Some Dagor’s and non-Dagor Dagor’s I have loved... RLP (really long post)

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by jimgalli, Jun 27, 2006.

  1. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Funny how your lens kit gets built. And added to continually. I started out like most folks willing to pay the extra bucks for the showier lenses. Dagor’s whether right or wrong get valued something like this:

    Kern Gold Dot MC,
    Kern Gold Dot SC,
    Goerz Optical Co. and American Optical Co. SC Gold Rim, or “Golden”,
    American Optical Co. SC,
    and all the rest.

    (notable exceptions are ANY Dagor 16" and longer, and Zeiss WA f9 which are through the roof!)

    Lately the prices for anything “gold” have gone sort of crazy.

    I’ll share a few things I’ve learned. In my kit I have several Dagor types that get used regularly.

    355 Kern GD Schneider; is just superb. The excellence is in the contrast, not the resolution.

    12” f6.8 American Optical Co. SC: This lens lives on the 7X17 camera. It’s excellent, but not spectacular. Certainly delivers nicely for contact prints.

    10 ¾” f8 Kenro K2. Built by Goerz Optical Co. and has the 8300000’s serial #. I only paid about $70 bucks for it. It will just cover the 7X17 with a little movement.

    9 ½” f6.8 I’ve had several. The one I’ve kept and use is not on the list of valuable Dagor’s. It’s probably from the late 1920’s but that’s just a guess. It’s non-US but Goerz factory made. It has the pot metal barrel that the black paint didn’t stick very well to so it’s ugly. Somebody mounted it in a Wollensak chrome shutter. I paid $78 bucks for it, serviced the shutter, and it’s a solid excellent performer.

    225mm f9.5 This is the wierdest of them all. It is cells from 2 early G-Claron lenses that somebody mixed up. The front is from a 240mm and the back is from a 210mm. I bought it from a fellow in the UK that was very apologetic about selling this lens that had no value. He realized it was mis-matched but didn’t know what the rear cell was. I surmised, “why not?” Schneider sold it’s early Symmar’s exactly the same way. The triple convertible Symmars of about 1951 vintage are non symmetrical dagor type cells. I paid $49 bucks. In use, it is more spectacular than any of my normal Dagor’s except the 14” Kern. Resolution and contrast is identical to the Kern GD. And the extra 15mm made a huge difference in 8X10 coverage. I never seem to get in the edges. And yes, G-Claron’s in the 10 and 11,000,000 serial no’s are Dagor type.

    8 ¼” f6.8 This is an early brass barrel lens from perhaps 1910 or so. $56. It lives in the case with the Kodak 2D that has the Packard shutter. I use it all the time and it’s just incredibly sharp and contrasty.

    6 ½” f8 American Optical Co. WA SC. Embarrassed to admit I’ve never even used it. How dumb is that.

    150mm f9 Schneider G-Claron dagor type. The only drawback is that I haven’t yet got filters set up for the tiny 30.5mm front thread. In service, it’s just as nice as the 225mm and the 14” above. It covers 5X7 with generous movements.

    4 ¼” f8 American Optical Co. non-coated WA. Haven’t used.

    110mm Zeiss f9 WA Dagor. Awesome little lens. Too bad they’re so pricey. I’d adore having the 18cm. Again, filters are difficult because it’s SO tiny.

    My point if there is one is that some of the $50 - $80 lenses make photos just as good and often a lot better than the $2200 bells and whistles versions.
     
  2. BradS

    BradS Member

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    Hey Jim,

    I don't own any Dagors. Not sure I ever will but I do, certainly, agree with your point. Like the old saying goes, "a picture is worth a thousand words", you point has been well demonstrated by the photos posted here and elsewhere by you and a host of others. Still, the prices for some "desireable" lenses continue to climb - almost inexplicably. It is an interesting phenomena to ponder. Thanks for your post and thanks even more for all of the photgraphic "evidence" you've supplied over the years.

    Brad.
     
