Question on Dallmeyer 4A lens

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by c.e.b., Jun 20, 2009.

  1. c.e.b.

    c.e.b. Member

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    Hello,

    I have just successfully registered and I'm very happy to be a part of the APUG family. My warmest greetings to all of you. So this is my very first posting on this forum and here it goes...
    can anybody comment on the DALLMEYER Patent Portrait lenses and the "4A" in particular? So far I have learned that it is a modified Petzval design with SF mechanism, covers 10x8 and starts at f/4. But why is so little information on the web compared to the 2B, 3A and 3D? Is this a rare lens? Despite its designation as a portrait lens, is it also suitable for still life or outdoor photography, say, landscapes or nature closeups?
    I look forward to all inputs, many thanks in advance!!!

    Cheers, Carsten
     
  2. outwest

    outwest Subscriber

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    The Lens Vade Mecum says: Rapid Rectilinear Portrait f4.0 made in 6 foci, 10-22in, also f4.8, 30in. In 1889 this was the "NEW" Rapid
    Rectilinear portrait, and was sold as:
    Ordinary Intensity Type (A) This is probably the f4.0 series.
    No1A, 2.75in dia. for Cabinets,
    No2A, 3.5in dia. for Cabinets,
    No3A, 4in dia. for Cabinets up to 9x7in,
    No4A 4.5in dia. for 10x8 and Imperial Portraits,
    No5A 5in dia. for 15x12in,
    No6A 6in dia. for 20x16in
     
  3. c.e.b.

    c.e.b. Member

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    Very helpful, outwest and thanks for your quick answer.
     
  4. goamules

    goamules Member

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    Carsten, the traditional Dallmeyer Patent Portrait "A" type lenses are petzvals, not rectilinears. By checking the serial number here, http://www.antiquecameras.net/petzvallens.html you can be sure. Similarly with a lot of Dallmeyer designs, the numeral in the designation indicates the size. Therefore a 3A and 4A are the same design, F4 petzvals, with the 4A being larger.

    You can get a good description and picture on about page 15 of an old catalog here: http://www.cameraeccentric.com/html/info/dallmeyer_1.html

    Garrett
     
  5. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    Welcome Carsten!

    Cheers, Steve
     
  6. Barry S

    Barry S Subscriber

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    Dallmeyer produced fewer of the larger Portrait Petzvals, so that would account for the general lack of user reports on the web. I have the Dallmeyer 3A Patent Portrait and it's a beautiful lens, but very large, so if you're hunting for a 4A, you better have a studio camera. The 3A will cover 8x10 and you can fit it to an 8x10 field camera, but it doesn't quite fit on a 6"x6" lensboard. Even the 3A is a stretch for a field camera. As with any Petzval, you can use it for any purpose, but the controlling factor is format size relative to the focal length of the lens. It all comes down to the qualities you're looking for in a lens--zone of central sharpness, blur, swirl. If you're shooting wet plate, the speed is critical, but if you plan on using the lens with film, you might consider a slower (lighter, less expensive) Petzval.
     
  7. c.e.b.

    c.e.b. Member

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    Steve, I really appreciate your kind words, many thanks!

    Garrett/Barry, thanks so much for all the valuable information. I'm still a LF newbie and deeply grateful for all inputs. Not long ago, I came across the petzval and soft focus lenses and immediately fell in love with the images they are able to create. Jesus!, this pictorial look definitely stirs my blood (I'm especially fond of A.L.Coburn's and A.de Meyer's work). I'll post another thread (on SF lenses) and would be glad about your comments.

    Carsten
     
  8. goamules

    goamules Member

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  9. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Carsten, did you get that pretty black one that looked un-used on Ebay the other night? It's a gorgeous lens but it will require a large front panel to mount on. They were intended and are at home on the old studio cameras with 9X9 inch lens boards. Mine is mounted on a 6 3/4" board that fits into a 9X9 Ilexpo shutter and it's maxed on that board. They won't go on a 6X6 board.

    As to mention on line, the Dallmeyer 3A (16 inch) patent petzval is sort of the jumping off place to the really big lenses. The 4A is a magnitude bigger than anything common so simple rarity probably answers your question. There may have been 100 3A's for every 4A but that's a rank guess.

    As to use, the sky's the limit. Or maybe the bellows is the limit. If you wad through the stuff at my site long enough you'll eventually find some things shot with a Dallmeyer 4A. Gorgeous lens.
     
  10. roodpe

    roodpe Member

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    That 4A on the 'bay did look unused, but I wondered why it had the focal length and maximum aperture inscribed on the barrel (under the Serial No.). Maybe Dallmeyer did that on some lenses and not others? Could it have possibly have been re-painted? Either way I am sure it is a great lens.
     
  11. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    I'm going to postulate an educated guess here as I've seen a bunch of these just lately, a couple of different collections breaking up perhaps. I think Burke and James in the late 1960's had a passion for these classic lenses and refinished a bunch of them in black with new white lettering. I now have 3 of them like that, all have the Burke and James sticker, all coated by B&J. It would be nice if Lynn Jones would stop by and tell us if he remembers them doing that.