On Box Tengor Lens, Does quality vary in 54/2 production line ?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Mustafa Umut Sarac, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Mustafa Umut Sarac

    Mustafa Umut Sarac Member

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    I had been opened a thread on Box Tengor 54/2 and someone wrote that he has many box tengors and lens quality varies.

    I bought a 54/2 and I saw some great and some annoying pictures from the camera at web.
    My sister will be here in 3 weeks and
    I have only 2 rolls of 400H Fuji came from amazon.
    Before dissapointment , I want to ask , if the lens is looks ok , is there a chance for low quality production ?

    Umut
     
  2. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi umut

    my guess, maybe a poor one, maybe right on
    is that you might only know by testing with film.

    do you have any photo paper?
    you can make a paper negative
    by putting a sheet of photo paper in
    the camera instead
    of film. expose it 1/5 second in bright sun f 16
    ( or equiv. with what your camera offers, maybe B in open shade for 1 second )
    develop the paper negative, and scan and invert it and see what your lens quality is.

    i have heard good things about that camera, but some like box cameras some thing they are junk
    so your mileage may vary

    good luck !

    john

    ps you can also put paper in the camera, leave shutter open on T for 1 hour, maybe 2
    mid day sun, there will be an image on the paper, scan it, and invert it and see what the lens offers that way too ..
    the original photographers were made this way "retina prints"
     
  3. Samuel Hotton

    Samuel Hotton Member

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    Hi Mustafa,
    I have two 56/2 box tengors. Both are identical in function and quality of image. Perhaps I am lucky. Shutter speed on 56/2 in only 1/30 of a second with about a 105mm lens, so I use a tripod.
    Sam H.
     
  4. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    I have a 56/2 and love it -- great pictures. A couple of samples:

    Scan 7.jpg Scan.jpg Scan 5.jpg

    The box tengor was a very good quality box camera. Mine has a three-zone focus, three f-stops, and I would rate the shutter speed closer to 1/60.

    There is always the possibility of quality differences among examples, but these are built by Germans who tend to be good at making stuff uniformly good, and considering that they ARE box cameras, with very simple lenses, there's really not a lot that can go wrong.
     
  5. elekm

    elekm Member

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    From my experience, the postwar camera has a sharper lens than the prewar models. The postwar has a coated Goerz Frontar and is powder chrome with black leather.

    The lens on the Tengoflex, a 6x6 TLR version of the Box Tengor, also is somewhat sharp. The Tengoflex is very costly - US$300 or more.

    Postwar Box Tengor:
    [​IMG]

    Photo sample:
    [​IMG]

    Tengoflex:
    [​IMG]

    Photo sample:
    [​IMG]

    I have photo samples of the same subject using the prewar and postwar Box Tengors. I'll search for them tomorrow.
     
  6. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I own a 54/2 Tengor and while the lens is sharp, the innards are causing me problems. I'm getting scratches on the film running completely through the frame. I may have found the trouble with one of the rollers on either side of the film gate. A few tweaks to that and hopefully my problem is solved. I hope so, the look I get from the lens is really different and interesting. I find 100 ISO film is ideal with this camera.
     
  7. elekm

    elekm Member

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    I remember what it was now.

    With the prewar 6x9 cameras, there are three distance settings: Close, middle and infinity.

    You will get the sharpest photos, if you set the lens to the middle distance. When I set it at infinity, the photos were soft. But when set at the middle distance, the photos were sharper. For closeups, go ahead and set to the close setting.

    I noticed this oddity when I was checking the collimation of the camera. Yes, a box camera. I noticed that when I set the lens at the middle distance, it appeared to be a bit sharper than when set at infinity. So I set out to prove whether this was the case, and it was true.

    This appeared to be the case for all of the Box Tengors that I encountered that offered distance settings. The very early cameras don't offer that option.

    For the postwar camera with the coated lens, use the distance settings as you normally would.

    By the way, I see a Tengoflex sold on eBay recently (early 2014) for US$700.

    Here are two photos to show what I mean. You can see how the infinity setting is softer.
    The middle distance offered better depth of field, too. Look at the parking meter and the buildings in the distance.

    Left photo: Lens set to middle distance
    Right photo: Lens set to infinity

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 18, 2014
  8. Peltigera

    Peltigera Member

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    Age of the camera will make a difference - actually, the age of the lens. Some of the glasses that Schott supplied to Carl Zeiss in the 1930s have not aged at all well. The lens in my Tenax I has become visibly white with age. Even without visible deterioration, definition loss is likely.
     
  9. JW PHOTO

    JW PHOTO Subscriber

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    Whoa, that might be my problem with the Tengors then. I've owned more than five of various vintage and never had a good one as far as sharpness went. I had much better luck with an old Ansco Shur Shot box camera. I still have a very nice 54/2 Tengor I'm going to have to try again, only not on the farthest distance setting this time. JW
     
  10. summicron1

    summicron1 Subscriber

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    one thing to consider is that on the tengor, the close and medium distance setting is achieved by putting an internal auxiliary lens behind the taking lens -- so there's a chance of introducing issues there...haze, misallignment, whatever. On mine, anyway, the far setting is just the front lens.

    I believe the train foto i posted earlier was shot with the medium distance setting. the one of the train platform was set at infinity. when i blow it up it's nicely sharp.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 19, 2014
  11. Mr_Flibble

    Mr_Flibble Member

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    I have the early box tenger 54/2 and the single meniscus lens with a small aperture in front of it is definitely able to produce sharp pictures.

    Nothing short of a test will help you there.

    I had trouble with scratched negatives on mine, but that was due to oxidation on the film plane edges and film rollers.
     
  12. pgomena

    pgomena Member

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    I mistakenly identified my Tengor as a 54/2, it's actually a 56/2. The settings/focus discussion is fascinating. I notice that at the most distant setting, the detail at infinity is reasonably sharp as long as it's not too close to the edges and corners of the frame. The central part of the image is plenty sharp. I'll have to experiment a bit with distance settings and apertures. I've decided I don't want to enlarge my Tengor images to much more than 5x8 inches.

    Here's one at F/11, most distant setting:
    OC Tengor small.jpg