  3. sanking

    sanking Member

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    Jim,

    The best Dagor I have ever owned is the 210mm f/9 G-Claron Dagor type that I bought, or obtained in trade, from you. This little baby had it all over three other Goerz America Dagors of the same focal length to which I compared it. Some A** H*^% engraved his name on the shutter, which I guess detracts from its value, but for performance in the 210mm range, this is the one for me.

    Just wondering, have you ever compared the 355 G-Claron of Dagor and plasmat design to see if one offers greater coverage?


    Sandy
     
  4. Mike A

    Mike A Member

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    Jim i bought a 305 Claron from you that i use on my 11x14. The lens delivers and all but I would like to get something in the same focal length with a larger image circle. Any recomondations would be appreciated.

    Mike A
     
  5. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Mike,

    I bought a C. P. Goertz AM. OPT. Co. Dagor 12 IN F 6.8 Gold Ring with supposedly 560mm Image Circle at the LFVC conference from Jeff at Quality Camera.. It is in an Ilex #4 shutter. I did this because I had discovered the fine art of vignetting with the 305mm G Claron in my new to me 7x17.

    John Powers
     
  6. dmax

    dmax Member

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    Jim,
    What differences are there in a Dagor design vs. a plasmat? Aren't both constructed along a 6 cell-4 group configuration?
     
  7. Mike A

    Mike A Member

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    PM me John when you get some negs developed, I would like to know how the lens is working out for you. I tell yah no matter how carefull I am I end up cutting at least one corner.

    Mike
     
  8. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A Dagor is 6 elements in 2 groups, each group in a (+-+) order.

    A Plasmat is 6 elements in 4 groups, each cell in a + (-+) order - an "airspaced Dagor".

    My only Dagor is an "original" - a 1912-ish "CP Goerz Berlin Doppel Anastigmat Serie III (Dagor) 18cm f:6.8". Nice enough, but not great.
     
  9. jp80874

    jp80874 Subscriber

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    Happy to do so. Jeff said it might have a little less contrast than my next steps up, the 450mm Nikkor M and the Fuji 600mm C. I can of course address that by staying a few seconds longer in the Jobo. I just have to experiment to find a time/temp.

    John P.
     
  10. dmax

    dmax Member

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    Ole,
    Thanks for the clarification. Now for another question: I have heard of Schneider Angulons being referred to as "reversed Dagors", apparently because Schneider at that time wanted to circumvent applicable design patents. What exactly does the phrase mean in terms of construction?
     
  11. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Sadly I've had both early and late 355 G-Claron's and both are plasmat. The early version with 67mm filter covers just slightly less than the later version. Both will cover 12X20 though.

    Computar 305mm f9 does but they are hard to find, and most of the early 12" Dagors will also I think. I have both early dagor type and later plasmat type G-Clarons so perhaps I can compare circles on the 1220 and report back.
     
  12. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Ole, are you sure that you didn't describe a 6/4 double Gauss? I ask because "+ (-+)" seems to describe a meniscus in front of a cemented doublet, and plasmats are the other way 'round.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  13. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    Here’s my 2 cents on Dagors I own or have owned. I agree with Jim about cheap ones having just as good a chance as being exceptional as the pricey ones – at least in the shorter focal lengths, the longer ones are all pricey. It’s best to test. I haven’t paid over about $75-80 for any of the shorter bargains and some are really, really good.

    But I suspect that our assessment of individual lenses to some extent has more to do with our photographic experiences with them than actual lens quality!

    19” Series IV f:11 Double Anastigmat. Wide angle “Pre-Dagor” process lens, uncoated of course. Very sharp and with superb image quality. Has 4 small scratches on the rear glass and a tiny bit of cement haze as do many Dagors this old, doesn’t matter. A bonus is that it fits directly (with spacing) into a 58mm Copal or Compound #3 and allegedly covers 20x24 wide open, per a guy that knows. I don’t have anything even remotely large enough to test it – 8x20 is the largest. Perfect for older ULF cameras that can’t stand a bunch of glass on the front standard, which I have.

