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View Full Version : Wollensak "Beach" Multifocal series B



jimgalli
03-29-2006, 10:04 PM
NEW 2 me today! 12". Anybody have any info? History? Who was beach? There are concentric rings in the rear group on what otherwide appears to be an ordinary Tessar type. How and why do they work? How is it a multifocal?

Anxious to learn about my new toy! Going upstairs to look at my "wine bottle" through the lens. Nice clean glass and in a SHUTTER for once!!

Who me? Excited? About an old crusty lens? NAW....

.................------------------..........................--------------------........

10 minutes later; OK. Looked through it. I don't get it?? It looks for all the world exactly like an ordinary uncoated 12" Tessar of which I have quite a few. In fact the barrels are identical to my 12" Velostigmat. I mean interchangeable. They're the same. So the only difference is the magic swirlies in the rear group?? And the weird descending numbers where the aperture scale would normally be. Like 11.7 wide open, then 11, 10, 9, - down to 4 where it would be at about f45. What's that all about.

bobfowler
03-29-2006, 10:46 PM
I'm sure you already looked this up in the vade mecum, but... all they said was:

Multifocal Lens: This was designed in 1928 by H. Beach with the front glass curve made aspherical to soften the image.

Not a heck of a lot of info...

jimgalli
03-29-2006, 10:53 PM
I'm sure you already looked this up in the vade mecum, but... all they said was:

Multifocal Lens: This was designed in 1928 by H. Beach with the front glass curve made aspherical to soften the image.

Not a heck of a lot of info...

Poop! A little further down the page, it says the "Series B" is a sharp lens. Dang another sharp lens. Still enjoy learning about them. Bob, did you see the tailgate portraits made with the B&L 15" like I sold you?

bobfowler
03-29-2006, 10:58 PM
I spoke too soon...

From Jay Allens book on soft focus and pictorial lenses:

"The photographer's triumphant dream in selecting a lens has always included great speed, depth of focus, and freedom from distortion. The Beach Multi-Focal lens combines all these features.

"This lens renders at full aperture a flatness of field and covering power equal to any high class anastigmat.

"The unrivaled depth of focus at exceedingly fast speed, absolutely true drawing and freedom from obnoxious distortion are produced by a unique feature that is applied on several surfaces of the lens.

"It does not block the lights but enhances the whole picture with velvety values in the shadows. Whether a long or short lens is preferred, it's perspective will always be found to be pleasing.

"The Beach Multi-Focal Lens is made in two types to suit the taste of the photographer. For those who prefer a soft focus effect in portraiture, the Series A is recommended because it produces a pleasing quality that almost entirely eliminate retouching and the smoothing processes.

"For groups, portraits, full figures, home portraiture, enlarging, copying, or wherever sharp lenses will serve, the Series B lens will serve, and serve well.


No.4 9.5" FL covers 6X8
No.5 12" FL covers 8X10
No.6 14" FL covers 10X12
No.7 16" FL covers 11X14


(pardon any typos...)

bobfowler
03-29-2006, 11:05 PM
Poop! A little further down the page, it says the "Series B" is a sharp lens. Dang another sharp lens. Still enjoy learning about them. Bob, did you see the tailgate portraits made with the B&L 15" like I sold you?

WOW! I just posted my comments to that thread.

Gotta go make a lensboard for the B&L...

glennfromwy
03-29-2006, 11:21 PM
The descending aperture scale is likely a Zeiss scale. There were two versions of this. In 1899, one version is listed as "old" and one as "new". If the scale is the "new" one, the maximum aperture would be about f/15.8, but the small numbers wouldn't agree, as number 4 would only be f/25. If it's the "old" scale, number 4 would be f/50 but wide open at 11 would be a very dim f/31 (roughly). This doesn't sound right, either. Maybe Mr Beach had his own scale.

df cardwell
03-29-2006, 11:24 PM
Look at your Kingslake. Here is a synopsis.

1928

Howard Beach, of Buffalo, NY, designed an attachment to introduce spherical aberration to a lens, in order to increase the sense of depth of field. It was made of plane glass, one side having an aspheric surface.

He also made lenses of a Tessar type with a hand polished, aspheric, front surface.

These lenses, literally Tessars with intentional spherical abberation, were sold by... Wollensak.

The were called Multifocal because the scene was only sharply imaged by one zone of the lens, or wavelength of light, while all other wavelengths of light, and other zones of the lens, produced superimposed images to some degree or other out of focus and less likely to be exposed on the film.

In this regard, the Beach was kin to the Imagon, Pinkham & Smith, and Nikola Perscheid. Stopping the lens down corrects the spherical aberration.

Too bad. Another fine portrait lens. I know a couple still working for a living.

don

jimgalli
03-29-2006, 11:34 PM
Look at your Kingslake...don

I wish I had one.

This one is the tessar. I guess we'll have to have a shootout of the 12" f4.5's. Bausch & Lomb Tessar Series Ic VS. Wollensak Velostigmat Series II f4.5 VSS. the BEACH or is it son of a beach? Maybe this weekend.

rbarker
03-30-2006, 10:43 AM
If you are running out of time, Jim, you could always send these lenses to the lens testing facility in Rio Rancho. ;)

David A. Goldfarb
03-30-2006, 11:00 AM
Beach was a portrait photographer. If you hunt around you can find some portraits he made in New York state as well as some "exotic" locations. I think he travelled to India, if I'm not mistaken.

Concentric rings sound like a built-in Duto filter (B+W WZ 1 and 2).