Why go to the trouble and expense of making a lens when you can buy a better lens than you can make, and for less than the cost of making one?
Originally Posted by Dan Fromm
that's not actually true and extremely simplistic
making a lens need not be expensive
the aberrations inherent in simple lenses create a different look
where i live LF lenses are very thin on the ground and are not cheap
I've been very tempted to try to construct a lens of simple design, just for the sheer fun of it. Many soft-focus lenses had just a couple of elements. I would be very interested in knowing what elements and what spacing would be required to make something like the Struss pictorial lens, which I understand was very basic in concept. Given the interest that has been shown on the Internet in comparisons between pictures taken with different lenses, I think that an article on soft focus lenses for View Camera which also included diagrams of the lenses and construction suggestions for one or two varieties would be absolute dynamite.
Ray, you have access to the Internet. Don't know what you mean by cheap, but I've bought quite satisfactory lenses in barrel that would cover large formats for as little as UKP 5 plus postage from sellers on eBay. And I've found similar bargains on sellers' own sites. It is, though, true that these steals aren't abundant and may be less abundant now than they were when I was a-stealin'.
Originally Posted by Ray Heath
Oh, yeah, if the manufacturer's propaganda is to be believed, the UKP 5 marvel will cover 8x10 with movements.
well Dan, the times i've looked at gear on the net in various places, including APUG, nobody wants to deal with buyers from Australia
anyway, the point is i don't want to use a lens that is already available, i want to create something from nothing
my lenses are made from magnifying glasses mounted in plastic storm water pipe fittings which are made to mount on my homemade cameras that use my homemade darkslides
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Ray, thanks for the reply. I didn't really mean to question your practice, but was wondering whether the original poster's plan to make his own lenses was the right decision for him.
This discussion takes me back to my junior high school days in the 40's. Two friends and I took apart anything optical we could find and re-assembled the lenses to use on our 4x5 Graflexes. The height of our success was a lens of approximately 5 foot focal length. A second tripod was used to hold it up as we made exposures at great distances both at night and by daylight.
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Holy cow Jim, how big was it? How was the image? Thanks everyone for your advice, I think I will give making a lens a shot when I build a camera, but for now with my first forays into 4x5 I will stick with cheapies I can dig up...
Last edited by Removed Account; 04-11-2007 at 08:47 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Reason: forgot to write
I also have the book mentioned, 'primitive photography'.
I was a bit disappointed with it. The basic phiolosophy of trying to make everything yourself was fine, but the lenses were basically plastic spectacle lenses slotted into chunks of foam rubber. O.K. to illustrate the principles, maybe, but I really doubt whether any sort of lens can be made this way that is viable for photography. I did notice that not a single photograph in the book uses one of these home made lenses.
But, it should be possible. I visited the Carl Zeiss workshop museum a few years ago. His early Jena workshop is preserved as it was in 1870 or something as a museum piece. Here a few apprentices would build whole microscopes and grind their own lenses in a tiny workshop with the minimum of equipment. Lenses were ground on something that looks suspiciously like a potters wheel using grinding pastes and polishing rouge. A photographic lens should be easier, being so much bigger than a microscope lens.
A bit of brass to mount it, some basic skills on a lathe - it should be within the scope of someone who can build a large format camera to attempt at least a simple landscape lens.
I'd love to have a go one day...
... but there are so many other things to do :o
Well, I read a book with the same title, but the book I read had several photographs made with the lenses which were suggested for construction, sources for glass lens elements were cited, and somewhat ingenious use was made of ordinary plastic plumbing pipes--with some use of foam core, but not foam rubber. The only thing I found suspect was the suggestion of black construction paper for making Waterhouse stops--surely the thing to do would be to drill holes in thin metal stock. With a little effort he could have provided drill bit diameters for f/stops of various sizes for each lens, and the results would have been far more substantial.
Originally Posted by steven_e007