    16-1/2” f:7.7 Goerz Series III Dagor. Nice lens, currently on loan to me and on a board that doesn’t facilitate use on my 8x10 so I haven’t shot a lot with it, but from what I have, it’s good. Dates from about 1911. Color studio photographs taken with this lens have won awards and I’ve seen both the photos and the awards. I have another 16-1/2” on loan that I just got in a shutter and may buy, dating from 1904-1905. Haven’t tested it yet, but if the image is anything like my 5” Double Anastigmat (about 1901 and clear as a bell) in Volute, it would be wonderful, wonderful lens.

    14” f:8 Kern Gold Dot Dagor. Perfect glass and coatings, same vintage as Jim Galli’s. Unlike Jim, I’ve had mixed results from this lens. According to Jim at Midwest, Kern Dagors are softer and have much less coverage than the American Optical/Goerz lenses, and that appraisal is consistent with my experience. It’s flare prone, and although I’ve produced wonderful negs with it, it’s produced more than its share of duds both in color and B&W, 4x5 and 8x10. Flare, low contrast, some unsharp, others fine. I’d really, really, like to think it’s me (and it may well be), but after many shots on multiple formats and media, you lose confidence in the lens that produces more duds than your other lenses of the same FL. Not as sharp/contrasty as the 14” Kern Blue Dot Trigor I tested it against. I’ll probably eventually trade or sell it since I have other exceptional lenses in the 14” FL for my uses, but I’m not quite ready to give up yet.

    12” f:6.8 Gold Dot Dagor. Simply astounding image quality. Sharp yet smooth, a wonderful lens. Check out the links for an 8x10 B&W shot with a close up of detail. This would be one of my “never sell” lenses even though I prefer the 10-3/4" focal length.

    http://www.pbase.com/sahamley/image/44047266

    http://www.pbase.com/sahamley/image/44047282

    10-3/4” (about f:10) Kenro K2: like Jim, these are great performers. Mine (two of them) are as yet in barrel because I have an equally wonderful 270mm G-Claron in a Copal 1. paid about $65 for the best one.

    9-1/2” f:6.8 Goerz Gold Dot. Nice lens, but in a Copal 3 as the later 9-1/2” Goerz Dagors were. In image quality on color transparency, I can’t tell much if any difference from the 270mm G-Claron I shot side-by-side as a test.

    9-1/2” f:11 Goerz Argyle (very late), custom mounted in Rapax shutter, Trigor design, coated of course. This was an attempt to build a lightweight hiking Dagor that I wouldn’t do over again considering what I ended up with in it – 10 grams lighter than a Docter 240mm Germinar-W in Copal 1 but not as "clinical" in hard light. It’s a little soft at distance wide open on the GG which is more like f:6.8, but stopped down to taking aperture is as sharp as anything I’ve seen and just deadly up close – which some Dagors allegedly are not - since it’s a process lens. Seems to be the same glass as the 9-1/2” Gold Dot spaced up shorter. Paid about $75 for it in barrel.

    8-1/4" f:6.8 Goerz Gold Rim Dagor. Part of the “batch deal” from a local pro which included the 12” and 6-1/2” WA Dagor and a couple of Artars. Good lens, but I don’t use this focal length that much so I’m not really sure how it stacks up relative to the others. I have shot 8x10 color transparency with it and can say that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with it.

    7-1/2” f:6.8 Goerz Berlin Dagor in rim-set Compur. Uncoated, clear as a bell, covers 8x10 stopped down. I’ve used this lens on 4x5 with super saturated transparency film and the effect is intriguing. It’s currently off at S.K. Grimes having a conventional aperture scale put on it. It had the f:12, f:18, f:26 numbers that were a real headache. Pending further testing it might get screwed into a Copal 1 which is a direct fit. Or not. Paid about $70 for it.

    6-1/2” f:8 WA Gold Dagor, apparently like Jim’s. I too haven’t used it that much because I don’t tend to go for the near-far 8x10 shots that I would with an 80mm lens on 4x5 because of the DOF and wind issues. Covers 8x10 with a little wiggle stopped all the way down, good edges, and fits in your shirt pocket.

    6” f:6.8 American Optical process lens in barrel, very late and single coated. This little lens at least illuminates an 8x10 GG with a little mechanical vignetting of the corners and the glass is the size of a dime. I don't believe it actually covers with usable sharpness though, but I've not tested it. Since I have the 6-1/2” WA in shutter I’ve never seriously shot with it, but tests seem to indicate a very nice image quality. Paid about $45 for it and it appears unused.

