new lens for an old camera
Hello All:I'm not sure if this is the right forum for my question, but here goes,I've recently aquired two Kodak Premo#8 sheet and plate cameras.One I intend to keep as is and the other I'm considering replacing the ball bearing shutter and lens assembly with a more modern setup.My first question is are there any lens/shutter combinations out there,that are reasonably priced(between $100.00 and $200.00) that would be compatible.The current lens is a planatograph 3 1/4 x 5 1/2 Bausch and Lomb. And the second question would this be worth all the effort and money.
I plan to shoot sheets of B&W film and make post cards with the negs.I would be looking into the possibility of starting a small enterprise shooting various heritage buildings and sites and selling the images as post cards.
You do not mention the format of the camera (4x5, 5x7...etc.). I infer from the lens that it could be a 3 1/4" x 5 1/2" format. If you have the film holder then you can find the film at several specialized places, or you can cut it from larger sheet.
You can certainly change the lens/shutter. The lens' focal length should be wide if planning to shoot architecture. For a 4x5 that would be a 90mm or shorter, depending on how tight your bellows compress. You cannot use a lens with a focal length shorter than your bellows compress (a recessed lens board helps a bit there). There are several places to find good used lens/shutter combos. From the big auction place to retailers I am not sure I can mention here, but which you can find if you search the web. You will need to make your own lensboards for the new lenses, and you may still use the original lens/shutter: LF cameras all have interchangeable lenses - you change the shutter and the lens by changing the lensboard, each lensboard with a different lens/shutter!
I recommend you read up so you can find out about movements, bellows factor, lens types, etc. There are several books that will cover this, plus very good inforrmation here and in other websites dedicated to LF photography.
I guess my question is why you'd want a more modern set-up. If the answer is that the current combination is unreliable or damaged, then a replacement is an easy thing, for well under $200. If you are looking to retain a sort of vintage look to the images, the planatograph is probably as good a lens as you need. While not as sharp as a modern lens overall, it has a soft/sharp quality that works well for postcard sized images and can be very sharp in the center of the image, stopped down. It is also convertable, allowing you to shoot two or three different focal lengths with one lens (although the image quality does change some with only one element.) For a simple and inexpensive change, you might think of putting on one of the many tessar type lenses that are available from large folders and plate cameras. I know a 135mm Zeiss or B&L tessar in good shape certainly shouldn't set you back more than $100 and it has a different look to it than the RR style planatograph. A modern, coated lens will be more expensive, but they're out there in the focal lengths you need in your price range - just keep looking.
Here is what a Plantograph lens can do for you ! Mine is a Bausch & Lomb 4x5 lens F-8 E.F.6-1/4" I would sell all my other old lens before I sell this one ! the faded line above the bridge rail is a car or cars drive over the bridge :
When one's life Ends, then one becomes Life's history !
The size of a "new" lens may be problematic, but there should be plenty of choices.
If the lens/shutter is small enough, anything that fits 4x5 'should work" with the postcard format, and vice versa.
$100 won't get you a 135 WF Ektar, but it probly would fit as would a 135 Optar as mentioned above. I have a couple of small lenses in the pile for my Kodak #A folding Brownie and a salvaged K mount......and a lot of laziness, cuz I need to finish the bellows swap etc.
I have a few negs i shot on 122 long ago with the original Kodak lenses- RR s mostly and they can be sharp as anything, sure wish i coulda shot moving objects at 1/250. I just don't shoot on a tripod, or things that stand still, although I too have a nice looking Planatograph that tempts me.
Thanks for those example shots seawolf!
Good luck Doug
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