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  1. #11
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve S View Post
    You could well be right about this lens doing the rounds of the camera fairs Ian. It came in a light brown box with a metal catch and a red plush interior.It was in extremely nice condition and looked unused. See Pics. I have shown the lens with close ups of the sticker and inscriptions on front and back caps.
    It shows 4 strong reflections in the front cell set and 3 reflections in the rear set, 2 of which are strong and 1 of which is weak. Would you expect this to be the characteristic reflections from a Tessar copy Dan? I associate lenses around this focal length with an f4.5 aperture with Tessars.
    My guess is it the lens I saw. It looks the same and I remember the stickers & the box. I think you've done well, should be an interesting lens to use.

    Ian

  2. #12

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    Looks like a yamasaki congo tessar. Perhaps Japanese and not chinese?
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  3. #13
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatLABS View Post
    Looks like a yamasaki congo tessar. Perhaps Japanese and not chinese?
    Actually it doesn't look like the Congo Tessar at all, the 210mm Congo is f6.3 not f4.5 and fits a Copal 1 shutter. These Chines LF lenses were sold under the Iston name in North America, and I'm 99% certain that MrCad (Croydon, UK) was importing them as well. They are listed as Chinese made in the Vade Mecum but I know I have a MrCad price list somewhere with the lenses which claims the same.

    Ian

  4. #14
    Steve S's Avatar
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    Yes, just checked VM and:
    "Iston, China.
    Iston f4.5 Sold in UK as 210mm in Copal 111 shutter, during 1995.
    An Iston camera for 5x4 was sold with a Navitar f5.6/150mm in a Copal."


    Pursuing the ISTON camera line has produced a lead.

    http://www.largeformatphotography.info/cheapwood.html

    It would appear that ISTON was the earlier name used for Shen-hao in the west. A reasonable assumption then that these lenses were made by bodies unknown, as part of the branded offerings available for the early ISTON large format camera. I am now thinking that the most likely same country producer of the lens at that time would have been Seagull. They were already producing Tessar copies for their medium format cameras and were the largest producer in 1995.The shutters obviously would have been imported. There was also a Beijing camera factory (source: Cameras of China by Douglas St Denny) but I am not sure if this was still in existence in 1995

  5. #15
    AgX
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    The Iston cameras are for sure different from Shenhao cameras.

  6. #16
    Steve S's Avatar
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    On the Large format pages Tuan says in resect of Iston "They are not sturdy, in particular the 8x10, and the focusing is kind of rough. The store owner told me that everyone bought these had to rebuild them in someway. After that they are usable."
    I have no hands on experience of ISTON or Shen Hao but the latter has a pretty good reputation these days so maybe they just listened to their users and improved the build quality over the years. Or maybe both names are western approximations of some generic Chinese expression meaning large camera and they are unrelated. I wish my language skills were better

  7. #17
    AgX
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    The Iston 8x10 is indeed a simple built camera where a lot can be modified. But it was the cheapest of all 8x10s back then. And one has to make choices.

  8. #18
    Ian Grant's Avatar
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    The cameras may have been cheap and cheerful but the lenses despite being low cost in the West perform(ed) well from what I remember at the time they were imported into the UK.

    The only reason I didn't buy this particular ens when I saw it was first not much cash (most important reason), second I have an excellent 210mm Symmar S (bought off an APUG Mod) and then after that also have a 210mm f6.3 Congo and 210mm f6.3 Geronar, and also some Paragons, oh and the day I say it first I bought a mint 203mm f7.7 Ektar in a Prontor SVS shutter.

    If you saw the lens Steve's bought (with the box case etc) you'd see it oozes quality and the manufacturer wanted to have it seen that way, it looks better than a Congo, in many ways I wish I'd bought it but I really didn't need it

    Ian

  9. #19
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    It reads "Great Wall".
    - Derek
    [ Insert meaningless camera listing here ]

  10. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by dehk View Post
    It reads "Great Wall".
    That pretty much nails it as a product of the Beijing camera factory. " Great Wall " was the generic name given to all their products from around the 1970s onwards. It fits in nicely with the logo on the front cap too.This is what I love so much about photographic fora; a really productive use of the internet.
    There is still so much we don't know about camera production in China. At present there seems to be a massive flow of western photographic collectables going to China if my own Ebay trading is anything to go by. Maybe that trend will reverse eventually and more Chinese collectors will start listing with availability to the West.

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