    6” f:6.8 Goerz Series III Double Anastigmat in nice working Volute: Nice lens, uncoated and clean, covers 8x10 stopped down and has a good B&W image quality. Haven’t done any color with it. Bought it mostly as a curiosity, but it’s a keeper at about $50.

    5” f:6.8 Goerz Series III Double Anastigmat in nice working (but fast) Volute. Paid about $35-40 for it, and it has really wonderful B&W image quality on 4x5.

    Tops on my wish list would be a 10-3/4" coated Dagor in shutter that does exactly what my 12" Dagor does.

    Steve
     
  14. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Oops...

    You're right. Sometimes I write from the top of my head without first making sure it's attached.

    Anyway, both types can be described as "airspaced Dagors", or maybe better "4-element Protar types with one air element"!
     
  15. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    "Reversed Dagor" means that the elements in each cell are "reversed - instead of the Dagor's +-+, the Angulon is -+-. Since all the glass types are different as well as all curvatures, the description is just about meaningless.

    I don't doubt that the Dagor was part of the inspiration for the Angulon, but so was just about every other lens type ever made. The Angulon has a completely different design specification, and some very neat tricks to increase the coverage.
     
  16. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I see at least one of the above is a direct fit into a modern shutter.

    Will a GOERZ Dagor Series III 6.8 8 1/4 direct fit into any shutters?

    Thanks

    Mike
     
  17. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Mike, the only ones I'm aware of that would fit a modern shutter are the Schneider era ones after about 1970 that were built around modern shutters. Any other Dagor I've had would need bushings built to adapt it to it's shutter, modern or otherwise. That can be an expensive proposition.
     
  18. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    Thanks Jim, I thought that would be the case.

    I'll keep my eyes looking for that inexpensive 210, in shutter, out there with my name on it.

    Thanks again

    Mike
     
  19. Tri Tran

    Tri Tran Subscriber

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    Hi all
    Will 9-1/2” f:6.8 Goerz fit directly to any shutter? Thanks.
     
  20. jimgalli

    jimgalli Subscriber

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    Nope. Your film holders are on the way :smile: I threw a couple of work prints in.
     
  21. Tri Tran

    Tri Tran Subscriber

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    Mucho gracias Jim.
     
  22. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    This is a really helpful thread. I have several Dagors and double anastigmats. I will check through them today and if any are different from those already listed, I will add them.
     
  23. Hugo Zhang

    Hugo Zhang Member

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    1. Zeiss-Goerz Dagor 18cm f/9. Tiny lens you can screw directly on a Copal #1 shutter. My favorite and mostly used lens for 8x10.

    2. 14" f/11 Trigor that covers 8x20 at infinity. Very sharp with superb image quality.

    3. 14" f/6.8 GD Dagor, single coated. Just wonderful with my old Deardorff.

    4. It has to be my 9 1/2" f/6.8 GD Dagor. Sharp with a very nice glow.

    5. 270mm f/7.7 Dagor. It seems to have a single coating. I had hoped that it would cover my 10x20. It didn't.

    6. An old 12" Dagor with no gold dot or gold ring that is very sharp and covers my 10x20.

    7. Another old 14" Dagor in brass barrel with a big scratch in the front element. Amazingly, it makes perfect pictures.
     
  24. finesilverprint

    finesilverprint Member

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    I have to admit I have a really soft spot for Dagors. And although I have paid dearly for some specimens, I have also acquired some run-of-the-mill, very reasonably priced ones that performed nicely, to attest to Jim's and others' assertion. I have owned and tested Dagors from the earliest to the latest vintage ones and have never found one that performed poorly, but agree that there are ones that stand out against the others. I'm a dedicated 8x10 user and thus cannot really attest to one of Dagors strong points, which is coverage, beyond this size. I only do BW and what I love most is the smooth look and tonality of the contact prints. Dagors in my experience can produce clinicaly sharp image and combined this special smoothness, a very unique classic look that I, and I suspect a lot of the posters here, have come to love. That said, here's my list starting from the short end:

    -4 3/8" F8 Am. WA Dagor - Have not tested extensively, but should be as nice as the 6 1/2" F8 sibling, though just barely cover 8x10 stopped down.

