View Full Version : Curious about Wolcott's Mirror Camera - Old Daguerrotype lens question...

10-25-2010, 02:56 PM

I'm curious how a lens/camera like this would work. Any pictures out there?

"The world’s first studio system also included the most unusual camera. Alexander Wolcott patented a lensless camera on May 8, 1840, that was based on designs adopted by the scientific community for celestial telescopes. By replacing the lens with a highly polished concave mirror of speculum metal, Wolcott was able to create a faster camera suitable for portraiture."


Matthew Rusbarsky
10-26-2010, 10:18 AM
The plate was positioned where the secondary mirror would be in a reflector telescope.

10-26-2010, 11:00 AM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reflecting_telescope#Gregorian Ok, that makes sense!

So would there have been some anaomaly present in the image, similar to the "donut-boke" in a catadioptric lens? Are there any images around that were taken with this lens?

Thanks for the response.

Andrew K
10-26-2010, 09:56 PM
have a look at the Star Camera Company website - Ray has a new reproduction of it for sale



10-27-2010, 10:16 AM
Wow, Andrew K, thanks for that link! f/1.7 is quite impressive; no wonder it was such a boon for the slow daguerrotype.