View Full Version : Trash or Treasure Glass?? Antiquity advice, please.

03-30-2006, 06:09 AM
I sure hope this is an acceptable question for the forum! Included in a box of LF parts I purchased was a Ferd. Franz Meyer, Blasewitz-Dresden Lysioskop No.3 D.R.G.M. (f7.7-44) lens.

I have little interest in brass barrel lenses & would just like to know if this is a lens of interest to those who have interest in these things.(whadhesay?). Seems to be in very nice condition, both barrel and glass...the diaphram is slightly stiff.

Just to satisfy my curiosity, can anybody tell me the vintage/intended process use and whether this was considered a "quality" piece of glass?

Thanks in advance!

03-30-2006, 09:44 AM
according to the Lens Vademecum your 'treasure' is a rapid rectilinear design lens. The LVM doesn't have much further information regarding the maker, the value or the focal lengths in which these RR's were produced. Some people here are great fans of this lens design, but not having any of my own, I really can't tell you anything about how it performs. Perhaps Ole or Jim can delve into their treasure troves of knowledge and documentation for more details?

David H. Bebbington
03-30-2006, 09:59 AM
I know nothing about this particular lens, although I do own 2 others (Dallmeyer and Ross) of similar design and vintage. As far as I am aware, no lens of this type is regarded as especially valuable, as thousands were made in the last decade of the 19th century and 1st decade of the 20th, on the other hand if in good condition without mechanical damage (because of the simple design, rapid rectilinear lenses seem to survive quite well without terminal mold), these lenses are just as capable of giving good results as on the day they were made (covering power is less than a modern lens of similar focal length, need to be stopped down for critical definition).

If you own any camera on which this lens could be used, keep it and at least try a shot or two for the experience (if the diaphragm is stiff, there is no reason why you shouldn't unscrew the front and back lens assemblies, put them out of harm's way and spray the iris with WD40, shaking/wiping off excess and allowing to dry before replacing the glass).

03-30-2006, 10:03 AM
Ole is the expert on aplanat's. I'll stick my neck out and guess it is a half plate or 5X7 lens of about 8 inch focal but that is simply a guess. Rapid Rectilinear's have a nice sharp contrasty quality but they are not flat field. In other words on a plate nearing it's coverage paramaters you can't focus the corners of the image and the center at the same time. You can split the difference and stop down to f64 though.

03-30-2006, 10:48 AM
Thanks Folks! All of the answers seem to be on track. Yep, I've got something to use to try it....it's just a matter of lensbord/packard fabrication. The glass seems to be sparkling clear - no yucky stuff growing (unlike a more modern piece I own). It came out of a box of 5x7 parts, so the half plate speculation is more than likely correct. If I understand correctly, use on a 4x5 should minimize the non-flat field effects, lucky me!

Why did I wait so long to tap this fountain of knowledge??? Thanks again!

04-03-2006, 09:54 AM
I may be "the expert on Aplanats", but right now I'm 800km away from my library, in the middle of the Danish sector of the North Sea, and on a v-e-r-y s-l-o-w connection.

I remember nothing about Ferd. Franz Meyer, but a #3 Aplanat will often be designed for 13x18cm plates - also known as 5x7". "Half plate" was not used in Germany, so is very unlikely. The focal length is likely to be around 210mm, I wrote an article a while back on a simple easy way to measure it.

Aplanats are often surprisingly good by the way, central shapness is usually better than contemporary anastigmats.

04-04-2006, 03:54 PM
Thanks Ole! In the middle of the North Sea!?! Wow!! This forum is so great, thanks everyone. I have an old Hertzog-Goldman 5x7 studio cam that needs completion, but the #3 sounds like THE lens to hang on it!! Thanks again!

Roger Hicks
05-26-2006, 11:48 AM
Dear Ole,

Be fair! Half-plate is 4-3/4 x 6-1/2 inches so this lens may be a little better at the corners than on 13x18cm/5x7 inch.

With best regards,


05-26-2006, 01:06 PM
Roger, I can never remember how big a half-plate is. Partly because I have no camera in that size, partly because there seems to be quite a lot of different half-plate sizes. But i know exactly how big 13x18cm plates are, and even how big a 13x18cm film is.

I like Aplanats, and have a fair number of them. The oldest must be one of the first ones, a "Steinheil in München Patent". No patent number, no "Aplanat" engraved. So I think it might be one of the very first ones ever made. And still as good as the day it was made! Another one is a tiny little Wide-Angle Aplanat - 150mm focal length, and covers up to 24x30cm. Sharp...

Roger Hicks
05-26-2006, 06:17 PM
Dear Ole,

I envy you your Aplanats. The only other person I know with more than one or two is Dr. A. Neill Wright, of Vede Mecum fame. I take it you are acquainted with him?

You probably know a good deal more about early photographic history than I, but as far as I am aware, 'half plate' has been 4-3/4 x 6-1/2 inches for the whole of the 20th century. To make life interesting, it is admittedly bigger than half a whole plate (6-1/2 x 8-1/2 inches) and more than twice as big as a quarter plate, which IS a quarter of a whole-plate (3-1/4 x 4-1/4 inches -- Polaroid size, in fact).

Standardized (eg Linhof, Fidelity) holders for half plate, 5x7 inch and 13x18cm have identical outside dimensions and differ only in the size of film/plates they take. I believe that half plate still has some following in Japan -- one of the other countries that drives on the proper side of the road!



05-27-2006, 04:30 AM
I'm not aquainted with dr. Wright, but I'm well aquainted with the Vade Mecum!

Back when plates were silvered copper plates, the sizes were standardised on the sizes of the best locally available plates made for the printing industry. So full plate was different in France, Germany, UK, USA and everywhere else. This carried over to the glass plates, as the cameras already existed. Some "merging" of standards occurred over the years, and is still occurring...
Two early Norwegian photographers, Knut Knudsen and Anders Beer Wilse, are easily distinguishable by the size of plate they used: Wilse was originally Swedish, and used German plate sizes. Knutsen, from Bergen, used English plates!

Come to think of it, I think I have some half-plate holders in 5x7" (holder) size somewhere. A faulty description on ebay, with a price so low that it would cost me more to return them. I haven't used them, since I find 13x18 and 5x7" to be confusing enough without using a third size in the mixture.