    -6 1/2" F8 Gold Rim Am. WA Dagor - This one is indispensable for the tight urban streetscape shots I like to do with the 8x10 Deardorff. Mounted on a board with an offset hole, combined with the lensboard rise feature on the DD front panel, it's the perfect lens for architectural subjects. Have two, but have not tested them against each other.

    -8 1/4" F6.8 Dagor - I don't use this focal length that much and don't currently have any in this size, but I had the Am. Gold Rim and the Goerz Optical Gold Dot versions in the past. Coverage is alright with limited movements on the 8x10. I think the Gold Dot seemed to have a slight edge over the Gold Rim in terms of the smoothness.

    -9 1/2" F6.8 Am. Dagor - nice lens and length for moderate wide shots on the 8x10. Had a brass Series III version that was alright, but the Series III vintage doesn't seem to have as much of that smooth creamy look as the others, in my opinion.

    -24cm F9 Zeiss-Dagor - this one is the longest of the F9 Zeiss Dagors and quite rare. It reputedly just covers 14x17 stopped down, though I can't really vouch for that. Admittedly I haven't really tested it extensively. I suspect it will be a keeper, though I feel I'm not using it to its max potential on the 8x10. Maybe I will if/when I get a 7x17.

    -10 3/4" F6.8 Goerz Dagor (30s vintage, I believe) - I'm really fond of the smooth look from Dagors of this vintage (I had a 12" also), second to the look of the Gold Dots I think.

    -12" F6.8 Gold Rim Am. Dagor - the Gold Rim or Golden Dagors seem to always fetch really high prices, though I can't seem to distinguish their perfomance from a coated standard black rim Am. Dagor of a slightly earlier vintage.

    -14" F7.7 Am. Dagor - Have not tested extensively, but seemed to perform similarly to its shorter sibling from the same vintage (60s, I believe). Not my favorite 14", I'm not sure how big the image circle is, but it should have the biggest among the other 14", except possibly the Trigor.

    -14" F8 Kern Gold Dot Dagor MC - This has been a favorite of mine for awhile on the 8x10. The image quality is just superb, contrast is outstanding due to the multicoating. The Gold Dots seem to have the smoothest of the Dagor look, in my opinion, though the others are not far behind. Had the single coated version, but the MC seems to have more of a snap especially on a flat day. Have two, but have not tested them against each other.

    -14" f11 Kern Blue Dot Trigor - This one is perhaps the holy grail of all the Dagor or Dagor-type lenses. Being a wide angle process lens, it's really really sharp, almost too sharp. I heard that it covers 8x20, but have not used it beyond 8x10.

    -16 1/2" F7.7 Goerz Dagor (30s vintage) - I no longer have this lens, used it briefly when I had a 12x20. Nice image quality like the 10 3/4", but not a favorite focal length for 8x10.

    -17"(approx.) F7.7 Voigtlander Collinear Series III - this is my latest find and have not tested it with film. It's in a brass barrel, has a few air bubbles in it, and looks really good on the ground glass. Not sure what the exact coverage is, but heard about 14x17" wide open.

    I bring 3-4 lenses on a usual outing, on the wide to normal end of the spectrum, and these are usually the 6 1/2" WA, the 9 1/2" or 10 3/4", and a 14". I need to perhaps consolidate eventually, now that I have my favorites, but every now and then an attractive Dagor shows up on the market, and once again I succumbed to its mythical lure.

    Best of light,
    Henry Suryo
     
  25. Jim Noel

    Jim Noel Member

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    I have not seen anyone else list the
    75mm WA Dagor which amply covers 4x5 or the
    135mm WA Dagor which is mounted on a 6x17 Torpedo camera.
    I have only seen one example of each. I owned the 75 for a time and sold it to my friend who also owns the 135.
    Don't ask why I sold the 75, I must have been in a daze.