements closer to the stop the coverage was increased but the aperture reduced - Weitwinkel Aplanat lenses were typically no faster than f:18, but compensated with coverage which could exceed 100 deg.

    There were also "Portrait Rectilinears", or "Portrait Aplanat", "Aplanat Ultrarapid" and so on with max aperture as low as f:3.5 but very poor sharp coverage, about 15 to 20 deg.

    In my collection is a Steinheil "Patent No.6", which to the best of my knowledge is an Aplanat. If so it must be one of the very earliest ones - it's certainly still a very fine lens!

    Sources: Rudolf Kingslake, "A History of the Photographic Lens", 1989;

    Hans Schmidt, "Photographisces Hilfsbuch für ernste Arbeit", Berlin 1910;

    and my own collection...
     
  7. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    And by the way: The sharp part of the image field of an Aplanat is sharper than it's possible to achieve with a Protar or Dagor construction (source: Hans Schmidt).
     
  8. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    You won't need your flame suit DF but I would add or subtract from my own experience the RR's (hows that for short Ole) are neither of what I'm looking for. I either want sharp SHARP edge to edge, or I want an extremely sharp center that goes to diffuse bokeh very rapidly from the center. The RR's are dis-appointingly sharp until they break down out in the edges so I get neither. I have a Wolly Voltas 330mm that I'll use on the 5X7 because the entire frame is exceptional. The breakdown in that case is well outside of the chosen frame.
     
  9. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Still ready? :D

    I'll break your post down into smaller bits, and just comment on a few of those...

    Yes and no. The RR's are (mostly) symmetrical, and that was part of the breakthrough of the RR's / Aplanats. The most successful Anastigmats are unsymmetrical. New glasses made better corrections possible, increasing the area of optimum sharpness to cover the whole plate. A single cell of a convertible anastigmat is not a Rapid Rectilinear, nor an Aplanat. It is merely a less well-corrected half anastigmat.
    I agree with that!

    Absolutely correct.
    :smile: